NAACP Wants to 'End the War on Drugs'

Today the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People approved "A Call to End the War on Drugs." A majority of delegates at the 102nd NAACP Annual Convention in Los Angeles voted for the resolution, which recommends "funding to investigate substance abuse treatment, education, and opportunities in communities of color for a better tomorrow." In a press release that just arrived in my inbox, NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous sums up the message this way:

Today the NAACP has taken a major step towards equity, justice and effective law enforcement. These flawed drug policies that have been mostly enforced in African American communities must be stopped and replaced with evidenced-based practices that address the root causes of drug use and abuse in America. 

Alice Huffman, president of the California State Conference of the NAACP, adds:  

Studies show that all racial groups abuse drugs at similar rates, but the numbers also show that African Americans, Hispanics and other people of color are stopped, searched, arrested, charged, convicted, and sent to prison for drug-related charges at a much higher rate. This dual system of drug law enforcement that serves to keep African-Americans and other minorities under lock and key and in prison must be exposed and eradicated.

Robert Rooks, director of the NAACP Criminal Justice Program, says:

We know that the war on drugs has been a complete failure because in the forty years that we've been waging this war, drug use and abuse has not gone down. The only thing we've accomplished is becoming the world's largest incarcerator, sending people with mental health and addiction issues to prison, and creating a system of racial disparities that rivals Jim Crow policies of the 1960's.

So far, so good, although I'm not quite sure what policy the NAACP is endorsing. Last year the group's California chapter backed Proposition 19, the unsuccessful marijuana legalization initiative, citing the racially disproportionate impact of pot busts. But as far as I know, the national organization has not gone that far. Dating the war on drugs to 40 years ago is not encouraging, since drugs were banned long before the Nixon administration. I suspect the NAACP's idea of ending the war on drugs is more ambitious than the Obama administration's but perhaps less ambitious than the disappointingly timid recommendations of the Global Commission on Drug Policy. An NAACP spokesman tells me "NAACP policy is that we do not share the full text of resolutions," but he offered an interview with Rooks. I'll let you know if I get a clarification.

Update: Rooks says the full text of the resolution will be available after the NAACP's national board approves it in October. He says the resolution supports needle exchange programs, condemns mandatory minimum sentences, and criticizes Byrne law enforcement grants, a program supported by President Obama that has fueled the incarceration of nonviolent drug offenders and funded the regional anti-drug task forces behind racially tinged law enforcement scandals in places such as Tulia, Texas. But in general, Rooks says, the resolution "is not a policy document"; instead it outlines "principles and ideas" that should guide "our units" in adopting specific positions. Among those principles: "that those who are arrested for drug offenses not be sent to prison—that's explicit." Rooks says the resolution does not distinguish between users and suppliers in that respect, but neither does it call for legalization. "In terms of decriminalization or legalization," he says, "we did not get into those discussions."

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  • tarran||

    This is a disaster!

    Progressive politicians in the 1930's assured us that society was under threat from Darkies who smoked a joint and thought they were as good as white men!

  • Puzzled||

    Since when does anyone take the NAACP seriously? They're collectivists, not individualists. They're against the WOD because it disproportionately affects "colored people," not because it's inherently unjust or that it tramples the rights of the individual.

  • PETA||

    Since when does anyone take the NAACP seriously? They're collectivists

    Worse, they're speciesists!

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    I was a little slow on the uptake on this one. Brilliant, "PETA".

  • ||

    Yeah! Fuck new political allies if they're not allied with us for exactly the right reasons!

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    A+, Laursen. And while I do wonder what the purpose of the NAACP is post-civil rights era, they seem to be getting this right.

    And to me, that at least partially justifies their existence.

  • ||

    allied with us for exactly the right reasons!

    Interesting choice of words. For all the lip-service to the concept of individualism, "libertarians" are quick to discard principles for expediencies. You want to be "allied" with a collectivist, tribalist organization? Feel free, but don't expect to be taken seriously.

  • Thatguy||

    good luck getting any libertarian policies passed.

  • FlyoverCountry||

    Tribalist?! RACIST!!!1!11!1!

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    I find most organizations are somewhat collectivist. And tribalist?

    They might be a relic from a different time, but there is nothing inherently shameful about being allied with the NAACP.

  • ||

    I'm me, with my reasons, both practical and abstract libertarian principles, for opposing the war on drugs. The NAACP is not me, with there own reasons. That's how political alliances work. Their principles, or lack thereof, don't affect mine. It's quite libertarian, really.

  • ||

    Furthermore, how do you expect to increase the number of libertarians without accepting the impure, then working on educating them and moving them down t

  • ||

    Bumped the Submit button ... down the road to more libertarian principles.

  • Joe R.||

    I'm somewhere in the middle of the two opinions. I like that the NAACP is on board. I just wish it was because of individual liberty reasons, and not because they want to defend the black community. Overall, though, I do believe it is a net positive (by far) to have them on board. I'm not sending them a donation anytime soon, though.

  • SIV||

    Dating the war on drugs to 40 years ago is not encouraging, since drugs were banned long before the Nixon administration.

    According to The New York Times it started in 1914

  • ||

    Well, to be fair, there's illegal, then there's treason.

  • Ice Nine||

    "communities of color"??

    Jaysus, their dumbass verbal identity affectations just get dumbasser and dumbasser.

  • Tony||

    Don't hurt your butt there.

  • Fried Chicken||

    Meh. I consider myself as "food of color".

  • space biologist||

    I don't understand this, how can a person of any color dislike fried chicken?

  • ||

    And watermelon, for that matter.

  • Watermelon||

    A fried chicken raped my grandmother.

  • cynical||

    Isn't light pink a color still?

  • ||

    I'm beige, and proud.

    Beige power!

  • Pink Cosmotarian||

    "Raaaaacist!!"

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Would Obama have to pay reparations out of his white pocket, only to put it in his black pocket?

  • Sleeping Dog||

    I'm gonna paraphrase Christopher Titus here:

    "I don't hate Obama because he's half-black, I hate him because he's half-white! And, yes! I KNOW his white half is the dominant because I watched how he danced during the inaugural dinner; like my fucking stroked out grandfather!"

    "It's been the white presidents who got us here, so that's why I can't trust him! Me? Personally, I want a REALLY black president! I want a president who's so black that Air Force One gets pulled over for no fucking reason!"

  • H man||

    Legalization would have to come with a easing of discrimination laws against people who use and random testing of people who take money from the government to get wider acceptance.

  • The FSA||

    random testing of people who take money from the government

    Never happen.

  • H man||

    I know especially since I would start with the CEO's of defense companies, bankers and congress. Which I don't think most people think of when talking about people who take money from the government. But you should be allowed to discriminate against drug users.

  • ||

    No, you are right.

    The state has no right to discriminate against an individual who chooses to dope or refuses to permit any invasion of her body.

    The same reasoning applies to any entity that is a rent seeker. You don't get to further erode another's liberties, in the employment context, upon the basis of the notion that is a condition of employment.

  • Nancy Pelosi||

    NAACP policy is that we do not share the full text of resolutions

    Are you serious?

  • ||

    That sounded wacky to me too. Isn't the point of these organizations to make public pronouncements?

  • Amakudari||

    It's okay. I got some black friends. I'll ask them.

  • Robert||

    Apparently they want only a teaser for what its convention proposes, but full publicity for what its board approves. Isn't it interesting that the board has approval rights over what the convention adopts?

  • Joe M||

    Wow, good news. Now, let's see if the Congressional Black Caucus will join in the fun.

  • Ice Nine||

    I believe you must be talking about the Congressional Absence of Color Caucus.

  • Joe M||

    That's the Caucasian Caucus, not to be confused with the Caucus Asians.

  • Gibby||

    It's not a war on drugs; it's a war on liberty.

  • NAACP||

    It's a war on color. We object to the bruthus and sistas getting pinched more than Whitey. Fairness dictates that "people of color," representing only 46% of the nation, get incarcerated no more than 46% of the time. That's justice.

  • ||

    Yeah, that's my main beef with the idea of any real policy alliance with groups like this.... BUT so long as they're on board with across-the-board legalization, and not some half-assed sentencing reform, I'd say fine.

  • Pip||

    "Studies show that all racial groups abuse drugs at similar rates, but the numbers also show that African Americans, Hispanics and other people of color are stopped, searched, arrested, charged, convicted, and sent to prison for drug-related charges at a much higher rate."

    Keep your shit at home. Sell your shit from home.

    That's the problem.

  • Joe M||

    Hard to sell from your home if you're homeless.

  • Pip||

    God that's stupid.

  • ||

    You first have to get your shit.

  • Joe M||

    Hard to get your shit if you're scared shitless.

  • Joe M||

    I'd bitch about spoofing, but that was a decent line.

  • Joe M||

    I'd apologize about spoofing, but that was a decent line.

  • late to the party||

    I'd spoof about bitching, I would.

  • GILMORE||

    Last year the group's California chapter backed Proposition 19, the unsuccessful marijuana legalization initiative, citing the racially disproportionate impact of pot busts

    This isn't an argument for anything, really, other than saying that if the impact of the WoD were 'racially proportionate', they wouldn't have a problem with it.

    Solution = Bust More Hippies?

  • Tony||

    The racial disparity is just a problem on top of a problem. For one thing, it lets white people in power ignore the issue.

  • tarran||

    Tony, the War on Some Drugs was intended to keep dirty minorities from having sex with white women.

    In the case of marijuana, it was also FDR's little workfare program for all the regulators thrown out of work by the end of prohibition.

  • Barack Obama||

    For one thing, it lets white people in power ignore the issue.

    I'm COMPLETELY ignoring the issue. It's good to be the king.

  • Trident||

    So i guess it's the white side of Barack Obama's biracialness that is ignoring the issue as well, huh?

    His black side wants to address the problem, but his white side won't let him.

  • Tony||

    There's probably more truth to that than people who think pointing out his race is clever realize. He's one fuckup away from being branded some racist stereotype or other by the people who vocally want him to fail just to see him fail.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    I don't care what races make up Barry... all I know is, the man is no more qualified - or worthy - of the presidency than... well, just about anyone in big-league politics.

    And, yes, Tony, I'm including Sarah Palin, whom I would not trust with a squirt gun.

    Just in case you're about to call me a Republican or some other stupid shit response.

  • Tony||

    Oh how generous of you, putting the president on par with Sarah Palin.

    I think being most of the way through his term would qualify him for the job. Not many can put "being president" on their resumes.

    Are you perhaps confusing not being for the policies you want with being ineffectual?

  • Trident||

    Good thing you weren't the one pointing out race as a factor to supporting certain policies.

    Otherwise the fact that we now have the first black American president could be used as a reason to prove just how pathetically simplistic and - yes - racist it is to STILL make exceptions in negative judgment for Obama when he continues the same wretched policies as whitey.

  • Tony||

    Plenty of people criticize the president for all sorts of reasons... most without having to whine about how unfair it is that he's black.

  • ||

    I have to admit that I would be sorely temped by the solution "bust more hipsters".

  • Joe M||

    And compulsory daily shaving in prison.

  • ||

    There are some things so correct that they transcend bourgeois concepts like right and wrong.

  • Paul||

    Without hipsters, the pork pie hat would have never made its meteoric comeback.

    And what of deep vees?

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Shit... should I buy the box full of spats, or the zoot suit?

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Bon mots like these are why I keep coming back to Hit & Run.

  • Trident||

    "Solution = Bust More Hippies?"

    Sounds like a good thing no matter the pretext.

  • Robert||

    Look, this is how politics is done, by assembling interests on the sides of an issue. Why shouldn't they be primarily concerned about the impact on colored people, the advancement of whom is what they're about?

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Thaaaaank you. I agree, Robert.

  • ||

    Now that they've shown the guts to stand up to the police unions, maybe they should consider standing up to the teacher's unions which are doing as much or more damage to their community.

  • Joe M||

    It's kind of a one two punch, yes? Crap education leading to drug dealing as the only viable career choice.

  • Sidd Finch||

    How are teacher's unions disproportionately harming blacks?

  • Joe M||

    Off the cuff, I'd say a higher percentage of blacks than whites are in public schools.

  • Sidd Finch||

    Imagine what the Asians could do if the teachers unions weren't disproportionately harming them.

  • ||

    Google "atlanta public schools cheating scandal" and you will be enlightened.

  • Sidd Finch||

    Google "SES SAT blacks whites Asians" and you will learn that politics isn't everything.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    I doubt you actually need to lecture anyone on a libertarian board that politics aren't everything. I think Pablo raises a good point.

  • ||

    Ex cop Dale Carson on why whites aren't arrested as often as blacks for drugs.
    http://www.amazon.com/Arrest-P.....1556526377
    "Most important, they don’t adopt the outdoor [i.e. street-corner] lifestyle. They’re almost never visible walking on streets where they can be seen by cops riding around in cars. When they drive, their cars and pickups may be junkers, but they’re street legal, so they have fewer traffic stops. They get wasted indoors, where search warrants are required, and are less likely to carry dope on their persons and in their cars. Often they grow their own marijuana, so they do not buy drugs and fall victim to police stings, undercover cops, and confidential informants. Their dress is scruffy, but T-shirts and jeans blend in better than gang colors and hip-hop gear, so they don’t get targeted as quickly by police. "

  • The Ghost of R. J. Herrnstein||

    Told ya.

  • ||

    These are all good points.

  • Jim||

    This ties into the McDonalds thread. Maybe we'd be thinner if we all adopted the "outdoor lifestyle"?

    /snark

  • Terr||

    I smell a trap.

  • Michael Bloomberg||

    No, that's the grease.

  • ||

    There is enormous wisdom in that quote. As a defense attorney I can assure you that for whatever reason it is much easier to arrest minorities for drug possession as opposed to whites. Why bother trying to surveil and investigate white folks who buy drugs in private, and consume them in private, when you can drive thru poor black or hispanic neighborhoods and shoot fish in a barrel?

  • ||

    We've decided to sort of dislike the WoD because it disproportionately harms black people, and uhm, other people of color. Not because it is inherently idiotic.

    Fuck you and your identity politics.

  • NAACP||

    Huh?

  • BakedPenguin||

    While Rooks also played the "disparity" card, he at least started off with this:

    We know that the war on drugs has been a complete failure because in the forty years that we've been waging this war, drug use and abuse has not gone down. The only thing we've accomplished is becoming the world's largest incarcerator, sending people with mental health and addiction issues to prison...
  • ||

    What they should do is advocate drug legalization but only for traditionally oppressed minorities. Affirmative addiction.

  • ||

    Wow. Affirmative addiction. I think you just won the internet, ProL.

  • ||

    It's better than the affirmative action plan I came up with for the Libertarian President Top 100 list:

    10. Advocate a new solution to social inequities: An affirmative action hand grenade program. Each member of our most aggrieved minority classes will receive a hand grenade, which can be used at will (just the one grenade, mind you) without civil or criminal liability. Obviously, the mere threat of use should be sufficient to offset most prejudices and cultural biases ("Me and my grenade would like a job"). Once the grenades are handed out, that's it, we're all even, okay?
  • Paul||

    "My grenade and I would like a job".

    Learn some grammar.

    Sheesh.

    Where da warrant at?

    It's behind that preposition!

    Oh, then, where da warrant at, mofucker?

  • Ted S.||

    Some languages, such as Finnish, use postpositions. Should we discriminate against native Finnish speakers for their poor grammar? ;-)

  • ||

    You're missing the subtlety here. The lack of grammar highlights the ability of the grenade to right social wrongs, regardless of actual merit or ability.

  • Paul||

    You're missing the subtlety here. The lack of grammar highlights the ability of the grenade to right social wrongs, regardless of actual merit or ability.

    You passed the test. You'll get a free subscription to my newsletter.

  • ||

    That's quite good also, but affirmative addiction is an instant classic. I'm going to make it my life's work to turn that into the next catchphrase.

  • ||

    Glad to be of service. Maybe I'll make it a word of the day over at Urkobold, too, to assist your efforts.

  • Shocked||

    Affirmative addiction works on so many levels. War on poverty, farm aid, biofuels. All affirmative addictions.

  • ||

    Yeah, that wasn't so bad until he got to the part about mental health issues. Did he mention that people only use drugs because they are "self-medicating"? I need to self-medicate myself with a shot of bourbon after reading this kind of idiocy.

    No normal person would ever find it desirable to ingest a substance that wasn't allowed by the State, but we should give these people a break because they have issues, and a lot of them are black.

  • Jeff||

    The same can be said of the war on poverty, but the NAACP has never met a cockamamie wealth redistribution program it hasn't liked.

  • ||

    H man:
    " random testing of people who take money from the government"

    As long as it includes testing people like Michelle Bachman who take subsidies and home loans back by Fannie/Freddie, CEOs who get Money in the form of preferential tax cuts, Government contractors, etc.

  • H man||

    Agreed, definitely should be kicked off the dole if caught.

  • ||

    Let's make sure she's taking only the migraine meds she's been prescribed--and only at the approved dose. Otherwise, well, I'm sure she'll do well in Women's prison.

  • ||

    What took them so damned long?

    -jcr

  • Eric Cartman||

    Black drug dealers need to keep their pants pulled up godamnit!

  • Some Guy||

    "NAACP policy is that we do not share the full text of resolutions"

    So you're a group that advocated for things, but won't share what those things are? When did Mitt Romney join the NAACP?

  • ||

    Just like my deficit reduction plan. Call your congressman to pressure him pass it, though I won't tell you what it is.

  • ||

    Good news for Ron Paul. He should make a real play for an endorsement.

  • ||

    He's a Republican, and the left likes to portray him as a racist. He'll get the usual 4% of the black vote.

  • ||

    His share of that 4%, that is.

  • Paul||

    Dating the war on drugs to 40 years ago is not encouraging, since drugs were banned long before the Nixon administration.

    Nixon was a Republican, so...

  • ||

    I've sat with Benjamin before at a meeting, and I wouldn't believe a single thing the man says. Everything he does has some ulterior motive that benefits his white, liberal, Jewish masters. The man is the ultimate sell out.

  • ||

    N-Negros

    A-Are

    A-Against

    C-Criminalizing

    P-Pot

  • cynical||

    "equity, justice and effective law enforcement"

    Liberty, sadly, is nowhere to be found.

  • Imp of the Perverse||

    I really feel like this country is at a tipping point on drug policy, and in a good way. I think legal pot is now where gay marriage was ten years ago.

  • BigT||

    Oh? Where are the parades? 4-20 in Boulder is about all we got.

  • ||

    Seattle Hempfest? Boston Freedom Rally? Hash Bash in Ann Arbour? Don't make me go on.

  • T||

    I agree all drugs should be legal!
    Haven't we learned from prohibition..

  • ||

    These flawed drug policies that have been mostly enforced in African American communities must be stopped and replaced with evidenced-based practices that address the root causes of drug use and abuse in America.


    Uh, let me guess. Poverty and racism are the root causes, thus, more resdistribution is the answer?

  • Beavis and Butthead||

    Heh, heh, he said "poverty and racism"!

  • ||

    evidenced-based practices that address the root causes of drug use and abuse in America

    Umm, why do we need to address drug use (that does not rise to the level of abuse) at all?

  • ||

    answer: we don't.

  • ||

    "...those who are arrested for drug offenses not be sent to prison—that's explicit."

    "In terms of decriminalization or legalization," he says, "we did not get into those discussions."

    It's funny how loaded certain terms have become. Even when people see the Drug War clearly as the racist tool it is--they don't want to call it legalization or decriminalization.

    How to "decriminalize" it without making it seem as though you're condoning drug use or making it easier for kids to get--that is the question!

    ...and that's why medical marijuana caught on. It assuages both of those conflicting impulses like nothing else can.

  • anarch||

    How to "decriminalize" it without making it seem as though you're condoning drug use or making it easier for kids to get--that is the question!

    Emancipatory destigmatization?

    Elective auto-anesthesiation?

    Bong neutrality?

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    A+, anarch.

  • Sidd Finch||

    Remember when only liberals called everything with a disparate impact racist? It's seems like so long ago with a couple decades of neocons and cosmos joining the parade.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Pretty sure Anslinger was an actual bigot.

  • Sidd Finch||

    FDR and Rothbard were also. Does that make the New Deal and ancap racist also?

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    I'm pretty sure they didn't voice their bigotry in support of their policies.

    Anyway, I'm not against the WoD just because Anslinger was a bigot. It just sheds an interesting light on the history of drug policy in this country. Because prohibition in this country can't be understood without the cultural circumstances in which it arose.

  • tarran||

    Ancapism isn't since it contains nothing inherently discriminatory.

    The New Deal, on the other hand, had a lot of policies to protect racist whites-only unions from having to compete with black non-union labor. Black employment never really recovered after the Great Depression.

    And yes, one of the Senators from NY was quite open about the need to keep sub-human blacks from taking work away from honest white workers

    Yankee racism gets quite the free pass.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Interesting stuff, tarran.

  • Tony||

    That's because they grew out of it.

  • ||

    How to "decriminalize" it without making it seem as though you're condoning drug use or making it easier for kids to get--that is the question!

    1. with prohibition, it's easier for kids to buy illegal narcotics than it is to buy booze. Dealers don't card.

    2. not-condoning the abuse of your fellow citizens is not the same as condoning their potential abuse of of drugs.

  • Sidd Finch||

    "I'm pretty sure they didn't voice their bigotry in support of their policies."

    RRR used to publish Jared Taylor. I don't see how Rothbard and Rockwell could have been more explicit.

    "Because prohibition in this country can't be understood without the cultural circumstances in which it arose."

    like abortion?

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Yeah...like abortion. Although I admit I haven't looked much into the circumstances surrounding the legal statuses throughout history of that practice.

  • Brandt Hardin||

    The War on Drugs failed $1 Trillion ago! This money could have been used for outreach programs to clean up the bad end of drug abuse by providing free HIV testing, free rehab, and clean needles. Harmless drugs like marijuana could be legalized to help boost our damaged economy. Cannabis can provide hemp for countless natural recourses and the tax revenue from sales alone would pull every state in our country out of the red! Vote Teapot, PASS IT, and legalize it. Voice you opinion with the movement and read more on my artist’s blog at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.....-2011.html

  • scarpe Nike Store||

    is good

  • ||

    im ok with the ending the war on drugs, but i want an end to state sponsred tratments too...it makes no sense to be forced to pay for a drug addict, but not be allowed to tell them to stop. or force to hire them

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