If we were to ask Oprah Winfrey about her journey to success, do you think she would agree with the author of “The New Jim Crow”, Michelle Alexander, that she defied odds? It seems Oprah Winfrey may have simply worked hard and didn’t use the color of her skin as an excuse. So frequently, self proclaimed civil rights leaders interject race in an unfortunate situation between a black and a white. Could it be possible that situations similar to the Michael Brown case could have been caused by the perfect storm? If Officer Wilson had better training, rather than shooting to kill, and Michael Brown did not feel entitled to reach for an officer’s gun, he may be alive today.
Michelle Alexander is an associate professor of law at Ohio State University, a civil rights advocate and a writer. Alexander must have defied odds as well when she graduated from Stanford Law and Vanderbilt University. In her book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Alexander claims that mass imprisonment’s true targets are blacks, and that incarcerated whites are ‘collateral damage.’ Alexander argues that the “War on Drugs” has had a devastating impact on inner city African American communities, on a scale entirely out of proportion to the actual dimensions of criminal activity taking place within these communities.
Guns kill people, Stouffers selling frozen 7-minute macaroni cheese is making me fat, and drugs being accessible in the inner cities imprisons blacks. Okay, not really. Is it wrong to hold people accountable for their actions? People like Michelle Alexander and Al Sharpton are enablers. It is much easier to create conspiracy theories fueled by generations of paranoia, rather than asking everyone to take responsibility for themselves. Sure racism exists, of course there are individuals targeting specific people because of the color of their skin, but it is not a nationwide epidemic. Racism is wrong, but should only be addressed or interjected when there is evidence of it existing within a specific case.
Yale University Clinical Law Professor James Forman Jr., son of James Forman, prominent civil rights leader of the 1950s and 1960s, has argued that Alexander simplifies and overstates her case by relying too heavily on her analogy to the original Jim Crow laws. Personally, I was shocked to learn that Alexander believes President Obama and Oprah Winfrey are those she considered defying odds with their wealth and fame. Her definition of success must be off the charts. Surely Alexander’s husband, serving as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio could be considered a successful black man? No wonder he publically acknowledged he does not share the same views in regards to the criminal justice system as his wife, her opinions suggest he is not cool enough.
I founded a non profit in the city of Baltimore to support disadvantaged women, not because I believe blacks are being targeted, but because I believe many inner city schools are not supplying high school graduates with the tools needed to become successful. If Michelle Alexander would like to write a book on an epidemic crippling black communities, I suggest researching families that have successfully taken advantage of government assistance for generations. For example, those living on disability, that are not disabled. Those living in subsidized housing, yet raking in 1k a day due to drug sales. Those pre-teen girls urged by their moms to have a babies for a SNAP card. I wonder if Michelle Alexander is aware that many inner cities are dealing with massive numbers of teens involved in gang violence and prostitution. Could you imagine having a conversation with a 16 year old girl that sees prostitution as a “walk in the park” compared to being raped daily by 3 male members of her immediate family? My point, there are other issues that have taken inner cities by storm, and I guarantee Michelle Alexander, and The New Jim Crow believers, it is not “the white man”.