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5 Reasons The War on Drugs is The New Jim Crow

Attorney Michelle Alexander has been shaking things up across the nation over the past few years. Her book, “The New Jim Crow, Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness,” takes on race and the War on Drugs in ways few people would dare to approach.  Alexander argues that mass incarceration is the new Jim Crow system that traps many African-Americans in a permanent underclass. That system is driven by the “War on Drugs” that causes many young people to be stigmatized by felony records — for a victimless crime — that keep them from employment, education and housing.

Black Men Are Disproportionally Convicted For Drug Related Crimes

More than 2.3 million men in America are in prison — about half for drug crimes. Seventy percent of all men imprisoned are Black or Hispanic. Thirty years ago, before the War on Drugs was implemented, there were only 300,000 people in the American prison system.

According to Alexander: “The drug war has never been focused on rooting out drug kingpins or violent offenders.” Federal funding flows to those agencies that increase dramatically the volume of drug arrests, not the agencies most successful in bringing down the bosses.

In 2005, for example four out of five drug arrests were for possession, only one out of five for sales. Most people in state prison have no history of violence or even of significant selling activity. During the 1990s—the period of the most dramatic expansion of the drug war—nearly 80 percent of the increase in drug arrests was for marijuana possession, a drug generally considered less harmful than alcohol or tobacco and at least as prevalent in middle-class white communities as in the inner city.

What people are saying

45 thoughts on “5 Reasons The War on Drugs is The New Jim Crow

  1. David Bean says:

    Don't do the crime if you can't do the time!

  2. Rodney Wayne Beckom-Owens says:

    Real numbers show the facts every time…

  3. Dave Meade says:

    Al Capone. … also took full advantage of the criminal opportunities available during Prohibition.
    Prohibition is an absolute plague The real problem; the system that grants exclusive distribution rights to violent cartels, street gangs, most definitely is the problem. Legalize it, Regulate it, make it safer.
    Do a search for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition LEAP

  4. Dave Meade says:

    Al Capone. … also took full advantage of the criminal opportunities available during Prohibition.
    Prohibition is an absolute plague The real problem; the system that grants exclusive distribution rights to violent cartels, street gangs, most definitely is the problem. Legalize it, Regulate it, make it safer.
    Do a search for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition LEAP

  5. Ezzo Mcdougle says:

    True, but look at how disproportionate that time is for non black offenders with the same crime..

  6. Ernest Brown says:

    Ezzo Mcdougle really please show me a case where a Bm and a WM selling crack got less time?

  7. Ernest Brown says:

    you do know that Al capone and the rest got years of prison time for bootlegging right? they were not heroes in their community.

  8. people get caught up in things they don't even know, will damage them to such a extent. So blowing it off with don't do the crime if you cant do the crime is a fools remark. You sound like a new skool house nigga. You miss the point. this is a trap for young people to be deceived. this is also to create another economy for the white race.

  9. to the peoples who posted Al Capone went to prison. The government took over his business. so whats your point. the government brings drugs in the country. this is bigger then blackmen on a street corner. What exactly do you fools stand for. each one teach one you have academic knowledge ,but lack common sense.

  10. to Ernest Brown -when you have a free day what you should do is go to a courthouse and sit all day and listen to the cases look at who get sentenced and for what. you
    r speaking like a person who is brainwashed.

  11. Ezzo Mcdougle says:

    Is that dude serious? !?!

  12. we have been targeted for generations outwardly by this society who then realize they can keep the dogtag around ournecks with policies that stifle growth and production,racism has play a role in afrikca-amercian progress and there now weeds re-growing in various parts of this country whileorganization been created aroound the problems nothing has been resolve or successful,we have some millionaires and billionaires but the finanacial freedoms have not spread across our communities and predatory buisnesses consume our resources we havent shown co-operation to change our condition either

  13. David Bean says:

    Show me one who had a job or his own business got arrested for selling crack. Why try to justify wrong, I mean they are selling it in our neighborhood and we turn our backs on the damage it's doing to our people to worry about how much time they got for doing it……..we gotta wake up one day!

  14. Chris O'Hara says:

    i do the crime but will never do the time…..because am white

  15. Chris O'Hara says:

    David the drug war does more damage to poor communities than drugs do……..proof Doctor Carl hart's book

    Long before he brought people into his laboratory at Columbia University to smoke crack cocaine, Carl Hart saw its effects firsthand. Growing up in poverty, he watched relatives become crack addicts, living in squalor and stealing from their mothers. Childhood friends ended up in prisons and morgues.

    Video | The Science of Drug Addiction Carl Hart, an associate professor at Columbia University, is the author of the book “High Price,” a mix of memoir and scientific research about drug addiction.

    His book proves the drug war is more damaging than the drugs…..

  16. Chris O'Hara says:

    Ezzo and David the difference is between crack cocaine and powered cocaine……the sentencing was a 100-1 for the same weight of crack to powder……now its 18-1 for crack to powder…….

  17. Ezzo Mcdougle says:

    Why are so focused on the selling crack part?? I know plenty ppl that work 40 hrs and smoke weed, it's not all selling, merely possessing drugs for personal use can at times lead to more jail time than non black counterparts, but let me guess don't do the drugs if you can't do the time huh? Like I said before if you can't see that the war on drugs or the American justice system in general is not geared toward fairness for us then I'm not sure where you've been living for however long you've been alive

  18. Chris O'Hara says:

    Ezzo that post was meant for earnest not you sorry……

  19. Chris O'Hara says:

    Ernest your wrong capone was never convicted of bootlegging……from your posts i can tell you don't have a clue about your talking about…..

  20. Ezzo Mcdougle says:

    Chris mine was directed to him as well..

  21. David Bean says:

    Anthony Johnson……never been a school house nigga for them and i won't be one for you… i understand more so than you know . Unlike you I'm concerned about preventive measures to keep our brothers from destroying black neighborhoods by selling drugs. that they got from a white suppliers…… worrying about some time that they get for getting caught doing wrong…..well i know how that story ends once they get in the system and if we know the system is CROOKED then i would think that the only way to be it is stay out of it. It simple. stop being a pawn and you won't get played.

  22. Chris O'Hara says:

    Strikingly, views of the appropriate sentence for possession of small amounts of heroin, cocaine, and crack were almost identical, in contrast to federal sentencing laws that require a much stiffer penalty for possession of a small amount of crack. A five-year mandatory minimum sentence is required for anyone convicted of possessing 28 grams of crack. By contrast, someone would need to possess 500 grams of powder cocaine to trigger the same mandatory minimum sentence.

    The sentencing disparity for crack versus powder cocaine has long been criticized for producing racial disparities in sentencing and for leading to prisons overcrowded with low-level drug offenders. In August, Attorney General Eric Holder announced new Justice Department guidelines that would prevent listing drug quantities in many indictments to avoid triggering mandatory minimums.

  23. BuzzGame Mitchell says:

    first off I do not condone selling drugs. When you look a little deeper into the problem of america its that there are not enough jobs for "educated" people in america. Number one rule of life is survival. What's left? Most turns to drugs prostitution robbing and killing. How do people survive if they don't have access to a jobs? That pay well?

  24. Ernest Brown says:

    Chris O'Hara you do know that this man has never done drugs. so any research he does is fake.

  25. Ernest Brown says:

    yes they do.

  26. Ernest Brown says:

    the goverment did not take over his business. name one govt owned liqour store. they got rid of a monster who was killing his people thru drink and bullets if you didnt buy his stuff he would blow you up and kill your whole family.

  27. Ernest Brown says:

    i dont have to. been there and done that and watched many people of all races get time and justice.

  28. RErnest- the government made it leagal so they could tax it & make a profit. Now we have people driving drink killing others. Also it legal so its in more households than ever before. Please stay in touch with reality. Think b4 you speak. Making it legal juat made the prolem bigger. Now we have so many college kids who kill themselves as a result of drunk driving. Others who commit domeatic violence , etc.

  29. AJ Johnson says:

    David Bean I can show you many who are dead because the cops were LOOKING FOR drugs. I can show you many that had drugs planted on them and cops have been found out for planting them. Do research on Mrs Johnson and elder in her home when cops broke down her door and killed her only to realize they made a mistake and then THE cops PLANTED drugs all around her house. Yes I can show you not one but many who had a job and were arrested for selling drugs.

  30. AJ Johnson says:

    IF they can get their quotas up they will plant it. David Bean – WITH A BUSINESS, WITH A JOB. Do read from Dr. Amos Wilson about POWER. Wake up. Like Black Codes of ole if they want to get you they will use laws.All those who remember the Scott Sisters. WE got them out of that jail in Mississippi where they as young girls were given LIFE and it was for a robbery of $11.

  31. David Bean says:

    Chris O'Hara the book only proves what he wanted to prove in a control enviroment. I do understand the war on drugs (somewhat)….and as in every war there are casualties and in those casualties there will unfortunately be innocent victimm. However in spite of what that Doctor said i've been in the trenches personally and know the real story (in my life/world). They are milking our people for all they can get from the lure of riches "money", "sex", "power" using "MEDIA and MUSIC and the main conduits into our neighborhood…not "communities" like they live in but neighborhoods or Hoods. I've seen friends die from the sell, use, purchase etc. of this drugs and I do understand your concerns but again Preventive measures education/infrastructures/oneness/black owned businesses/etc. is the way to total freedom Doc. Selling drugs is a CHOICE, and we need to be responsible for our choices. The War is waged because WE give them "PERMISSION" with our choices, simple as that. It's hard for them to keep on going to where there is no Drug Crimes (i never said impossible or never said that they wouldn't create cases) but if we can control the reasons then it's what
    we need to do. Doc if you're caught then you're just Caught, heck man up and we need to stop crying about getting caught when we are guilty. We KNOW UP FRONT that they are going to give us MORE time and yet we still do the CRIME…what is that saying? Brother if a man wants to commit suicide then that's his choice……but our bickering back and forth without "PURPOSE" or without a solution is useless and gets redundant if we're not trying to do more than
    'raise awareness"……people want a solution/cure mixed with TRUTH and we will fare a lot better than you think…….just my opinion! Im starting Next Year with an agenda to help free some folks what i need to know is are you brother willing to see some real things happen or just follow the tainted race baited media or publications of someone else belief? Either way brothers you guys are awesome. I'm here if you need me!

  32. David Bean says:

    AJ Johnson ……i understand your point but the only problem is there is little we can do as for the ones who are already incarcerated, but we can work on preventing so many others from going. We could start a fund to help those who were wrongfully incarcerated…..but how many of our people do you think will contribute? I really feel what you're saying but at this juncture of my life my passion is more "preventive" than just a verbal awareness or awaken the anger/rage in people without purpose. If you got a plan other than verbally lashing out then i'm all in. I will write books (ohhh but so many of us don't read), i will give and speak at seminars, conferences, churches, schools…..well i already do that. But i do understand and wish you much success with your PLAN!

  33. Ernest Brown says:

    you do that there has been a temperance movement against alcohol for over 200 years right? and people did not want the open drunkenness that you see today or the junkie siting on a corner nodding off. or watching the bums light stems in the park around kids. or to walk into a store and see pipes and bongs and fake weed sold openly. do you like seeing that? I don't.

  34. Ernest Brown says:

    no, the finally got him on income tax charges after they got the bookkepper to flip. who did nt see the untouchables? but if they could make it stick they would have gotten him on that.

  35. AJ Johnson says:

    Ida B. Wells, James Weldon Johnson, Walter White, and W.E.B. Du Bois told us about lynchings and showed us their fight. This should stand for what is best: the commitment to justice and fairness and the conviction that one individual’s sense of right can suffice to defy the gravest of wrongs.

  36. David Bean says:

    Sir i wish you well on your venture…whatever it may be. But i will not vacate my platform of there is no justification of "Choosing To Do Wrong"….whether they got $11.00 or killed everyone in there it was their decision to commit the crime that got them in trouble…and wrong is wrong regardless and until we can talk about the ones who they set-up then i'm done. If we are talking justice for those who did nothing then i'm in 100% ……the amount of time they get for not commiting a crime is totally wrong and i will fight tooth and nails. But i will not worry about time given to someone who got caught doing wrong. If you spent as much efforts in generating a PLAN, you would speak volume in the black community Sir. You're right they can set us up and take us down with LAW. Maybe if we as a people could set-up a "Defense Panel" of Attorney's black and white that we create funds for then we could have a better playing field from which to defend this wrong. I don't know the answer but I do know that we gotta do more that bring awareness.

  37. AJ Johnson says:

    David Bean why do I have to be a "sir"…myopia.

  38. David Bean says:

    AJ Johnson For me it's just a term of respect for you, no pun intended. If you took it as such i offer i offer my apology. Being an older guy it's something i got from my parents.

    Myopia – Merriam-Webster Online

    medical : a condition of the eye that makes it difficult to see objects that are far away. Full Definition of MYOPIA

  39. All these things happened b4 Al Capone's time. Right, as a matter of fact Christian's represent a minority when you compare them to the rest of the population. It really looks like the Government, played the public. The of the lessr of the 2 evils. Even Christmas was once illegal in the USA.

  40. Doug Handy says:

    Ernest Brown and David Bean are truly missing the larger point; evidently, they are not understanding what they read. No one is in any way condoning the acts for which there is punishment. However, I guarantee you both of them have committed some minor atrocity or other that THEY could have easily been arrested and prosecuted for, just like the young folks whose lives have been destroyed behind small amounts of weed. And ironically, THEY themselves have probably both smoked weed.

  41. Julia Lucas says:

    Some people making comments seem to be missing the point about who the "War on Drugs" is targeting. At the mostly white suburban all-boys Catholic high school my boyfriend went to, about half the student body was selling or doing drugs or both–and we're not just talking about weed, we're talking about coke, too. Same as when I went to college–the white students did weed, ecstasy, shrooms and coke, some black students did weed, and all the sellers I knew were white. To me the numbers in this article stand. Do you think they're sending the cops to the burbs, despite wide-spread drug use? Think they're sending them into universities? Nope, they're sending them to the "ghettos" and labeling it a black/ poor/ ghetto problem, ignoring the white citizens of the suburbs, and incarcerating blacks and Latinos while ignoring drug issues elsewhere. So even if the prison terms were the same for blacks and whites–which they aren't–the fact is blacks are targeted and incarcerated at a higher rate than whites.

  42. Just wondering why they didn't cite any sources of those statistics.

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