California Task Force Highlights Racist Drug War Policies In Report On Reparations For Black Americans

California Task Force Highlights Racist Drug War Policies In Report On Reparations For Black Americans
MJ moment

A California government task force released an interim report on reparations for black Americans on Wednesday that delves deep into how marijuana criminalization and the broader the war on drugs has been weaponized against minority communities and contributed to a cycle of mass incarceration. The report from the Reparations Task Force, which was established under a law enacted in 2020, is nearly 500 pages, and the document includes an extensive analysis of the origins of the drug war and how its enforcement has intentionally and disproportionately targeted black people for political and racist means. The task force is comprised of nine members, five of whom were appointed by the governor and four of whom were appointed by leaders in the Senate and Assembly. Members “are drawn from diverse backgrounds to represent the interests of communities of color throughout the state, have experience working to implement racial justice reform, and, to the extent possible, represent geographically diverse areas of the state.” The new report states plainly that the “American government at all levels criminalized African Americans for social control, and to maintain an economy based on exploited Black labor.” “Mass incarceration, another tool of racist social control, has also had the consequence of breaking up Black families.” A clear example of the racist political intent behind the push to increase penalties over drugs came out of the Nixon administration, with the report citing a statement from one of the former president’s top advisors, who claimed that Nixon’s plan was that “getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, [the administration] could disrupt those communities.” The report notes that black people and white people use drugs at virtually identical rates, while people of color are disproportionately arrested, prosecuted and incarcerated for it.…

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