Black History Month means – based on my past blog posts, artworks & illustrations – that I have to make mention of Jim Crow. We have throwback’s for Jim Crow of old and Jim Crow of new after Jim Crow.
Hope I haven’t lost you.
Black entertainer Bert Williams (We’ll learn more about him later on this month.) once said, “It’s no disgrace to be colored, but it is awfully inconvenient.”
“For most of my childhood, we couldn’t eat in restaurants or sleep in hotels, we couldn’t use certain bathrooms or try on clothes in stores,” recalls Gates. His mother retaliated by not buying clothes she was not allowed to try on. He remembered hearing a white man deliberately calling his father by the wrong name. “‘He knows my name, boy,’ my father said after a longpause. ‘He calls all colored people George.'” When Gates’ female cousin became the first black cheerleader at the local highschool, she was not allowed to sit with the team in a Naugahyde booth and drink Coke from a glass, but had to stand at the counter drinking from a paper cup.
– Professor Gates
Modern Jim Crow
Mass incarceration of a disproportionate amount of black to white males in the U.S. despite little difference between the two for consuming and soliciting, fuelled by this fabricated war on drugs.
New national drug arrest data illuminate the persistence and extent of racial disparities in the “war on drugs” in the United States. According to Human Rights Watch’s analysis of arrest data obtained from the FBI:
- In every year from 1980 to 2007, blacks were arrested nationwide on drug charges at rates relative to population that were 2.8 to 5.5 times higher than white arrest rates.
2. State-by-state data from 2006 show that blacks were arrested for drug offences at rates in individual states that were 2 to 11.3 times greater than the rate for whites.
The data also shed light on the persistence and extent of arrests for drug possession rather than sales:
3. In every year between 1980 and 2007, arrests for drug possession have constituted 64 percent or more of all drug arrests. From 1999 through 2007, 80 percent or more of all drug arrests were for possession.
The higher rates of black drug arrests do not reflect higher rates of black drug offending. Indeed, as detailed in our May 2008 report, Targeting Blacks: Drug Law Enforcement and Race in the United States, blacks and whites engage in drug offenses—possession and sales—at roughly comparable rates. But because black drug offenders are the principal targets in the “war on drugs,” the burden of drug arrests and incarceration falls disproportionately on black men and women, their families and neighborhoods. The human as well as social, economic and political toll is as incalculable as it is unjust. 1 See Table 2. 2 See Table 4. 3 See Table 5. Decades of Disparity 2 Racial disparities in drug arrests reflect a history of complex political, criminal justice and socio-economic dynamics, each individually and cumulatively affected by racial concerns and tensions. Reducing the disparities is imperative, but should not be accomplished simply by increasing the rate of white drug arrests. A fresh and evidence-based rethinking of the drug war paradigm is needed. We urge local, state, and the federal governments to: • restructure funding and resource allocation priorities to place more emphasis on substance abuse treatment and prevention outreach, and less on drug law enforcement; • review and revise drug sentencing laws to increase the use of community based sanctions for drug offences and to eliminate mandatory minimum sentences for them; • conduct comprehensive analyses of racial disparities in all phases of drug law enforcement to devise ways to ensure the enforcement of drug laws does not disproportionately burden black communities; • assess the extent to which considerations of race may influence police decision-making, including decisions regarding the neighborhoods in which police are deployed for drug law enforcement purposes and whom to arrest, particularly for low level offences such as simple drug possession; and • monitor patterns in pedestrian and vehicle stops and other police activities to determine if unwarranted racial disparities exist that suggest racial profiling or other race-based decision-making and to take appropriate action to eliminate racially disparate treatment……
– Decades of Disparity Drug Arrests and Race in the United States March 2009
That was an extract from Human Rights Watch, site – https://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/us0309web_1.pdf
This I think is very important information, particularly for the ministers and politicians in the Caribbean (where I live) who continue to uphold this ridiculous modern tradition of demonising a plant and locking up those who want to enjoy it in peace, in the comfort of their own home or otherwise.
I recommend this film/documentary, which I’m pretty sure you can find on Netflix. It’s like Making A Murderer but for black people – I kid – no, but it is about the war on drugs and the aforementioned mass incarceration of blacks for drug offences that drive the prison industrial complex. It’s also rather quite concise.Believe it or not, many ignorant people still see cannabis as a dangerous life destroying substance like, crack/coke/heroine/meth etc. Few may also be of the opinion that it makes your average joe, an amoral degenerate, to this very day.
I’d like those in the region to educate themselves and forget the rubbish brainwashing born from what began as the war on cannabis and minorities in the U.S.
My views on reparations for slavery or at least my thoughts on waiting for reparations tend to change from time to time. One thing I would say is that we could well be waiting to the end of eternity for such and thus I’ve come to the conclusion that we of the Caribbean region just take advantage of our climate and appeal as a tourist destination and legalise cannabis.
Hemp on a whole should be made legal. Let’s boost our economies instead of waiting for what may never come. This could well be the catalyst that we need to bind our nations closer together and possibly create a stronger Caricom Economy. Forget asking for that help from outside, let’s sustain ourselves – reinvent our tourism industry and our agricultural industry, increase our export!
I know it sounds very idealistic, it’s true you may say that I’m a dreamer but I know I’m not the only one.
At the end of the day, I understand that it’s hard after years of programming that it’s difficult to deprog. but we have to try, I think quite frankly we could do a lot worse.
Anyway return for more, H.G. does Black History!