Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

Racial Caste System: It is a stratification where colored people are kept in inferior positions. It is a system that causes segregation amongst different ethnic groups (Color people and white people). White people are seen as the most inferior race within the society we live in. The roots of this system are to deny blacks their freedom and equality (Direct response to the civil rights movement). Racial Caste System predicts there’s a likelihood of African American and black males ending up in federal or state prisons.

Law and Order: Justification for discriminating against colored individuals while the word “Criminal” was aligned to a black individual.

Michael Alexander Analysis: The system of mass incarceration was created as a form of racial control based on the war on drugs. Also, the system of mass incarceration is a system to keep African Americans and minorities in states of economics, political, and social marginalization. He argues that people within the criminal justice system do not have engagement with their aspects of citizenship (voting, housing assistant, public housing, and general assistance to fit back into society).

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Michael defines “undercaste” as a racial group that is inferior because of our current laws and customs.

You can not talk about mass incarceration without looking at the history of oppression through the Jim Crow Law that has been created. Racism is highly adaptable to mass incarceration. The Jim Crow Law, slavery, and mass incarceration revolve around each other to create racial control. Alexander states in “The Birth of Slavery” the idea of race is connected to recent development.

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By this Alexander means that race is a form of power and used to treat human beings based upon the color of their ethnicity and skin color. Splitting things amongst race just makes white supremacy succeed within society. “The Death of Slavery” Alexander talks about how predominantly white individuals were trying to find ways to keep their power (White Supremacy) after the civil war. Also, the author states that the criminal justice system is “colorblind” (Belittling black individuals, discrimination, willful ignorance from the public eye).

The criminal justice system views the world based on bias, ideologies, and stereotypes. Race is seen as a primary guide to different opinions and actions behind criminal behavior. The fact that federal and state prisons have a higher population of blacks and African Americans speaks volumes when it comes down to our criminal justice system. Why? Because it shows racial bias amongst all ethnic groups and it shows how African Americans and minorities are the center targets when it comes to delinquency. During the war on drugs era, there were required sentencing for drugs (crack cocaine) that were found in African American Communities. Law enforcement officials sent messages out on who deserved to be penalized more blacks or whites. It then became acceptable for society to label blacks as criminals (Drug dealing criminals) knowing that the selling amongst both ethnic groups (white and black) is the same. The criminal justice system, law enforcement officials, and courts became stricter on crime. The government made it a gratifying experience for police officers to target drug offenders, leading the courts to discriminate against minorities, and blacks. Within the “War On Drugs” era there was a racial control force behind the war on drugs rather than drug control.

I agree with the author’s analysis because the criminal justice system operates off racial bias, stereotypes, ideologies and more. Bases of the case Brown Vs. Board of education, where African American students were denied access to particular public institutions based on laws (school was segregated by race). Segregation violated the 14th Amendment (The Equal Protection Clause). The court then seen school segregation instilled in a sense of subsidiarity which harmed African Americans’ education and their growth within themselves. Also, African Americans are the sources of why government officials win elections because black individuals are targeted the most by law enforcement officials. African American is the centerpiece of why the criminal justice system is functioning (creating revenue). They’re sentenced to longer times than any other ethnic group. Until this day African Americans and minorities are the most targeted, harassed, racially profiled, stereotyped, and more by police officers. Not every black person is a criminal, drug dealer, murder, or burglar. The inequality amongst different ethnic groups is the root cause of mass incarceration. Blacks are continuing to suffer from battles of oppression. The criminal justice system is built on injustice rather than justice, it doesn’t address the root causes of delinquency, and it is punitive rather than rehabilitative. Not providing resources to fit back into society will cause an individual to enter back into the mass incarceration system.

Lastly, we live in a world with a corrupt criminal justice system that punishes many blacks innocent minorities. In society, 97% of federal cases and 94% of state cases are plea bargains with defendants pleading guilty for a guaranteed lesser sentence. Many of the defendants who are minorities or black and have little to no resources take up a plea bargain from their (oftentimes) public defender. Pleading guilty violates the 6th amendment which states that I have a right to a trial by jury. Racism isn’t just a key component to the criminal justice system but it is the heart of history within the culture of countries, and states.

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Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. (2022, Sep 14). Retrieved from

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