US history class pages

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Crimmigration refers to a loose system of justice that acts to hold down the Latino population at a time after Congress had passed anti-descrimination laws.  By raising fears among the general white population about the dangers of immigrants from Mexico coming into the US to commit crimes or to transport drugs, the affect on the border was to increase patrols, arrest and incarcerate non-citizens, and to create a lower class of citizen (Mexican immigrants) who are always viewed with suspicion.
Crimmigration very much mirrors how white supremacy used mass incarceration to incriminate African Americans in order to maintain a racial caste between races. Another way crimmigration is mirroring the mass incarceration of African Americans is the economic value of it. Politicians are viewing crimmigration as probably an advantage point economically.  Why would such a horrible discriminatory thing such as crimmigration be an economic advantage? It would employ tons of people through jobs in the detention facilities. “In 2012, the number of individuals detained exceeded 400,000 individuals.” (Crimmigration, 5) However one could argue that crimmigration would actually pose more of an economic challenge for the federal government as funding would be needed not only to provide detention centers but also expensive gadgets such as, “infrared radar, night vision scopes.” (Crimmigration, 3) Politicians may also be worried that they could hurt themselves if they blame United States, homegrown white citizens for drugs and crime, and would rather think it more logical to blame the foreigners who people stereotype as being the main drug carriers. Crimmigration today also mirrors how the United States was persistent in keeping foreigners out with the National Origins Act of 1924 which issued quotas based on the 1890 census to create a white American race.  Crimmigration also provides a convenient excuse for why the US has such a big drug problem-- blame it on the Mexican immigrants who transport drugs into the country.  Crimmigration has created a stereotype for all Mexican Americans and has contributed greatly to their low status in American society.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

America should abide by the Geneva Conventions and not torture prisoners of war regardless of whether they are US citizens or non-citizens.  However, torture has been used in interrogations of prisoners held in Guantanamo Bay and Abu Graib.  In Abu Graib a prisoner named Muhammad al-Qahtani was “stripped naked” and “forced to wear woman's underwear on his head.” (Mora, 8) The question is, was Muhammad Al Qahtani treated differently compared to a US citizen? Hamdi was a US citizen captured in Afghanistan where he was fighting against the US in 2004. He was captured and labeled an “enemy combatant.” After being caught fighting against the US should Hamdi still be viewed as a US citizen?  And if he is not a US citizen does that mean the US can treat him more harshly?  I believe that US citizens and non US citizens should not be treated differently in the interrogation room. Having a US citizenship badge does not mean that you are one who believes in the United States rules or morals. In this case Hamdi was very much against the US.  However, as a prisoner of war, he is covered by the Geneva Conventions and should not be tortured.

I believe that torture in the interrogation room is in itself an extremely risky thing that we should be drawing the line on. With torture two negative things can happen: one is that the person being tortured could easily lie to the interrogators and the second is that the mental state of the interrogators is at risk from being developed into a sadistic, power control hungry state which can lead to mental health issues later on in that interrogator’s life. Another issue is that torture may not even work.  These prisoners may be working for a terrorist organisation and have a blood deep loyalty and who have so much resilience that they won't tell anything but lies or remain silent. Therefore, the US cannot rely on the information from the tortured prisoners.  The person deciding on how a interrogation should be administered on a non US citizen should not be bias against them by using torture techniques but instead be just as fair as if they were a US citizen. This opinion should be communicated to all the administrators of US prisoners of war .

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Did racial prejudice play a role in the government's treatment towards Japanese Americans during World War Two? One could disagree and agree with this question.

One may argue that it was not racial prejudice because the US was attacked at Pearl Harbor and the country was extremely paranoid as during World War Two there were many spies in enemy countries. In the majority opinion it may have justified their paranoia as it says, "Approximately five thousand American citizens of Japanese ancestry refused to swear unqualified allegiance to the United States and to renounce allegiance to the Japanese Emperor." (Key Excerpts from the Dissenting Opinion, Justice Murphy.) However the fact that the US government had grouped all Japanese into the category that all of them are disloyal is a racist allegation, and weakly justifying it by excusing it as not an racial issue because the military did not have the time to evaluate each Japanese American, "it was because we could not reject the finding of the military authorities that it was impossible to bring about an immediate segregation of the disloyal from the loyal." (Key Excerpts from the Majority opinion, Justice Black.)

There is also an understanding that grouping all the Japanese Americans together is another way for America trying to maintain a white supremacy, by getting rid of non white races. Not only can the Japanese interment order be considered racist but also that it took away the rights of citizens of the United States. The United States in fact could be argued that it replicated what Nazi Germany did to discriminate against the Jewish population and justify it. Such as shutting down Jewish businesses which prevented Jewish people from having an income but also from being involved with their community, likewise the US stopped Japanese Americans from being out between eight pm and six am, "West coast military areas to remain in their residences from 8 p.m. To 6 a.m." (Key Excerpts from the Majority Opinion, 1, Justice Black). Therefore there was hardly a chance for the Japanese Americans to mingle with white Americans, creating a segregation of races through time schedules. Thus the Japanese internment order is viewed as a a racial prejudice order done to maintain white supremacy.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

A question that I have asked myself repeatedly while reading Michelle Alexander's book The New Jim Crow is how can all of this discrimination still be possible in the twenty-first century, a century that I had viewed as one where many rights have been gained? How has this discrimination and mass incarceration not been fully eradicated? Mass incarceration uses techniques that justify its actions. In chapter 9 of The New Jim Crow, Alexander shows how history is repeating itself when comparing the old Jim Crow to the new Jim Crow in the present day. Racial castes in both centuries were each started due to the same feelings that white people felt towards African Americans, “anger and hostility.” (1) Thus gaining supporters by blaming the other race for mass corruption, “conservatives in the 1970’s and 1980’s sought to appeal to racial biases and economic vulnerabilities of poor and working class whites through racially coded rhetoric on crime and welfare.” (1)

Even though the civil rights movement achieved in sparking the idea of equality in people's minds and although we are taught in school from a young age to respect everyone and that everyone in the world is equal to each other,  discrimination in different forms, especially in our justice system, still occurs.  Alexander mentions how “school children wonder out loud how discrimination could ever have been legal in this great land of ours,” (1) and then proceeds to say, “rarely are they told that it is still legal.” (1) The thing is, is that the discrimination finds a way to hide itself from the naked eye. We can see this with voting, “formally race neutral devices were adopted to achieve the goal of an all white electorate without violating the terms of the fifteenth amendment.” (2) Although they have destroyed “race neutral devices” (2) there is still racial discrimination in voting in the present day, “less than two decades after the War on Drugs began, one in seven black men nationally had lost the right to vote, and as many as one in four in those states with the highest African American disenfranchisement rate.” (2)  The biggest way of hiding discrimination from the people is similar to how Jim Crow segregated white americans and African Americans, “water, sewer systems, and other public services that supported the white areas of town frequently did not extend to the black areas.” (2) Therefore causing separation between the races, stereotypes were easily produced about “black values and culture.” (2) Because if you don't know how it feels, if you don't experience the feeling of being treated differently based on your race, it doesn't affect you, “it also made it easier to deny or ignore their suffering.” (2)

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Michelle Alexander explores the war on drugs during the new age of colorblindness, an age of implicit (rather than explicit) bias against African Americans, making African Americans more likely to suffer from drug searches, and other law enforcement searches than white Americans. Michelle Alexander uses real cases to illustrate this argument. Consider Erma Faye Stewart, who was a “thirty year old, single African American mother of two who was arrested as part of a drug sweep in Hearne, Texas.” (1) Erma Faye Stewart is forced to plead guilty (even though she is innocent) in order to return home to her children however, she is still seen as a “drug felon” (1) who has no place to live.

Alexander goes on further to describe how the war on drugs have been acts of colorblindness as law enforcement have been more likely to be harsher on African Americans than on white Americans. “Nevertheless, black men have been admitted to state prisons on drug charges at a rate that is more than thirteen times higher than white men.” (2) So how does implicit bias allow the law enforcement to be tougher on African Americans? Easily, by allowing police officers to be able to “stop, search, arrest, and charge for drug offenses.” (2) All of this results into more implicit bias being administered outwardly by random searches on people who weren't doing anything but “walking down the street.” (9) Throughout all of this Alexander presents to the reader how easy it has been for the law enforcement to manipulate and justify its searches in order to create a new racial caste system. This makes me wonder if it's harder for an African American to seek help from police officers who have been discriminating against them as well as incarcerating their fellow African Americans.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Conservatives tactics targeting poor whites and dividing the Democratic Party.

Law and order rhetoric was used by southern democrats to discredit the civil rights movement by identifying it with criminal motives in order to gain more white supporters to resist the movement and to support other conservative interests.  Michelle Alexander in The New Jim Crow informs us that, “civil rights protests were frequently depicted as criminal rather than political in nature.” (1) Conservatives adopted the law and order rhetoric to convince poor whites and working class whites to be for the conservatives because they believed that poverty was caused by “black culture.” (3) Conservatives were clever in targeting the poor working white class, as most of the whites had already held a strong resentment towards the African American population and actually felt, “threatened by the sudden progress of the African Americans.” (3)

Alexander proceeds with a review of the discussion that Thomas and Mary Edsall made in their book, Chain Reaction, about how working and poor whites had struggled with employment competition with African Americans and lived close to African American neighborhoods while their kids went to schools that were integrated. The Conservatives used this information to persuade the common worker that the liberal democrats did not fully understand the common worker or represent their interests. As proof of this Alexander points out that in a 1968 Gallop poll, eighty-one percent of the respondents felt strongly that the law and order system in the United States had fallen apart and that African Americans were the ones to blame as they caused the riots.

Not only did the conservatives managed to convince the poor working whites that African Americans were the cause of their struggles but also managed to break up the Democratic Party “New Deal” coalition. (3) The Democratic Party “New Deal” (3) was a group that had relied on votes from whites, blacks, and people that received low income. In 1972 beliefs had changed from being about socioeconomic status to racial problems that decided the “voters’ political self identification”.(3) The conservatives racial beliefs slowly developed across the nation during the 1960’s but was fully achieved in the election of 1980 when Reagan “built on the success of earlier conservatives”. (3) Reagan did this by adapting the idea of race to exploit African Americans as dangerous criminals without explicitly being racist. Reagan also obtained many poor white supporters who felt “betrayed” (4) by the democrats party allowing the civil rights movement to happen without protest.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

In The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander shows the roller coaster ride that African Americans have experienced throughout the years of fighting for equality. Alexander informs the readers that many of the achievements gained toward “greater equality” (1) were later torn down. For instance when Alexander writes about the beginning of Reconstruction in the south she mentions how African Americans were gaining, “political power” (1)  and developing “greater social and economic equality” (1). The end of Reconstruction happened because of the whites reaction being “pain and outrage” (1). Whites were the ones who got what they wanted: more control over the south when “the federal government no longer made any effort to enforce federal civil rights legislation” (1).

The Jim Crow laws rose, segregating blacks from white bathrooms, schools, water fountains, and more. When World War ll occurred, the United States showed the world a country not of freedom but of hypocrisy. During World War ll while the United States was fighting its enemy Germany, who was practicing the mass genocide of Jewish people, homosexuals, disabled people, and other minorities, the United States was still persecuting African Americans on its home soil through the Jim Crow laws. The Supreme Court recognized this and sought out to change it.  Alexander demonstrates this when writing, “In 1949 the court ruled that Texas’s segregated law school for blacks was inherently unequal and inferior in every respect to its law school for whites” (3).  Alexander writes that, “earlier decisions chipped away at the “separate but equal” doctrine” (3). Unfortunately, Jim Crow still managed to survive with southern supporters.  Alexander points out that even though the case of Brown v. Board of education was a high point of achievement for African Americans against Jim Crow, it still did not mean that the Jim Crow laws were disappearing in the south. When NAACP members started to get “beaten, pistol whipped, and shot” (4) the objective of having integration in the south weakened.  Soon to follow though, the civil rights movement started to rise with demonstrations, sit-ins, and boycotts, the results were amazing. Alexander mentions that between 1964 and 1969 the rate of voting for African Americans rose, “In Alabama the rate leaped from 19.3 percent to 61.3 percent.” (4) There were many more achievements that the civil rights movement gained however there is still today a battle of a “new racial caste system without violating the law or the new limits of acceptable political discourse, by demanding “law and order” rather than “segregation forever” (5). This shows that even though there were many achievements for African Americans through the history of fighting for equality there is still a battle being waged to destroy these achievements and degrade the status of African Americans today.