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Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow

She uses various court rulings to get her point across. Perhaps the most effective court decision she included was Clinton Drake’s case, a fifty-five-year-old African-American Vietnam veteran who was arrested for possession of marijuana. “Once released, Drake found he was forbidden by law from voting… “, Alexander says. This helps get Alexanders point across in the way it lets us know the racism and injustice that exists in one of the branches of our federal government. She points out the extent to which African-Americans are oppressed and looked as less.

She informs us that if you possess ten dollars of marijuana you can serve up to 20 years in jail, only of course if you’re an African-American. Even after accepting a plea bargain, Drake spent five years in jail and once released he found out he had bee stripped of his voting rights and in order to get them back he had to pay an incredible amount of money. This shows to what extent the government will go to keep the black man down. In addition, Alexander informs us of operations directed by the DEA under the Reagan administration that have greatly affected the minorities, especially the African-Americans.

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Operation Pipeline trained officers to “use a minor traffic violation as a pretext to stop someone, how to lengthen a routine traffic stop and leverage it into a search for drugs, how to obtain consent from a reluctant motorist, an how to use drug-sniffing dogs to obtain probable cause. ” This operation is outrageous as it can cause people to go to jail for drug possession, nd probably small amounts, though that person was stopped for a traffic violation and then scared into saying yes to a search.

This is shameful as it goes against what the Founding Fathers wanted: “a federally-run general search program that targets people without cause for suspicion, particularly those who belong to disfavored groups”. Alexander then suggests that in order to stop this racial caste, a major social movement needs to take place. She points out that “Isolated victories can be won-even a string of victories-but in the absence of a fundamental shift in public onsciousness, the system as a whole will remain intact. By this she means that in order to destroy the racial caste system of mass incarceration we need to work together as a country instead of doing little protests here and there. She advises for the country to become united and confront this problem for if the country doesn’t unite, the cast system will keep living. Though these little isolated protests could change something, the caste system will not be completely destroyed and instead will continue grow with more injustice.

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