American empathy becomes visible when the most vulnerable are white people.
America’s opiate epidemic has changed the rhetoric on drug abuse from mass incarceration to therapeutic and rehabilitative approaches, but not because political elites care about all drug abusers.
New data shows an explosive increase in opioid use and addiction in predominantly white communities, with at least 9 in 10 new heroin users over the last decade being white.
But America is tasting the ripple action of its racist system, as almost 75 percent of the these users reportedly got hooked on drugs after first taking prescription painkillers, which due to racial prejudice in medicine, are rarely prescribed for Blacks and Hispanics because physicians baselessly think they are more likely to abuse drugs.
When drugs ravaged our inner city neighborhoods, the feds and politicians criminalized them instead of designating them as a public health hazard that required community building, research and therapy.
However, now that America’s darlings – white underclass – find themselves in a similar situation, the narrative has suddenly changed. Some of the staunchest proponents of the war on drugs have shifted sides for a much more moderate and gentler attitude towards addicts, calling for an end to the senseless war, which they had created to target African-American communities.
When black families were ripped apart as a result of drug related incarceration or death from addiction, there were no sympathetic remarks from highly acclaimed, media outlets, researchers and op-ed writers. But the opposite is true in the face of soaring white drug abuse and drug related death.
The fact that America could not show black communities the same level of understanding and compassion that is today afforded to white self-harm, depression and bitterness, highlights the depths of indifference towards black lives, which for generations have been subjected to despair and sadness due to oppression.
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