Thursday, February 23, 2017

Transforming the Racial Bribe

"Both caste systems [Jim Crow and mass incarceration] were born, in part, due to a desire among white elites to exploit the resentments, vulnerabilities, and racial biases of poor and working-class whites for political or economic game," states Michelle Alexander in The New Jim Crow. One could say that the racial bribe is being portrayed in a new way as mass incarceration. Mass incarceration is what separates working class whites and blacks. Working class whites are less likely to be incarcerated therefore given this sense of power and privilege over blacks. Not only are whites being privileged in social aspects, privilege is also seen through application of the law. One of the many issues with mass incarceration is the legal suppression of black votes. Previously, black votes have been suppressed through literacy tests, grandfather clauses, and poll taxes. Now, in most states, one loses the right to vote when they are incarcerated and sometimes for life. Since the War on Drugs, one in seven back men nationally have lost the right to vote.

To me, it was surprising to hear these facts and statistics. We often hear about the "progress" we have made during the Civil Rights Movement and celebration of Black History Month. If we never teach kids about what is actually happening in the US, the cycle of discrimination will continue. The racial bribe choses to honor whites while acting as if they are equally honoring blacks. As shocking and sickening it is to hear about this racial bribe as mass incarceration, it is important we learn about it so we can try and create justice.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Is "Color Blindness" a Thing?

To the public eye, the War on Drugs was deemed to be an effort to end drug usage, but in reality it was a way to persecute people of color. Law enforcement during the War on Drugs, and now is said to be "color blind." Statistics are able to prove this false. As stated in The New Jim Crow  by Michelle Alexander, "African American youth account for 16 percent of all youth, 28 percent of all juvenile arrests, 35 percent of the youth waived to adult criminal court, and 58 percent of youth admitted to state adult prison." These eye opening statistics prove the discrimination in the court system and the lack of so called "color blindness." Also, officers in law enforcement racially profile who they investigate proving the criminal justice system is not "color blind." Saying that the government it "color blind" is dismissing the reality of discrimination. Asserting "color blindness" enhances white privilege because one is saying that people are treated equally, when they sadly are not. Not only does the government lack "color blindness," society does as well. As I've talked about in my "Implicit Association Tests" blog post, as much as one thinks they are "color blind," implicit bias proves this wrong. This bias makes "color blindness" nearly impossible. Overall, "color blindness" isn't able to be seen in our society starting at law enforcement and spread throughout civilization.

Thursday, February 9, 2017


Hello everyone!! Welcome to my US History blog! I hope you enjoy my posts!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Law and Order

"Law and order" was rhetoric used by President Nixon in the 1960s to further persecute blacks and justifying it by "crime." One could classify it as another Racial Bribe. It was stated to the public that law and order was a way to "crack down on crime" and bring order to society, but in reality it was a "legal" form of racism. This "cracking down on crime" focused on black communities. Law enforcement would specifically investigate these communities so they could arrest people of a certain race. They could have as easily gone to a college campus or an elite white neighborhood and also have found drugs. Since this system of law and order targeted black people, poor whites found another reason to feel above blacks.

White southerners who were previously democrats switched over to the Republican Party because they did not like the sense of equality linked with the Democratic Party. This changed the demographics of the political parties due to the law and order rhetoric that was preached in the Republican party. Poor whites were able to feel more elite and separated from blacks through this law and order. This was a way to push people away from the democratic party and to the republican party. The democratic party was in support of the civil rights movement and desegregation which was not ideal for poor whites. Law and order was another tactic used to divide the political parties and persecute blacks in an indistinct way.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Reconstruction, Jim Crow, and the Civil Rights Movement: Never Ending

America has had lots of ups and downs regarding the history of race and discrimination. Reconstruction was a time where the North had control over the south post Civil War. This was also an effort to help blacks live freely. According to Michelle Alexander, "Reconstruction is most typically described as stretching from 1863 when the North freed the leaves to 1877, when it abandoned them and withdrew federal troops from the South" (2-3). After Reconstruction came Jim Crow. There aren't exact dates for this, but it is stated that by 1945 whites in the north believed the system had to be rethought or completely destroyed. Although this is stated in 1945, Jim Crow continued to be relevant for many more years. In the 1950s, the civil rights movement began by protesting Jim Crow. In 1963, there was a huge group of black students in the south protesting and working together to get their rights. This movement was mostly successful and voting rates of blacks in the south drastically increased from 1964-1969.

A problem with having these set dates means that the ideas and events that happened in these times are completely over. This is untrue because we can see remnants of the past all throughout history. Slavery turned in to Jim Crow. Saying slavery has ended does not mean that all former slaves were free to live their lives without discrimination. In fact, slavery even continued on with share cropping. Black codes and Jim Crow laws set restrictions on black people even though they were considered free. Reconstruction and the civil rights movement may have ended but we need to continue to work on creating equality all throughout the country. If we can still see aspects of Jim Crow in our society then we are not done working for equality, hence continuing on the Civil Rights movement.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Racial Bribe

The "racial bribe" was developed to separate poor whites and black slaves by rich white plantation owners. Before the "racial bribe," black slaves and poor whites rebelled against white planters in Bacon's Rebellion (1676). These white elites were infuriated with the poor whites becoming allies with blacks, so they made an effort to make these poor whites feel more powerful. They gave the poor whites special privileges, including access to Native American land. They emphasized the idea "at least you're not black," making the poor whites feel powerful and helping them embrace a white supremacist mindset. By them embracing this mindset, whites created a racial caste system and hierarchy with blacks at the bottom. Now, most whites believed they were superior to the black slaves. They justified this thought because they believed blacks were uncivilized and uneducated. They didn't classify black people as people. It was stated in the constitution that slaves were three-fifths of a person, so they do not get rights. This is how slavery, lack of voting rights, Jim Crow laws, segregation, mass incarceration and more were justified. This system of the "racial bribe" helped make black slaves inferior to all whites and is still prevalent in aspects today's society.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Implicit Association Tests

Implicit Association Tests or IATs are some of the most interesting tests we can take to find out how we truly perceive society. They show us how we view other groups. You may be thinking “I know what I think about other people”, but do you really? There are two different types of stereotypes, implicit and explicit. An explicit stereotype is the stereotype you know you believe in. An implicit stereotype is a subconscious thought that you may not even realize you have. These tests are conducted by showing you words and/or pictures and you have to separate them into their categories. It’s harder than it sounds. For example, I took one test about how you perceive age. I thought I would have prefered young over old people, simply because I am young, but my results did not match my thoughts. The results said I prefer old people over young people. I was shocked at first, but I soon realized why these were my results. Throughout my life, I have been surrounded by lots of older people. My parents were friends with older people and constantly had them over for dinner. I have also always been close with my grandparents. I believe that implicit stereotypes are ingrained in your mind by your surrounding growing up. Whether this is done at home, at school, or just by the generation you grow up with. We have to learn these ideas somewhere, and I think it is important to become aware of the implicit stereotypes you believe and change the way you think accordingly. I strongly recommend taking an IAT test in your free time. The results may surprise you!