Drugs, Law And Race

2079 Words Nov 30th, 2014 9 Pages
Drugs, Law and Race in American “We have defeated Jim Crow, but now we have to deal with his son, James Crow Jr., esquire.” (Whitaker) Those words by the reverend Al Sharpton summarize the feelings of many people about the modern face of racism in America. Unlike the Jim Crow laws of the 1890’s which created culture of overt discrimination enforced through fear. Modern day racism does not use blunt force, the fear of the lynch mob, or even outright separate but equal laws. It is more covert and sophisticated using the current laws and justice system to entrap many African Americans in the prison system. A 2008 report by the civil rights organization Human Rights Watch documented major racial disparities in the enforcement of the American drug law. The report showed that African American males were 11.8 times more likely to enter prison on drug charges than their white counterparts, despite the fact that African Americans and whites use illegal drugs at similar rates. The report also states that while African Americans comprise only 13% of the US population and 14% of monthly drug users they are 37% of the people arrested for drug offenses and constitute 54 percent of all persons entering state prisons with a new drug offense conviction. (Gorvin 9) In this paper I will examine how the war on drugs is used to trap many African Americans, especially black males, in the American criminal justice system.
Although it was President Richard Nixon who coined…

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