The House I Live In – 2012

The House I Live In – Directed by Eugene Jarecki

The House I Live In is a documentary regarding the “War on Drugs” and a man’s journey to find the truth. The film starts with Eugene Jarecki narrating and asking a not so simple question of “What have drugs done to Nannie Jetter’s family and others like it?” Nannie Jetter was Jarecki’s family maid while he grew up, and was much like a second mother to him. With this question, Jarecki delves into the history of drugs, what made them illegal, why there is a war on them, and how they affect so many in our nation. Throughout the film, you are introduced to many individuals who have extremely different views, you listen to professors, law enforcement and prisoners on what their beliefs are on how drugs have influenced so many lives and what they believe the war on them has accomplished, or not accomplished. You are given a history of how drugs that were once legal in our nation have become illegal; and what our government is doing, or not doing, to help contain the ongoing drug use issue. In the film you are given several startling facts, and much information that many individuals do not know, but should.

While watching this film I have never wanted to hit my head up against a wall more. It is startling to find out that since 1971 the United States has spent more than one trillion dollars on the drug war, and that more than 45 million have been arrested; and yet, drug use in our country has remained unchanged. Through the history of drugs, I found out that opium was the first drug to become illegal, starting on the West Coast, due to the Chinese. Not because the Chinese are bad people, but because they were hard workers taking jobs from white people, and that in turn, the decided to make a drug that many of the Chinese population used illegal; so they could in turn arrest them and bring jobs back to whites. Much of the same situation happened with cocaine and African-Americans, and hemp/marijuana with the Mexican culture. You are given the political history of how this war starts with Nixon proclaiming the war on drugs, but that his actual intentions were to reform and rehabilitate the users and dealers and only spend a third of the budget on law enforcement and incarceration. In this film, you are given the view that I believe many in political office try to hide from us. I have never been so outraged by a film, due to the facts handed to the audience, I cannot understand how anyone could see otherwise that our government is corrupt when it comes to this issue. After watching this film I spoke with several people regarding what I learned, and with not much surprise, all were astonished with the facts brought to the table. This is a film that I believe every American should watch, to first better understand the individuals in prison and how drugs influenced our nation, and that many of them have absolutely no reason to be incarcerated. Secondly this film shows you why drugs became illegal, and if I may say so, for the most absurd reasons. I can go on for days reviewing this film, but in short I could not recommend this film more for everyone to watch.

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