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Understanding the New Jim Crow

 
 
Reply Mon 23 May, 2016 12:34 am
http://billmoyers.com/content/book-excerpt-understanding-the-new-jim-crow/
The following is an excerpt from Michelle Alexander’s book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.

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Type: Discussion • Score: 4 • Views: 1,544 • Replies: 11
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Blickers
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 May, 2016 11:40 pm
@edgarblythe,
Quote Edgar's Source, (Michele Alexander-who else?):
Quote:
The United States now has the highest rate of incarceration in the world, dwarfing the rates of nearly every developed country, even surpassing those in highly repressive regimes like Russia, China and Iran.


The United States has half the murder rate of Russia.
Homicide Rate
Russia..........9.0 per 100,000 inhabitants
USA.............4.5 per 100,000 inhabitants

Maybe Russia should build more jails, so fewer Russians get murdered. Oops, that's right, they're broke. They can't afford it.
izzythepush
 
  2  
Reply Tue 24 May, 2016 01:17 am
@Blickers,
Blickers wrote:
The United States has half the murder rate of Russia.


Whoop de doo. America is better than Russia, let's have a parade.
Blickers
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 May, 2016 07:31 am
@izzythepush,
Being unfavorably compared to countries with much lower incarceration rates and lower murder rates is one thing. Being unfavorably compared to a country with lower incarceration rates but twice our murder rate is something else.

The author of the article was talking about the Crime Act of 1993, which raised incarcertations somewhat. It also coincided with the murder rates, which had been zooming upward for several years previous, not only levelling off but coming down drastically starting in 1994. The economy took a large upturn the same year and continued to improve for several years afterward, so how much is due to the incarceration rates and how much is due to the improved economy or other factors is open to question. But drug gangs in public housing had taken to just walking up to the front door of an apartment of someone they are after and just pumping the front door full of semi-automatic rifle fire. This killed all the people, (many of them infants), in the living room on the other side of that door. It was inevitable that for crime to come down more people were going to have to be taken off the streets.

I'm not saying the Crime Law was perfect, there were injustices for sure, but the murder rate and violent crime rate was going through the roof in the mid eighties to early nineties.
izzythepush
 
  2  
Reply Tue 24 May, 2016 10:04 am
@Blickers,
Shouldn't you be comparing yourselves with other liberal democracies like Western Europe, Australia and Canada? I've spoken to a few Tea Party apologists who honestly believe that not being as extreme as the Taliban is some sort of achievement. What happened to the 200+ years of democracy?
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 May, 2016 10:43 am
Blickers has totally misread the thrust of the article I referenced. I have been ignoring the digression.
Blickers
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 May, 2016 12:17 pm
@edgarblythe,
I read the article quite accurately. Michelle Alexander wrote one book and a couple of articles based on the research on that book. After that, several articles in various journals have been written about her book, and the people on A2K fervently against Clinton have quoted all of those articles in debate, as if they were separate sources. Michelle Alexander's book has been used to make the Clinton Administration look bad over and over in sneaky disguises, when the case of Clinton supposedly being bad for blacks is really only being made by her. She has the right to make that case, of course, but I've seen her quoted here repeatedly on end, and by my own personal research going to various data, I have found that she left some important facts out that change the picture immensely.

Here is one such statistic, for instance. Number of blacks murdered per year, under Bush I and then Clinton.

Under Bush I
1987......8,998
1988......9,956
1989.....10,566
1990.....11,487
1991.....12,227
1992.....11,777

Bill Clinton Takes Office
1993.....12,433
1994.....11,854
1995.....10,442
1996.......9,473
1997.......8,841
1998.......7,933
1999.......7,139
2000.......7,425

Under Bush I's last year murder rate of black victims, there would be 94,216 black people murdered in the years 1993 through 2000. Instead, under Bill Clinton only 75,540 black people were murdered in those years. Bill Clinton's presidency saved over 18,000 black lives. His presidency also cut the number of blacks murdered per year by 37%, when the number of black murder victims had increased in the six years previous to Clinton's presidency by 31%.

Michele Alexander's book didn't get around to mentioning that. I guess it just didn't serve her narrative to do so.



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Blickers
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 May, 2016 12:33 pm
@izzythepush,
Quote izzy:
Quote:
Shouldn't you [US] be comparing yourselves with other liberal democracies like Western Europe, Australia and Canada?

Yes, we should, just as we compare ourselves to those countries in almost everythig else. But in the case of murder by any means, we are three or four times higher than most other advanced nations, consequently our incarceration rate is much higher. Unless you want to let convicted murderers go free after a light sentence, you cannot separate the rates of murder and violent crime from the rates people are sent to prison.

The elephant in the room here, of course, is guns. Or more strictly, handguns. The US has many more of them, hence many more murders are committed using them. Although I must give praise to our Russian friends here. Guns are not legal in Russia, yet they still achieve a murder rate twice what we achieve with guns. You have to admit, that takes talent. We can only imagine what Russia would look like if they had gun laws like ours. The bodies would be piled up on the curb for daily collection by truck.
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 May, 2016 01:22 pm
@Blickers,
Russia has a mafia with long fingers in politics, and a restive province complete with warlord in Chechnya. It's not a liberal democracy by any means.
Debra Law
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 May, 2016 03:38 pm
@edgarblythe,
edgarblythe wrote:

http://billmoyers.com/content/book-excerpt-understanding-the-new-jim-crow/
The following is an excerpt from Michelle Alexander’s book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.




I think the author's characterization of our present mass incarceration as "the new Jim Crow" is wrong. I would characterize it as "the new slavery". I have read many articles and reports about prison industries and the use of prison inmates as essentially slave labor. Any attempt to decriminalize offenses and to decrease the prison population is opposed because prison industries require high incarceration rates to maintain a work force. (Plus, prisons run by private corporations are profitable and tax-payers foot the bill.)
Blickers
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 May, 2016 03:56 pm
@izzythepush,
Quote izzy:
Quote:
Russia has a mafia with long fingers in politics, and a restive province complete with warlord in Chechnya. It's not a liberal democracy by any means.

I agree. Their standard of living is also way lower. So by comparison to the countries the United States is usually compared to in most things, like France, the UK, Germany, Japan, or Canada, our murder rate is many times higher as is our incarceration rate. My point is that you can't separate the two.

There are things that can be done, such as legalizing marijuana for starters. Getting rid of the black market in that alone would prevent a lot of arrests and convictions. Then we ought to look at medicalizing opiates and other conditions as well.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Tue 24 May, 2016 04:00 pm
@Debra Law,
"Slavery" works.
0 Replies
 
 

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