In the first chapter of “The New Jim Crow”, the author, Michelle Alexander, showed that there is a cycle of racial inequalities and racial caste systems.
The cycle began with slavery and was then replaced by the Jim Crow ideology. When Jim Crow died out, mass incarceration took its place. Something that stood out to me was the fact that these racial systems have been prevalent for many, many years. In the book it says that once the slaves were “freed”, white men became fearful that they would beat them and rape their women.
In the years to come, African Americans were seen as criminals, even when they had done nothing wrong. Unfortunately, African Americans are sometimes treated this way in modern society. It is very shocking to me that as a country we have not yet abandoned these harmful stereotypes.I always found it strange that the U.S. claimed that all men were created equal; however, throughout history African Americans and colored people in general have been viewed as inferior. I found it interesting that during World War 2 people finally began to realize that racial castes were wrong and contradict the statement above.
Even after this, people still treated colored people the same way.To me it seems that white people just wanted to have power, and deep down they were just scared of losing that power and capitol. Throughout the chapter you can see how a wedge was put in between blacks and whites. Whenever they started to work together, people became very fearful that they would ally together and become too powerful. Low-class whites would work alongside blacks until they were offered something better. Racial bribes were used to end ties between these groups of people. We also see this separation when people proposed segregation laws.
Whites wanted to show other whites that they were the superior race and that African Americans we lesser people. Whites were just afraid of losing power so they did everything they could to prevent it.A question that I have is: What would it take to break this cycle of racial castes/ racial injustice?