If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. Modern-day ideologies purport the system is broken and is in dire need to be repaired. However, to make changes there has to be an assertion of “brokenness” and the desire for change. A clear resounding misconception thought by many, the system is not broken. In fact, it was designed to mitigate advantages and limitations of certain groups, and create policies , which have racial irrefutable features (Alexander). As the history predicates from slavery to Jim Crow Laws, policies were enacted in America with the intention of marginalizing African Americans. Which in turn created a caste system. At the bottom of the caste are African Americans and at the top are the wealthy and affluent individuals( Alexander).Policies regarding the criminal justice system in this country, have created privileges and limitations. As the narrative may explain, the War on Drugs is a new form of Jim Crow. Such as that Jim Crow laws were effectively placed to stigmatize black people, the War on Drugs runs a parallel concept. In the documentary Bastards of the Party, illustrates how drug laws are race policy. Mr. Sloan, the narrator, depicts how drugs in his neighborhood were a vertically integrated business; only the youth in black communities were being hired as the labor market. Speculators say that the drugs being sold in America, specifically underprivileged black neighborhoods, were to help fund the war
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Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, explained how our treatment of criminals has created a new racial caste system, and the only way to make change is by massive social change and Civil Rights movement. The criminal laws often focus on psychoactive drugs used by the minority populations. Minorities are disproportionately targeted, arrested, and punished for drug offenses. For instance, Black, Latino, Native American, and many Asian were portrayed as violent, traffickers of drugs and a danger to society. Surveillance was focused on communities of color, also immigrants, the unemployed, the undereducated, and the homeless, who continue to be the main targets of law enforcement efforts to fight the war on drugs. Although African Americans comprise only 12.2 percent of the population and 13 percent of drug users, they make up 38 percent of those arrested for drug offenses and 59 percent of those convicted of drug offenses causing critics to call the war on drugs the “New Jim Crow”(drug policy). The drug
The American “War on Drugs” war created to keep an exorbitant amount of people behind bars, and in a subservient status. First, America has a storied history when it comes to marijuana use. However, within the last 50 years legislation pertaining to drug use and punishment has increased significantly. In the modern era, especially hard times have hit minority communities thanks to these drug laws. While being unfairly targeted by drug laws and law enforcement, minorities in America are having a difficult time trying to be productive members of society.
Alexander claims that the sole reason that the war on drugs was started was to maintain the racist nature that faces America. Alexander realizes that even though the Jim Crow Laws were eradicated, we have just reshaped the ways in which we decide to ruin lives. As the old adage says, “The more things change, the more they remain the same”. I think to a certain point Americans need to have reassurance that things really are changing and here’s where Jim Crow ends, but in the background the powerful people in this country had to come up with a new plan to feed their racist nature. One politician after another want to show how tough they can be on drugs. Each wanting to be stronger than the other. They didn’t care who they were hurting on the bottom, as long as they looked extra tough.
“The United States has 5 percent of the world’s population, but 25 percent of its prisoners. The cost of housing all those inmates: $80 billion a year” (Whitaker, 2016). The United States (U.S.) has been fighting an unwinnable war for the past thirty years. The U.S. government and the War on Drugs has disproportionately impacted African Americans and the prison population has quadrupled over the last thirty years. The U.S Government polices of the war on drugs have contributed to the mass incarceration of African American males due to sentencing and race disparities, over-policing, and anti-drug policies.
In the past forty years, the United States has spent over $2.5 trillion dollars funding enforcement and prevention in the fight against drug use in America (Suddath). Despite the efforts made towards cracking down on drug smugglers, growers, and suppliers, statistics show that addiction rates have remained unchanged and the number of people using illegal drugs is increasing daily (Sledge). Regardless of attempts to stem the supply of drugs, the measure and quality of drugs goes up while the price goes down (Koebler). Now with the world’s highest incarceration rates and greatest illegal drug consumption (Sledge), the United States proves that the “war on drugs” is a war that is not being won.
Throughout history, the drug war has always targeted minority groups. “At the root of the drug-prohibition movement in the United States is race, which is the driving force behind the first laws criminalizing drug use, which first appeared as early as the 1870s (Cohen, 56)”. There were many drug laws that targeted minority groups such as the marijuana ban of 1930s that criminalized Mexican migrant farm workers and in the Jim Crow South, reformist wanted to wage war on the Negro cocaine feign so they used African Americans as a scapegoat while they overlooked southern white women who were a bigger problem for the drug epidemic (Cohen, 57). Instead of tackling the root of the drug problem they passed the blame to struggling minority groups within the United States.
Critics argue that the cost of putting low-ranking street corner drug dealers is disproportionate. A two-hundred dollar drug deal can turn into a big price tag for the tax payers. A report generated by the (North Carolina Department of Public Safety indicated that the cost of prison incarceration for a medium custody inmate is over thirty-thousand dollars per year. Further, the cost of substance abuse treatment conducted at a drug facility can be as high as twenty-two thousand dollars per year.
In the book The New Jim Crow author Michelle Alexander argues that a racial caste system still exists in the United States. Furthermore, this caste system is set up by the social control that is created by the discriminatory practices of the War on Drugs. The War on Drugs and mass incarcerations create a racial “undercaste” of African-Americans, by marginalizing ex-offenders in America. Within her arguments she describes the racist practices of, and policies surrounding, the War on Drugs. These extend from the police force on the ground, who are apprehending the criminals or, in many cases, innocent people, all the way to the practices of prosecuting and sentencing of these people. There are many instances where the injustices extend all the way to the Supreme Court. However, that may not be surprising given the fact that the War on Drugs is a federal government institution. This racism, while inherent, is not always apparent. In this paper I will assess the broken practices that the War on Drugs implements, including mass incarceration, and how racism is the basis for these practices. However, while it does show that racism does exist in these practices, Alexander doesn’t necessarily show that racism is the reason behind the War on Drugs and mass incarceration, but rather a by-product.
The New Jim Crow argues that our country’s federal drug policy unfairly targets people of color, which keeps millions of young, black men behind bars, and in a cycle of poverty. The book starts off by disproving claims about racism being dead. Alexander goes on to state an enormous amount of African Americans are still not allowed to vote because of the rule, felons cannot vote. This is unfair because thousands of African Americans have served time in prison as a result of drug
Statistics have shown that three out of every four black men are expected to be imprisoned at least once in their lifetime, normally associated with the usage, selling, and or handling of drugs (Kerby, 2012). Regardless of the evidence that shows that all races are equally susceptible and apart from the drug epidemic, African Americans have been number one in charts. In the article “The New Jim Crow: How the War on Drugs Gave Birth to a Permanent American Undercaste”, Michelle Alexander discusses how to this day African-Americans remain as the most prominent target of America. Alexander acknowledges how the rising drug war has labeled African Americans as “Bad Guys”. Alexander’s mission is to expose the racism in America and its influence
“The War on Drugs” is commonly referred to terminology regarding the government’s efforts to rid society of dangerous narcotics readily available on the streets of America’s cities. In the early twentieth century, America’s urban minority population were struggling with a heroin addiction of epidemic proportions. This brought on stigma against urban minorities by uninvolved demographics across America. James Baldwin, an already influential African American author of the time, saw this prejudice within society and wrote Sonny’s Blues as an insightful work to illuminate the struggle behind the addiction. Sonny’s Blues acts as a satirical examination on the effects of adversity, in specific the stigma placed onto African American’s that have
I chose to watch a documentary called American Drug War: The Last White Hope, and do a little research on the war on drugs. The documentary I chose was very interesting. I learned several things about the war on drugs, as well as operations that have been swept under the rug. This documentary also provided some chilling statistics on deaths due to legal and illegal drugs. There were several different conspiracy theories about the government being involved in illegal drug trafficking as well.
The war on drugs began during Nixon’s administration in 1968 and was designed in efforts to reduce the amount of drugs being sold and consumed in America (Moore & Elkavich, 2008). Nixon believed that getting drugs out of the hands of people would make the country a safer and better place, however these new drug laws did not reduce the amount of drugs being consumed or distributed. Instead, these laws incarcerated a large amount of people and have resulted in a continuation of inequality in our country. While Marx would argue that the war on drugs prolongs inequality through class conflict because it targets low class individuals, advantages upper class communities while disadvantaging the poor communities, and it makes the cycle of class differences continue, Wells-Barnett would argue that the war on drugs perpetuates inequality through its racism because it was created in response to colored people using drugs, it targets black males, and the sentencing varies based on whom the drug is linked to.
The current policy in use by the United States concerning illegal drugs is both outdated and unfair. This so-called war on drugs is a deeply rooted campaign of prohibition and unfair sentencing that is very controversial and has been debated for many years. The war on drugs is designed so that it will never end. This current drug was has very little impact on the overall supply of prohibited drugs and its impact on demand seems non-existent. United States’ taxpayers are spending billions of dollars on this failure of policy. They are spending billions to incarcerate drug users instead offering drug treatment which could help lower demand. Legalizing illicit would lower abuse and deaths from use and could have a positive economic impact on the United States. Certain industries are making massive sums of money by capitalizing on the drug war.
Many people in the United States believe that there is full equality in this country between races but they do not realize what some African American’s still go through today. An enormous number of African Americans cannot vote because a felon cannot vote. Hundreds of thousands of African Americans have served time in prison as a result of drug convictions and are branded felons for life. Voting is also barred for those currently incarcerated. Alexander uncovers the system of mass incarceration: a system comprised of laws, rules, policies, and customs that control criminals both in and out of prison. The greatest instigator of mass incarceration is the War on Drugs. Rather than combat drug activity, the War on Drugs has served as a deliberate strategy to control people of color and remove them from the political process, which is racist in both application and design. Alexander suggests that the War on Drugs and mass incarceration constitute a "rebirth of caste" in America. Beginning with slavery and continuing with Jim Crow segregation, mass