Thursday, February 23, 2017

The New Jim Crow (Lesson 9)

How has racial caste perpetuated in the form of mass incarceration, despite the achievements of the civil rights movement?

The Civil Rights movement was famous for its work in continuing the journey towards equal rights amongst black and white people. Their work was evident in their dismantling explicit forms of racism such as the Jim Crow Laws. The purpose of the movement's work was to diminish the racial caste system, and to a certain extent, they did do that. It can be argued that the civil rights movement is even still present today, but their most memorable achievements began in the 1960s.

One thing that the civil rights movement was not able to change, however, was the ideology behind the different forms of racism. Since the civil rights movement worked diligently to change explicit portrayals of racism, racial caste began to be portrayed in a "legal" way. The criminal justice system turned into the new Jim Crow. Mass incarceration rounded up millions of black people into federal prisons. The justification for this was that black people were their majority of the people committing these crimes when in actual fact, it was the new era of racial caste in America. Mass incarceration kept black people in prison, thereby condemning them to the lowest form of societal involvement in America.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Color of Justice (Lesson 7)

What is the age of colorblindness? And how does it mask racial caste while also enforcing white privilege? You might even want to consider how "all lives matter" could be considered a form of colorblindness that masks -- and so actually reinforces -- a racial caste system that devalues black Americans.

It is safe to say that the start of the War Against Drugs was an official kickoff for the “age of colorblindness.” This age was characterized by the ironic notion that all people were equal under the law. The War Against Drugs was a legal excuse to go out and practice the complete opposite of what the whole “age of colorblindness” was supposed to be portraying. Black people were targeted and arrested far more than white people. When this issue was brought forward to the Supreme Court, they ruled that in no way possible could the criminal justice system be racially biased towards black people due to the Fourteenth Amendment. The colorblind era, which is still persistent today, claims that its sole purpose is to promote equality across all aspects of life when in actual fact it is a concealer for racist motives.

Colorblindness masks racial caste because through its basic definition, everyone is seen and treated equally. Therefore there is no race or any hierarchy within race. Racial caste is then diminished and thought to be nonexistent. Simultaneously, white privilege is being uplifted because colorblindness fails to acknowledge the difference between races, therefore no racial disparities can be fixed because none of them are brought to attention. The “All Lives Matter” movement is a perfect example of the colorblindness era. The motion is driven by the thought that everyone struggles therefore everyone matters. It fails to recognize extreme cases of inequality between races where in actual fact all races do struggle, but black people struggle to a higher degree than white people.

After discussing colorblindness with my mother she brought to my attention that colorblindness also promotes the dismissal of identity. She explained that many things that are unique to black culture will be masked in the whole colorblind rhetoric. I felt this on a deeper level because I’ve heard the term “I don’t see you as black” many times before and have not realized that this was an insult rather than a compliment. People were deliberately trying to mask who I am because I didn’t fit into the “typical black girl” stereotype. Colorblindness strips the one form of individuality black people have left.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Rebirth of Caste (Lesson 5)

How did conservative "law and order" rhetoric provide a new racial bribe to low- and lower-middle class whites? How did this wedge impact the Democratic Party?

The conservative "law and order" rhetoric provided a new racial bribe to low-and lower-middle class white people because it defined the line between these white people and black people. Prior to the law and order proposal, lower class white people were not very much different from black people. They struggled for the same jobs, lived in fairly similar neighborhoods, and had the same economic problems. Although sharing similarities, the lower-class whites of the South were some of the most ardent pro-segregation advocates. The introduction of "law and order" created a major difference between these two groups. No matter what black people would always be targeted more than white people in law enforcement.

This wedge impacted the Democratic Party because the party was beginning to take a pro Civil Rights stance. White working class people, who were originally Democrats, were outraged by this stance because the party was standing for a cause that the white people despised. The Democratic Party, which initially comprised of lower-middle or lower class people, lost its supporters to the Republican party who saw this as an opportunity to unite the pro-segregationists at the time. The introduction of "law and order" was essentially the main cause of the political party shift.

Monday, February 6, 2017

The Rebirth of Caste


What is "racial bribe"?
How did it help construct the idea of race in America?
How did whites attempt to reconcile the ideas of democracy with the system of slavery?

During the early the early colonial years, white elites were outraged by the unexpected alliance between lower class white and black people. To diminish this bond, the government offered special privileges to whites to open the gap between the white and black people. This is called "Racial bribe" and has been carried out through slavery, post slavery, Jim Crow, and up to the present.

This helped construct the idea of race in America because it supported the claim that white people "naturally" were and are smarter and more successful than black people. White people claimed that the democracy included the ability to own property. Slaves were not seen as people, but property. White peoples entitlement to property made it justified for them to own slaves.


Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Rebirth of Caste (Lesson 4)

The beginning of Reconstruction was marked by the North freeing the slaves in 1863 and reaches its end in 1877, "when [the North] abandoned [the slaves] and withdrew federal troops from the south"(2-3). Although the underlying effects of Jim Crow have been evident throughout Reconstruction, and Jim Crow has no real beginning, the event that marked its demise was Brown v. Board of Education. This court case specifically addressed the racial issues in the public school system while simultaneously diminishing the entire system of a "legalized discrimination in the South" (3). The downfall of Jim Crow came thanks to the Civil Rights movement. The organization reached its peak in 1963 and then later made history in when the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed which "formally dismantled the Jim Crow system of discrimination in public accommodations" (4). The movement "ended" when it developed into the "Poor People's Movement" which aimed at created socioeconomic security for whites, black, Native Americans, Mexican Americans, and Puerto Ricans.

Alexander proposes that despite these marked endings of these time periods, the struggles of the time period still persist today; they just take on different shapes. Oppression has turned into a socially constructed war rather than a physical one. Civil Rights today is no longer necessarily vouching for the ability to drink at the same water fountains as white people. They are now vouching for the social equality among all races throughout America. The maltreatment of black people in America is no longer characterized by Reconstruction and Jim Crow, but rather by subtle societal discrimination. After all, the new form of inequity towards black people "could not involve explicit or clearly intentional race discrimination" (5). It is evident that history has taken on a new form.


Friday, January 20, 2017

IAT

In this experiment I learned a lot about what I expected and what I didn't expect. Confirmation bias taught me that although I may not realize it, I do look for specific outcomes in certain confirmation. Through the IAT I was able to realize that I had a liking towards a group that was the complete opposite of the group that I am a part of. It was shocking because I had a preconceived notion that I would obviously test to show that I was in favor of my own category. However, after taking the test and analyzing my unexpected results I evaluated myself and realized that there were so many aspects of my life which supported these test results. This makes me think deeper into the other areas of my life and question if I have any unexpected implicit biases anywhere else. I feel as though acknowledging that I bias is present can often affect how you interact with that situation again. In history and culture our biases can either separate us from the ultimate understanding of a value or draw us closer. In terms of myself, the undiscovered biases in my life are all part of my ever changing personality.

Learning about the electoral college has greatly affected my attitude towards American democracy. I had never really understood its purpose but I always knew that it somehow stood in the way of the American voice being heard. Grasping a real understanding of the topic allowed me to develop a deep feeling of anger towards the government itself. I had never associated myself with political matters because I thought I would never have to care about that stuff because my opinion would always just be overlooked. This school year has taught me that having an opinion speaks a lot louder than not having one. The establishment of the electoral college and other programs has taught me that America still hasn't dug itself out of the hole that it created back one all races of the country weren't represented fairly. This school year has given me a reason to speak my mind because it has instilled in me that my mind is important.