Killing the Black Community: A Commentary of the United States War on Drugs
Judith A.M. Scully
Stetson University College of Law
July 27, 2010
POLICING THE NATIONAL BODY, J. Sillman, A. Bhattacharjee, eds., South End Press, 2002
This article addresses the United States government’s war on drugs and examines the history and rhetoric of the war, the nexus between drugs and violence, the use of legal tactics employed for the war, and the consequences of the war on drugs. The author argues that the government’s war on drugs is unjust because it has a racially disproportionate impact on the black community, the government has used corrupt legal tactics and racial rhetoric to criminalize and destruct the Black community and that the war on drugs is actually a war waged against Black men, women, and children resulting in the destruction of Black families, communities, and the image of Blacks in the minds of many Americans. The “three strikes” laws, mandatory minimum sentences, and other drug enforcement tools are examined and contends that these devices disproportionately affect young Black males and females and may lead to many young Black drug offenders spending at least one-third of their lives in prison and may inevitably leads to the destruction of the Black family and also leave many Blacks disenfranchised as ex-felons. Further, the author posits that the government fails to acknowledge racial disparities in the criminal justice system concerning drug offenders. The article also discusses the crack versus cocaine controversy, stating that white Americans are not pursued with the same enthusiasm and commitment as enforced against the Black community. As a result, Blacks in similar circumstances as whites are likely to be stopped by law enforcement, arrested, convicted and sentenced with the harshest penalties. Additionally, the article maintains that the government allowed the creation of drug distribution networks in Black and Latino communities to further its war on drugs. The article concludes that the war on drugs is racially unjust, is a violation of international human rights law, and must be stopped in order to maintain integrity in the United States justice system.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 27
Keywords: Racial, discrimination, war on drugs, crime, criminal, drugs, narcotics, prosecution, enforcement, public policy, law, legal, mandatory minimums, international human rights law, war on drugs
JEL Classification: K10, K14Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: July 28, 2010
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