Themes in Modern History
Prof. Matthew Shaughnessy
November 9, 2012
Based on the history of prison labor in 20th century U.S. South, should local governments be allowed to privatize incarceration in their individual states? According to theologian James Crone and legal scholar Michelle Alexander, what are the socio-cultural ramifications of such actions?
Back in the late 1800’s blacks were dehumanized and were made a mockery. James Crone, in his book, talks about how blacks or people of color would be lynched or would be threatened to be lynched just for walking the wrong way or giving a wrong look. The superior whites would hold events to watch a black man be ...view middle of the document...
Black males were usually called boy, uncle, or nigger so being called an actually man was a privilege, but not one many colored males had the honor of experiencing. Not only were they not called men but they weren’t allowed to vote and actually hurt or killed if they even attempted to vote. Still today many colored American are prevented from voting and that’s not right. With the presidential election just concluding and having a man of color serve a second term as president, how would you feel if you were prevented from casting your vote and practicing your freedom because you were a person of color? It is simple unjust.
Michelle Alexander writes about how there is still racial discrimination today especially in our criminal justice system. Now today is not like it was over a hundred years ago and it is not looked upon badly to be racist but in reality there are people out there who are incriminating blacks just because they don’t like the fact that they are black. Alexander worked as part of the Racial Justice Project of the American Civil Liberties Union to “identify and eliminate racial bias whenever and wherever it reared its ugly head.” (Alexander) Originally she had assumed that the criminal justice system had problems of racial bias and focused on discrimination in employment. After doing her research she shifted towards the criminal justice system and worked to reform it. She eventually concluded that she was wrong about the criminal justice system and came to find that “mass incarceration in the United States had emerged as a stunningly comprehensive and well-disguised system of racialized social control that functions in a manner strikingly similar to Jim Crow.” (Alexander)
The Jim Crow laws, established in 1876 and enforced until 1965, were state and local laws that enforced racial segregation in all public facilities in Southern states. Alexander identifies the criminal justice system with the Jim Crow laws because that is what she sees happening. She was a lawyer and worked on many employment discrimination cases, white people not hiring black people. When she looked into the criminal justice system she saw that they would label people of color criminals and would perform...