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HurtChronicles of the Drug War Generation$
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Miriam Boeri

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780520293465

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520293465.001.0001

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The Racial Landscape of the Drug War

The Racial Landscape of the Drug War

Chapter:
(p.97) Five The Racial Landscape of the Drug War
Source:
Hurt
Author(s):

Miriam Boeri

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520293465.003.0006

This chapter provides insider accounts of how the War on Drugs impacted people of color. The racial disparities of the incarcerated population increased as working-class African American communities became impoverished ghettos. Constant police surveillance of minority neighborhoods and invasive oversight by detached judges and probation officers humiliated those entrapped by law enforcement and too poor to afford honest legal protection. Jammie speaks for those with less strength of character when she tells the judge, “How can you sit up there in suburbia and tell me how to live my life as a black woman in the ghetto?” As punitive responses to drug use became more severe, particularly for crack cocaine, extended families were engulfed in overwhelming debt as the criminal justice system demanded the accused pay for their own court, probation, and legal fees, and former prisoners were required to pay for their time behind bars and parole services. Older black baby boomers who remembered the hope of the Civil Rights Movement despaired of societal change as they sought solace in drugs. Racism through the “New Jim Crow” remained a lurking barrier to achieving the dream.

Keywords:   African American, black, The New Jim Crow, minority, racism, racial disparities, surveillance, ghettos, crack cocaine, Civil Rights Movement

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