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Home » THE BLACK INITIATIVE: Fighting Brazil’s Racist War on Drugs  

THE BLACK INITIATIVE: Fighting Brazil’s Racist War on Drugs  

 The Black Initiative for a New Drug Policy (INNPD) is launching a short documentary that shows how the war on drugs is an instrument of racism, which incites violence and hinders democratic development in Brazil.

INNPD is the first black civil organisation in Brazil which addresses the importance of drug policies on the lives of black people.

As Nathália Oliveira, co-founder of Iniciativa Negra puts it:

“Today, the War on Drugs feeds the racist system that maintains the privileges of the white population, of whiteness, over the black population in Brazil, therefore keeping power concentrated in the hands of this whiteness, preventing the mobility of the black population to access and share these spaces of power.”

In the short documentary INNPU highlights four ways of how the war on drugs works as a feedback loop of racism and as a tool of oppression of the black population;

By mobilising state resources to fight a bloody war on drugs instead of investing in health care and social support systems. Waging a war on drugs in the communities of black and brown people, even though drugs are present in white neighbourhoods. The wholesale arrest and imprisonment of small-scale drug traffickers who are young, black, unarmed people, with limited formal schooling. Flooding the country with weapons, in the name of self-defense.

As Eduardo Ribeiro explains in the film:

“The State’s option for war as the main source of violence is what must always be defined here. We need to remember that it’s prohibition that creates drug trafficking. It’s not the drug that determines the violent model, it’s not the drug that determines the circulation of weapons, but the option of the State to ban the drug in certain territories, or to persecute certain people and make that trade violent.”

The Iniciativa Negra offers solutions, and a way forward:

To tell the truth, remember, and give justice to the victims of the war on drugs,

To provide means of reparations, compensations to the direct victims and the entire community that was affected by the death of its people and by violent operations.

And thirdly, to establish models of regulated access to substances, in a way that promotes the participation of the entire population, not only rich, white businessmen.

“Without ending the War on Drugs, we will not be able to reach a civilizing pact that involves the black population and the white population in the same economic, political, and social development project.” Says Oliveira.