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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Blog Post #6

    The civil rights movement abolished the old racial caste system named Jim Crow. However, the dream of racial equality never came true; instead, a parallel system appears in the form of mass incarceration. Mass incarceration uses the slogan for “law and order” to achieve the old Jim Crow goal - to maintain white superiority. Mass Incarceration and the Old Jim Crow are similar in their origins, legalized discrimination, political disenfranchisement, and exclusion from juries. Both mass incarceration and Jim Crow were born from the poor and working-class whites’ “resentments, vulnerabilities, and racial biases.” The white elites transfer the poor white’s anger and hostility away from them and toward African Americans by creating racial caste system. Both racial caste systems runs in a parallel way through their legalized discrimination. Jim Crow prevents African Americans in “employment, housing, public benefits, and public accommodations” through its law, while mass incarceration achieves the same goal by simply marking large amounts of African Americans as criminals.

     Once being labeled as a criminal, one would have great difficulties finding jobs or housing, and would even lost one’s basic human rights - being able to vote. In order to disenfranchise African Americans, Jim Crow created things such as “poll taxes literacy tests, grandfather clauses and felon disenfranchisement laws.” Even though most of them were abandoned, felon disenfranchisement laws remains, and still plays a big role in mass incarceration. Another important part for that helps both systems is the exclusion of African Americans from juries. In the Old Jim Crow era, the black defendants were tried by all-white juries. Sadly, today, the same situation still occurs due the the U.S Supreme Court’s tolerance of the systematic exclusion of blacks from juries. Such unfair treatment for the colored defendants only makes it easier for mass incarceration.

     The civil rights movement did abolish parts of the Jim Crow system; however, the remaining parts of it is still deeply rooted in our society. Mass incarceration is just an extension of the old racial caste system.

2 comments:

  1. You have me thinking about my time on jury duty now, when I was asked to serve on a drug case against a Black defendant. I can't recall the racial make up of the jury, but you have certainly opened my eyes to what should have been perhaps an obvious point! - Miss Kosyla

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  2. In my English class earlier this year, we took a field trip to go see two court cases. The first one dealt with a black man who was caught driving after his license was suspended. When serving time in jail, he lost his job and could not support his family. Even after he was released from jail, to find a new job, he had to drive without a license and thus the cycle started all over again. The system never gave him a chance to make things right again. I found it incredibly unfair how a black man's life could be oppressed by the system just because he was caught speeding a few times! This experience made me realize just how far we need to go as a society to reach true equality.

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