The Fight for Black Men: War on drugs is a war on us.
There are more African-Americans on probation, Parole, or in prison today than were slaves in 1850. It is not a crisis of crime. It is a crisis of people being left behind.
The war on drugs is a war on people.
Black men are the most incarcerated people on the planet.. Warehoused in prison for nonviolent crimes.
As of 2004, more black men were denied the right to vote because of a criminal record than in 1870, when the Fifteenth Amendment was ratified, giving blacks the right to vote. In the three decades since the war on drugs began, the U.S. prison population has exploded from 300,000 to more than 2 million people, giving our country the highest incarceration rate in the world, higher than Russia, China, and other regimes we consider repressive. A significant majority of black men in some urban areas are labeled felons for life; and this isn’t a function of more crime in black communities. Crime rates have fluctuated over time and we’re currently at historic lows but incarceration rates have consistently soared. People of color are arrested in large numbers for relatively minor offenses, four out of five drug arrests in 2005 were for possession, not sales.. and given sentences that outpace their white counterparts. In fact, in the 1990’s, when the war on drugs was at its peak, almost 80 percent of the increase in drug arrests was for possession of marijuana.
The result of the war on drugs? An under-caste system for black males, massive number of black men who cannot access housing, who are screened out of employment, and who in many states are denied the right to vote. Facing severely limited options and few opportunities for rehabilitation, millions of these men re-offend, creating more victims and landing themselves back in jail.
As Al Sharpton put it “We’re in the best of times and worst of times, at the same time.” “It’s the best-time times,” Sharpton continued, “because we have a black president, black attorney general, black CEOs. But it’s the worst of times because millions of African-American men are being locked up and left out like never before”.
- Joshua DuBois on the Fight to Save Black Men from Being ‘Left Behind’ (blackchristiannews.com)
- Book Review: The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, by Michelle Alexander (persephonemagazine.com)
- “The War on Drugs is a War on You and Me”. – 2 Pac (thehiphopmovement.org)