Critical Understanding Of Criminal
CRITICAL UNDERSTANDING of CRIMINAL JUSTICE
Criminal Justice as Reaction to the Socio-political crisis of 1968-New Jim Crow
A state who runs based on liberal policies, principles and methods is known as a liberal state. In such a state, the government has to ensure that all the policies and rules that are made must show a liberal take to the privileges, rights and public related issues. In short, this state runs on the principle of individual vs. state because such states always have to fully support the stance of the individuals. A liberal state discourages the ideas of authoritarian and totalitarian states because these states do not favor the individual opinion and needs. On the other hand, in a liberal state, the maximum power and rights are given to the individual and his voice, opinions and behavior cannot be taken as a threat to the state and its administrative control. Moreover, state cannot curb or cease the rights of any citizen for advocating his opinions or difference of opinions for that matter. It can be characterized as being in a constant state of internal cooperation and conflict and they are divided into many groups such as ruling elites, power elites and other interest groups (Ferreira, 2011). The state maintains a neutral space among these various groups and state policies and rules cannot be make and implemented without catering to the needs of these groups collectively. Owing to this reason, a liberal state is also referred to as a “pluralist state” because of so many pluralist ideas pitched by these groups.
Civil liberties are formed to protect the rights of individual against the actions taken by the state, they ensure that the individual groups should have the rights of the freedom of expression, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, freedom of petitioning the government and lastly, the freedom of press. These liberties can stop the state from taking over or exploiting their liberal rights. However, state usually suppress these groups by controlling the media or free speech and with the help of majority groups, it curbs the rights of a minority group. For instance, African Americans and women minority groups suffered the loss of their rights due to state power based on different racial and gender treatment. Quite contrary to its liberal policies, American state snubbed the individual, legal and social rights of the Black people and as a result social movements started in the 1960s, as a reaction against the state’s authority. These social movements were based on the agenda of taking back the control of their voice, individuality and preserving their cultural heritage being a minority (Carlsson & Elliott, 2011). These movements were formed because of the White Supremacy at political, institutional and administrative level and they sided with their racist agendas by denying the equal rights of the African minority group. Moreover, they did not give them the right to represent their voice and demand equal distribution of resources among the White and the Black groups. The political reforms and strategies were designed to serve the interests of the White Americans, although slavery ended as a result of the abolishment movement but the racial prejudices still prevailed in America (Ferreira, 2011).
The lack of a representative or leader in the case of African Americans also increased the tension because even so, they found a leader in the form of Martin Luther King but he alone could not become the voice of so many people at individual as well as domestic or institutional level. These factors raised the tension at an individual level and African Americans started a decade long movement of Civil Rights in 1958 against the state. This movement was highly influenced by the “Rosa Parks” incident as she occupied a seat reserved for the white passengers in a bus in 7th December, 1955. This movement’s first origin then started right after this incident and the African Americans initiated the “Montgomery bus boycott”. On February 1, 1960 four freshmen in North Carolina sat at a white counter, the second phase of this movement started in response to this racial prejudice. This movement ended when the Civil Rights Act of 1964 came and put an end to the Jim Crow laws enacted in 1950s and uplifted the ban of segregated public spaces for the people of color and the white Americans. It gave equal rights to people belonging from different race, culture and ethnicity to use the public spaces collectively (Ferreira, 2011).
When the state dismantled the Jim Crow laws, in a response a political party emerged and used the racial prejudices of the White Americans and further fueled it. They used this racial divide as a strategy for getting massive support and electoral votes from the white population of the Southern region of America. This strategy is known as The Southern strategy in American politics and history. This group was led by the Republican party’s presidential candidate, Richard Nixon and his party enjoyed support of democrats in the south due to this electoral strategy. This strategy was based on a top-down approach and only vowed to preserve the rights of the White Americans as a majority group and as a result this part of the state became republican. This strategy also posed a serious threat towards the civil rights and the civil liberties (Carlsson & Elliott, 2011).
In her book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Alexander (2011) has exposed the notion that in America, criminal-justice system acts in a way similar to the racial caste system. In a global age the racial and ethnic divide persists itself in America, however it has taken a new form because in the 1950s, Jim Crow laws were openly enforced. In this informed age, racial practices are two-fold and surviving through new rules of law and order or criminal-justice system against the African Americans. Through this system, people of color have been given unjust punishments and according to an estimate, more than 70 % people who are released from prisons are again taken into custody. The authorities base these practices on the rate of incarceration however the rate of incarceration has nothing to do with the crime rates. This bias then affects the supreme system of justice much likely like Jim Crow laws once did. The New Jim Crow laws are creating mass divide among the population once again where the civil rights of African Americans are snubbed by the Political, Administrative and the common perception of the White Americans about them (Alexander, 2011).
The practices of Neoliberalism in America have resulted in the increase in economic wealth, rejection of the liberalist ideology, and in the lieu of globalization and free trade, it is exploiting the rights of the African Americans. The free market formed as a result of neoliberalism is not inclusive of the minority groups and it is building along the lines of racial practices. The civil rights of the minority racial, gender and ethnic groups are once again in a state of endangerment in America.
Carlsson, C., & Elliott, L. R. (Eds.). (2011). Ten years that shook the city: San Francisco 1968-1978. City Lights Books.
Ferreira, J. M. (2011). ‘With the Soul of a Human Rainbow’: Los Siete, Black Panthers, and Third Worldism in San Francisco. Ten Years That Shook the City: San Francisco, 1968–1978, 30-47.
Alexander, M. (2011). The new jim crow. Ohio St. J. Crim. L., 9, 7.
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