Brigham Young University Prelaw Review


incarceration, quotas, Jim Crow, race, civil rights, crack, slavery, appropriation


From slavery to Jim Crow to current issues with mass incarceration, America has a long-standing history with oppression and racial prejudice. While it’s easy for many to think racism, particularly at an institutional level, to be a thing of the past, a variety of evidences speak to the contrary. With President Nixon’s War on Drugs, criminality became federally sanctioned way to oppress minorities through sentencing discrepancies in crack and powdered cocaine. In conjunction with that, the privatization of prisons has led to the Prison Industrial Complex, further incentivizing incarceration as a means of industry and commerce. Now we are faced with greater racial polarity and the current opioid epidemic. With the lack of infrastructure resulting from the stigmatization of the crack epidemic, America is behind the curve in being able to deal with a pervasive health issue. Here we will discuss in further detail the structural pillars that led to America’s current racial situation and how racially neutral legislation has still led to heavy racial discrimination today. We will conclude by discussing possible solutions and what steps need to be taken in order to assume individual responsibility and thus promote social equality.

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