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Lecture 10

01:790:340 Lecture Notes - Lecture 10: Crack Epidemic, Ferguson, Missouri, Justice Brothers

Political Science
Course Code
Jefferson Decker

of 3
Final Thoughts on Alexander, Mid-term Review
I. Audience and Argument
A.What does affirmative action have to do with criminal
B. Audience: Person or group that an author is most interested
in reaching or persuading.
C. Alexander’s intended audience is not captive undergraduates
or a handful of specialists in the field.
Intended audience is people who are interested and care about civil right
oAfrican americans in particular, latinos
oPeople who want civil justice in America to be fair (not just AA, also civil
class white people)
However, didn’t affect white people as much as it does African
We’re so concerned with protecting affirmative action that
Affirmative action: why do we have it?
oPoints out that affirmative action is used as a remedy
Ciritical of affirmative action to the central role that it plays
oNot necessarily against it for more traditional reasons
Affirmative action definition: L. B. Johnson; slavery is a franchise
oTook affirmative action to make African americans apart of society
D.Who is the audience—especially for the discussion of “racial
bribes” in the final chapter?
Shouldn’t take bribes when trying to fight for justice
A lot of resources proving fighting for affirmative action
E. “New Jim Crow” as a historical epoch or social system,
versus “New Jim Crow” as a focus of legal and political
People who care about black freedom should be focusing their energy on this.
F. If we want real racial equality, this is where we ought to be
focusing our resources.
Alexaander minimizes the effect of the sever runup of violent crime in the us on
us society but especially marginalized by minorities
Significant pressure put on police forces to handle crime problem
Minimizes the crack epidemic: triggered all sorts of violence
II. The Great Shark-Jump: What’s Changed (and Hasn’t) since
A. Some books are more timeless than others, sometimes we
need to check in on what they still tell us.
B. Incarceration rate stable or even a little down since about
Sign that things seem to be leveling out
C. Emergence of a sometimes-bipartisan interest in reducing it
Cook brothers; Kansas billionares, spent a lot of money on R candidates
Institute for justice
Brothers interested paying less money for prisons
D. 2014 unrest in Ferguson, Mo., following the police shooting
of a young black resident.
Question of policing in urban minority communities on the news
a lot of policies for national radar
investigations of Ferguston ahowed deeper meaning
opolice used AA as their primary tax base
oraised money for public services
oday-to-day harassment; gguy lost his job bc in jail
E. Complex set of facts surrounding the shooting itself—and the
deeper set of problems and frustrations there.
F. Emergence of issues of race and policing as a live issue in
national politics.
G. Focus primarily on seemingly disproportionate use of lethal
force against black suspects—not on incarceration.
H. Rise of a heroin epidemic, especially in rural, white
communities. What to do?
Not taken as seriously as the crack epidemic in 1980s
Not as many people arrested
White people try to find a way to dominate racial minorities in any way
oCommit racism through lack of care of other people
III. Midterm Review
A. Exam will require three paragraph-length short-answer
questions and one (longer) essay.
B. Short-answer questions will ask you to explain a puzzle,
problem, or relationship.
In readings, and discussed in class, show him what we’ve learned
C. Example: “Explain what the institutions of plea bargaining
and torture have in common, according to John Langbein.”
Medieval europe and modern America we have means of proving guilt in trial
setting. Medieval Europe, need two people. America, we have long and
complicated trials. Good for not committed an innocent person, but state applies
coercive measure to get evidence or confession.
D. Essay will ask you to synthesize material from multiple
readings in this class and offer reasoned analysis of each of
E. My questions tend to both prompt you for certain information
and ask you to assess it in a certain way.
F. Example: “Compare Mayor Cadwallader Colden’s ‘war on
pigs’ in early-nineteenth-century New York with the ‘war on
drugs’ that has been fought across the United States since the
late-twentieth century. What do these two wars have in
common—from the perspective of the people waging the war
and/or from the perspective of the people being policed? To
what degree do these ‘wars’ promote public health and
safety, reinforce social inequalities (racial, class, or
otherwise), both, or neither? Draw on specific information
from Hartog and Alexander.
General info, basic story: doesn’t like pigs, goes to council doesn’t do anything
about them, goes to court they do.
Common: pigs dangerous, crack dangerous; public health improved; resisted at a
local level (pig owners resisted pig war) saw it as class war.
To what degree: asking for evidence, not opinion
G. My advice for preparing: Utilize “active studying.” Use
syllabus and class notes to remind yourself what each
assignment—and consider writing down something to say
about each of them.
H. Remember that Law and Society is about what’s outside of
the box of legal logic—don’t worry about every specific
logical turn in the cases.
I. Big theme one: Different kinds of legal systems. Common
law versus civil law. Also customary law and religious law.
Things that come with the common law tradition (e.g., judge-made
law, the adversarial process, the three-tiered U.S. court
system). Advantages and disadvantages of a common law
J. Big theme two: The sources and legitimacy of the law.
Where does law come from? What stories do we tell about its
origins and purpose? Why does law need to be legitimate?
Why can’t we take obedience to the law for granted? Can
alternative/contradictory ideas of what the law co-exist in
some places and/or times?
K.Big theme three: Inequality and the law. Or, perhaps more
precisely, the coexistence of formal equality and structural
inequality in the U.S. legal system. Disparate impacts of
“colorblind” laws. Uses and potential abuses of “discretion.”
Why the “haves” sometimes do better than the “have-nots”
(to be discussed in more detail next class).