1 Name Professor Name Class Name Date Drug War Nightmare Recently, I read an article called “Drug War Nightmare: How We Created a Massive Racial Caste System in America”, which is written by Michelle Alexander who is an associate professor at the Moritz College of Law and the Kirwan Institute for the study of race and Ethnicity at Ohio State University, a civil rights advocate and writer. Alexander writes about how the war on drugs ended up creating a new Jim Crow. Her Purpose is to convey that the “war on drugs” has created a new racial caste system in America by putting harsh punishments on minor crimes like possession and the police only targeting lowincome black communities. Alexander makes three claims: one is that African Americans comprise 80% to 90% of all drug offenders sent to prison. The second claim is that there is more African American adults under correctional control today than there were slaves back in the 1850s. Lastly the third claim is African Americans are getting heavy life sentences for minor crimes like possession and how even though white people are uses just as much drugs or even more the police still focus their target in black communities. 2 Alexander starts her argument by saying that Obama becoming president doesn’t mean America has become a nation where everyone is treated equally and that we finally “triumph over race.” And how that there is an undeniable message embedded after Obama’s appearance on the world stage: this is what freedom looks like; this is what democracy can do for you. If you are poor, marginalized, or relegated to an inferior caste, there is hope for you (Alexander 341). Alexander says that that these are all lies and that the racial caste is alive and well in America. Alexander continues by listing out what some of the problems that are facing African Americans today: More African Americans in jail than there were slave back in the 1850s; More African American men were disenfranchised than in the 1870s (the year the Fiftieth Amendment was ratified which prohibit to deny the right to vote by the basis of race); A black child born today is less likely to be raised by both parents than a black child born into slavery; and lastly she states that a large majority of African American men are labeled felons for life for small crimes which means that they can be denied the right to vote, automatically excluded from juries, and be legally discriminated against in employment, housing, access to education, and public benefits (342). Alexander than explains that the colorblind explanation given by the government and media are just a façade. The uncomfortable truth is that the main reason for the high imprison rates is the “war on drugs” coined by President Richard Nixon, but was turned 3 into an actual reality by Ronald Reagan in order to win the votes of poor and working class white citizens who did not like desegregation, busing, and affirmative action (343). She than goes by stating that the police force is targeting low-income black communities arresting anyone related to drugs and giving out harsh punishments, worse than other countries’ punishment for murder, even if its only possession. She also states that white youth are just as more likely as black youth if not more likely to do drugs but yet they’re not as targeted by police to scope out and forcefully make arrest as they do in black communities. 4 Work Cited Alexander, Michelle. “Drug War Nightmare: How We Created a Massive Racial Caste System in America.” Writing in Response, edited by Matthew Parfitt, Bedford/St. Martins, 2016. pp. 341–345.