The election of Barack Obama as the first ever black US president in 2008 brought hope to millions of African Americans. But after four years of Obama’s presidency, have the inner cities of the United States seen positive change for black communities?
Ed Burns, co-creator of the award-winning TV series The Wire, believes that crime fighting measures have been unfairly targeted at ethnic minorities. Referring to America’s War on Drugs policy he said: “It started as war on the blacks and it’s now spread to Hispanics and poor whites. It was designed to take that energy that was coming out of the civil rights movement and destroy it.”
There is an increasing consensus at federal level that this approach has failed, with White House officials indicating a willingness to move away from incarceration towards a public health strategy. In Baltimore – one of America’s most dangerous cities – this shift has manifested itself in the form of a ‘war on guns’ rather than drugs.
The complexities surrounding US drug laws are explored in detail in ‘American Addiction’, a new documentary by filmmakers Jeff Zimbalist and Matt Mochary. By taking an honest look into the lives of those affected by such policies, they aim to bring much needed attention to this issue. Through their film they seek to humanize the debate around drug laws in America whilst also highlighting some potential solutions.
For anyone interested in gaining further insight into why America continues to struggle with its drug policies, American Addiction offers an informative and thought-provoking examination of this critical problem.