As America celebrates and commemorates Black Historical past Month, it’s necessary to recollect precisely how Black People have been disproportionately impacted by the prison justice system in our nation. From the crack vs. cocaine sentencing disparities to the truth that Black Americans are on average four times as likely to be wrongfully convicted of a serious crime primarily based on statistics offered by the Innocence Mission and the numerous ways in which hashish prohibition has immediately broken and devastated Black communities, these punishments and subsequent penalties have ranged from unjust to obviously unconstitutional.
Moreover the numerous examples of unjust and pointless sentencing and policing practices that unfairly focused Black communities throughout generations, the most lasting affect of President Richard Nixon’s trillion-dollar and multi-decade failure was the creation of the Drug Enforcement Company. Fashioned in 1973 and serving because the successor to the equally as unnecessarily authoritarian Federal Bureau of Narcotics which itself was based by essentially the most infamous but influential prohibitionist of all of them, Harry Anslinger, the DEA was the enforcement arm of the infinite draconian insurance policies of the Drug Warfare that solely elevated in severity as each Ronald Reagan and Invoice Clinton took workplace. Worse even, each George H.W. Bush and his son didn’t do a lot to reform these harmful and ineffective insurance policies both.
Probably the most unexplainable and repeatedly disproven collection of legal guidelines that the DEA have enforced for many years is the illogical Controlled Substances List. “Marihuana”, a plant with clearly confirmed medicinal treatments for some and authorized for authorized medical utilization within the majority of American states, is designated as the very best and most threatening class of Schedule I. In response to the Managed Substances Record, this plant is much extra lethal than fentanyl, an artificial opiate killing 1000’s of People throughout all socio-economic and geographic demographics yearly. OxyContin, the primary perpetrator together with Purdue Pharma in inflicting the catastrophic opioid epidemic that has taken a whole lot of 1000’s of lives and remains to be ongoing at the moment, is a Schedule II substance and due to this fact thought of much less harmful in accordance with the DEA.
All through a long time of enforcement of deeply flawed insurance policies that resulted within the unjust incarceration of numerous people for many years or life sentences in essentially the most extreme instances, the DEA’s actions and operations of their clearly unsuccessful try to rid America of drug abuse have conclusively been a failure and haven’t resulted in any kind of widespread abstinence from the medication on the Managed Substances Record. Tragically nonetheless although, 1000’s went to American jails over these a long time for drug-related offenses that had been non-violent and even victimless in some instances.
Simply final week for the beginning of February, nationally acknowledged as Black Historical past Month which is a month to honor the innumerable contributions by Black People to this nice nation, the DEA decided to post a dedication on their Twitter account. Not a dedication to a well-known and influential Black American all through political or authorized historical past akin to Thurgood Marshall, however slightly a bizarrely timed tribute to the one American president to ever resign from the place and a supposedly prestigious award that he was gifted within the first few months of the Drug Warfare.
“On Dec. 14, 1970, on the White Home, the Worldwide Narcotic Enforcement Officers’ Affiliation offered President Nixon with a “certificates of particular honor” in recognition of the excellent loyalty and contribution to assist narcotic legislation enforcement.” the caption learn.
If this picture of Nixon and caption had been posted on the primary day of some other month, then this unusual tribute publish would have been solely thought of random at greatest and a painfully tacky reward of ineffective insurance policies at worst. Nonetheless, due to the posting date of February 1st, the primary day of Black Historical past Month, many hashish and drug coverage reform organizations discovered this publish to be each astoundingly tone deaf and poorly timed.
On condition that Nixon was the president who began the Drug War that rapidly spiraled into subsequent decades of mass incarceration and even stricter policies in the presidencies since his resignation, this Twitter publish was closely criticized as a result of these insurance policies being so destructively discriminatory in direction of Black People.
As would later come out in accordance with the testimony of former White Home Counsel John Ehrlichman, that was the underlying aim of these legal guidelines and insurance policies.
“We knew we couldn’t make it unlawful to be both in opposition to the warfare or black,” Ehrlichman stated, “however by getting the general public to affiliate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, after which criminalizing each closely, we might disrupt these communities. We might arrest their leaders, raid their properties, break up their conferences, and vilify them night time after night time on the night information. Did we all know we had been mendacity in regards to the medication? After all we did.”
Whereas any social media publish from the DEA most likely wouldn’t be met with overwhelming reward, this publish was significantly ill-timed. Particularly after the federal government agency openly admitted themselves that the agency was created due to prejudicial laws and policing practices, the truth that the DEA posted this unusual throwback picture on the primary day of an necessary month meant to recollect and rejoice the indelible and unimaginable contributions of Black People reveals how out-of-the-loop and aloof that some governmental companies can nonetheless be.