While the Black Codes (Alexander, The New Jim Crow,

While reading Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow, I came across facts and information that were never brought up in any of my history classes regarding post Civil War slavery. It seems that despite the lengths that congress, activists, and protestors go to ensure that equality is given to everyone in the United States, it doesn’t pull through, especially with reforms such as the Black Codes and Jim Crow laws seemingly giving a “new and improved” type of slavery and racism. What I found most interesting in The New Jim Crow is the way Southern antebellum whites tried to keep their old way of living during the Reconstruction Era, as most whites believed blacks lacked the motivation to work for themselves, thus giving Southern legislatures the excuse to create the Black Codes (Alexander, The New Jim Crow, 28), A.K.A, Slavery 2.0. This, according to Michelle Alexander, “…foreshadowed Jim Crow laws prohibiting, among other things, interracial seating in the first class sections of railroad cars and by segregating schools” (28). This makes the Black Codes a precursor to the foundation of the Jim Crow laws prevalent up until the late 1960’s. However, just when I wasn’t shocked enough about these new forms of slavery and racism, it still remained throughout the 80’s and 90’s.Another thing I found interesting was the fact that presidents Reagan, Bush Sr., and Clinton still enforced segregation and racism in an almost subtle way. The is a theme between these former presidents that involve “cracking down on crime,” the “get tough” movement, and the “war on drugs” as an excuse to lock up about 2 million people in the US by the turn of the 21st century (Alexander, 58). Clearly, this ideology of white superiority and blacks being subordinate resonates throughout our country even to this day. Is there a way for us to open our eyes to the reality that a “New Jim Crow” is currently going on?