In past articles, I have shown that the War on Drugs is very profitable for politicians and some big businesses. I have also shown that it causes the police to become corrupted. However, I never talked about the reasons why there is such a “war.” While some might actually invoke reasons that sound acceptable – German philosopher Immanuel Kant said that drugs “make one taciturn, withdrawn, and uncommunicative” — most people will use their heart rather than their brain. Or, to paraphrase late Canadian Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier: “Drug prohibitionists don't have opinions but only sentiments."
And the most obvious sentiment is racism. Mass prohibition (which could be considered unconstitutional with respect to the Tenth Amendment) started with opium smoking in 1909. It was directed towards people of Chinese origin, who were the biggest opium smokers. It was believed that Chinese men lured white women to have sex in opium dens. However, the Anti-Opium Act did not forbid drinking and injecting tinctures of opiates, which were popular among whites.
Cocaine and what little legal parts of opium remained were prohibited by the Harrison Tax Act of 1914. This time, racism was directed towards blacks, whose cocaine usage apparently transformed them into insane, white-women-hating attackers.
Racism towards blacks is partially what motivated prohibition of pot, following the belief at the time that “marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations Negroes, entertainers and any others.” However, the main “culprits” were Mexican immigrants who, according to a Texas police captain, became superhumanly stronger after smoking. They were also accused of distributing marijuana cigarettes to school children.
Even in 2013, racism is still obvious in the War on Drugs. Ever since Nixon declared drugs to be Public Enemy Number One more than 40 years ago, the War on Drugs has been seen by many as the new Jim Crow. As a result:
-There are more blacks under correctional control today (in jail or on probation) than there were slaves in 1850.
-There were more disenfranchised blacks (due to felon disenfranchisement laws) in 2004 than in 1870, when the Fifteenth Amendment was passed, which prohibited denying voting based on race.
-Blacks only account for 13% of the U.S. population but for 40% and 45% of the federal and state inmate population, respectively. They are also much more likely to be arrested for drug “crimes” than their white counterparts.
In other words, some places in the country are seeing an ever-growing permanent under-caste (not class; castes are permanent). If the United States of America is truly the land of the free where all men are created equal, then it needs to stop the War on Drugs at this instant. The more it continues, the more government becomes militarized and the less freedom we have.