Sentencing laws, such as the 1984 Anti-Drug Act, provided harsher penalties for Blacks than whites and the prisons became disproportionately filled with Black males. The neighborhoods of Black America were no longer embedded in social change and progression, but rather became victims of terrorization from an American culture rooted in racism. Black men were demonized for selling crack to black women who the media portrayed as cracks primary users; and then the family structure declines. Crack babies, are sociologists new trend and terms such as “crack-head”, “crack-house”, urbanized, ghetto, all are listed attributes under Black. The demonization of the black man was a way to discredit and destroy him in the eyes of not only theworld, but more importantly the black woman and the black child. What this leaves is a perpetuated cycle of victimization and reenactment of violence and patriarchy.
Within the cultural framework of America, the systemic structure is characterized by White male patriarchy that allows for Black males to have the ability to negotiate the way in which they have been socialized and institutionalized to think, act, and behave because they are men.
Despite efforts of the proclamation to gradually transition Blacks into citizenship, slavery continued to be legal until the ratification of the 13th Amendment in 1865.However, it did little to change to the sociopolitical culture in America as Blacks were still considered second-class citizens [as land ownership was equated to citizenship].
The Post-Civil War Reconstruction Era provided the illusion of hope to Black men, to be able to function as “freedmen” and obtain the privileges and rights of being an American. Debates ensued around enfranchising Black men, primarily veterans and those deemed “intelligent” amongst blacks. The four million others were in question. In 1867, Black men voted for the first time and held offices, but this was quickly overturned with the enactment of “black codes” and the impending rise of the Jim Crow era (1876-1960). Freedmen [Free Black males] had more rights than other free Blacks pre-Civil War, but had no voting rights, second-class civil and human rights, could not own firearms, serve on a jury, as was subject to vagrancy laws.
At the height of the lynching period, Black males were the most targeted victims. Lynchings were social forms of entertainment that often attracted thousand of white spectators. “The burned, tortured, and mutilated body of the Black male would be torn apart by the crowd as battles broke out over body parts as souvenirs” (Booker, 2000, p.142). Between 1880 and 1960, nearly one hundred years more than 4700 Americans, primarily Black males are documented as having been lynched (Lester, 2005). 1915, would introduce a new purveyors of violence against Black men. D.W. Griffith’s film Birth of a Nation, was released glamorizing lynching and popularizing the Klu Klux Klan (KKK), a white supremacist terror group, who justified their violence against black males through the need to protect white womanhood and defend white superiority in the post antebellum south, from the hyper-sexualized Black male who sought to take white women and establish Black supremacy.
Black progress over the past half-century has been impressive, conventional wisdom to the contrary notwithstanding. And yet the nation has many miles to go on the road to true racial equality. “I wish I could say that racism and prejudice were only distant memories, but as I look around I see that even educated whites and African American…have lost hope in equality,” Thurgood Marshall