Earlier this week, I stumbled upon upon the article, “When Addiction has a White Face” and the title really caught my attention. It made me think of the statistics around the internet about how Whites are more likely to abuse drugs than Blacks but Blacks tend to be caught or arrested more frequently than Whites. Anyone can see that something is obviously wrong there. However, the majority of people choose to remain ignorant about this issue. I feel like through exploring this issue, I will be able to understand Addiction more than before. It is also definitely an issue that I feel is under-reported and people definitely need to be more aware of it.
Let us start by touching upon the issue of racism in America. Racism, as defined on Marriam-Webster is “A belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race”. To break it down in terms of America, many races that live within America discriminate against one and another because they feel superior to the other.
Now let us think about the racism between Whites and Blacks. It is a fact that there is racist tension between them, especially with the rise of the hashtag, “#BlackLivesMatter” after many major incidents occurring during the last few years as well as the buildup of small issues and problems that have existed within society for the longest time.
The War on Drugs, as we call it, is the campaign to end illegal drug trade. They are drugs that people can get addicted to and die from.
So how does Addiction play a role in all of this? Addiction causes this war to make matters between races worse by how we discriminate people with it. But we discriminate by looking at race first.There is definitely a double standard. There is a lack of understanding combined with the rise of ignorance and assumptions from the people in America.
From this article from The Root, the author takes facts directly from the NAACP that shows the current status of how drugs have overtaken white people far more than black, as there are 14 million white people but only 2.6 blacks/African Americans using an illegal drug. However, black people take the shorter end of the stick as they are more likely to be arrested for it AND serve a harsher punishment for the exact same circumstances as a white person. Surprised? I am not.
America is “gentler” on the white drug addicts. In fact, The Root’s article emphasizes that it is as clear as day that the War on Drugs never included “white America” as part of the fight. White America gets rehab and a chance at a brighter future for being caught with illegal drugs. Black America does not have a chance, even though they live in America, the land of the free and equal. No one is helping the black man’s addiction, only the white man’s.
The Root says the War on Drugs should be the “War on the Most Vulnerable Communities in Black America”, as America continues to protect the white and penalize the blacks for the same supposedly wrong doings. Then America just dismisses how the War on Drugs is a problem that lies within just addiction. America does not consider it and the law system in it are blind towards the discrimination to the minority, especially blacks.
If anything else, blacks are continued to be thrown deeper into the more disadvantaged side of America. This side of America includes poverty, limited education, violence, lesser opportunities, and as a result, is questionable what else can blacks turn to. And what are the whites given? Opportunities and chances. Possibility to rise out of what they have done in the past and build a better future, a future that blacks do not have.
With all of this summarized, I see that Addiction is not the root of the problems. America’s racism and discrimination are at the root of these problems. However, addiction is still a key problem in this because media is so focused on the addiction part of it. But the problem with this is that the media is unaware of the racial situations that stand with it. White people serve as the main consumer of the illegal drugs. Therefore, it is wrong that black people receive the short end of the stick.
All of this is definitely defines what addiction is. In the War on Drugs, addiction is considered and portrayed as the negative cause because the consumer base is addicted to these drugs. However, addiction is not always to blame for every problem. With addiction comes many other problems. Addiction reveals what is behind the curtain everyone tries to hide and deny. We see that Addiction is indeed racist in terms of consequences of actions because of how the people of America are racist.