Newshawk: Published Letters Awards www.mapinc.org/lteaward.htm
Pubdate: Fri, 9 Jul 2010
Source: DrugSense Blog
LETTER OF THE WEEK
NEW JIM CROW: WAR ON DRUGS PROVIDES EXCUSE
The News should be praised for publishing Leonard Pitts’ article about
Michelle Alexander’s book, “The New Jim Crow” (“‘New Jim Crow’
surfaces in U.S. justice,” Other Views, Monday). It is undoubtedly the
most important book published in this century about the U.S.
Over the past 20 or so years, we have seen a huge jump in the
imprisonment of black men in the U.S., using the “war on drugs” as an
excuse to establish a caste system here, with an effect not unlike Jim
Crow. Police statistics show black men use no more drugs than white
men, yet blacks are being rounded up in droves, through checkpoints
and stop-and-search rules, while police avoid using the same tactics
for white men.
As an older, white, Protestant minister fortunate enough to have been
in the civil rights movement from early on, I move easily and freely
in the black communities in Alabama and the nation, have lived in
those communities in Washington, Chicago and Boston, and can testify
that the people there are simply not a dangerous criminal element.
What has created the crisis in the black community is selective and
racist policing, encouraged by the federal government, and joblessness
from the abandonment of these men by major industry as companies have
dumped their employees to shift work out of the country in the pursuit
of profits before people. The new Jim Crow may or may not be
intentional, but it is very real, and it is dividing this nation
between white and black once again. The “war on drugs,” “stop and
search” and checkpoints by police must end.
The Rev. Jack Zylman
Pubdate: Wed, 30 Jun 2010
Source: Birmingham News, The (AL)