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September 2007
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Where are the African-American leaders when it comes to the War on Drugs?

I bring this up from time to time… partly in the hopes of provoking a response.
No particular bit of news that set this one off — I just happened to be looking up something at the Black Congressional Caucus website.
Given that blacks are disproportionately impacted by the drug war and that the drug war is the largest factor in the massive disenfranchisement of black voters, I was once again completely dumbfounded that I could find almost nothing at all about the war on drugs anywhere on that site. The closest I found was a mention in a past newsletter that one of its members had sponsored a bill making it harder to buy cold medicines since they can be precursors for methamphetamine!
The drug war is not anywhere on their agenda (pdf) or even their blog. No calls for crack/powder disparity sentencing reform. No calls for legislation preventing the next Tulia.
They do, however, have a riveting report on America’s Switch to Digital Television (pdf).
I had hopes for another group — National African American Drug Policy Coalition, but as far as I can tell from their website and Google/News searches, they don’t appear to actually be doing anything.
So where is the African-American leadership?

  • Do they secretly believe that blacks are genetically predisposed to commit crime and that the drug war is necessary to “prune” the race?
  • Do they simply believe, by massive coincidence, that a larger percentage of blacks “had it coming”?
  • Are they so afraid of losing political power that they’d rather see huge numbers of blacks ripped from their families and incarcerated, rather than publicly touch the “drug war issue”?

(And yes, I am purposely asking offensive questions, and I’ll keep doing it until I hear the leadership speak.)
Sometimes when I see the African-American “leadership”, I feel like I’ve stumbled into some kind of twilight zone episode — a town whose children are regularly sacrificed to an unseen monster, and everyone keeps quiet about it for fear of something bad happening to the town — or, perhaps, The Lottery.
I miss Martin Luther King, Jr.

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