Disenfranchisement in the Era of Mass Incarceration

In light of the upcoming election, I think it’s important to talk a bit about the connection between disenfranchisement and mass incarceration in the United States. Since watching the 2016 Netflix documentary called 13th and reading Michelle Alexander’s fifth chapter from her book The New Jim Crow, I’ve been thinking a lot about the ways mass incarceration will affect the results of the election in just a few days. Here are a few things that I never knew about mass incarceration and felony disenfranchisement that I believe are important to share with you: Although the United States holds only 5% … Read more

Fostering Racism

For our final project for Contemporary Racism, we were placed into groups, asked to pick an interesting topic concerning race, do individual research, and record a podcast with our group. My group chose to look at racial disparities in the American foster care system, a subject about which I had no prior knowledge. At first, I was uneasy about choosing a topic that I knew nothing about, feeling as if my unfamiliarity would provide me with some sort of handicap.  However, in retrospect, the experience was a very appropriate way to conclude my time in Contemporary Racism; it allowed me … Read more

Race & Poverty: It’s Different in America

While in Barcelona over spring break, I found myself thinking a lot about our discussions in Contemporary Racism. The points about the history of the racial caste system in our country that were highlighted in the New Jim Crow readings were put into context when I visited Spain. Although race relations are troublesome universally, it seems when you step outside of this country that poverty may impact minority populations to a greater extent here in the United States than in other nations. I visited Barcelona for eight days last week with a couple of friends and we spent the majority of our … Read more

The Significance of Social Cognition in Determining Racial Ideology

As I read the section entitled “The Birth and Death of Slavery” in Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, the key role social cognition played in creating racial ideologies became abundantly clear.  As Alexander explains in her historical analysis of the creation of race in colonial America, a fledgling country had certain capitalist needs for an increase in land and an increase in labor; in order for these demands to be met, Native Americans were killed and forced off their land and blacks were brutally enslaved and exploited as a free labor source.  … Read more