In just the introduction in The New Jim Crow I learned more information than any past history classes I have taken.
We learn about Jarvis Cotton’s great-grandfather and grandfather were not allowed to take part of voting because of the Klan violence and poll taxes. Cotton also wasn’t able vote do to the fact that he had been tagged as a felon. As a whole America thought disenfranchising men of color was essential for the original union. Even today some people may not be allowed to vote because they have a status as a felon. These people are targets to discrimination in ways of jury service, voting, housing, food stamps, and employment which embodies a situation a lot like the old Jim Crow.
In Chapter 1, Alexander gives us some background on racism and race in America. In response to the backlash, the civil rights movement embodies itself in the first wave of stereotypes such as lazy “welfare cheats” and black criminals. “Law and order” rhetoric was popularized as a way to feed abhorrence against blacks. This got accomplished by conservatives so they can win the votes of the white people who felt betrayed by the Democratic Party’s embrace of the civil rights agenda. This had a lot of success particularly during Reagan’s campaigns as he “echoed white frustration in race-neutral terms through implicit racial appeals” (48).
During this Reagan was fixated on expanding the budgets of law enforcement agencies and targeting crime. When this was taking place the administration administered a massive campaign to exaggerate the crack epidemic that was taking apart black neighborhoods. Due to the economic collapse some poor blacks had no choice but to sell drugs to survive. Reagan used this to pass crude anti-drug legislation, instead of reacting to this with any ounce of empathy. Although during this time the use of drugs did not increase, the campaign was successful in convincing this to the Americans. The three-strikes policy and Clinton’s welfare policies also helped in the destruction of black communities.
With all this going on the New Jim Crow was born.