If Elon James White’s new video had just been about bringing back HBO’s The Wire for a sixth season, it would have been a great five minutes. But no; he takes on the ridiculousness of America’s “War on Drugs” as well, which makes it a fantastic five minutes. In the comedian’s collaboration with the ACLU, he co-opts Nancy Reagan’s slogan and urges viewers to “Just Say NO” to the now 40-year-old drug war.
One trillion (trillion!) dollars have been spent “fighting” since Tricky Dick declared war in 1971, yet the use and sale of drugs remains laughably far from ending. Or, it would be laughable if the results of this futile clean-up weren’t so upsetting. As Colorlines graphically displayed on the failed war’s birthday, the United States’ battle against prohibited substances has more-than-disproportionately impacted black and brown Americans and their communities. It’s painfully clear that the War on Drugs is a war on the nation’s populations of color, and despite opportunities to mitigate some of the damage, it doesn’t look like there’s an end in sight.
It’s draining to have to face these dismal realities, so we appreciate White, host of This Week In Blackness, taking a more lighthearted approach. White argues that Americans will see the need to end the War on Drugs if it will produce tangible results. And no, not silly things like money saved, people helped and better use of limited, crime-fighting resources, but another season of The Wire, which creator David Simon snarkily claimed he’ll produce if the Department of Justice (apparently Attorney General Eric Holder is a fan) calls off the Drug War.
So listen up, America: If you value your critically-acclaimed television programming (and, you know, racial justice and the state of the nation’s communities), Just Say NO to the War on Drugs.