The Times alerts its readers to the latest abuse of white privilege:
In Heroin Crisis, White Families Seek Gentler War on Drugs
By KATHARINE Q. SEELYE OCT. 30, 2015
When the nation’s long-running war against drugs was defined by the crack epidemic and based in poor, predominantly black urban areas, the public response was defined by zero tolerance and stiff prison sentences. But today’s heroin crisis is different. While heroin use has climbed among all demographic groups, it has skyrocketed among whites; nearly 90 percent of those who tried heroin for the first time in the last decade were white.
And the growing army of families of those lost to heroin — many of them in the suburbs and small towns — are now using their influence, anger and grief to cushion the country’s approach to drugs, from altering the language around addiction to prodding government to treat it not as a crime, but as a disease.
I foresee a long, cold winter for objectivity as the New York "Black Lives Matter" Times views every story through this new prism.
But do let me note - it is quite obvious that, forty years into it, the public attitude towards our War on Drugs has changed.
As to the notion that the crack epidemic started this, my goodness, what else do we need to forget? Richard Nixon declared the War on Drugs in the early 1970s. New York's Rockefeller drug laws were passed under - wait for it - Governor Rockefeller in 1973.
And lest you wonder, in the 1970s heroin was a scourge in inner city black communities and there were prominent black leaders, such as Charles Rangel, who were all in favor of tougher drug laws and more vigorous policing.
Here is WNYC News:
In March 1971, New York City faced a growing heroin epidemic. That year, Charles Rangel — then just 41 years old — was part of a delegation of newly-elected black congressman who won a closed-door meeting at the White House with President Richard Nixon.
It was a historic moment. Nixon had already begun the process of criminalizing drugs in new ways, ramping up the federal effort to crack down on dealers and addicts. Over the decades that followed, those policies would send millions of young black men to prison. Some African American leaders were already voicing doubts and concerns.
But during the meeting, Rangel didn’t urge Nixon to rethink his drug war strategy. Instead, the Harlem Democrat urged Nixon to ramp up drug-fighting efforts more aggressively, more rapidly.
“We could bring a halt to this condition which is killin off American youth,” Rangel told Nixon.
In their encounter, secretly taped by Nixon’s White House recording system and broadcast here for the first time, Rangel called on Nixon to use America’s military and diplomatic power to stop the importation of drugs.
He urged the the president to view the spread of heroin and cocaine as a “national crisis” and warned that if Nixon didn’t act fast, more Americans would demand that narcotics be legalized.
“It seems to me that more white America is saying, let’s legalize drugs because we can’t deal with the problem,” Rangel cautioned.
Rangel would later write warmly of his partnership with Nixon on drug war issues. “Nixon was tough on drugs,” he recalled in his 2007 memoir. “[We] worked closely together on what was the beginning of our international war on drugs.”
In the decade that that followed, Rangel himself emerged as one of the black community's toughest and most persistent voices on drug issues, pushing for more money and manpower for the police, and for more military drug interdiction overseas.
He lobbied for the creation of a special House subcommittee on narcotics and then served as its chairman, using the post to support creation of the Drug Enforcement Agency and a national Drug Czar.
Under his leadership, many members of the Congressional Black Caucus voted in favor of some of the most punitive drug-war era legislation, expanding mandatory minimum sentences, funding more prisons and boosting penalties for crack cocaine.
In a profile in Ebony magazine in 1989, Rangel bragged about pressuring Nixon and President Ronald Reagan to get even tougher on drugs, blasting them for what he called a “lackadaisical attitude.”
Even as questions and doubts about the drug war grew, Rangel wrote editorials mocking the idea of drug decriminalization and describing narcotics as a "genocidal" poison.
It is tricky to track the players without a scorecard but do keep in mind - to some black leaders (e.g., Stokely Carmichael, Ebony June 1970 "Blacks Declare War On Dope") the availability of drugs was a white plot to weaken and enslave the black community and the police role was to look the other way. Locking up the dealers need not be entirely at odds with that, but why bother?
And the Times reviewed a recent book, "‘Black Silent Majority,’ by Michael Javen Fortner, describing black support for tough-on-crime policing. The gist - "Black Lives Matter" notwithstanding, it is not only rightwing pundits that have noticed that the biggest victims of crime are blacks; back in the day many black leaders noticed the same thing.
Is a picture worth a thousand words? From the 1970 Ebony article:
Let me highlight "We are calling for Federal troops, state and local law enforcement forces to move into the streets of Harlem and New York City now and clean it up".
I should add that education and treatment were also emphasized as part of this 1970 black war on drugs.
But today it is all a story of white privilege, racism and indifference. Whatever.
DON'T USE THAT PRIVILEGED LOGIC ON ME... from the Times story I infer that some people think a middle class kid with a family support structure, no criminal record other than the drug use and the financial means to afford rehab should be treated differently from a kid from a violent neighborhood and broken home who is supporting his drug habit by a mix of petty and violent crime. Yeah, go figure.
Meanwhile, this former urban youth was in a drug diversion program until he shot a cop and this nice suburban addict killed his parents and left their bodies hidden in the wilds of Connecticut. Which proves nothing, since anecdotes make for bad policy, but still.