Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Koremastu v. United States

Our class was assigned to read the Koremastu case background, decision, and majority and minority opinions. This case involves the Japanese internment camps and how the American-Japanese citizens were moved to these camps after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

We were asked to answer the question: "In times of war, governments often must balance the needs of national security with the civil rights of its citizens. In your opinion, did the Japanese internment order find the right balance between these competing values?" I think that the Japanese internment order did not find the right balance, because the internment camps took away some rights from the Japanese citizens in America. By forcing these citizens to leave their homes to move to internment camps and if these citizen's refused then they would be arrested. These citizens had to sell their homes and belongings even if they didn't want to - the government took away their right to have property and possessions. This executive order was leaning more toward the needs of national security rather than finding a balance between national security needs and the civil rights of the Japanese citizens.

The second question we were asked to answer was: "Do you agree that racial prejudice does not play a role in the government's treatment of Japanese American's during World War II?" I do not agree. I think that racial prejudice does effect the government's treatment of Japanese American citizens during this time. Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, so the American government immediately decided to punish all Japanese citizens living in America. This was a very quick decision that greatly impacted a lot of Japanese American citizens. The government gave these citizens no explanation and made the move to these camps away from the coast line.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Racial caste and mass incarceration

For this blog post we were asked to read and answer the question how has racial caste perpetuated in the form of mass incarceration, despite the achievements of the civil rights movement? Michelle Alexander makes the statement that the racial caste system has always been in America, and it has never gone away or changed. Alexander also makes the statement explaining how the racial caste system is in everything. Jim Crow and mass incarceration had similar purposes. A major part of of both Jim Crow and mass incarceration is legalized discrimination. Alexander makes the point that discrimination is still legal in some ways in the form of mass incarceration. The racial caste system through mass incarceration relates African American males to criminals, and through the system they can be seen and labeled as felons. Alexander states "the failure of our legal system to eradicate all of the tactics adopted during the Jim Crow era suppress the black vote has major implications today". This explains and shows how our legal system is unjust and was never fixed after Jim Crow and how the racial caste system is promoted through this.

The civil rights movement challenged racial bias and the racial caste system. The war on drugs enforced the racial caste system by targeting African Americans in predominantly colored neighborhoods. Mass incarceration enforced racial caste and continued to imply racial bias. By the racial caste system being always there in America, explains how mass incarceration came about.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

"the age of colorblindness"

The question we were asked to answer is: According to Alexander, what is "the age of colorblindness"? And how does it attempt to mask racial caste? The era or age of colorblindness is a time when no one explicitly challenges racial bias. This concept was a response to when intentional racial discrimination was used to relay a message, such as the War on Drugs, which was directed toward African Americans and other minorities. At the time of the War on Drugs various methods were used to cover up intentional racial discrimination, showing one way it attempted to mask racial caste. Alexander says that "in the era of colorblindness, because everyone knows-but does not say-that the enemy in the War on Drugs can be identified by race," explaining that during this time colorblindness was the main source of the efforts to attempt to mask racial caste.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

"Law and Order" Rhetoric

For this blog post the class was asked to answer the questions: How did conservative "law and order" rhetoric provide a new racial bribe to low- and lower middle class whites? How did this wedge impact the Democratic party? We were assigned to read the next section in The New Jim Crow to answer these questions.

The "law and order" rhetoric first started in the late 1950s, in attempt to start white opposition to the Civil Rights Movement. In The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander argues that southern government and law enforcement officials "argued that the rise of the Civil Rights Movement was indicative of a breakdown of law and order." Government officials suggested that leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., were causing civil disobedience and causing more crime to occur. At the same time the FBI was reporting that national crime rates were increasing. Alexander argues that the "law and order" rhetoric "helped provide political cover up for conservative politicians who saw an opening to turn back the clock on racial progress." She builds upon this argument saying "little effort was made to disguise the racial motivations behind the law and order rhetoric." The Democratic party was in support of the Civil Rights Movement, but working class whites in the south were very much against it. One of the reasons why working class whites in the south were agreeing with the "law and order" rhetoric was that "lower and lower-middle class whites, who were suddenly forced to compete on equal terms with blacks for jobs and status." This is why the whites felt betrayed by the Democratic party for embracing the civil rights agenda.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Reconstruction, Jim Crow, and the Civil Rights Movement

 In this blog post we were asked to answer the questions what is commonly understood to be the begging and end of Reconstruction, Jim Crow, and the Civil Rights Movement? What issues does Alexander raise as problematic about these markers?

We were assigned to read excerpts from The New Jim Crow. Commonly understood, Reconstruction ended right after the Civil War, starting in 1863 and ending in 1877. The black codes were established during this time, which is argued as an early form of the Jim Crow system. It is then argued that the Jim Crow system began right after Reconstruction. This system was a long standing system that oppressed many African Americans in the south. The Jim Crow system created segregation laws the were strictly enforced. It is argued that the end of Jim Crow is the Brown v. Board of Education, and when the Supreme Court was challenging Jim Crow laws. The growing membership of the NAACP and World War II created a push to end the Jim Crow system. Alexander says that the government wanted to push out the Jim Crow system during the start of WWII because "without greater equality for African Americans, blacks would become susceptible to communist influence" (3). Shortly after the Supreme Court began to start desegregation and ruled that Jim Crow laws were unconstitutional. In the 1950s the civil rights movement was starting to grow, after the Supreme Court's decisions. Alexander argues that the "high point of the Civil Rights Movement occurred in 1963" (4). The Civil Rights Act of 1964 formally abolished the Jim Crow system.

Alexander makes the argument that the discrimination of African Americans never went away at the end of each period, but it continues in different forms.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

"Racial Bribe"

For my second blog post, the class was assigned to read a section in "The New Jim Crow" and answer some questions about a specific subject in the section. The paragraph was about "racial bribe," and the first question was, what is the "racial bribe?" The racial bribe was an effort by the planter class to divide poor whites and black slaves. In this effort the planter class extended special privileges to the poor whites, hoping to separate the poor whites and black slaves. This action was taken after poor whites were uniting with black slaves during Bacon's Rebellion. The bribe was an attempt to eliminate these future alliances between poor whites and black slaves. The second question was, how did it help construct the idea of race in America? This is an effort of white supremacy, by allowing poor whites to have more access to certain things like greater access to Native American land. This effort created barriers so that free labor would not be in competition with slave labor, favoring the poor whites. This effort was basically controlled by white supremacy in the sense that this effort constructed a barrier between white and black, helping the idea of race form. The final question was, how did whites attempt to reconcile the ideals of democracy with the system of slavery? The whites generally tried to say that this effort was to protect their interests and since free labor and slave labor previously had no barrier they tried to promote a barrier claiming that this barrier was part of the system of slavery. Protecting their interests was how the planter class claimed this was part of democracy and was needed to eliminate the alliances of black slaves and poor whites.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Bias and Implicit Associations

Our first blog post was assigned to discuss confirmation and implicit associations. Individually we took IAT tests (implicit association tests). After taking some of these tests I learned that culture influences our answers to these questions. The results are based off of the individual's culture and behavior. I was very curious about the test itself, because of the interesting questions it asks and the different format these questions are presented. These tests made me think more about the stereotypes presented in the test, specifically the stereotypes that you don't think about everyday. An example is the test I took relating careers to men and family life to women. This test generally was focused on how men are usually seen as the one who pursues a career and how women are associated with all family matters. I personally believe that women and men should be equal in terms are a career and family life. This test presented words associated with men and careers and words associated with women and family life. The test made me think more about how the general stereotype is present in culture and is unconsciously known by most people.

Finally, the class was assigned to reflect on something we've studied this year that has challenged what we thought we knew about history, other races or ethnicities, or the identity or image of America. Relating to the test I took about men and careers compared to women and family life, I realized how much workers in general during the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, specifically women workers and workers who were immigrants, were deprived of workers rights. I knew that there was a time when bad working conditions were being exposed, but I didn't know that this issue was relevant all over the labor market. An example is the Triangle Shirt Waist factory fire, how mostly women workers suffered due to the lack of safe conditions in the factory.