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Race, Gender, and Punishment: From Colonialism to the War on Terror

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I would first like to touch upon the readings we have read so far in the book "Race, Gender, and Punishment: From Colonialism to the War on Terror" by Mary Bosworth and Jeanne Flavin. The first section discusses and examines four of the main influences of social control both present and historically in our country. These are colonialism, slavery, immigration and globalization. It does not classify just one sole reason for the treatment of colonized people in our country but points out how "certain ideas of cultural superiority infiltrated criminal justice practice both in the past and present, and continue to shape penal practices and beliefs today"(Bosworth and Flavin 3).

Since all the way back to the era of slavery we have used race as a biological sign of hierarchy in which white was meant to be on top. Slavery eventually leads to colonization of black people and other ethnicities as well. Basically colonialism is a form of social control that makes it easier to dominate certain groups of people, many times through cultural or racial superiority and the justice system finds ways to justify this mistreatment and legitimize it as a norm in society. Our countries constitution states "all men are created equal," but it is so obvious that not all race, genders, and classes are treated equal. We have techniques of social control that many people either don't see, or just choose to look the other way because they are not personally affected. When reading I couldn't help but to think about what we discussed in class about the show Bait Car. We discussed first of all how it could be considered entrapment, but most of all how they put these cars in poor neighborhoods with predominately black people and minorities. Its like we are dangling it in front of them wanting them to steal it for public entertainment, so we can keep them off the street and in prison. Why don't you ever see them in white neighborhoods trying to set them up with a bait car? It is just a small example of how the justice system uses racial profiling and classism for social control.

In chapter 3 they discuss the colonialism toward the Mexicans and how they are affected and punished in our country. The amount of Latinos in federal prison is constantly increasing and you can't help but to ask for an explanation. Other forms of social control used against Mexicans and other Latinos are often racial profiling and Border Patrol as a technique to control their population in the U.S. "The perceived or actual immigrant status of many Mexicans and other Latinos also means that they are subject to forces of border control, while the growing population of Latinos is threatening to some Anglo-Americans who fear competition for jobs and the decreasing primacy of Anglo-American culture"(Bosworth and Flavin 52).

In other words criminalizing Mexicans is an easy way to make sure we keep social control over them. Many times we deport them, and many times employers take advantage of them. Because of their legal status and desperate need for money they are unable to demand higher salaries or any kind of benefits,



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