Pubdate: Thu, 22 Jun 2000
Source: Northwest Florida Daily News (FL)
Copyright: 2000 Northwest Florida Daily News
Author: Greg Schorr

Racist Drug War

First off, thank you for acknowledging the report by Human Rights
Watch,, and for recommending changes in
our current racist war on (some) drugs (editorial, "Why is drug war
targeting blacks?" Daily News, June 17).

In your editorial, you ask: "Can anyone fail to be shocked at such
disparities?" I am a bit shocked that people would be surprised that
such racial disparities exist as a result of this misguided policy.
Anyone who has done research into the origins of the "drug war"
quickly learns that the laws against opium, marijuana and cocaine were
aimed primarily at minorities.

Laws against opium originally were directed at Chinese immigrants
along the West Coast, born of fears that the Chinese were robbing
"American citizens" of their jobs. Laws against marijuana originally
were directed against Mexican immigrants and migrant workers for
similar reasons. And laws against cocaine first targeted blacks in
continuing attempts at repressing them in early 20th-century America.

The "drug war" was conceived as a result of racial fear and hatred. It
is naive to think that this racism would not be a deeply integral part
of this misguided policy today.

Now is the time to rethink our entire approach to dealing with people
who use or abuse these select drugs.

Greg Schorr
Denton, Texas
- ---
MAP posted-by: Allan Wilkinson