US History Class List

Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Perpetuation of Racial Caste

     Racial caste has perpetuated into mass incarceration because although the work of the civil rights movement has fought against white privilege and racial discrimination, there is still a desire of "white elites to exploit the resentments, vulnerabilities, and racial biases of poor and working-class whites for political or economic gain" (Alexander, 1). Mass incarceration is a caste system that is very similar to the Jim Crow system. Both were founded on the desire of white elites to have power and exploit fear and bribe to enforce their power. The two systems are also similar because of their legalized discrimination and political disenfranchisement. "Many of the forms of discrimination that relegated African Americans to an inferior caste during Jim Crow continue to apply...today"(Alexander, 1). Legalized discrimination and political disenfranchisement have continued after Jim Crow because the legal system has not fully eliminated the methods of Jim Crow to suppress African Americans. Once names a felon as an African American there is no escape from the discrimination of the legal system. Felons are denied the right to vote both in and out of prison in most states, and some may have to pay a "poll tax" of fees before they are eligible. Most African Americans "are automatically excluded from jury service because they have been labeled felons" (Alexander, 2), and the system has allowed for this exclusion to continue and escalate.

     The civil rights movement accomplished the right to vote with no discrimination, the end of school segregation, and the start of a less racist society. However, after the movement the white desire was very present, and it caused a second Reconstruction era in which whites worked to gain back their power back without breaking the law. Mass incarceration was the response to the civil rights movement: a new system of racialized control. A new system to constrain African Americans with fear and injustice by feeding the imbalance of society with more "felons."


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