1. M. Alexander’s argument is based in the study of how the War on Drugs started when drug crimes were in decline, and that how a few years later, crack cocaine started to spread rapidly in the poor black neighborhoods of America. In fact, the media, supported by Reagan’s administration brought to the public eye the stereotype as the enemy of the War on Drugs, who were mostly poor black Americans. M. Alexander also contrasts the hugely different outcome of convictions and sentences between whites and people of color, even though all colors use and sell illegal drugs in a similar rate, and the ones more likely to engage in drug crimes are the young white Americans. Consequently, this puts a large number of persons of color specially blacks in the outskirts of society due to the type of image and criminal records they’ve been given due to the War on Drugs, therefore, Alexander suggests that the main explanation of why so many people are sent to jail, is because, the American government uses this as tool of social control against minorities and people of color.
2. The racial disparities cannot be explained because all colors sell and use drugs in a similar rate. White young Americans engage more often in drug crimes, still when people of color see themselves in the same situation, they can get sentences that are as M. Alexander says, “twenty to fifty times greater than those of white men”, creating a disparity, as seen in some major cities affected by the War on Drugs, where as many as 80% of young African Americans have a criminal record.
3. I understand the phrase “the American penal system has emerged as a system of social control unparalleled in world history.” as that the penal system is a tool of social control from the American government towards minorities, where they control their liberty and as they have already entered the penal system due to a crime it also controls their future because these subjects of incarceration end up living as outcasts of mainstream society, and that this way of control has never been seen in history before.