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Mea CulpaLessons on Law and Regret from U.S. History$
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Steven W. Bender

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781479899623

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479899623.001.0001

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date: 30 May 2020

From Slavery to the New Jim Crow of Mass Incarceration

From Slavery to the New Jim Crow of Mass Incarceration

The Ongoing Dehumanization of African Americans

(p.126) 9 From Slavery to the New Jim Crow of Mass Incarceration
Mea Culpa

Steven W. Bender

NYU Press

Our progression toward humane treatment for some groups stretches across generations, illustrated in this chapter by the long U.S. history of dehumanizing and oppressing blacks from slavery through Jim Crow and beyond. Although we may look back with disdain on past generations that enslaved or segregated blacks, this chapter questions whether we have fully humanized African Americans given the continued crisis in image, economic condition, and legal treatment of this group. Specifically, in light of the current mass-incarceration campaign directed at blacks as part of the War on Drugs, carried out by racial profiling, we might ask how far removed, if at all, we are from the oppressive days we supposedly abhor. The chapter begins the reparative work by suggesting legal reforms to surmount the current oppressions on what has proved to be the long road to humanity for African Americans.

Keywords:   slavery, Jim Crow, segregation, mass incarceration, War on Drugs, African Americans, racial profiling

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