From Slavery to Mass Incarceration

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Updated: Apr 30, 2024
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Michelle Alexander is the author of the book entitled The New Jim Crow, Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, There are various chapters of this book and the different message has been delivered by them in a different manner. In chapter one of this book the author mostly talks about the renaissance of the social groups or castes even after a long struggle to eliminate the racial segregation in America. In his book, he mentions various factors that resulted in a rebirth of a divided nation after a serious struggle to end the divisive ethnic groups.

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Among these factors included racial bribes, white superiority, wealth, conflict on drugs, industrial factors among others.

The war on slavery has been fought for a long time until everyone believed that it came to an end and that no more slavery in the world but it later resurfaced and it still within us. The main cause of this vice slavery is the tribal bribes where people use color to separate people in terms of resources and other factors. In the United States, constitutional changes allowed the African Americans to have equal laws of protection and this was characterized by the right of African Americans to vote. However, this was short lived since the black people found themselves without any power and they later found themselves in the worse situations than they were before. What was seen as sunshine later turned to be darkness and the so-called Jim Crow system characterized by the ethnic division.

A few people have been surprised the to know that the Jim Crow came due to the failure of slavery. According to JimCrow, although few African Americans got chances to be a success in America does not imply that something similar to a racial class or division does not exist any longer. No racial group that has ever governed almost all black people in American state but only that there have been what is referred to as ‘free blacks’ and success stories from black people like Barrack Obama together with Oprah Winfrey. However, history of America still gives a prove that racial discrimination is adjustable or adaptable simply to mean that racism occurs in many forms only that it depends on either social or political situation of any given area. Since the time black people were brought to the land of America, they have been under the control systems although these systems are never similar.

There has been an argument that specific racial castes structure is in a way superior, although not all-encompassing, and very livable more than the one that was there before, however, Alexander has a different suggestion about this. Alexander gives her argument saying that systems have become more perfect as a result of developed control systems; therefore they have become harder to resist them (Alexander).More so, she says that this ‘concept of race’ was not there for the last small number of centuries but the fact is that in the United States race4 was an indication that white colonist established the country with an aim of freedom but at the same time killing and enslaving native together with the African Americans.

Therefore, black citizens were mainly used to provide low-priced labor and on many occasions, they found themselves on the lower side of the social group system. There was an increase in the movement of many people especially from Africa trusting that they would not resist. As a result, they formed a ‘racial bribe’ and this gave benefit to the less fortunate whites so as they could deter them from forming an alliance with slaves from Africa in America. More so there was an established electoral college which was formed putting the interest of the slave issues first.

During that period of the so-called Emancipation Proclamation, the system of the racial caste which was a slavery creation became so deeply rooted in the United States to an extent that by the time slavery was coming to an end could not change the situation (Nigro).  By this time white supremacy had become more of a religion giving white people permission to refer to each other as equals while in the real sense they maintained racial discrimination all together with brutality. The appearance of every new control system sometimes seems abrupt but historically it shows that such seeds developed many decades just before a fresh institution starts to grow. As a result, racial bribes played a bigger role in the formation of JimCrow system of separation.


Generally, there are many factors which brought to the formation of this JimCrow system of segregation which in many ways affected the African Americans since they brought back slavery which for a long had been fought with an effort to eliminate it. Other factors that were known to have facilitated to the formation of this system of separation are white superiority, wealth, conflict on drugs, industrial factors among others which can also be described further as they are found in the book.

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From Slavery To Mass Incarceration. (2022, Feb 10). Retrieved from