The New Jim Crow

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Ronald Reagan was a well-known actor who in 1980 was elected the 40th President of the United States, after having first served as Governor of California. A Republican, Reagan instituted an economic policy based on reducing taxes, regulation, and government spending (nicknamed “Reaganomics”). Although President Richard Nixon was the first to use the phrase “War on Drugs” and initiate some of its key policies, it is Reagan who is most closely associated with the drug war. Although conventional wisdom holds that Reagan ramped up anti-drug efforts in response to the crack epidemic, in The New Jim Crow Alexander suggests that the drug war actually preceded the rise in popularity of crack, and that the Reagan administration in fact deliberately increased public hysteria about the threat of crack in order to build support for militant policing and mass incarceration. Reagan’s political legacy is controversial; highly popular among conservatives, he is also widely associated with civil rights infringements, a steep decline in social welfare, and the reversal of racial progress.
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Ronald Reagan Character Timeline in The New Jim Crow

The timeline below shows where the character Ronald Reagan appears in The New Jim Crow. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Introduction
Justice vs. the Law Theme Icon
Violence, Surveillance, and Social Control Theme Icon
Myth, Dishonesty, and Conspiracy Theme Icon
...was devised as a response to the crack cocaine epidemic; however, the reality is that Reagan announced the initiative before crack was really a problem. When crack did emerge as a... (full context)
Chapter 1: The Rebirth of Caste
Justice vs. the Law Theme Icon
The Illusion of Progress Theme Icon
Racial Castes, Stereotypes, and Hierarchies Theme Icon
Violence, Surveillance, and Social Control Theme Icon
Myth, Dishonesty, and Conspiracy Theme Icon
...Republican party; the “war on drugs” originally proposed by Nixon later became a centerpiece of Reagan’s campaign and presidency. Reagan drastically expanded federal law enforcement agencies with astonishing speed at the... (full context)
Justice vs. the Law Theme Icon
Racial Castes, Stereotypes, and Hierarchies Theme Icon
Violence, Surveillance, and Social Control Theme Icon
Myth, Dishonesty, and Conspiracy Theme Icon
...American conservatives utilized the crack epidemic as an excuse to wage war on black people. Reagan’s administration deliberately fueled public hysteria over crack, encouraging the association between the drug and black... (full context)
Justice vs. the Law Theme Icon
The Illusion of Progress Theme Icon
Violence, Surveillance, and Social Control Theme Icon
Myth, Dishonesty, and Conspiracy Theme Icon
...Drugs achieved enormous public support, and President George Bush, Sr. picked up where his predecessor, Reagan, left off. The public continued to panic about a drug crisis that was mostly the... (full context)
Chapter 2: The Lockdown
Justice vs. the Law Theme Icon
Violence, Surveillance, and Social Control Theme Icon
...with). She notes that even the conservative Supreme Court justice Anthony Kennedy—who was appointed by Reagan—has called mandatory minimum sentencing unnecessary and “unjust.” (full context)
Chapter 3: The Color of Justice
Justice vs. the Law Theme Icon
Racial Castes, Stereotypes, and Hierarchies Theme Icon
Myth, Dishonesty, and Conspiracy Theme Icon
...black culture and drugs that was deliberately created by the media and government during the Reagan years. As a result, ordinary Americans have internalized the racist association between black people and... (full context)