Thinking about the War on Drugs at SBTA
My name is Jahmal, and today at the Labor/Community Strategy Center we youth attending the Spring Break Taking Action (SBTA) read and discussed this extremely interesting article by Graham Boyd.
In The Drug War is the New Jim Crow, Boyd reveals a perception of our criminal system that we as people have not seen or would dare not declare our 'justice' system to be. This 'war' on drugs is paralleled to America's dark history of slavery, seeing as how the number of black men in jail is "792,000" equaling the number of black men enslaved in the 1820s. We see the biased agenda of our penal system when blacks make up "90% of drug prisoners in some states and are up to 57 times more likely than whites to be incarcerated for drug crimes" despite the fact that white Americans use drugs at the same rate of African-Americans, and that there are five times as many white Americans as black in the United States so the majority of the users are white.
I was intrigued to get this view of our system. It's always said that 'racism is still alive, they just be concealing it' (Kanye West), but now I can see it. It is more subtle, and today's society tries to put on the front as if everything is all good amongst people. But our society is still marginalizing a group of people, things ain't completely changed.
This makes me thing about how in this capitalist currency things will never change because that is how capitalism thrives, there must be established social classes in which those at the bottom endure the worse conditions and circumstances of life. Unfortunately in America's history, the oppressed groups are the people of Black and Brown minorities. America's history shows how people of Black and Brown descent were exploited for beneficial purposes. Thus, America's make-up of the lower-class are Black and Brown people; and they are the commodities of the private corporations (or the upper class) in society.
I know I'm kinda straying from Boyd's article, but I feel that it ties in together. Over half of the prisoners in the U.S are Black and Brown, in which their labor is exploited. Majority of the lower-class are people of color, in which we take the minimum wage jobs (like cashier, grocery store clerk) to pay for a living, and corporations benefit from the fruits of the labor.
This is one of the little abstract notions that I have. It's still not fully developed, but
I'm working on it. But the organizers at the Center are aware of this and taking action to change this system, which is why I'm proud to be a member and engage with other members and organizers of this movement birthing out of the Center.
About Jahmal Rivas
- Jan 22 2013