Thursday, October 18, 2012

The war on drugs is more like a war on black people. Just go to any prison and they are filled with black guys there on a drug conviction. It is nothing new. We have had racist drug laws for a long time. Probably since the dawn of drugs in America in the 1800’s it was a veil of control over the Chinese people and their love of opium. Then, the Chinese were immigrants that seemed at the time to be a threat to American jobs meanwhile they were brought here like slaves to build American railways cheaply from California.
Thus, Opium laws were created so that law enforcers could harass them and contain them. After the civil rights movement somehow we thought things were going to get easier for black people but for most it got worse. Yes, it appears that we have a black President even though he is half white. And surely we have black actors and actresses but for most black families not too much easiness in their lives.
For the masses of black people in this country the leading indicators are frightening as to where black life has gone. Putting so many people in prison for drug offenses if nothing else prevents millions of the population the ability to vote for the rest of their lives. The law is that if you go to jail you cannot vote. A jail conviction effects someone in all aspects of their lives.
Their family often is left abandoned and it is shattering to the lives of their children. Very often they are not just drug dealers they are drug users so they are hurting themselves. They are trying to self medicate with their drug habit because they are in pain either because they are poor or because of some other reason.
So, society rewards them, says I understand your pain. Society says they are going to jail for much of their lives and make the rest of your life a slippery slope that you cant get out of and then lets see how you can pull yourself up by your bootstraps. Try ever to show some personal responsibility. Now you have a conviction that will follow you for the rest of your life.
When they ask you on a job application. ”Have you ever been arrested or convicted for a crime?” You must say yes and at that point realize that no one will consider you for that job no mater how much time you served. That is still assuming that you even have a marketable skill. They don’t teach you how to be a dentist or any skill in prison. You are simply a warehoused human.
At that time the family has moved on without you, no one will give you a job so you are a liability to your family even if you are lucky enough to have someone to go home to that might still love you. You are simply one more person to feed. Some feel that it is much easier to find a way to go back to jail than to fight society. In jail you don’t have any responsibility, don’t have to pay for food or lodging and that is where all your friends are.
The drug war itself is an addiction says Eugene Jarecki the filmmaker of a movie called “The House I Live In” who goes on to point out that we run a prison industrial system in this country. Society has decided that it is more worth it to spend any amount of money to keep people housed in buildings all their life than to rehabilitate lives into having a second chance at life with providing inmates a job, a place to live and necessities to own when they finish serving time.
It is a system of mass incarceration. It is the livelihood of many Americans and many politicians. The prison guards are not to be blamed either. They are caught up in a system that they did not create. There is a worry that if the prisons were to be emptied that prison guards would be out of work. Well, yes they would be but so what, go get another job.
The system in place now relies on a steady flow of human beings that are being booked in a inappropriate manner and having laws thrown at them that don’t necessarily apply to their case. Many lawmakers admit that the system is broken but go with the flow because it is all we have. People on both sides agree it doesn’t make sense and it is not morally right.
The system has ruined the relationship between police and community. In New York City there are 700,000 stops per year of young people on the street usually 90% of Black or Latino looking desent. Of those, about half are stop and frisk; 350,000 per year. Only 10% lead to an arrest. The other 90% have been denigrated in person; have been subjected to embarrassment in front of their community and now have been made to feel horrible about authority.
Now, try to ask these kids to trust your teacher, respect that cop or listen to your social worker. It is not going to happen. Look just stay white and live in Beverly Hills if you can wave a magic wand. But we do have a half Black President that should give these kids hope. However, the last most recent three Presidents have all admitted to being in the presence of drugs and they haven’t been thrown in jail.
Obama admitted openly that while living in Hawaii he smoked pot. Bush admitted he did Cocaine. Clinton said something like he had stuff but didn’t inhale. The difference even with these Presidents is that Obama is lucky he did it in Hawaii. If he was doing drugs and growing up Black in like say Detroit or Philadelphia he probably wouldn’t have the opportunity to be President right now. Least we forget our founding fathers Jefferson or Madison; remember they grew Hemp on their land and would probably be serving 10 to 40 years right now.

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