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The House I Lived in

In: Social Issues

Submitted By jcali33
Words 804
Pages 4
Joseph Cali

In the documentary “The House I Lived in” there are numerous accounts of people

speaking about the “War on Drugs” The director Eugene Jarecki states what his stance is directly by saying, “I wanted to follow the failure of the drug war and the harm it does” What does he mean by this? Well, in this movie he shows what prevention there is for drugs, how drug use has started, and whether or not the prevention is just or not. In the beginning of the documentary he throws out a figure that makes you wonder, it is that one trillion dollars has been spent on drug prevention and there has been virtually no change in the amount of drug use. This makes you wonder, what is really going on?
The film recognizes abuse as a matter of public health, and investigates the tragic errors and shortcomings that have resulted from framing it as an issue for law enforcement. It also shows how political and financial corruption has influenced and become the backbone for the war on drugs, although there are many failures. The drug war in America has been the reason for the largest percentage of people in jail.
In this documentary it is shown that what should be done to stop the use of drugs or find out why people are on them, you have to start at the root. The war on drugs makes it so that most members of the urban black community, who might have turned to drugs either as personal escape or as the only means of making money in a community that is run down of business, never get a chance to get ahead. Instead, they fall into a cycle. Drugs, prison, parole. There are no incentives there either. In jail most there are no means for helping these addicts get off the drug for when they are released. Another aspect that hinders them from going back to society and

trying to regain normalcy is the fact that once they have been convicted, that is on their record.
This prevents them from voting, gaining grants or loans. Also in many situations being hired.

So how is the government controlling this cycle, and why keep it going? Well, everyone

is looking for an answer, and in turn the government gives the wrong one. Politics will label the black community as the heavy users of crack cocaine, therefore giving that negative connotation with those communities heavily populated with blacks. Soon enough businesses fall dry in those areas (ghettos) and then people resort to drugs as a way of livelihood. In my opinion, this is a wrong approach, considering blacks aren’t even the main users of crack. The dependency and need for the war on drugs is all monetary. Most jails are privately run and operated and funded by big corporations. These jails are also highly profitable. The only way to keep the profits rolling in, is to keep the convicts rolling in. This is where the cycle comes into play and harsh sentencing to keep them there.
I don’t think that what the government is doing gives everyone a fair chance. At the same time, I also believe in the law, and what is right is right. Regardless, of some things that are set in place, Personally I feel that is you know something is illegal why do it? Make means another way. The documentary showed someone who was upset about being sentenced life in jail for trafficking crack. Many people would argue that since his three ounces is a small amount and it is not a fair punishment, he knew the consequences when doing it. So why is this a sad story?
This whole documentary to me is playing the blame game, with the root of all evil being politics.
When presidents would use this concept of “War on Drugs” as a marketing scheme and woo over voters. So in turn they blamed the poor. Another issue of blaming that is going on, is that it seemed to me, most people interviewed in this document were blaming the government for their troubles and hardships. Yes, they are in communities that lack resources that others have, but

why not do something about it? Why continue to fall victim to the stereotype that comes with living there?
1) Is the reason that White middle upperclass people aren’t regarded as much with the topic of crack cocaine abuse because they have better functioning jobs in society than those that live in poor communities with low paying jobs?
2) Why is It that all of a sudden when people get caught it’s such a sad story? When all along they were getting away with doing something illegal and didn’t think twice. It gives a double standard.

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