The New Jim Crow cover. United States, but Alexander notes that the discrimination faced by African-American males is prevalent among other minorities and socio-economically disadvantaged populations. Though the conventional point of view holds that racial discrimination has mostly ended with the civil rights movement reforms of the 1960s, Alexander posits that the New jim crow book pdf. These new modes of racism have led to not only the highest rate of incarceration in the world, but also an even greater imprisonment of African American men.
It is because of this that Alexander argues for issues with mass incarceration to be addressed as issues of racial justice and civil rights. To approach these matters as anything but would be to fortify this new racial caste. Thus, Alexander aims to mobilize the civil rights community to move the incarceration issue to the forefront of its agenda and to provide factual information, data, arguments and a point of reference for those interested in pursuing the issue. Her broader goal is the revamping of the prevailing mentality regarding human rights, equality and equal opportunities in America, to prevent future cyclical recurrence of what she sees as “racial control under changing disguise”. According to the author, what has been altered since the collapse of Jim Crow is not so much the basic structure of US society, as the language used to justify its affairs. Alexander explains that it took her years to become fully aware and convinced of the phenomena she describes, despite her professional civil rights background. She expects similar reluctance and disbelief on the part of many of her readers.
She believes that the problems besetting African American communities are not merely a passive, collateral side effect of poverty, limited educational opportunity or other factors, but a consequence of purposeful government policies. Alexander has concluded that mass incarceration policies, which were swiftly developed and implemented, are a “comprehensive and well-disguised system of racialized control that functions in a manner strikingly similar to Jim Crow. During the mid-1980s, as the use of crack cocaine increased to epidemic levels in these neighborhoods, federal drug authorities publicized the problem, using scare tactics to generate support for their already-declared escalation. Reagan officials, which contributed to an explosion of crack cocaine consumption in America’s urban neighborhoods. More aggressive enforcement of federal drug laws resulted in a dramatic increase in street level arrests for possession. African American communities, on a scale entirely out of proportion to the actual dimensions of criminal activity taking place within these communities.
During the past three decades, the US prison population has exploded from 300,000 to more than two million, with the majority of the increase due to drug convictions. Alexander claims that the US is unparalleled in the world in focusing enforcement of federal drug laws on racial and ethnic minorities. African American males are expected to serve time in prison. Alexander borrows from the term “racial caste”, as it is commonly used in scientific literature, to create “undercaste”, denoting a “stigmatized racial group locked into inferior position by law and custom”.