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.

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