Today, Monday, January 16th, all across the country people will be marching on the Federal Reserve Bank to promote racial and economic justice. I will be at the Federal Reserve Bank in NYC on Liberty Street and Broadway at 11:30AM. Join me and thousands of others around the country as we honor the legacy of Dr. King and continue his fight for a better and more just country. To find a march in your city, please visit: http://www.occupythedream.org
MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan and I penned a piece for the Huffington Post in honor of the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Here is an excerpt from our piece “Occupy the Dream: The Mathematics of Racism”:
As we celebrate the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr, it appears we are a far less prejudiced country than we once were.
Individual expressions of racism are less tolerated than ever, we have an African-American President, and African-Americans are increasingly being accepted into executive suites.
Yet when we look closer, we find that Greedy Bastards have re-branded racism and made it acceptable again, by calling it “the war on drugs.”
These statistics compiled by New York Times columnist Charles Blow and author Michelle Alexander (author of The New Jim Crow) are mind-blowing.
- Since 1971, there have been more than 40 million arrests for drug-related offenses. Even though blacks and whites have similar levels of drug use, blacks are ten times as likely to be incarcerated for drug crimes.
- “There are more blacks under correctional control today — in prison or jail, on probation or parole — than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began.”
- “As of 2004, more African American men were disenfranchised (due to felon disenfranchisement laws) than in 1870, the year the Fifteenth Amendment was ratified prohibiting laws that explicitly deny the right to vote on the basis of race.”
In 2005, 4 out of 5 drug arrests were for possession not trafficking, and 80% of the increase in drug arrests in the 1990s was for marijuana.
There are 50,000 arrests for low-level pot possession a year in New York City, representing one out of every seven cases that turn up in criminal courts. Most of these arrested are black and Hispanic men.
Why is this happening, when personal prejudice is so much less common, medicinal marijuana initiatives routinely pass around the country, and illicit drug use is accepted enough that Steve Jobs could praise psychedelic drugs as key to his creative success at Apple Computer?
The modern drug war in politics can be traced back to political operative named Clifford White, an advisor to Barry Goldwater, who recognized that there were votes to be had in the backlash against the civil rights movement.
From the 1970s to the 1990s, the war on drugs became convenient code for politicians who wanted to appeal to certain working class white voters with coded racist appeals. President Reagan used this political support to escalate the war on drugs.
To continue reading the blog in its entirety click over to HuffPost.