| 0

I grew up in a very poor neighborhood. Drugs were a way of life, and a lifestyle for many. By the time I reached my teens, I was a regular user of marijuana, alcohol, cocaine, and LSD. This wasn’t this long ago…this was in the late ’80s and early to mid ’90s.

By the time I was 19, I was in hip-deep. I was selling LSD, Ecstasy (only occasionally, because it wasn’t freely available in my state), crack, and marijuana. I was involved with a gang (and I even still have the gang tattoos to prove it, on my forearm), and involved with a lot of stuff I regret. Selling drugs, guns, hiding guns, laundering money…a lot of stuff.

But I had the luxury of being white. I never got busted.

The only thing I got busted for was for shoplifting. I got a year of probation and some fines. Yeah, it sucked for me, but I also got to watch what happened to my non-white friends: sentences for murder, drug trafficking, drug sales, carjacking, and a lot of other things.

And I’m not going to lie: I did a lot of those things too (not murder, though). But I got away…because I’m white. Yeah, I was poor, but I was still white. I got pulled over, once, with a gun underneath the seat. The cop found it, and when he asked me about it, I told him, “Have you looked at this neighborhood? And my skin color? I need that gun.”

He let me go.

And that’s why our justice system needs to be reformed. It needs to be color blind, and the drug war needs to end. I’ve been clean for 15 years, and have no urge to use drugs…but that doesn’t mean I think the drug war is right. The drug war punishes the poor and punishes minorities. You should note that it doesn’t punish the majority or the rich.

Thank you for reading my story.