[News] The Mad Activist Considers the New Jim Crow

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Mon Nov 7 12:25:03 EST 2011

The Mad Activist Considers the New Jim Crow

by Susie Day

Dear Social Justice Diary –

My mind is blown.  I just read Michelle 
Alexander's book, <http://www.newjimcrow.com/>The 
New Jim Crow.  It's about racism and the War on 
Drugs, all highly factual.  You can look at just 
two studies in the book and see a sort of 

In New Jersey, where 15% of drivers are racial 
"minorities," black and white motorists violated 
traffic laws at exactly the same rate.  But 73% 
of all arrests were of black drivers.

In Maryland, where 21% of drivers are African 
Americans and other people of color, these 
nonwhite drivers comprised 80% of those pulled over and searched by police.

U.S. justice has gone "colorblind," writes 
Alexander: so long as cops use no racial epithets 
"courts generally turn a blind eye to patterns of discrimination by police."

The relatively few white people who were searched 
in New Jersey turned out to be nearly twice as 
likely as African Americans to carry illegal 
drugs, and five times as likely as Latinos to be 
found with contraband.  In both studies, whites 
were more apt than people of color to be carrying 
illegal drugs or contraband in their vehicles.

I am outraged, Social Justice Diary.

Granted, people of color experience vast 
inequality.  But I hadn't realized the even 
vaster inequality experienced by my racial group: 
people of non-color.  If white people go to all 
the trouble of starting drug cartels, setting up 
drug trafficking networks, exploiting drug 
workers, selling drugs, laundering drug money, 
and actually using drugs in far greater numbers 
than black people, why, then, are we not afforded 
equal treatment under the law?  Why can't we get busted too?

The New Jim Crow describes how the Drug War 
monitors and arrests black people; processes them 
through court systems that dole out years of 
prison time for nonviolent drug "offenses"; and 
then legally disenfranchises those lucky enough 
to make it out of prison on parole.  The Drug 
War, in fact, reconstitutes the Jim Crow 
segregation that Civil Rights protesters gave 
their lives to stop.  "We have not ended racial 
caste in America," writes Alexander, "we have merely redesigned it."

Exactly!  It is SO unfair that black people get 
all this attention from the U.S. justice system 
-- and us white people get next to nothing!  I'm 
sure that's why I, as a Caucasoid, suffer so 
hugely from low self-esteem -- police officers 
treat me like I was invisible.  My people did not 
march for racial equality in the 1960s to be 
ignored by the cops now.  I mean, YO, whattup with that?

Yesterday, to test my thesis, I took my Anglo 
body all over Manhattan, carrying a black plastic 
garbage bag stuffed with ten pounds of marijuana, 
some anthrax, and a rocket launcher.  Took the A 
Train, walked past police precincts . . . 
nothing.  Meanwhile, at a public high school in 
the Bronx, six African-American eighth graders 
arrested, and physically assaulted by NYPD 
officers after they found cell phones in the students' lockers.

As a person with the certifiable genome of a Mary 
Poppins, Dear Diary, I find this totally 
unacceptable.  I demand Equal Opportunity 
Oppression!  That includes full-service frisking, 
sentencing, prison time, crappy treatment upon 
release, and the permanent inability to 
vote.  Why am I not considered worthy of arrest 
for the crime of "driving while ofay"?  Where is 
the white Amadou Diallo?  The white Eleanor 
Bumpurs?  Whiteys Unite: demand your right to be 
shot for looking nervous and pulling out a 
wallet!  Let's use our racial clout to get police 
to our neighborhoods to knock down our doors and ice our grandmothers.

In the era of the New Jim Crow, Social Justice 
Diary, I eschew my role as the New Mr. 
Charlie.  White people wear dreads and baggy 
pants too.  These were hard-won cultural 
victories and should come with validating police 
harassment!  If you club us, do we not 
bruise?  If you taser us, do we not scream?  Are 
we so inadequate?  So . . . un-jiggy?

Perhaps if I composed a little hip-hop song, the Power would notice me:


I am the wacker cracker and I like to smoke pot,
So what I got to do to get the po-po on my block?
I packing dope in my bag of all kinds and shapes and flavahs,
Even got me a shirt that sez "I Am Troy Davis."
But no mattah how I'm risky, or the highs of my addiction,
The cops don't stop and frisk me, and I'm never sent to prison. . .

Speaking of prison, 
disproportionate number of the over 2.4 million 
people behind bars in this country are 
American.  Not to sound racially insensitive, but 
black people are totally hogging up vital prison 
resources!  They're overcrowding our 
cells!  Bogarting jumpsuits!  Using up Styrofoam 
dishes and plastic cutlery for hi-carb, inedible 
prison food!  Selfishly monopolizing shackles!  We say, ¡Basta!

So here is my plan, Social Justice Diary -- a new 
approach to Civil Rights.  If including black 
people in the middle class mainstream didn't 
work, maybe including white middle class people 
in the prison system will.  Call me crazy.  But 
if enough people like me faced the same level of 
suspicion and drug busts and rates of 
incarceration, maybe the New Jim Crow would 
realize how very, very old and demented he 
is.  And then maybe he would finally go away.

Susie Day is a writer.

Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977

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