Saturday, May 25, 2024

New York Eases Drug Laws; It’s about Time Racism Bites the Dust…

April 1, 2009 by  
Filed under News, Weekly Columns

( Last week New York’s Black Governor David Paterson and legislative leaders reached agreement to ease anti-drug laws which were among the harshest in the nation. Not only were the laws harsh but they were draconian to the point of being both racist and evil.

The laws were passed in the early 1970s by Republican Governor Nelson Rockefeller who said they were needed to fight what he termed a drug-related “reign of terror.”

The national impact was that the “Rockefeller Laws” opened the flood gates to similar laws being passed around the nation imposing stiff sentences for minor drug crimes and mandatory sentencing drug laws.

The primary victims of the “get tough on drugs” laws were young Black and Hispanic males who saw 15 and 20 year periods snatched away from their lives as they rotted away in prison for minor drug offenses. In other words, the “Rockefeller and Rockefeller-type Laws” were clearly racist in effect.

They flooded the nation’s prisons with young minority males (and increasingly females) without having any noticeable effect on drug buying or selling.

The laws were primarily a modern-day example of unrealistic white fear of minorities on drugs. It was an attitude which dates back to the early 1900s when anti-opium laws were passed on the West Coast to prevent white women from going into Chinese opium dens. Similar laws were passed in the openly racist South to prevent “cocainized negroes” from allegedly attacking white women and the police.

With his tough laws, all Rockefeller did was legalize an unnatural white fear of Blacks on drugs. In the early 1900s, politicians were openly racist with their anti-drug laws. But in the 1970s, Rockefeller was forced to pretend that he was actually trying to help minorities.

But by the mid-1980s, it was clear that two of the greatest evils afflicting the Black community were the ravages of drugs on one hand and the ravages of the racist war on drugs on the other hand. The goal had clearly become one of putting as many Black people in jail as possible. In other words, the war against drugs actually became a war against Blacks and other minorities.

Thus, it is about time New York changes its ways. The state started this ridiculous and racist “war” and other states should follow New York in ending the “war.”

Drug addiction should be treated as a medical problem and not a crime and even young Black males selling drugs should receive rehabilitation and not 15 and 20 years snatched out of their lives for relatively minor drug offenses.


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