African-Americans and the War on Drugs

John McWhorter has a good column at Root urging African-Americans to make a priority of opposing the War on Drugs {[HT: here]:

The Reclaim the Dream March “recaptured the flavor” of the March on Washington. But it isn’t an accident that this brings to mind popping an old piece of gum from the underside of a desk into your mouth to see how much “flavor” might still be left in it.

The 1963 March on Washington, of course, was a signature and significant event. The question, however, is what the value is of trying to do it again. There comes a point when these marches are gestures rather than actions. And that point has come….

Every time I see one of these marches or forums covered as significant, what occurs to me is that there is one thing we should all be focused on instead. It is, of all things, the War on Drugs. The most meaningfully pro-black policy today would be a white-hot commitment to ending its idiocy.

The massive number of black men in prison, described on The Root site here, stands as a rebuke to all calls to “get past racism,” exhibit initiative or stress optimism. And the primary reason for this massive number of black men in jail is the War on Drugs.

The War on Drugs destroys black families. It has become a norm for black children to grow up with their fathers in prison and barely knowing them….

In this post, I discussed in greater detail how the War on Drugs undermines family values in poor black communities. As I noted there, some 60% of all incarcerated nonviolent drug offenders are black males, hundreds of thousands in all. This figure is not due solely or even primarily to racism. But even if conducted with the best of intentions, the War on Drugs has had a devastating impact on blacks even more than on other groups.