Reaction Paper: The House I Live In

Published: 2021/12/03
Number of words: 549

The fight on drugs for several decades has resulted in millions of arrests, making the United States of America the nation where most people are jailed, thereby ruining the lives of the poor in society. Despite this, narcotics are now more affordable, pure, and accessible than they have ever been. The film, The House I Live In, captures heartbreaking experiences from people at all levels, from drug dealers to bereaved mothers, narcotics officers to senators, and inmates to federal judges, showing significant human rights implications.

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President Nixon stressed the importance of enhanced criminal punishments and medical therapies in the battle against drug use. He never spoke out in opposition to the drug regulations policies since no politician wants to be perceived as a softie in crime. Consequently, police agencies made numerous arrests of petty drug dealers during this time to increase their arrests to gain promotions. This resulted in significant racial profiling, with cops targeting people based on where they live, how they dress, or what automobile they drive. This, in my opinion, continues to this day, resulting in an issue of human rights violations.

Jarecki drew numerous parallels between race and ethnicity, showing how these influenced the drug war. One of the most interesting correlations was when the documentary stated that opium was decriminalized solely because Chinese people used it. Also, since Black People were more prone to use crack than powdered cocaine, crack had harsher sentences than powdered cocaine. This demonstrates how ethnicity and race were applied in the war on drugs; this is a form of racial profiling at its most blatant. Even though they were non-violent, many of our compatriots were imprisoned due to the drug war. This had a significant impact on the individual, as they could not provide for their already impoverished family members. Throughout the documentary, Jarecki struck some genuine emotional connections with his family and how the “war on drugs” affected them. The emotional tale of Whidbee and his son Johnson, who was imprisoned for drug use, was the best link that moved my heart. Seeing his father sell drugs as a child was a structural hindrance for him, which is why he started selling narcotics to get money. These low-income families were powerless in the face of drug policy, and they had little opportunity regarding the minimum imprisonment.

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This film served as an eye-opener to the inhumane drug regulations. The United States made it a must for individuals to undergo a hundred times heavier penalties for crack cocaine than for powdered cocaine, the upper-class variety. This policy was directly aimed at impoverished blacks, and whether deliberate or not, this is racism at its finest, and I was outraged by it. The entire country requires new drug regulations that ensure that everyone, regardless of color or ethnicity, receives a fair sentence; failing to do so is tantamount to depriving someone of their human rights, which is cruel. The documentary calls for aid to improve the current drug policy since the war on drugs has undoubtedly sent more people to prison while ruining the impoverished in society.


Jarecki, E., Barnes, J., Fraser, N., Glover, D., Legend, J., Pitt, B., Simmons, R (2012). The House I Live In.

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