In a chapter titled “The Color of Justice,” its author, Michel Alexander, discusses the institutional and systemic racial bias and resulting discrimination against the African American community in America’s criminal justice system. She reviews both isolated high-profile cases of litigation by Black people against a given institution and makes inferences regarding the entire institution (Alexander, 2020). The main idea that the author cultivated in this chapter and wanted to show readers is that the open systemic racist past of the United States became hidden due to the victory of the colorblind social paradigm. As a result, it has not been eradicated, and racist attitudes have become more subtle and hard to perceive and identify. They have moved into the criminal justice system where human interaction, coercion, violence, state, and society intersect.
Writer’s Important Points
I found three of Alexander’s findings to be the most important and revealing. The first is “in every state across our nation, African Americans are subjected… to tactics and practices that would result in public outrage and scandal if committed in middle-class white neighborhoods” (Alexander, 2020, p. 96). Another one is “that the system of mass incarceration operates with stunning efficiency to sweep people of color off the streets, lock them in cages, and then release them into an inferior second-class status” (Alexander, 2020, p. 100). The last thought-provoking inference is “that racial bias in the drug war was inevitable, once a public consensus was constructed by political and media elites that drug crime is black and brown” (Alexander, 2020, p. 104). These are moments of voiced bitter truth for the US community that have only begun to be widely publicized in this decade.
I want to hear my audience’s views on the information provided in the seven paragraphs before the analysis of McCleskey v. Kemp. What are the US government’s goals in creating and maintaining socio-racial conflict apart from defocusing public attention and increasing the power of law enforcement agencies? Would the sacrifice of fundamental American institutions and documents be worth it if it would ensure equal and fair treatment by the state of racial and ethnic groups?
Alexander, M. (2020). The new Jim Crow: Mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness. New Press.