Friday, April 19, 2013

Same Face, New Mask

This blog post is in response to Michelle Alexander’s book The New Jim Crow. After reading portions of the novel, it is apparent to me that majority the American population continues life as usual instead of demanding and protesting the justice system that has become a systematic industry of social control. In the introduction Alexander refers to the adage, “the more things change, the more they stay the same”. Society has gone through several eras of racial and gender inequality in the hopes of achieving equally. Regardless of the strides that were made, the status quo of society reappears in different forms. Much like voter disenfranchisement that occurred during the Jim Crow era, convicted persons often lose their right to vote in local and state elections even after completing their sentence. This issue is pertinent in Florida where individuals who have completed their sentences, parole and probation have to be granted their right to vote; which may be drawn out over a year. The argument is made that individuals who commit crimes forfeit their rights to vote. However if the criminal justice system claims to rehabilitate incarcerated persons, it should be understood that once their provisions are completed they can reenter in society. Withholding the voting rights of formerly incarcerated persons adversely affects the community’s ability to gain and protect their rights. A population with weak voting power often leaves it vulnerable to a sub par education system, and low environmental standards. It needs to be acknowledge that allow the grandfather clause is now longer in effect having a significantly large portion of African American males and other males of color in the correctional system has the same effect. Alexander calls for urgency and action in regards to the justice system. It is the fastest growing private industry in the country. Many studies have shown that the system is biased and targets effects particular individuals. Once an individual has gone through the system, there are lastly effects which makes it difficult for them to get permanent housing, jobs and healthcare. The reality of the justice system can longer be ignored.Open and honest conversations about protocol,policing and sentencing may lead to the root of the biased system then leading to real change.

1 comment:

  1. Denise, I wonder what you think of this statement: I feel like, if you asked someone our age what the War on Drugs is, more likely than not, they will not be able to answer the question. And why is that? Because the mainstream news media does not cover this issue in depth. For example, there was no discussion of the Drug War during the 2013 presidential debates. It came up in detail during the third-party presidential debate, but who actually watches that? Not as many people do, and people don't really know much about Gary Johnson, for instance, anyways. Pharmaceuticals funded Obama's campaign, and pharmacies don't want a drug like marijuana to be legalized, because then that would just lower their profits. There have been numerous studies done regarding the medicinal benefits of marijuana.

    To me, it seems like you have to support the Drug War in order to get elected into politics. This may be changing with marijuana legislative reform, however, but I think it will take decades before drug use is no longer a taboo subject to talk about. Studies have shown that the majority now support legalizing marijuana, but even so, the societal taboo attached to drugs won't just go away over night when marijuana is legalized, which I personally anticipate to happen in the next five to 10 years.


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