Kill the new Jim Crow

Published 9:34 pm Thursday, April 23, 2015

To the editor:

Jim Crow was a system put in place in the 1900s to ensure blacks would remain in servitude and be labeled as second-class citizens. Today, the New Jim Crow involves putting a felony on a person’s record.

I know that the first thought for most people who read this letter will be that if you do the crime, you must do the time. That’s true.

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The laws of Jim Crow locked people of color into a permanent second-class citizenship. They couldn’t vote, and they were discriminated against in housing, education and jobs, all because of the racial caste system of Jim Crow.

Now, let’s take a look at the New Jim Crow. Jails and prisons are supposed to be for rehabilitation, but once a person is released or the court places him on probation, he or she becomes a felon, with the letter “F” added to his name.

Under the New Jim Crow, he can’t get certain jobs, and if he has a drug conviction, he can’t get government housing — really no help from the government. He can’t vote, and some colleges will not even allow a felon on campus, so he is discriminated against in education.

I know that some people have had great success, in spite of the “F” behind their names, but there are too many blacks, whites and Latinos that are having a very difficult time because of the felony records they carry.

It’s time to take a serious look into the criminal justice system and kill Old Jim Crow and New Jim Crow once and for all.

Michael Mayfield


Western Tidewater Regional Jail