Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The link posted above is a news story from New Orleans shot in late 2007 pertaining to current issues with the war on drugs. WWL-4 News interviews Ira Glasser, the president of an organization called the Drug Policy Alliance. This group is dedicated to reforming drug laws nationwide; however, who he is and what he stands for is not important in this context. What is important are the claims he makes given the statistics he has researched about racial profiling in the event of incarcerations of African Americans involved in the drug trade.

Within the interview Glasser claims, “The war on drugs has actually become a war on black citizens.” He continues to give statistics demonstrating clear evidence of racial profiling during arrests. He states that a majority of those citizens involved in the drug trade in America are primarily white while the majority of convicted felons prosecuted for being involved in the drug trade are African American. With this in mind, what Glasser claims next is astonishing. At a minute and five seconds into the video Glasser connects the racial profiling of convicted black felons to voting rights as convicted felons are not allowed to vote. This profiling keeps five million African Americans from voting in the Deep South.

This sounds strikingly familiar to practices by the government during the Civil Rights Era. We have studied similar techniques such as literature tests and poll taxes to keep African Americans from voting in the early to mid 20th century. Granted I do not advocate for the drug trade, but in this specific case America using a tactic of racism to keep African Americans from voting may not be worth the suffrage lost as nonviolent African American criminals are being put behind bars. What negative implication does this profiling have and what steps can be taken to regain an accurate representation of all American citizens’ values at the polls?

This video is appalling to see forty or so years after the boom of the Civil Rights Era. It seems to me that regardless of the outward appearance of the United States Judicial system, America is still as racist and segregated as it was years ago. Drawing from this situation it is no surprise that a majority of our leaders in Washington D.C. are of Caucasian decent and until something is done to reverse the clearly biased polls, white leaders will retain their hold on American Leadership.

Obama Change.

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