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Zaria Wood Nan Woodruff AFAM 100 16 December 2016 Changes in American Society The New Jim Crow is a class hierarchy-like system built in America that has resulted in millions of African American people behind bars and denied the same rights as everyone else once they are released. The New Jim Crow differs from the Old Jim Crow because the Old Jim Crow laws were outright discrimination and they applied to all African Americans, with the Ne
  Zaria Wood  Nan Woodruff AFAM 100 16 December 2016 1 | Page   Changes in American Society The New Jim Crow is a class hierarchy-like system built in America that has resulted in millions of African American people behind bars and denied the same rights as everyone else once they are released. The New Jim Crow differs from the Old Jim Crow because the Old Jim Crow laws were outright discrimination and they applied to all African Americans, with the New Jim Crow laws, the legal system tries to make the discrimination more discrete and say that because these people are criminals, they don't get the same rights. As stated in the book, The  New Jim Crow , In the era of colorblindness, it is no longer socially permissible to use race, explicitly, as a justification for discrimination, exclusion, and social contempt. So we don't. Rather than rely on race, we use our criminal justice system to label people of color ‘criminals' and then engage in all the practices we supposedly left behind . Michelle Alexander said that the war on drugs led to the rise of the New Jim Crow. President Ronald Reagan announced the drug war in 1982 before crack became an issue in the media or a crisis in poor black neighborhoods. A few years after drug war was declared, crack  began to spread rapidly in the black neighborhoods of Los Angeles and later emerged into cities across the country. The media, in 1985, almost overnight had pictures of black crack whores , drug dealers , and crack babies to put a bad stereotype on poor inner-city African American  people. This attracted a lot of attention for the legal system, CIA, in black neighborhoods and they were looking for someone to arrest; the irony in this situation was that drug crime was declining, not rising when the war on drugs was declared.  Zaria Wood  Nan Woodruff AFAM 100 16 December 2016 2 | Page   The New Jim Crow has flourished in America because we are in an era where everyone is supposed to be ‘color  -blind', treating individuals as equal as possible, without regard to race. Yet, the criminal justice system perpetuates racial hierarchy. Whites are using the criminal  justice system to stay above African Americans and stereotype the black male. This system is designed to keep African Americans in prison. White people have always been afraid of the successes of African American people, especially the males, because they feel threatened that one day, African Americans will rise above them. The fear of the successes of black people arose after the Civil War ended. Once black  people were no longer slaves, white people knew that blacks were better workers than they were and that they would be better suited for labor intensive jobs than they would be. Since all jobs were fair game now that black people had their freedom, whites were willing to do anything to keep black people own so that they could still be above them in the hierarchy. Even back then, there were white women lying and saying that black men raped them so that they would go to  jail. The current stereotypes of black men as aggressive, unruly predators can be traced to this  period, when whites feared that an angry mass of black men might rise up and attack them or rape their women . Today, police will plant drugs on the scene, say that any money on them was used for something illegal, or basically lie just to arrest black men. This country was built to keep whites on top of the hierarchy system. Once criminals get out of prison, if they do, it is impossible to get back to being a normal citizen in this country. Because once they're out, they cannot perform their basic civil rights like  Zaria Wood  Nan Woodruff AFAM 100 16 December 2016 3 | Page   the right to vote; the right to serve on juries; and the right to be free of legal discrimination in employment, housing, and access to education and public benefits. They can't find a job due to their criminal background, and if they do find once it is not enough money to survive off of. No money leads to no housing and no food, because they are denied governmental assistance, and since they can't find a job the legal way, this system is trying to force them back into doing illegal acts. Then, the three strikes law comes into play which increases the sentences of people convicted of a felony who have been convicted of two or more crimes and limits the ability of the offenders to receive a punishment other than a life sentence. Michelle Alexander believes that because more and more people are becoming aware of Mass Incarceration in the United States, there should be a lot of optimism about the future. There is a movement for major drug policy reform as well as a movement for restorative justice, to shift away from a purely punitive approach to dealing with violent offenders to a more restorative one that takes seriously interests of the victim, the offender and the community as a whole. Now that it is out there we must be willing to fight for it, to make sacrifices for it, to organize it, to speak up and to speak out. With these steps, we will see a change in the Mass Incarceration system in the United States. Michelle Alexander stated in The New Jim Crow that What is completely missed in the rare public debates about the plight of African Americans is that a huge percentage of them are not free to move up at all. It is not just that they lack opportunity, attend poor schools or are  plagued by poverty. They are barred from the law by doing so. Economic and educational  Zaria Wood  Nan Woodruff AFAM 100 16 December 2016 4 | Page   conditions steer people toward the criminal justice system, to begin with. This relates to Ta- Nehisi Coates story of growing up in America in his book  Between the World and Me . He stated that If the streets shackled my right leg, the schools shackled my left. Fail to comprehend the streets and you gave up your body now. But fail to comprehend the schools and you gave up your body later. Basically, the schools were a system that did not really care about young black kids, they had no hope for the children's future and they did not try to make it any better. Yet, fully 60 percent of all young men who drop out of high school will go to jail. Going to school did not prepare children for the brutal streets that were waiting for them at three o'clock. Many inner-city, impoverished people have to be prepared to fight to protect themselves every day; as stated in the book by Coates Not being violent enough could cost me my body. Being too violent could cost me my body. This put children at such a confused state growing up. They had to be prepared to defend themselves but only against certain people; for example, you were supposed to fight back against people in the area trying to hurt you but you were supposed to obey authorities even if they were wrongly treating you. The impoverished areas that black people lived in also related to The New Jim Crow . Michelle Alexander stated in the book, Some segregationists insisted that integration causes crime, citing lower crime rates in Southern states as evidence that segregation was necessary . And Coates stated in  Between the World and Me , Very few Americans will directly proclaim that they are in favor of black people being left to the streets. But a very large number of Americans will do all they can to preserve the Dream . Both these books show that many white
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