Thefight against trafficking and the use of hard illegal drugs has takenplace for many decades, but it has not yielded any fruits. Those whocriticize the war on drugs argue that it has become unproductivebecause it focuses on women and other minority groups, which createperceptions of racism and prejudice. According to Stuart (2014) thefight against the use and trafficking of drugs in the U.S. targetswomen of color, which is confirmed by their disproportionaterepresentation in the prison system and the harsh punishment theyreceive from courts as compared to other racial groups and gender.
Thefight against drugs took the wrong turn in the early nineteenthcentury. The stakeholders in the judicial system and the community atlarge stopped focusing on the ethical basis of the war, andintroduced racist propaganda. The white men felt insecure about theirpowers and targeted women as the key players in trafficking as wellas the use of illegal drugs with the objective of protecting theirjob and leadership position of women (Szalavitz, 2015). The whiteAmericans coined propaganda that the use of hard drugs among the menof color heightened their desire to rape the white women. Based onthis new propaganda, the fight against hard drugs started targetingthe men of color with a perceived objective of protecting women fromaddicted rapists. The two sets of propaganda favored the white menand resulted in the oppression of women and men of color.
Thenegative effect of the introduction of propaganda in the fightagainst drug trafficking and consumption is evidenced by the largenumber of women and men of color who have been incarcerated ascompared to their proportion in the national population. Research hasshown that 62 % of drug offenders sent to prison are AfricanAmericans (both men and women) while this minority group representsabout 12 % of the national population (Kain, 2011). The same reportindicated that African American men are 13 timed more likely to beimprisoned for drug use compared to their counterpart white men. Intotal, about 25 million people have been charged for drug relatedissues in the U.S. since 1980, but 75 % of them are the people ofcolor (Kain, 2011).
Propagandasthat are intended to protect men’s power have resulted in adisproportionate increase in the number of women in the U.S. prisons.According to Szalavitz (2015) the total number of women incarceratedfor drug-related issues has increased by 400 % since the year 1986,which confirms that women are a major target for the law enforcementagencies given the responsibility of regulating drug abuse. The rateof black women increased by 800 %, confirming that the people ofcolor are at a high risk of being imprisoned for the drug-relatedissues compared to other groups.
Inconclusion, it is evident that the fight against the abuse andtrafficking of illegal drugs is no longer based on ethicalprinciples, but on gender and race-based propagandas. This isconfirmed by a disproportionate representation of women and thepeople of color in prisons confirm. The judicial system is dominatedby white men, which increase chances that these law enforcementagencies are influenced by the ongoing propagandas to discriminateagainst women and the minority groups (such as the people of color)in the fight against drug trafficking and abuse.
Kain,E. (2011). Thewar on drugs is a war on minorities and the poor.London: Forbes.
Stuart,K. (2014). Womenand the Criminal Justice System (4thEd.).New York, NY: Pearson Education Inc.
Szalavitz,M. (2015). U.S:War on drugs, war on women.Washington, DC: Media Awareness Project.