What’s the Biggest Problem for Blacks in America?

Posted: January 4, 2011 in Uncategorized

Linguist John McWhorter argues that it’s the drug war, and I’m inclined to agree:

…[W]ith no War on Drugs there would be, within one generation, no “black problem” in the United States. Poverty in general, yes. An education problem in generalprobably. But the idea that black America had a particular crisis would rapidly become history, requiring explanation to young people. The end of the War on Drugs is, in fact, what all people genuinely concerned with black uplift should be focused on, which is why I am devoting my last TNR post of 2010 to the issue. The black malaise in the U.S. is currently like a card house; the Drug War is a single card which, if pulled out, would collapse the whole thing.

That is neither an exaggeration nor an oversimplification. It comes down to this: If there were no way to sell drugs on the street at a markup, then young black men who drift into this route would instead have to get legal work. They would. Those insisting that they would not have about as much faith in human persistence and ingenuity as those who thought women past their five-year welfare cap would wind up freezing on sidewalk grates.

There would be a new black community in which all able-bodied men had legal work even in less well-off communitiesi.e. what even poor black America was like before the ’70s; this is no fantasy. Those who say that this could only happen with low-skill factory jobs available a bus ride away from all black neighborhoods would be, again, wrong. That explanation for black poverty is full of holes. Too many people of all colors of modest education manage to get by without taking a time machine to the 1940s, and after the War on Drugs black men would be no exception.

And in this new black community, young black men, much less likely to wind up in prison cells or caskets, would be a constant presenceand thus stay in the lives of their children. The black male community would no longer include a massive segment of underskilled, drug-addicted ex-cons churning in and out by the thousands year after year, and thus black boys growing up in these communities would not see this life as a norm. They would grow up to get jobs, period.

And something else these boys would not grow up with is a bone-deep sense of the policeand thus whitesas an enemy. Because there would be no reason for the police to prowl through his neighborhood.

That’s from McWhorter’s latest piece in The New Republic, and the whole thing is well worth reading. It should come as little surprise that policies created and implemented as a cudgel against minorities have disproportionately harmed them, and it’s long overdue that Americans admit to themselves that the drug war has never been about public health or safety but about persecuting cultural groups that middle class whites didn’t care for.

  1. […] at Rough Ol’ Boy. Filed under: Drug Policy and Law Enforcement and Nanny State Comments: […]

  2. old hippie chick(Debi Duchesne) says:

    I agree with this post. In the 1980’s when crack cocaine first came on the scene, it actually began in the ghettos, causing blacks to become addicted to the drug, gangs to become more violent and wealthy, and more black on black crime. When little kids grew up during this time period, they mostly slept on the floor, as the violence was everywhere. They saw their parents become addicted, leave them/neglect/or abuse them. Now these same children are grown up, with a hatred of the white man, due to the politics of the cultural elite. I say that to say this: the politicians in Washington DC if they would walk down 2 blocks, would see the ravages of drugs on the black community. They would no longer be able to philosophize about it in the halls of congress or enact laws which make no sense or do nothing to combat the problem. The prison system is full of young black men, and the turnstile continues to turn.
    I beleive it has to start changing in the family. If the family can somehow stay together, despite the current conditions, get the kids to value education, and make that a priority, i believe less and less black men would be in prisons, selling dope, or gang banging.
    How would we get that across to a culture which has been beaten down for so long? A culture with such a rich history yet always looking over their shoulder when they see the popo going down the street? I don’t have the answer. I am not sure any one person does. But I believe that if all people would decide to work together, as a unit, then we could effectively change this.

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