Monday, February 27, 2017

The parallels of the caste system

The racial caste system perpetuated in the form of mass incarceration, despite the achievements of the civil rights movement through political disenfranchisement, all white juries, and the War on Drugs. The racial undercast is defined by Alexander as, "a group defined wholly or largely by race that is permanently Locke out of mainstream, white society by law, custom, and practice." (Alexander 1) This racial undercast is filled by events such as Jim Crow and mass incarceration; these two events may seem dramatically different in definition, but are somehow similar in motivation and goal. Both of these systems were built on the foundation of white supremacy, and the want to exploit the racial biases of poor whites in effort to make a difference politically and economically. One event that was a fall out of mass incarceration was the loss in voting and jury status; without these rights, black men and women were mostly juried by all-white juries in their rulings. All- white juries were notorious to convict these tried African Americans for the longest possible sentencing. The War on Drugs was another leading factor of mass incarceration. The War on Drugs was targeted on low class communities, mainly filled with poor African Americans. These communities would be more heavily searched for drugs than any other location; if one was caught in possession or these drugs, most likely crack cocaine, then they would be sentenced to prison. When President Clinton issued a three strikes policy, mass incarceration skyrocketed. Many of these "prisoners" were imprisoned because it was their third crime, or it was a petty theft but they were sentenced maximum time. 

The racial caste system is still alive today, and although it is underlying more people are beginning to fight the system through the Black Lives Matter Movement and other movements such as this. Men and women are fighting for their voices to be heard, and will not stop till they have succeeded. It is astonishing that these men and women are still suppressed in our society, and that so little has been done for those who are still facing sentencing from the three strike policy. 

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