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The War on Drugs

by Kayla Moten

The justice system has continuously placed targets on the backs of minorities. The targeting of

minorities, the African American community to be exact is not a new topic. The war on drugs has

enabled upper-class white nationalists to silence people of color by creating drug laws that target

them, therefore incarcerating them. The war goes hand in hand with the mass incarceration and

death of minorities. Moreover, communities of color are disembodied and demoralized due to the

targets put on their backs (A Brief History of the Drug War). The real question is what people in

positions of power are doing to help solve this monumental issue.

Dontrell Stephens was only 23 years old when he was targeted by law enforcement for

supposedly selling drugs (heroin, marijuana, and cocaine). Stephens was shot by Deputy Lin four

times. Lin thought Stephens was reaching in his waistband after signalling him over to the side

for a traffic violation. Dontrell Stephens at the young age of 23 years old is paralyzed for the

remainder of his life (Baker, Al). Eric Garner was another example of targets being placed upon

black people's backs. Garner was not only a father, husband, son, and friend, but an American

citizen who was shot and killed on videotape for selling cigarettes and other drugs on the street.

At the age of 43 another African

American man was shot and killed for

supposedly selling drugs (Al Baker).

Situations much like in the cases of

Stephens and Garner occur on a daily

basis. Minorities are often represented in the media as being drug dealers. These portrayals of

African- Americans and other minorities have a lasting affect on the image other US citizens

have of them. Because minorities are portrayed as uncivilized human beings, many view them as

a danger. Therefore when law enforcement officers go to handle a situation they are more likely

to take more procation when dealing with minorities than with majorities (Soffen, Kim).

It is time for the United States justice

system to stand up for individuals of

all races and backgrounds to insure

the safety of all American citizens.

The American justice system itself is

causing an abundance of insecurities

in the minds of minorities due to

their unfair treatment. I am calling

for the justice system to reprimand

and arrest individuals who are aiming to hurt and even kill minorities. Many individuals that hold

positions of power, such as police officers, believe they can kill people of color and get away

with it. Because all American people are equal they should be treated that way. If an officer

kills any individual, not even taking into account the color of their skin for no justified cause,

they should be reprimanded for it. If one officer gets reprimanded for what they have done, other

officers will know their wrong doings will also be justified. Sometimes lessons are better learned

through the punishment of the individuals around them. Minorities ability to see that the judicial
system is not on the side of higher up white nationalism will eventually end protest and

deteriorate the everlasting thought of white privilege that is prevalent in the United States.

Change takes time, and will not be accepted by everyone due to racism that still exist in the

United States. It is of great importance to act and take steps towards change. However, racist

people will exist in the United States no matter what, and reprimanding individuals is not always

enough. Potential jail time or even death sentencing will force racist police officers who are

killing off minorities into following correct procedures. This will not only salvage African

American and other minorities lives, but aid in destroying hatred in the United States. Not only

speaking on the majority hate of minorities, but the minority hate due to majority privilege and

the continuous killing majorities participate in against minorities. If there is change made in the

thought process that white people can do as they please because of the color of their skin,

America will change, and so will the world.

"A Brief History of the Drug War." A Brief History of the Drug War. Drug Policy Alliance, n.d.

Web. 15 Feb. 2017.

Baker, Al, Goodman, David J., Mueller, Benjamin. "Beyond the Chokehold: The Path to Eric

Garner's Death." The New York Times. The New York Times, 13 June 2015. Web. 19 Apr.


Soffen, Kim. "The Big Question about Why Police Pull over so Many Black Drivers." The

Washington Post. WP Company, 08 July 2016. Web. 17 Apr. 2017.

Sommerfeldt, Chris. "Florida Man Shot by Police Arrested for Selling Drugs near School." NY

Daily News. N.p., 21 Oct. 2016. Web. 17 Apr. 2017.

Rubric for Online Opinion Piece


Policy The policy The policy The policy The policy The policy
change: change is change is fairly change change needs to change is
clear and clear and needs to be be significantly missing.
20 pts. specific. specific. clearer clearer and/or
and/or more specific.
overall it is

Ethos: The writers The writers The writer's One or more of The writer
arguments arguments are arguments the writer's did not use
15 pts. are strong. good. The are adequate. arguments and any
The writer writer The writer evidence is effective
introduces introduces and may not significantly arguments
and uses uses some introduce or weak. Intro- or
highly- well- respected use all ductions may be evidence.
respected sources. sources. lacking for most No intro-
sources. or all sources. ductions of

Pathos: The writer The writer The writer's The writers The writer
uses strong uses good appeals to the appeals to the did not use
15 pts. strategies to strategies readers' readers values any
appeal to appeal to the values and and beliefs is effective
the readers readers' values beliefs are inadequate or appeals to
values and and beliefs. uneven, often uneven. the readers'
beliefs. though overall values and
they are beliefs.

Logos: The writer's The writers The writer's The writers The writer
organiza- organizational organizational organizational did not use
15 pts. tional structure structure and structure effective
structure provides good logic are provides organiza-
strongly support for the adequate to inadequate tion and/or
supports arguments. support the support for the logic.
the Logic is good. arguments, arguments. The
arguments. but are logic is often
The logic is sometimes uneven.
straight and uneven.

Research: Research Research Research Research No

strongly provides good provides provides research is
supports support for the adequate inadequate evident
the argument and support for support for the and/or or
10 pts. argument is correctly the argument, argument. cited on
and is cited on the though it may Citations on the Reference
correctly Reference be uneven. Reference page page.
cited on the page. Citations are are significantly
Reference basically incorrect.
page. correct on the

Writing Skilled Good writing. Adequate Deficient writing. Serious

Fluency: writing. There There are a writing. Some Surface errors writing
are few, if few surface surface errors sometimes make deficien-
any, errors. errors but are it difficult to cies.
15 pts. Writing is they are not distracting, understand the Surface
clear and distracting. though they writer's message. errors make
concise. Writing is don't impede Writing is it very
clear and overall generally unclear difficult to
concise. communica- and/or wordy. understand
tion. Writing is the writer's
mostly clear message.
and/or a bit Writing is
wordy. unclear

Design is Design is Design Design is not There is no

professional mostly somewhat visually design and
Design: and intended professional professional appealing; there no
for an online and intended and is minimal considera-
audience. for an online somewhat consideration for tion for an
10 pts. Text wrap audience. Text intended for an online online
and graphics wrap and an online audience. audience.
are used as graphics are audience.
needed. used as Text wrap
Selected needed. and graphics
graphics are could have
appropriate been better
to the policy. implemented
*Rubrics are subject to minor changes. Students will be notified if changes occur.
Total 91

You provide a nice, well-reasoned argument. Your research are solid, and the stories
you cite provide excellent pathos. You needed a clear policy change, and your fluency
could use some fine-tuning, but overall, great job.

Dr. Wynne