Comparing And Contrasting Two Articles On Racial & Drug War Issues Essay Sample
Comparing and contrasting indeed, spells trouble for those who would dolefully disagree with one or the other of the articles up for analysis in this essay. Deborah Small’s article entitled, ‘The war on drugs is a war on racial justice’ in comparison with Stephanie Bush-Baskette’s article entitled, ‘The war on drugs and the incarceration of mothers’ deserve cogent, and thoughtful deep, deep, analysis. First of all Bush-Baskette focuses her article on the plight of ‘women’ and the truly lachrymose situation in which they find themselves behind bars, citing a mere 9 percent ever setting eyes upon their minor children for the entire duration of their prison stay. A cursory, or what some might deem a flippantly obligatory comment is instilled early on in her write-up, stating “While the costs and harms associated with the increased incarceration of young black males remains an important and salient issue for policy-makers to consider”(“War on drugs, Bush-Baskette”). The problem here is that the issue of black males being disproportionately incarcerated is planted deeply, (ever so deeply) within the abyss of the entire U.S. justice system, in terms of double standards based upon race.
Anyone else notice lately? The killing of unarmed young black males in the streets by white police officers has become epidemic. Smalls correctly indicates, in contrast to Bush-Baskette who stays on the safe grounds of default generalities, that the prison-industrial complex demonstrates a mirror image of American slavery times – an antebellum remembrance, brought to life in modern times. Smalls cites numerous statistical data regarding the ‘blackening’ and ‘browning’ of American prison cells. The plight of black women as compared to white women, in terms of “drug and alcohol abuse rates” are higher among white pregnant women, yet black women are ten times “more likely” to be reported under mandatory stipulations as violators (“War on drugs racial justice, Smalls”). Whether Bush-Baskette does not care to know how entrenched the racial disparities are in de jure jurisprudence, and casual de facto practice, remains to be seen. What is noteworthy, is that not much has changed in the modern era with regard to unequal treatment according to color.
Of course, the plight of colored people matters little among the majority white populace, who understand how the system operates in terms of drug punitive policies. Smalls points out the colossal gaps in the treatment for ‘crack’ cocaine and ‘powder’ cocaine, in terms of possession or other associate offenses regarding the drug. In commenting upon the harsher punishments associated with ‘crack’ cocaine (the cheap street version, easily available to poor blacks), as opposed to the milder sentencing of predominantly white-users of powder cocaine – Smalls insists – is an indication of the insidious hypocrisy of the ‘justice-for-some’ system in the United States. While it would be grossly unfair to characterize Bush-Baskette as framing the rubric of her article in any justified portrayal of racism, per se, she makes many accurate points pertaining to the plight of women as being more at risk for prescription drug overdoses than men, and the fact that women’s number in incarceration situations have jumped by “433% between 1986 and 1991” while men’s prison rates for drug offenses has only surged by “283%” (“War on Drugs, Bush-Baskette”). Here is where the rabbit hole plunges a bit disturbingly deeper.
Historically, during the women’s (white women’s) suffrage movement in the United States, where were black women’s faces in that movement to vote? Strangely silent, or rather strangely absent because the color line has always been drawn in cement in America, when it comes black and white. Smalls also draws attention to the fact that all crimes in the United States are blamed on gangs, but any true analysis of statistical findings will show that America has frighteningly high homicidal rates across the board, placing white males aged “15 to 24” as twice as high in comparison to other countries. The media also play a role in images and especially when it comes to degradation of black people in videos, who are apparently only so happy to pile on the clown suits and parade for money, mentally numb to the factor that these perfidious images of buffoonery are circulating all over the world. But that is another story.
While it is sad, regarding the situation about mothers traumatic separation from their children while in prison, given all the anxieties and realities of impoverishment suffered – situations for black mothers are doubly if not triply, worse. The stunning factor is that the current propaganda stipulates that we are now in a post-racial society, a color-blind world where so-called “race” no longer matters. If this is true, would any white person on Planet Earth trade places with a black person, even if it were Oprah Winfrey? Yet, returning to the emphasis of Smalls’ words regarding the disproportionate treatment in drug offenses, she states “The inherent racism in America’s enforcement of its drug policy has reached crisis proportions,” yet she may have more accurately stated ‘crisis proportions’ for whom? Nobody cares. That is – nobody who has the power to change it, cares. It is Jim Crow all over again. The perhaps the most audacious tragedy of all is when a people lose their dignity. The wise words of Dr. Frances Cress Welsing, an African-American psychiatrist of some renown, has indicated that self-dignity and self-respect are more potently powerful than a nuclear bomb.
Just as black people had never learned group politics, perhaps due to the centuries-long psychological abuses, and having been robbed of native language and stripped of all human dignity – played a role in easement of further abuses. But what is one to do when faced at gunpoint, while unarmed and being black in front of a white police officer who has the legal right to shoot at will and kill? While Bush-Baskette makes a valid point when bemoaning women’s plight at the hands of being imprisoned, suffering separation from families and children, one must wonder when she regards ‘women’ what default color does she see?
Bush-Baskette, S. (2000). The war on drugs and the incarceration of mothers. Journal of Drug
Issues, 30(4), 919-928. Retrieved from ProQuest Database.
Smalls, D. (2001). The war on drugs is a war on racial justice. Social Research, 68(3), 896-903.
Retrieved from EBSCOhost database.