The New Jim Crow

The New Jim Crow Irony

Black Support for "Get Tough" Policies

As Alexander points out, "Black support for harsh responses to urban crime - support born of desperation and legitimate concern over the unraveling of basic security in inner-city communities - helped provide political cover for conservative politicians who saw an opening to turn back the clock on racial progress in the United States" (42). While black support for the policies of the War on Drugs was intended to aid in the security of inner-city communities, it also allowed conservative politicians to undermine not only the security of these communities but also overall racial progress in the long run.


As Alexander points out, "In fact, studies suggest that white professionals may be the most likely of any group to have engaged in illegal drug activity in their lifetime, yet they are the least likely to be made criminals" (197). Despite the rhetoric of colorblindness, the War on Drugs has disproportionately incarcerated blacks, while leaving white professionals - who may be the most likely to engage in illegal drug activities - relatively free.


Ironically, someone can be sentenced to life for three marijuana sales because of federal sentencing guidelines, while someone who has done something far worse may get off easily. These small-time offenders are nowhere near the drug kingpins that the government claims to be targeting (92).


It is sadly ironic that in an era in which people tout the arrival of a colorblind society, there is actually a new Jim Crow, a new undercaste, a new deeply entrenched system of racial control.