November 30, 2022

The Links Between Slavery, Policing and Racism in the Jim Crow and New Jim Crow Eras

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#opferguson #mikebrown #freedom photographed by Jamelle Bouie, used under CC 2.0 from Flickr

—Jennifer E. Cobbina, as originally published at

There is a long and mainly unresolved history of government using violence to establish and maintain relations of racial domination and subordination. However, as a nation, we rarely address the history of racial violence and legalized racial subordination. As Bryan Stevenson correctly states, “America has never systemically and publicly addressed the effects of racial violence, the criminalization of African Americans, and the role these phenomena have played in shaping the U.S. criminal justice system.”[1] Too often, we focus on the criminal act and ignore the structural inequalities that cause crime. However, it is just as critical to address generational poverty, few work prospects, and poor quality education, all of which facilitate participation in crime. These are factors that are rooted in the history of American race-relations.