In Michelle Alexander’s introduction to “The New Jim Crow”, overwhelming evidence is given to justify the fact that a modern caste system is present in America to replace the past laws of Jim Crow. Because of this new caste system, African American men (and the community as a whole) are trapped within the stereotypes and situations that are placed on them with no way out. Alexander states that “…mass incarceration operates as a tightly networked system of laws, policies, customs, and institutions that operate collectively to ensure the subordinate status of a group defined largely by race” (13). By constantly being targeted to be incarcerated, African Americans in America can expect to not be treated equally in America, whether that be through prison sentences or healthcare. This statement is directly reflected in episode four of “The Wire” when Bodie returns to the projects where D’Angelo, Poot and Wallace link up. Despite breaking out of the detention center still wounded, it can be assumed that the government would not have provided services to Bodie to assist him in getting out of his trade and helping him become a better citizen. Compared to Detective Mahon, who received minimal bodily injury, is taken care of in an upper-class hospital.
Another visual of Alexander’s quote would be when Carver and Herc storm Bodie’s residence and only find his grandmother. In the apartment, the grandmother is undisturbed as the officers raid the house and she continues to do the laundry. This indifference signals a self-understanding of where Bodie’s grandmother lies in modern society (hierarchy-wise) and doesn’t show any sign of hope in getting out of her crammed apartment and lower-class living.
As soon as African American individuals are targeted, more likely than not, they will be incarcerated. So begins the downward spiral to unequal healthcare, job opportunities, and education opportunities.