JIM CROW 2012
Is the War on Drugs Really a War on Minorities?
I have never spent a day in jail, even though I have committed felonies. During my college days at the University of California, Santa Barbara, along with the majority of Americans and nearly everyone I knew, I regularly smoked marijuana and took drugs. Yet very few of my fellow students were ever arrested. I thought this was because we were lucky.
But Ohio State University associate professor Michelle Alexander, in her brilliantly argued book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, has a different explanation for my lack of jail time: I am white, and I live in an upper-income neighborhood. My other advantage: I am old. I committed my felonies before the war on drugs.
In the early 1980s, after President Ronald Reagan announced the war on drugs, many police departments naturally questioned why they should take valuable resources away from more serious crimes such as murder, rape, grand theft and violent assault. Reagan had an answer: We will give you extra money and equipment. continued
In Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, she writes, "More African American adults are under correctional control today ... than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began." http://www.amazon.com
Jeff vonKaenel is the president, CEO and majority owner of the News & Review newspapers in Sacramento, Chico and Reno. His column, Greenlight, appears weekly in this space.
Thank you Miss Rosa
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