Law enforcement has been targeting people of color like Black men, Mexican Immigrants, and Mexican Americans as far back as the early 1900s. President Nixon initiated the war on drugs in 1971. During this time, drug usage was seen as rebellion by youth and for enjoyment during social gatherings. Of course President Nixon exaggerated the drug usage and its effects on people, and went on a crucifying crusade!
Nixon pumped up drug enforcement agencies and began the no-knock warrants and mandatory sentencing. John Ehrlichman (Top Nixon aide) stated as follows: “You want to know what this was really all about? The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying. We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or blacks, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news.”
There is much more I could say about Nixon and his antics with the “war on drugs,” but there is no point because the paragraph above explains it all. In the reign of Ronald Reagan, specifically 1981, Nancy Reagan started a huge anti-drug campaign. This was mainly due to images of African American people that were addicted to crack cocaine going public. The 80s is also when the DARE program was implemented, which was created to educate citizens on the effects of drugs. During this time you also saw a spike of people being incarcerated for nonviolent drug offenses. Here is a quick statistic for you: The incarceration rate went from 50,000 people to over 400,000 people due to nonviolent drug crimes due to the contributions of Presidents who held office between 1980 to 1997.
LET’S GET REAL:
Black people have been through hell when it comes to the Government and its “war on drugs,” which we know is just war against Black people. Let me be more specific: The soldiers from the Korean War which turned into the Vietnam War were actually given heroin! The body becomes dependent upon heroin, therefore it needs the drug to function. After the war, they sent this same soldier back home without a pot to piss in on top of an expensive addiction. Who is the real criminal in this matter?
I’m an 80’s baby. People always joke about 80’s babies being crack babies. It’s not a secret that crack hit all major cities in the 80’s. Drug addicts were thrown in prison, children were put into foster homes, and if you sold crack you were imprisoned as well. Using drugs was considered criminal, even though addiction is an illness! However, since Black people are almost always viewed as criminals, a Black person being on drugs was a double dose of madness for America.
Once again, countless amounts of families were destroyed due to law enforcement and the Government’s antics with drugs, imprisoning those with an illness when what they really needed was help from a rehab facility. Jail and foster care were the only options offered for Black families. How did cocaine get here anyway? Black people didn’t ship it here or get it approved to be shipped here (shade towards the Government).
Marijuana has always been controversial when it comes to people deciding if it should really be considered a drug because of all of its positive effects. However, if you’re Black, you can and will be punished for usage or distribution. The laws are slowly changing from State to State regarding marijuana.
There is a huge opioid epidemic. There are billboards everywhere on getting addicts help. TV commercials are constantly regarding free rehabilitation for drug users. That’s a drastic change of heart from a few decades ago! Oh, I forgot to mention that Congress is putting a plan in place for the Government to fund over 3 million dollars to assist those who are addicts and need help. So, what happened from the smug attitude towards addicts in the 80s and 90s to today?!
The addicts today are White Americans. They love their OxyContin, which is an opioid. OxyContin is really just lab created heroin. Vicodin and meth are high on the list of White addicts. Now all of a sudden drug addiction is a tragedy affecting families, because those families are White. Although being addicted to any substance is sad, this Country and its policies have left me numb. I lack empathy and sympathy for the current drug epidemic. I’m looking for those same agencies that destroyed people that look like me to come and arrest those White families for their criminal acts of using drugs.
White families aren’t constantly being policed by law enforcement in a search for drugs. They aren’t stopped and frisked just because. They aren’t being pulled over for no reason and then forced to get their car searched. Yet, they are the ones using all the drugs. Where are the warrants for their homes? Where is their jail cell?
I’m waiting on citizens that have been given 20- 50 years to life in prison for nonviolent drug crimes to be released from prison! I don’t want them to just be released. I want their education, food, dwelling space, and life to be funded by the Government, because starting a life outside of prison is a challenge.
I created this article because I’m tired of people pretending that racism and systematic racism don’t exist! The war on drugs is a clear cut example of both! I also feel that not enough people are making enough noise about this blatant racism and discrimination. Until this Country and the citizens decide to right its wrongs involving the imprisonment and previous drug addictions of Black families, I am not concerned about those addicted to opioids. It’s not an issue or concern of mine.
The Government (“the system”) created all of this madness, so that same group needs to clean up their mess without my tax dollars!
For more information regarding this topic I suggest you read “The New Jim Crow’ by Michelle Alexander.