The New Jim Crow Short Summary
In this book, Michelle Alexander highlights how the war against drugs has taken a racial dimension. In the author’s view, the policies that are in place are unfairly aimed at people of color. With the arrests, the black young men suffer from absolute poverty.
Right from the start, the author says that racism is still alive today. Many blacks are prevented from voting. Some laws control the convicted criminals even after they have served their jail terms. The author claims that the drug policies are deliberately put in place to ensure that people of color do not participate in political processes.
The war to control drugs was initiated officially in the 1980s. The enforcement agencies had the power to go to the communities where drug use was prevalent and do thorough searches. The police could frisk people based on suspicion. With that, discrimination came in. There were statistics to show that these laws were aimed at blacks. Even though whites are more likely to engage in drug activities, close to 90% of those convicted of drug-related charges are blacks. Crack cocaine (associated with blacks) users are also punished more severely compared to those found with powdered cocaine. Some statistics show that black young men are more likely to be stopped by police, arrested, and imprisoned compared to whites.
The people who are from prison are also treated differently for the rest of their lives. For example, their access to basic services like proper housing, employment opportunities, and, and education is hampered. They are not allowed to vote either. The author concludes that the mentality that criminality should be associated with being black should stop. Laws should not favor or disadvantage any race.