Drug Policy is a Race and Poverty Issue — Let’s Push for Action

By Channing Kennedy Jun 15, 2009

Ethan Nadelmann, director of Drug Policy Alliance, addressed the America’s Future Now conference last week, calling for broader and stronger involvement by progressives against draconian drug laws that disproportionately affect communities of color. From his remarks:

The issue of race is an inescapable part of this — because we know that if the color of the faces of most of the people behind bars were white and not black, the reaction of the public would be different. There’s something that clicks in our heads, that somehow when you see a black or brown face, especially a young male face, behind bars, there’s that element — even among all of us who do not consider ourselves racist and believe in fighting against racism — there’s that little click that accepts that on some level. When you’re talking about economic opportunity — and approximately 50 percent of young black men in many cities already have a criminal record, already have a better chance of going to jail than university — you realize this is not just an issue of race or of human rights but also an economic issue.

Read the rest at AlterNet.