Person Blame Vs System Blame Approach Sociology Essay

1804 words - 8 pages

Raquel Medina Page �1
Essay 1: “The war on drugs has never really been about drugs.”  Explain the meaning of this quote (hint:
the video clips from the week on drugs and society will be of help).  If not drugs, what is the war on drugs
about?  How does the criminalization/decriminalization of opium, cocaine, marijuana and "meth" illuminate
the meaning of the quote?  How do contemporary incarceration rates relate to the “real” meaning of the
war on drugs?  What is a "moral panic" - describe in your own words - and how does the "war on drugs"
illustrate a moral panic?  Use at least one specific example of an aspect of the "war on drugs" that
illustrates the concept of a moral panic.
"The war on drugs has never really been about drugs” is a powerful statement,
but nonetheless, in my opinion, true. We live in a country who historically has
triumphed and maintained control by oppressing and destroying other races. From
killing and stealing from Native Americans, to enslaving and killing African Americans, to
bringing in Mexicans under false pretenses and making them work in the US for pretty
much nothing under the Bracero Program, the unimaginable and heinous tragedies this
country has turned a blind eye to for their benefit, is no longer unbelievable.
A top Nixon aide, John Ehrlichman, later admitted: “You want to know what this
was really all about. The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House
after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand
what I’m saying. We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the
war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana
and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt
those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up
their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we
know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.
Raquel Medina Page �2
The excerpt from the article “A Brief History on the War on Drugs, by the Drug Policy
Alliance proves that the war on drugs is not a war on drugs, but a war on the people
whom they seem are less than, whose lives they devalue, who they have oppressed for
hundreds of years. The government have found ways to abolish slavery, but keep it
alive by other means, disguising it as a war on drugs, something many feel is bad and is
a threat.
America’s white people have historically not been accepting of other races in
America. According to chapter 13 in the text book, Chinese Anti Sentiment and Opium
Laws were enacted because white people felt threatened by the Chinese. They
accused the Chinese of being depraved and luring white women into prostitution. They
also felt like the Chinese were stealing jobs. All these factors contributed to the Laws
and another reason to promote the War on Drugs. The US blamed the Chinese for
bringing this drug into the US and it having a negative effect. The US has mastered the
art of...

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