The Wire: Felicia Pearson's arrest another sad anecdote in the War on Drugs

I have never followed The Wire but folks I respect praise it for bringing a real and critical perspective about the War on Drugs and the lives of People of Color onto the screen.  An actress on the show, Felicia Pearson has been arrested " on heroin-related and aiding and abetting charges "  which I presume means that she may have possessed drugs and known something that she did not tell or lied about to police.

Aiding and abetting charges in drug-related cases are inherently racist charges because almost everyone in low-income neighborhoods are in the know about who is doing dirt and where.  The decision to not share this information with the police is multi-layered: a historical and justified mistrust of the police, self-preservation and a reluctance to compromise the only reliable economy that the ghetto has. So grandma aids and abets because she has a clue how her grandson is able to buy her meds.  Nuts.  This is addressed in an open letter by the Creator of the Wire David Simon.



In an essay published two years ago in Time magazine, the writers of The Wire made the argument that we believe the war on drugs has devolved into a war on the underclass, that in places like West and East Baltimore, where the drug economy is now the only factory still hiring and where the educational system is so crippled that the vast majority of children are trained only for the corners, a legal campaign to imprison our most vulnerable and damaged citizens is little more than amoral. 

This is what being an ally looks like: the refusal to judge because your privilege disqualifies you from doing so.

Both our Constitution and our common law guarantee that we will be judged by our peers.  But in truth, there are now two Americas, politically and economically distinct. I, for one, do not qualify as a peer to Felicia Pearson. The opportunities and experiences of her life do not correspond in any way with my own, and her America is different from my own. I am therefore ill-equipped to be her judge in this matter.
If only more people could be honest about this.

If Congress was serious about budget cuts, The War on Drugs and all of its racist, ineffective and expensive policies would be the first to go.

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