Thursday, February 23, 2017

Racial Undercaste

In Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow, she states, "racial undercaste - a group defined wholly or largely by race that is permanently locked out of mainstream, white society by law, custom, and practice." (Alexander 1). Jim Crow laws and mass incarceration are two historical parallels of how the racial caste system sustained white supremacy through our society in the history of the United States. A sense of deja vu is awoken because these two are similar in "political origins". Mass incarceration is influenced because of the fact we still have legalized discrimination. "Both caste systems [Jim Crow and mass incarceration] were born, in part, due to a desire among white elites to exploit the resentments, vulnerabilities, and racial biases or poor and working-class whites for political or economic gain" (Alexander 1). Yes, the thirteenth and fifteenth amendments helped get rid of racial caste, but our legal system has allowed tactics used in the Jim Crow era to still suppress the black vote today. This has allowed every one in seven black man to lose their right to vote because they are labeled as felons. "Racial segregation rendered black experience largely invisible to whites, making it easier for whites to maintain racial stereotypes about back vales and culture" (Alexander 2). White empowerment has allowed racial caste to influence and maintain racial segregation in the form of mass incarceration.

Thursday, February 16, 2017


My mother describes colorblindness as "a pair of glasses you get from the eye doctor after laser eye surgery because you see figures but what they look like without them on is unknown. You can't see their skin color; you just hear what they sound like". My mother, born in 1964, was never exposed to racial differences in her town because she lived a predominately white community. She never was exposed to color blindness because there was no other race to differentiate from. My mother also wasn't exposed to racial caste. My grandparents never exposed her and her three older siblings to anything that had to do with the Civil Rights movement or anything that had to do with the African American race, which is kind of ironic considering my father is black. As I asked my mother what her opinion is on racial caste she asked me to tell her exactly what that is. This whole experience was so interesting because I just assumed everyone knew what the racial caste system is and what colorblindness is. 

The War on Drugs reinforces racial caste and gave rise to the notion of colorblindness. One way to reassert racial caste after the Civil Rights Movement, when it became unacceptable to talk about race or be racist, was colorblindness. As Alexander said, "This evidence will almost never be available in the era of colorblindness because everyone knows--but does not say--that the enemy in the War on Drugs can be identified by race." Although people might say things like as "why wouldn't we want equality between races?" the truth is this reinforces the racial caste system because we don't enforce this equality everyone seems to want so much. War on Drugs made it okay for law enforcement officials to stop and arrest people for drug offenses, which sounded like a great idea until we identified why this War was born: it was used to give racial beliefs and stereotypes to be morally okay. The only places these police officers would look was poor black communities in order to give poor whites a better look for themselves. Colorblindness puts a "mask" on racial caste in order to maintain it. It enforces white privilege. 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Law and Order

President Nixon demanded a strict criminal justice system which related to violent and property crime through strict criminal penalties which he called  "law and order" in the 1960s. These penalties included longer terms of imprisonment, mandatory sentencing, and three-strikes laws. Candidates in the Republican Party opened so many white Southerners eyes when arguing how incarceration is the most effective when it comes to preventing crime throughout the country. This changed the demographics of the Democratic party because these white Southerners were switching over due to the equality the Democratic Party wanted. In reality, law and order was just a legal form of racism. Law enforcement officials would search through poor colored neighborhoods rather than all poor neighborhoods which gave poor whites a reason to feel more important and human than blacks. Poor whites felt more powerful and eventually became separated from blacks. Whites felt the Democratic Party was not the ideal party due to the Democrats support for the civil rights movement in the 1960s. "Law and order" was just another way to segregate and discriminate blacks in a "lawful" and "legal way. 

Monday, February 6, 2017

Reconstruction, Jim Crow, and Civil Rights

Discrimination and race have been on a crazy rollercoaster throughout the history of the United States. During the Reconstruction Era, the North had control of the South after the Civil War. According to Alexander, "Reconstruction is most typically described as stretching from 1863 when the North freed the slaves to 1877, when it abandoned them and withdrew federal troops from the South" (2-3). To oppose this and to treat these blacks unequally came the Jim Crow Laws passed in the the 1880s, which legalized segregation between blacks and whites. These laws continued to discriminate people of color for many years until around the 1950s when the Civil Rights movement began to take shape. The Civil Rights activists believe that the Jim Crow Laws should be diminished and all people should be treated equally no matter the color of their skin. They fought day and night to gain these rights for years and it paid off when the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed to outlaw discrimination based on color, religion, gender, sex, or national origin. Our rollercoaster ride isn't over yet but we got over a big hill thanks to this act.

Time is always changing and always moving forward is an irrefragable fact and nothing can change that such as discrimination. These historical moments may have happened and changed society but it isn't  100% over. History still plays itself out such as how the 13th amendment is used against most African Americans to put them in jail if they have committed a crime. This takes away their rights as a citizen and puts their life in jeopardy because they may never find a job or a new place to live if they actually are released from jail. although slavery is abolished, blacks are still treated as so in jails due to the cruel punishment and conditions they are faced with in jail whether it's gangs or disease. Saying Jim Crow Laws have ended are not completely true because blacks are still being segregated by society in the eyes of many people. We have tried time and time again to fix the past but the truth is the past is the present. We will need to fight for the rest of our lives in order to actually obtain true equality throughout our nation and although it will be hard, it can be done. 

Racial Bribe

After Bacon's attempt to seize Native American lands in 1675, the "racial bribe" was an effort which developed a wedge between poor whites and black slaves. Elites felt intimidated that the African Americans and poor whites were becoming allies so they devised a strategy to maintain superiority in America. According to The New Jim Crow, "By the mid-1770s, the system of bond labor had been thoroughly transformed into racial caste system predicted on slavery." Racial bribe helped shape the idea of race because it degraded the status of Africans saying that they, like Indians, were an "uncivilized lesser race" with a lack of knowledge and human ability to survive in society. Thus, white supremacy and chattel slavery were born. The basic structure American society is defined by the significance of race, especially in the original structure of our Constitution. Under the terms of our Constitution, it was stated that slaves were defined as three-fifths of a man rather than a whole human being. This racist caste system rests the entire structure of American democracy. Small words from Bacon's Rebellion turned a town and state issue into a federal law, degrading African Americans their rights to equality, liberty, and justice. 

Friday, January 20, 2017

Confirmation Bias and Implicit Associations

Stereotypes are the belief that most members of a group have some characteristic. Did you know there are two different types of stereotypes? An explicit stereotype is the kind that you deliberately think about and report. An implicit stereotype is one that occurs outside of conscious awareness and control. uploaded IAT or Implicit Association Test which tests to see if you have an implicit preference for one group over another. I took the skin-tone IAT and I thought it was very interesting because it didn't only speak about light skin vs. dark skin, but also included good vs. bad vocabulary such magnificent or gross. This IAT required the ability to recognize light and dark-skinned faces. It often reveals an automatic preference for light skin relative to dark-skin.

I wish to keep my results private but I saw my results as pretty accurate. In my opinion, these IATs are important because they help you understand of the characteristic that the IAT is designed to measure. These implicit preferences reflect our behavior and in order to actually see our behavior, Project Implicit provides all of us with a chance to observe our behavior without having to physically look at it. Most people are influenced by these implicit attitudes by not only their culture but their friends or just their community and it is important to see this so you don't offend or hurt anyone unintentionally. 

While learning about slavery and anti-immigration in class I knew a great amount about how certain races or ethnicities were treated but I didn't know they took everything to such an extreme. An example would by lynching. According to, lynching is the practice whereby a mob takes the law into its own hands in order to injure and kill a person accused of some wrongdoing. To me, the images and videos of this action are revolting and absolutely impossible to look at without feeling sick or wanting to cry. These extreme cases are some most school don't teach and it is sad to watch people think that these groups of people weren't treated veery poorly; just enough to report it in history. America today is blind when it comes to how these groups were really treated unless you're in Dr. Bergman's Modern U.S History class. Stereotyping comes from how one group overlooked these minority groups and treated them as if they aren't human. We need to realize that just looking at a person negatively who looks or acts differently is a form of stereotyping because you are looking at them because of their difference. America, let's wake up. 

Thursday, January 19, 2017