Thursday, February 23, 2017

Post Civil Rights Caste System



Looking back at the treatment of people of color before the civil rights movement, most people would respond that they could have never lived treating people like that. However as explained by Michelle Alexander, we are still living in the time where in our society we still reproduce systems of racial caste. During the height of the civil rights movement those who had power, the white elite, started to feel the loss of their power as poor blacks and whites started to unify. These elites dampened the progress that had been made by inserting racial caste in different ways, for example, “allowing lower courts to accept ‘silly’ and even ‘superstitious’ reasons for striking black jurors.” (2) Not only were people of color more likely to be removed from a jury, but once the War on Drugs expanded the amount of people of color labeled ‘felons’ grew, which removed their right to vote. The racial caste system became more forceful as the war on drug gave different sentences  on different styles of the same drug, as explained in one of my earlier blogs. This coupled with portrayal in the media, causes a implicit bias in people, which causes for unequal amount of arrests of people of color. Even if someone is just arrested, they still live with the label of ‘felon’, which extremely lowers their chance of getting a job, affordable housing, or welfare. The label of ‘felon’ came into use after the civil rights movement because it was another way to legally discriminate against people of color and to divide people of the same economic class by race.  

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