War On Drugs Essay

1079 words - 5 pages

Drug felonies and incarceration rates due to the war on drugs and strict law enforcement policies have found their target in the impoverished communities of the United States; thus, drug laws have become racially bias. Eugene Jarecki’s documentary, The House I Live In, sheds light on the increasing consequences that low-income families have come to face because of mandatory minimum sentences for possession, sell, or use of illicit substances. In Jarecki’s film (2012), he interviewed Pat Robertson who stated, “If you stand in a federal court you see poor, uneducated people be fed into a machine. Like meat to make sausage” to depict the consequences of drug laws on poverty stricken individuals ...view middle of the document...

, 2013, pp. 337-338). This is evidentiary when Lynch et al. (2013) discovered, in a study done on urban locations, how disproportionate are the rates of drug offenses and the amount of incarcerated individuals due to drug involvement; only to find out that minority populations of black and Latinos dominated the prisons as compared to their white counterparts (pp. 338-339). In addition, harsh and strict policing tactics are placed more on racially diverse communities than on communities encompassed by a white majority (p. 339). This is seen in Jarecki’s film (2012) when officers are depicted to predominantly monitor crowded and poor areas to find make the next drug bust, aware that for these communities selling drugs is seen as a last resort due to high unemployment rates for low-skilled workers. Racialized policing of drug laws has come to take two routes in urban areas of San Francisco, New York, and Seattle, where officers both view and treat the inhabitants of the neighborhoods as a ghetto or skid row (Lynch et al., 2013, p. 341,350). Ghettos are often classified to be composed of racially segregated minorities where residents are presumed to be violent criminals, and most likely fall as victims of police brutality, harsh punishments, unreasonable searches and seizures, and arrests; whereas, those in skid row are often viewed as troubled and officers choose not to punish them, but rather help them rehabilitate themselves (Lynch et al., 2013, p. 341). Nonetheless, the approach of the war on drugs falls essentially on officers and how they have come to victimize minorities such as African Americans and Hispanics at higher rates than whites, as shown in Jarecki’s film.
The war on drugs has become a web of politics, corruption, injustice, that day-by-day continues to disproportionally affect non-whites. The Drug Policy Alliance (2014) concluded that drug laws have been implemented to disenfranchise minority groups, seen through the effects on minority populations with the prohibition of opium because of its illegal association with Chinese, cocaine and its cause for stereotyping African Americans, and associating Mexicans with marijuana use (A Brief History of the Drug War, 2014). Jarecki makes a statement that Nixon’s 1971 declaration of the War on Drugs became a war written on stone to gain popular support and votes,...

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