Class and the Drug War

More

Via Andrew, here's an interesting post riffing off support for the drug war among minorities:


One of the few "successes" (and I'm speaking ironically here) of the drug war has been to convince people that the negative effects of prohibition are actually the negative effects of drugs. People see violence on the street and say "that's because of drugs" when, in fact, it's because of the drug war. 

And so they call for more enforcement even though (as we know) that won't help the problem but rather make it worse. And, quite frankly, this issue is much more visible out on the streets in poor/minority neighborhoods than in affluent neighborhoods where the drug trafficking takes place discretely in the country club locker room.

This comes off the relatively low support for marijuana legalization among minorities. I'd like to see more polling on other components of the drug war before drawing hard conclusions. But with that said, I think the point about violence is right on.

No one likes seeing their block turned into the Wild West. But when a civilian gets clipped, a kind of blood-rage brews and people tend to support all punitive action against the source of said clipping. I'd love to go back into the 70s, 80s and 90s and see some polling among minority communities on anti-crime measures. I would not be shocked if there had been relatively decent support in minority communities. 

That aside, I also think when you live in a community where there isn't much of cushion for drug abuse, you're skeptical of any effort to make drugs more accessible. If a cocaine habit is, for you, not just something that can cost a job, but something that leaves families homeless, prohibition likely sounds quite reasonable.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

What Is the Greatest Story Ever Told?

A panel of storytellers share their favorite tales, from the Bible to Charlotte's Web.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Death of Film

You'll never hear the whirring sound of a projector again.

Video

How to Hunt With Poison Darts

A Borneo hunter explains one of his tribe's oldest customs: the art of the blowpipe

Video

A Delightful, Pixar-Inspired Cartoon

An action figure and his reluctant sidekick trek across a kitchen in search of treasure.

Video

I Am an Undocumented Immigrant

"I look like a typical young American."

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Writers

Up
Down

More in National

From This Author

Just In