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The Storytelling About The 'War on Drugs'

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The documentary titled “13th Documentary“ was actually written by a guy known as Ava DuVernay. Describing it, this documentary was very incredible as it went into a deep depth on the United States of America’s current prison system. Also, the 13th documentary seems to highlight how racial inequality did exist among the different races living in the United States of America. At the start of the movie, there is a clear portrait of how black people in America were being treated poorly throughout their entire lives. It was the year 1965 that the civil war, which had lasted for longtime, ended after the 13th amendment bill was passed. The 13th amendment bill sought to abolish slavery, especially to black people who were had been most affected by this slave trade. Also, the 13th amendment meant that all Africans who had been enslaved were free from slavery and could go back home to their countries or attain American citizenship.

Although the 13th amendment seemed to set the slaves free, the amendment bill had a loophole which was “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude except as a punishment for crime”. This gave whites a perfect opportunity to ‘legally enslave’ African Americans and rebuild the southern part of the economy because it was in tatters from the Civil War. The truth was that the 13th amendment didn’t save the black people from slavery but only meant that there had to exist a reason (however small it is) for a black person to be mistreated or enslaved. We all expect the policemen and those in authority to be the ones to exercise this bill or serve as an example of how it was applicable. Contrary to this, the police department was the one which greatly took advantage of the loophole in the 13th amendment. As long as someone was of a different race, and especially black American, he or she was able to be arrested for the very list offense possible. Some of the offenses in which racial discrimination is portrayed are that black people could be arrested for walking and accused of loitering or intention to cause harm. Police arrested blacks for minor crimes such as loitering. It is through this loophole that the first prison boom in American history was experienced. By the time President Ronald Reagan become the American president in 1982, he put in Americans’ head that drugs are killing the economy and blacks were the culprit. Until to the current day, there is a great relationship between black Americans and marijuana or bhang.

In this particular documentary, I believe that Duvernay used storytelling method in order to effectively illustrate the legacies of slavery as far as the 13th amendment is concerned. Notable from the documentary is that war on drugs has been continuously become more insidious and also lethal. Nixon himself used to describe the black community as a menace to the community. His hate for black people led him to develop a system that exclusively targeted without any underlying inspiration or motivation of an unjust criminal system. There is a possibility that war on drugs was just another meaning of war against black people.

In conclusion, relating this war on drugs to current society, we find that mostly the drug trade in America is for the rich in society. Considering the structural inequality and poverty levels in black communities from the urban setting, then the chances are that they are not beneficiary of this drug trafficking industry although the established and well known in the society continue to benefit big from the trade. Considering all this, we can conclude that there is a possibility that ‘war on drugs’ is just a way through which the federal state targets the black community. 

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The Storytelling About the ‘War On Drugs’. (2022, August 30). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 29, 2023, from
“The Storytelling About the ‘War On Drugs’.” GradesFixer, 30 Aug. 2022,
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