Discussion Questions

  1. Michelle Alexander wrote a book entitled The New Jim Crow, in which she argues that mass incarceration is effectively a new form of racial hierarchy that limits the advancement of people of color. How has racial profiling contributed to this trend? Do you believe policing practices such as “stop and frisk” are more beneficial to social order than harmful to specific populations? Explain your position using at least one specific example to support your discussion.
  2. White privilege emerged out of racial consciousness among whites and was later codified into “slave codes” during the 18th century. Does white privilege still exist in the criminal justice system? If so, how do whites and non-whites experience being labeled a criminal differently? Furthermore, why do you believe white privilege persists? Whom does it benefit most, and why?
  3. When it comes to the example of the Oregon Standoff in 2016, Ammon Bundy and six others (all white) stood trial for occupying a federal wildlife refuge, where they fortified their position with heavy ammunition, often aiming high-powered, military rifles at federal agents. All were found to be not guilty and released. Do you think the outcome would have been the same had these individuals not been white?