nancylebov (nancylebov) wrote,

The war on drugs is a war on people

This is the trailer for American Violet, about a woman who sues the district attorney after she's picked up at random for drugs and threatened with a long sentence unless she accepts a life-wrecking plea bargain.

Here's where the movie will be playing-- May 1st for Philadelphia. If it isn't opening in your town, nag your local theater.

A review, basically to the effect that the movie is about true things, but could use a little more subtlety.

I'd heard about Tulia-- 46 people (40 of them black and the rest whites who lived in the black part of town and who had ties to the black community) caught up in a drug sweep based on no evidence, and of Teneha where 140 motorists (almost all of them black) had property seized under civil forfeiture without being charged with any crime, but not about this, a town where the racism is so entrenched that the black mayor is thinking about leaving.

Years ago, when I first heard that the war on drugs is racist, my libertarian reaction is that it wouldn't be any better if people were being arrested without their race being considered. That still seems somewhat reasonable to me, though it might also be that it's worse to do serious damage to one community than to spread the pain evenly. And I don't know know whether the war on drugs would have taken its atrocious form if it hadn't been for a high level of background racism.

Meanwhile, when I talk about Tulia and Tenaha, the usual reaction I get is "Well, that's Texas...." and I don't have a good answer. Any suggestions?

Movie link thanks to Unqualified Observer. If you want to follow justice system outrages, The Agitator is useful.
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