"The increasing criminalization of black men has meant that, as a group, black men are stigmatized. Many people assume, even as Jesse Jackson has recently admitted, that young black men are “trouble.” This image was exploited by the first George Bush in 1988, when he used the infamous “Willie Horton” ads in his election campaign for U.S. president. At that time, there had already been some state-level efforts made toward imposing mandatory sentencing, but once Bush Sr. was in office, he promptly proposed some of the harshest penalties for nonviolent crime in the nation’s history. These new penalties were aimed at enforcing federal drug-trafficking laws, thus criminalizing even more black men and reinforcing an image that helped solidify the stereotype. The social concept of the “dangerous young black man,” so deeply ingrained in our nation’s consciousness, continues to fuel punitive politics (Bontrager, Bales, and Chiricos 2005; Chiricos, Welch, and Gertz 2004). It helps explain why young black men without criminal records find it harder to get entry-level employment than do young white men with criminal records (Pager 2007)."
Todd R. Clear, Imprisoning Communities: How Mass Incarceration Makes Disadvantaged Neighborhoods Worse

Notes

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