The War on Poverty

“The War on Poverty”—The War on Drugs has been a way to legally discriminate based on race.

By Tori Holland

12576015_1260380350643785_579980350_nThe War on Drugs has been an ongoing controversy. To some it has been such a problematic issue that it has actually become a war in which there are clear and diametrically opposed adversaries. This is a war between people of color and the government. When at war, one side tries to find a way to destroy the other side. The government and police officials are trying to destroy minorities. People of color are constantly fighting for equal treatment under the law, regardless that it is guaranteed by the US Constitution. The War on Drugs is creating a new version of legalized and systematic segregation: a new Jim Crow. The policies of the War on Drugs have consequences that include racially profiling minorities and as a result mass incarceration is a key component of this debate.


In the article The Drug War is the New Jim Crow, Graham Boyd argues that the War on Drugs is targeting people of color. Boyd explains that the effect of this is that a disproportionate number of people of color are being imprisoned. He states that the prison system is just like slavery all over again. The rates of black men being incarcerated are approximately 792,000; that is equal to the number of men enslaved in 1820. Graham Boyd also includes in his article that “we are incarcerating African-American men at a rate of approximately four times the rate of incarceration of black man in south Africa under apartheid” African-American men are being incarcerated rapidly.  

A prime example of how the war on drugs is creating a legally segregated society is felon disenfranchisement. Over 200,000 African-American men (31% of all A-A men in state ) were barred from the 2000 presidential election, as they will be from every other election in Florida for the rest of their lives. There are myriad impacts after becoming a felon such as having a hard time finding a job, losing house authority, and not being able to vote. In this way, the government is able to legally restrict the rights of convicted felons indefinitely.

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In 2010, Professor Michelle Alexander published the book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. In her book, she says, “Yeah, the criminal justice system is racist in many ways, but it really doesn’t help to make such absurd observation.”  Alexander argues that people are stating the obvious. Many people are familiar with the criminal justice system and it’s bad ways. Although everyone is familiar with the corruption of the criminal justice system, no one wants to take a stand to change it.

In the beginning of this video, Alex Jones makes his introduction by talking to a Mexican Drug Lord that was trafficking cocaine for the US government.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MG2piYf_w2U   

If the government were to bring drugs into the U.S., then it would be a big problem, but when it is a drug dealer, a normal person without any high authority, it is just something that everyone is used to and wouldn’t be such a big deal.
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According to this graph, 72% of the drug users are white but 60% of the people in prisons for drug offenses are black.  “With millions behind bars and the toll mounting every day, the war on drugs has slipped the reins of metaphor to become a literal war”.


Beverley DuBois is a felon in Washington state. She spent less than a year in prison for growing marijuana. After going to prison she was denied the right to vote in the 2004 presidential election all because she had to pay a fine that she could no longer pay. Due to the time she spent in prison, she lost her job which made it hard for her to pay the $1900 fine. As time went on the payments increased after she got into a car accident, and it really made it difficult for her to pay the fine. Losing her right to vote encouraged her to become more politically involved.   

Although she has done her time for the crime, it wasn’t really something that she should’ve went to prison for. Mass incarceration rates are increasing because of minor crimes like DuBois’s. People are serving time for the smallest crimes and also for an unreasonably long sentences. DuBois, like many others, is a victim of felony disenfranchisement: their past follows them for the rest of their lives.

Felons that are serving time for drug offenses are getting thrown in prisons and most have no hope of getting out anytime soon. People of color especially are the ones that are serving years for the smallest drug offenses. The War on Drugs and mass incarceration are two of the main reasons why felon disenfranchisement exists.


War on drugs has been ongoing problem for many years. It gets worse day by day.  

The disenfranchisement within the War on Drugs is unbelievable. People of color are the ones most affected by all of this. Although whites are the ones that are mostly using drugs it is clear that blacks are the ones that are taking the fall. The War on Drugs is reconstructing people’s lives.  After you go to prison and serve you time, the fact that you went to prison still follows you day to day. You’ll have a constant reminder of that every time you try to do better for yourself.

As long as the war on drugs continues, mass incarceration rates will continue to go up, people of color (specifically blacks) will continue to be targeted, the government will act like they know nothing about this nor had anything to do with this, and drugs will continue to rule this country.

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11 Comments Add yours

  1. Amanda Levin says:

    Good job with a big – and very important – topic. I am curios what you thing the next steps are to address this obvious issue.

    Like

  2. Breonna says:

    It’s really bad that a small offence leads to years of difficulty. War on Drugs really doesn’t an attack on drugs at all.

    Like

    1. Yesenia says:

      Yeah and the fact that it focuses a lot on racial profiling makes it even more distressing.

      Like

    2. Jae says:

      I agree, its more of an attack on people.

      Like

  3. Zoe says:

    The fact that 72% of the drug users are white and 60% of the people in prisons for drug offenses are black, that statistic is distressing.

    Like

  4. Zoe says:

    The fact that this statistic of their being 72% of the drug users are white but 60% of the people in prisons for drug offenses are black. This is distressing.

    Like

    1. Juan says:

      thats exactly what i was paying attention to, funny how it works. I used to never thought it was a race issue but looking at these statistics, im more than convinced.

      Like

    2. Jae says:

      I agree.

      Like

  5. Georgia Steinheimer says:

    Adding that the incarceration rate of black men is the same as the amount as were enslaved in 1820 really left an impact on me that this is clearly more a war on people of color (and black men especially) than drugs.

    Like

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