Class, Race

Politicians & Drugs

What is up with politicians and drugs recently?

First, there was Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and his confession to doing crack cocaine – and allegations of sexual harassment against him – and his refusal to step down. Next, Florida representative Trey Radel was caught in a cocaine sting where he bought 3.5 grams of the drug from an undercover officer. These are just the latest politicians that have been caught by law enforcement officers for drug-related crimes while in office. 

Politicians (and the general population) have been doing various drugs for decades – which to a certain degree is inevitable & innocuous, especially with the more harmless drugs such as marijuana and alcohol. However, what becomes worrisome & problematic is when these cases expose the hypocrisy surrounding drugs when it comes to race, class, and privilege.

For instance – when a white male politician is caught doing drugs, they chalk it up to medical conditions or one-off personal hardship, and they immediately seek treatment and/or rehab at private facilities and then are declared perfectly “back to normal” in a total of 1-3 months and resume their role in the legislature. Yet there are hundreds of thousands of people of color incarcerated for similar or even the same exact crime. The double standard of institutional racism in the criminal justice system – is that when a wealthy white politician does coke – he just needs a relaxing trip to a rehab ranch where he can de-stress from the responsibilities in his life that are driving him to do drugs…but when a low-income person of color (especially if it’s a black male) does coke, he needs to go to jail for as looooong as possible because he is a good-for-nothing crack-head hoodlum. 

Ick, the smell of the prison-industrial complex in the morning…

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