Thursday, October 25, 2018

A few words about "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness"

Especially in the early chapters, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, by Michelle Alexander, reminded me of Rabbi Jonathan Sack's description of anti-Semitism as a treatment-resistant virus--every time it seems to have been cured (finally!), it simply morphs into another form. (Jews are capitalists, Jews are communists, Jews are victims of the Nazis, Jews are Nazis--you get the picture.) Racism can also be described as a treatment-resistant virus, as The New Jim Crow makes clear. The United States abolished slavery, and Jim Crow discrimination and segregation replaced it. Now, the U.S. has outlawed discrimination and segregation, and replaced it with a new racial caste system that treats minority neighborhoods, and especially young black males, as if they are responsible for most crime, even though whites are just as likely to smoke marijuana as blacks are. Locking up a huge proportion of the male black population for drug use and/or sale that would be ignored if the guilty were white, and stripping convicts and former convicts of their right to vote and to get government-subsidized food and housing, coupled with the challenge of getting an honest job as an "ex-con," has created a permanent underclass in the Black community and deprived children of their fathers. And affirmative action has been a double-edged sword, putting blacks in the dubious position of having to enforce laws that discriminate against their own community or lose their jobs.

Current laws encourage both overt and unconscious racism, and it has always been political expedient to pit working-class whites against working-class blacks. Unless and until we end the "War on Drugs" and, instead, spend our tax dollars on providing true educational and job-training opportunities
for all, racism will continue to have a devastating effect on communities and individuals of color.


Anonymous Kid Charlemagne said...

Amen to ending the war on drugs. this country loves to start wars but can never end them. last time this country ending a war, it took not one but two atomic bombs...

Thu Oct 25, 10:55:00 AM 2018  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

The War on Poverty might at least be worth the effort, if the government could ever figure out the best way to win that one.

Sun Oct 28, 12:46:00 AM 2018  

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