While the War on Drugs may have been portrayed as a colorblind movement, Nixon’s presidency and reasoning for its implementation solidifies that it was not. Nixon coined the term “War on Drugs” in his 1971 anti-drug campaign speech, starting the beginning of an era. He voiced, “If there is one area where the word ‘war’ is appropriate, it is in the fights against crime” (DuVernay, 13th). This terminology solidified to the public that drug abusers were an enemy, and if the greatest publicized abusers were black, then black people were then enemy. This “war” started by Nixon claimed it would rid the nation of dealers, but in fact, 4/5 of arrests were for possession only (Alexander, 60). Nixon employed many tactics in order to advance the progress
The War on Drugs is believed to help with many problems in today’s society such as realizing the rise of crime rates and the uprooting of violent offenders and drug kingpin. Michelle Alexander explains that the War on Drugs is a new way to control society much like how Jim Crow did after the Civil War. There are many misconceptions about the War on Drugs; commonly people believe that it’s helping society with getting rid of those who are dangerous to the general public. The War on Drugs is similar to Jim Crow by hiding the real intention behind Mass Incarceration of people of color. The War on Drugs is used to take away rights of those who get incarcerated. When they plead guilty, they will lose their right to vote and have to check application
Indeed, a closer look at the history of drug use shows that, before 1914, most drug users were harmless to society and even carried on normal, productive lives. Troy Duster notes that "some of the most respectable citizens of the community, pillars of middle-class morality, were addicted…. Family histories [indicate] that many went through their daily tasks, their occupations, completely undetected by friends and relatives" (9). Even after drug prohibition, Lawrence Kolb, assistant surgeon general of the United States in 1925 noted that "no opiate ever directly influenced addicts to commit violent crime" (qtd. in Trebach 57).
The ante-bellum south is referred to as the Old South; south of the Cotton Kingdom and plantation slavery. The Old South did not last long but received the term, ‘Old’ in order to distinguish the Old South from the New South. Slavery in the Old South was practiced by the white man to assure subordination of the Negro’s and to determine their status, or ‘place’. The white supremacy view of life, along with the injustices of exploitation can be traced back to the old pro-slavery argument, developed by the Anglo-Saxon (Woodward, 11). Slavery in the Old South required daily interracial contact from both sides of the races such as, supervision, maintenance of order, and physical and medical care of slaves. House servants were a prime example of this type of interracial contact. Bonds of intimacy and affection were also present between races due to house servants living in the same home, attending the same church, and sharing in the family’s conversation (Woodward, 12). House servants were the only slaves to receive this type of association, which overall consisted of a very small proportion. The field hands, however, received the harsher side of slavery. Slavery in the Old South was a ‘system’ in which segregation would only pose an issue, or inconvenience. There also were a few hundred thousand Negroes within the slave states who were free, or quasi-free; not established by slavery. These Negroes received treatment relatively close to slavery, foreshadowing segregation (Woodward, 13).
Drugs have been influencing the ideas, culture, and music of America for ages. Illicit narcotics have left the Union in a state of immense debt. Anti-drug policies have been dumping billions upon billions of dollars in prevention, punishment, and rehabilitation. From the roaring twenties, to the prohibition, drugs have always been fought (Bailey). Most times, the drugs start off as medicines and end up being harmful (Morris). Perhaps, the most prominent and influential eras of drug use in America are the two decades of the 60’s and twenty years later, the 80’s. It may very well be that these two decades molded America into what it is now.
One, the drug war is aimed at eliminating big-time drug dealers. Two, the war on drugs is eradicating dangerous drugs. Throughout the book, Alexander refuted both of these common misconceptions about the war on drugs. According to study conducted by Ryan King and Marc Meur, they found 80 percent of drug arrest in the 1990s was for marijuana. While it is arguable marijuana is far less harmful than tobacco and alcohol, is it is illegal and people should not do it. However, what is interesting about marijuana is the stigma associated with it. According to Alexander, marijuana was seen as a fearsome drug when associated with African-Americans and Latinos but was less stigmatizing when associated with Caucasians. According to book titled Unequal Under Law: Race and the War on Drugs, author Doris Marie Provine said “punishment becomes more severe when drug use is associated with people of color but softens when it is associated with whites.” An example of crime that becomes “softer” when associated with whites is drunk driving. According to The Crack Attack: America’s Latest Scare, drunk drivers accounted for 22,000 deaths in 1989. In addition to that, about 100,000 alcohol-related deaths occurred that same year. The author, Craig Reinarman, compared that statistic to the number of deaths from AIDS, drug overdose and violence associated with illegal drug trade and all three accounted for only 21,000 deaths. Drunk driving crimes are usually committed primarily by white males. According to the book, The Crack Attack: America’s Latest Scare, 78 percent of drunk drivers during 1990 were white males. During 1990, new mandatory minimums charges were created where drivers could either receive fines, license suspension, complete community service or sentenced to only two days in jail for their first offense. While on the other hand individuals who had crack cocaine, which is seen as a
Bush's “war on drugs”, an extension to Reagon's former battle, had “crowded the courts, filled the prisons, corrupted law officers, compromised ... civil liberties, and criminalized substantial sectors of American society.” 1 In comparison to the leniency experienced in the late 1960s under Nixon where a “specific sub-culture of some 68,088 identifiable heroin addicts” who, subject to arrest for the possession of the heroin, and successfully convicted, were “sentenced to treatment at the federal hospital in Lexington, Kentucy.”2
In order to solve this vast and complex problem of drugs in America, we must first acknowledge that the "War on Drugs" is not actually a war at all, but is instead an attempt to avoid the real challenges involved with addressing our shortcomings as a society, as individuals, and as a nation, by imagining that drugs themselves are to blame. Perhaps today, as we see our armed forces engaged in warfare abroad, our economy in flux, and our nation heavily involved in a global "War on Terror," the illumination of the facts will yield the collective will necessary to disengage from this domestic battle of our own creation, and finally declare an end to the “War on Drugs.”
“Just Say No!” A statement that takes us deep into yet another decade in the history of the United States which was excited by controversies, social issues, and drug abuse. The topic of this statement is fueled by the growing abuse of cocaine in the mid 1980s. I shall discuss the effects of the crack cocaine epidemic of the mid 1980s from a cultural and social stand point because on that decade this country moved to the rhythms and the pace of this uncanny drug. Cocaine took its told on American society by in the 1980s; it ravaged with every social group, race, class, etc. It reigned over the United States without any prejudices. Crack cocaine was the way into urban society, because of its affordability in contrast to the powdered form. In society the minorities were the ones most affected by the growing excess of crime and drug abuse, especially African Americans; so the question was “Why was nearly everybody convicted in California federal court of crack cocaine trafficking black?” (Webb: Day 3). The growing hysteria brought forth many questions which might seem to have concrete answers, but the fact of the matter is they are all but conspiracy in the end, even though it does not take away the ambiguity and doubt. I will take on only a few topics from the vast array of events and effects this period in time had tended to. Where and who this epidemic seemed to affect more notably, and perhaps how the drugs came about such territories and people. What actions this countries authority took to restore moral sanity, and how it affected people gender wise.
In 1971, President Nixon declared a “war on drugs.” He substantially increased the presence and size of federal drug agencies, and passed legislation like mandatory sentencing laws and unconstitutional warrants. Nixon even listed marijuana as a Schedule One drug, the most constrictive drug category. Over forty years later, the U.S is still waging a war on drugs, spending billions of dollars per year and creating major social issues.
“[The war on drugs] has created a multibillion-dollar black market, enriched organized crime groups and promoted the corruption of government officials throughout the world,” noted Eric Schlosser in his essay, “A People’s Democratic Platform”, which presents a case for decriminalizing controlled substances. Government policies regarding drugs are more focused towards illegalization rather than revitalization. Schlosser identifies a few of the crippling side effects of the current drug policy put in place by the Richard Nixon administration in the 1970s to prohibit drug use and the violence and destruction that ensue from it (Schlosser 3). Ironically, not only is drug use as prevalent as ever, drug-related crime has also become a staple of our society. In fact, the policy of the criminalization of drugs has fostered a steady increase in crime over the past several decades. This research will aim to critically analyze the impact of government statutes regarding drugs on the society as a whole.
Timothy Lynch, writing in the conservative magazine the National Review, writes about how the drug war has not made very much progress and has essentially failed. Lynch writes about how voters in California, Arizona, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Alaska, and Maine that have rejected ideas to improve the war on drugs and instead they “approved initiatives calling for the legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes” (40). Lynch also writes that “the supply of drugs has not been hampered in any serious way by the war on drugs” (41). This supports the conservative’s claim that the war on drugs is not making any progress to stop the supply of drugs coming into America. Conservative writer for the magazine National Review, William Buckley, shows his outrage towards the Council on Crime in America for their lack of motivation to change the drug policies that are ineffective. Buckley asks, “If 1.35 million drug users were arrested in 1994, how many drug users were not arrested? The Council informs us that there are more than 4 million casual users of cocaine” (70). Buckley goes on to discuss in the article, “Misfire on Drug Policy,” how the laws set up by the Council were meant to decrease the number of drug users, not increase the number of violators. Richard Lowry writes an article for the National Review, quoting a Council on Foreign Relations report on drug eradication policies
C. Vann Woodward’s book, The Strange Career of Jim Crow, has been hailed as a book which shaped our views of the history of the Civil Rights Movement and of the American South. Martin Luther King, Jr. described the book as “the historical Bible of the civil rights movement.” The argument presented in The Strange Career of Jim Crow is that the Jim Crow laws were relatively new introductions to the South that occurred towards the turn of the century rather than immediately after the end of Reconstruction after the Civil War. Woodward examines personal accounts, opinions, and editorials from the eras as well as the laws in place at the times. He examines the political history behind the emergence of the Jim Crow laws. The Strange Career of Jim Crow gives a new insight into the history of the American South and the Civil Rights Movement.
A drug subculture involving the use of marijuana and other hallucinogenic drugs began to emerge in mainstream American society in the late ?60s and was loosely associated with an overall atmosphere of political protest concerning the Vietnam War and civil rights. Drug use, including heroin use, was prevalent among soldiers during the Vietnam War and many of them returned addicted. Since that time, the recreational use of drugs, particularly marijuana, has been a constant aspect of youth culture in all social classes.