Michelle Alexander “The new Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness,”

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Aside from Michelle Alexander's book "The New Jim Crow: Mass Imprisonment in the Age of Colorblindness," it was discovered that 87% of stops in 2012 were made by Black and Hispanic citizens [4]. According to natural law, this figure seems to be exceedingly high and has the potential to disrupt the environment and make it impossible to survive in. Yet, unfortunately, this is how it is for blacks in the United States who are targeted by the stop and frisk scheme. The Stop and Frisk campaign in New York City are hotly discussed due to its impact on Latinos and African Americans (as well as blacks) born in the United States. This policy is constantly promoting injustice by lowering one group of society as compared to the other.

In 1968, the Supreme Court created the Stop and Frisk policy in Ohio and gave legal power to the police officers to stop and search on the basis of suspicion. The policy along with giving authority to the police officers to stop and search gave them the authority to racially discriminate and promote institutional racism which leads to negative psychological damages to the victimized minorities.

In 1993, when Mayor Rudolph Giuliani stepped in, new rules and policies were implemented to alter the dangerous and corrupted New York City Streets. His main aim was to improve the quality of life by adopting zero-tolerance policy. Back then, there came a major decline in crime rates in NYC and the reason however was the same; stop and frisk policy. Even with statistical reports and research about decreased crime rates, the stop and frisk policy of the NYPD has caused much controversy and debate over the issue of racial bias within the judicial system. Harassment of minority classes by police officials raised major concerns across the nation in 1990s. These concerns focused on the extent to which police were stopping people on the highways for “driving while black" (Gelman et al. 2004.) Even pedestrians were stopped and searched on racial biases by police.

Thesis Statement

The debate in American Judicial System is much endured as whether or not there is racial profiling amongst arrests in the country.

The argument is “Are the cops being racially discriminating while stopping and frisking individuals on the basis of suspicion?” The essay will favor the statement by giving evidences about the racial discrimination against the African American and Latinos (blacks and browns) and argument: The Policy has been made to legally stop and search suspects in order to potentially stop a crime.

Counter Point #1

This counter point is case study of an African American man who alleged discriminatory behavior against him for being a black.

On February 27, 2008, an African–American man named David Floyd, claimed that he was walking on the path adjacent to his house in the Bronx, New York.[2] He encountered the basement tenant, also an African–American man, who indicated that he was locked out of his apartment and asked for help because Floyd's godmother owned the building.[2] Floyd then went upstairs to retrieve the key and he retrieved seven to ten keys because he was unsure of the correct key for the basement lock.[2] Floyd and the tenant went to the basement apartment door and started trying the various keys. After trying five or six keys, they found the correct one.[2] However, before they could open the door, three NYPD officers approached them and asked the two men what they were doing, told them to stop, and proceeded to frisk them.[2] The officers asked the men to produce identification and interrogated the two men as to whether they lived there and what they were doing.[2]

The officers claimed they had stopped Floyd because they believed Floyd was in the middle of committing a burglary.[2] The officers maintained that Floyd's behavior was suspicious and there had been a burglary pattern for that time of day in the neighborhood.[2] The officers recorded Floyd's stop and frisk on a UF250 form, indicating that the suspected crime was burglary.[2] In response to the question “Was Person Searched?,” the officers checked “No.”[2] The three officers also claimed that they were unaware of any quotas or expectations that they complete a certain number of stops or UF250s per tour or per month.[2]

Judgment: The judgment came to as shock everybody as the United States District Court for Sourthern District that the officer’s had the reasonable suspicion to stop and frisk Floyd and his neighbor David Ourlicht.

On this case, the New York Times’ Report found said that statistics show that the city had conducted a shocking 4.4 million stops between January 2004 and 2012. Astoundingly, only 6 percent resulted in arrests and 6 percent in summonses. Simply putting, 88 percent of total stops resulted in no further action except causing trouble for the minority of the country which was about 83 per cent of total frisks made during this short time period.

Counter Point # 2

“If the police reasonably suspect the person is armed and dangerous, they may conduct a frisk, a quick pat-down of the person's outer clothing.”

According to the Fourth Amendment made in the stop and frisk policy, police should have a reasonable suspicion that a crime has been, is being, or is about to be committed before stopping a suspect.

This counterpoint counters the first statement that is “If the police reasonably suspect the person is armed and dangerous, they may conduct a frisk, a quick pat-down of the person's outer clothing.” However, the second statement states that the police must have a reasonable suspicion. In David Floyd’s case discussed in CP#1, police seemed to have no reasonable suspicion except for the reason that the street was susceptible to burglary. The judge Judge Shira Scheindlin of Federal District Court in New York also ruled that the NYPD violated the constitutional rights of the minorities in the city by their stop and frisk tactics.


As per the statistics and data discussed in this essay, the stopping and frisking rule needs major justification for it to stay in the Constitution of the United States of America. The arguments and statistics that has been discussed in the book “The new Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness,” Michelle Alexander clearly verifies that the policy had been made quite a long time ago wherein the crime rates was much higher in the country. However, by including this policy, the incarceration has only been increased rather than declining in the state. No developed country shows comparative incarceration to the United State of America. The numbers had already been discussed in the book. The stop and frisk policy after fourth amendment has only become stronger making minorities of the states quite vulnerable to the policy. The much controversial case discussed in the Counter points of the essay clearly states the vulnerability of any citizen of the state other than whites. This bias has a history of hundreds of years and still it manages to stay here in the inner cities or perhaps in the major cities of the United States. Out of 4.4 million victims of stop and frisk policy, why 83 per cent of them included black and Hispanics?


1. Dunn, C., (2012). Stop-and frisk, guns and the Supreme Court. New York Law Journal.

2. "Floyd v. City of New York, 959 F. Supp. 2d 540 (S.D.N.Y. 2013)" (PDF). Center for Constitutional Rights. Retrieved 2014-07-23.



October 19, 2022

Identity Politics

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Book Review Minority Policy

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