Race and the War on Drugs

disproportionately targeted African Americansracial disparitiesracial disparities in the prison populationracial disparity in drug enforcementWar on Drugswide racial disparities in arrests, prosecutions, sentencing and deaths
The War on Drugs is a term for the actions taken and legislation enacted by the United States government, intended to reduce or eliminate the production, distribution, and use of illicit drugs.wikipedia
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War on drugs

counter-narcoticsdrug interdictiondrug war
The War on Drugs is a term for the actions taken and legislation enacted by the United States government, intended to reduce or eliminate the production, distribution, and use of illicit drugs. The War on Drugs was declared by U.S. President Richard M. Nixon during a Special Message to Congress delivered on June 17, 1971, in response to increasing rates of death due to narcotics.
According to Human Rights Watch, the War on Drugs caused soaring arrest rates that disproportionately targeted African Americans due to various factors.

The New Jim Crow

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindnessimprisonment rate
According to Michelle Alexander, the author of The New Jim Crow and a professor of law at Stanford Law School, even though drug trading is done at similar rates all over the U.S., most people arrested for it are colored.
Alexander argues that the War on Drugs has a devastating impact on inner city African American communities, on a scale entirely out of proportion to the actual dimensions of criminal activity taking place within these communities.

Race and crime

black on black gun crimecrime and ethnicityrace and violence
Race and crime
Statistics from 1998 show that there were wide racial disparities in arrests, prosecutions, sentencing and deaths.

Race and crime in the United States

race and crimeblack on black crimeblack-on-black violence
Race and crime in the United States
Race and the War on Drugs

Race in the United States criminal justice system

racial inequality in the United States criminal justice systemdisproportionateimpose inequality, repression, and discrimination
Race in the United States criminal justice system
Race and the War on Drugs

Federal government of the United States

federal governmentfederalU.S. government
The War on Drugs is a term for the actions taken and legislation enacted by the United States government, intended to reduce or eliminate the production, distribution, and use of illicit drugs.

Presidency of Richard Nixon

Nixon administrationNixon37th President of the United States
The War on Drugs began during the Nixon Administration with the goal of reducing the supply of and demand for illegal drugs, though an ulterior, racial motivation has been proposed.

Minority group

minorityminoritiesethnic minorities
The War on Drugs has led to controversial legislation and policies, including mandatory minimum penalties and stop-and-frisk searches, which have been suggested to be carried out disproportionately against minorities.

Structural violence

structuralstructural forcesinstitutionalized violence
In addition to enforcement disparities, some claim that the collateral effects of the War on Drugs have established forms of structural violence, especially for minority communities.

Richard Nixon

NixonPresident NixonRichard M. Nixon
The War on Drugs was declared by U.S. President Richard M. Nixon during a Special Message to Congress delivered on June 17, 1971, in response to increasing rates of death due to narcotics.

Watergate scandal

WatergateWatergate break-inresignation
However, because he may have been disillusioned with the Nixon administration following the Watergate scandal, the validity of Ehrlichman's claim is disputed.

Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986

Anti-Drug Abuse Act1986 Anti-Drug Abuse Act
The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 established a 100:1 sentencing disparity for the possession of crack vs. powder cocaine. By contrast, certain authors have pointed out that the Congressional Black Caucus backed the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, implying that that law could not be racist.

Mandatory sentencing

mandatory minimum sentencesmandatory minimum sentencemandatory minimum
The War on Drugs has led to controversial legislation and policies, including mandatory minimum penalties and stop-and-frisk searches, which have been suggested to be carried out disproportionately against minorities.

United States Sentencing Commission

U.S. Sentencing CommissionSentencing CommissionUS Sentencing Commission
In 1995, the United States Sentencing Commission delivered a report to Congress concluding that, because 80% of crack offenders were black, the 100:1 disparity disproportionately affected minorities.

Congressional Black Caucus

Black CaucusBlackBlack Causus
By contrast, certain authors have pointed out that the Congressional Black Caucus backed the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, implying that that law could not be racist.

Fair Sentencing Act

Fair Sentencing Act of 2010
In 2010, Congress passed the Fair Sentencing Act, which reduced the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine from 100:1 to 18:1.

Supreme Court of the United States

Supreme CourtUnited States Supreme CourtU.S. Supreme Court
The Supreme Court ruled in Terry v. Ohio that a "stop-and-frisk" search does not violate the Fourth Amendment, so long as the officer executing the search bears a "reasonable suspicion" that the person being searched has committed, or is about to commit, a crime.

Terry v. Ohio

The Supreme Court ruled in Terry v. Ohio that a "stop-and-frisk" search does not violate the Fourth Amendment, so long as the officer executing the search bears a "reasonable suspicion" that the person being searched has committed, or is about to commit, a crime.

Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution

Fourth AmendmentFourthU.S. Const. amend. IV
The Supreme Court ruled in Terry v. Ohio that a "stop-and-frisk" search does not violate the Fourth Amendment, so long as the officer executing the search bears a "reasonable suspicion" that the person being searched has committed, or is about to commit, a crime.

United States Department of Justice

Department of JusticeJustice DepartmentU.S. Department of Justice
A 2015 report conducted by the Department of Justice found that blacks in Ferguson, Missouri were over twice as likely to be searched during vehicle stops, despite being found in possession of contraband 26% less often than white drivers.

San Francisco District Attorney's Office

San Francisco District AttorneyDistrict Attorney of San FranciscoDistrict Attorney
A 2016 report conducted by the San Francisco District Attorney's Office concluded that racial disparities exist regarding stops, searches, and arrests by the San Francisco Police Department, and that these disparities were especially salient for the black population.

Chicago Police Accountability Task Force

A 2016 Chicago Police Accountability Task Force report found that black and Hispanic drivers were searched by the Chicago Police more than four times more frequently than white drivers, despite white drivers being found with contraband twice as often as black and Hispanic drivers.

Bureau of Justice Statistics

Bureau of JusticeU.S. Bureau of Justice StatisticsDirector, Bureau of Justice Statistics
A 1995 Bureau of Justice Statistics report found that from 1991 to 1993, 16% of those who sold drugs were black, but 49% of those arrested for doing so were black.

Seattle

Seattle, WashingtonSeattle, WACity of Seattle
A 2006 study concluded that blacks were significantly over-represented among those arrested for drug delivery offenses in Seattle.