The year was 1977. I was the starting point guard as a sophomore on what would be the greatest team ever at our small college, Idaho State University. We won our conference championship and advanced deep into NCAA March Madness. We hosted the First Round and the Minidome had it’s last sold out basketball event. We made history.
We were ahead of Jerry Tarkanian’s Running Rebels of Las Vegas at half in the Elite Eight matchup … unfortunately, they ran us out of gas and advanced to the Final Four. Great memories!
My mom was lead teacher at a predominantly African American primary school. She taught first grade and administered the Head Start and Follow Through programs for District 25. My father was ranked as one of the state’s top high school principals.
“Unless we do something about this, my children are going to grow up in a jungle, the jungle being a racial jungle with tensions having built so high that it is going to explode at some point. We have got to make some move on this.”
U.S. Senator Joe Biden, 1977
That year, Joe Biden championed those who opposed and wanted to end school busing and integration. He infamously said in 1977, that non-orderly racial integration policies would cause his children to “grow up in a racial jungle.” Biden became one of the Senate’s most vocal opponents of court-ordered busing.
“You take people who aren’t racist, people who are good citizens, who believe in equal education and opportunity, and you stunt their children’s intellectual growth by busing them to an inferior school, and you’re going to fill them with hatred.”
U.S. Senator Joe Biden, 1977
As educators, my parents were devastated. When my father played basketball as a scholarship athlete at the University of Southern Mississippi, Black players were not allowed on the team. He had disagreed with the restriction. He and my mother became champions of civil rights. They preached and parroted teachings of people like Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. Much progress in civil rights had been fought for and earned. Our family was not going backward.
“There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools and she was bused to school every day. That little girl was me. So I will tell you that on this subject, it cannot be an intellectual debate among Democrats.”
Democratic President Candidate Kamala Harris, 2020
My Black teammates were hurt and disappointed by Joe’s words. My best friend on the team and in life, Ed Thompson (#14), was sullen and scared. I hugged him and simply said, “I’m sorry! We will work together to ensure this does not happen.”
Institutional Racism in America
President Richard Nixon kicked off the most insidious racist policies in America since slavery beginning in 1970. He was extremely unpopular for prosecuting the Vietnam War. He was also deeply paranoid and insecure.
Out of touch, this conservative White politician needed a way to infiltrate and combat both anti-war protestors (Hippies) and the rising militant Black Panther movement. Nixon criminalized and weaponized illicit drugs. Per his own top advisor in 1994:
“The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and Black people.”
“We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or Black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and Blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news.”
John Erlichmann, Nixon’s Domestic Policy Chief, 1994
President Reagan and wife Nancy continued this racist agenda. “Just Say No,” they commanded. Although both Black and White youngsters used cannabis at similar rates, Black folks were two-to-three times more likely to be punished, arrested and incarcerated. Yet America continued to demand politicians get “tough on crime.”
As Democrats, U.S. Senator Joe Biden and presidential hopeful, Bill Clinton, had to match the fervor and intensity of Republicans. As promised in the 1992 campaign, Joe, Bill and Hillary toured the nation to rally support for the 1994 Crime Legislation. When speaking with primarily White suburban housewives, they warned of the growing number of teen “super predators” in the inner cities.
The “liberal” Democrats implicated millions of Black young men in their campaign. The legislation put over 100,000 new police officers on our streets. As Illustration 1 (above) highlights, the nation went from 213.4 officers per 100,000 citizens in 1993 to a record of 237.7 per 100,000 by 2000.
Adding thousands of additional cops mandated results. Arrests, convictions and incarcerations for minor drugs crimes exploded — and Black males suffered the highest rates of injustice. Approximately 1,317 Black males per 100,000 were imprisoned when Ronald Reagan was elected 1980. Incarceration rates grew dramatically during the next twelve years, including the one-term presidency of GHW Bush.
US election 2020: Bloomberg donates $100m for Biden in Florida. During Michael Bloomberg’s twelve-year term as mayor, NYPD officers stopped and frisked roughly five million people. The city’s residents of color were subjected to these invasive encounters at rates that hovered around 9X those of their White peers. [source]
When Bill Clinton left office 2001, the number of Black males under control of the state had nearly tripled (3,535 per 100,000). Bill retired. Joe Biden’s political career continued. During the Obama & Biden administration, the number of police officers were reduced (Illustration 1 above), but the draconian drug laws didn’t change.
The number of NYPD officers increased by 47% between 1990 and 1997. From 1990–2002, New York City saw a 2,461% increase in arrests for low-level possession. Of the 8 million-plus marijuana arrests made by the NYPD between 2001 and 2010, 88% were for possession alone.
In 2020, although White New Yorkers are twice as likely as their non-white counterparts to consume cannabis — Black and Latinx people continue to make up over 93% of those arrested on marijuana charges. A 2009 New York Times headline had it right. “Whites Smoke Pot, but Blacks Are Arrested. [source]
By the time Obama and Biden left office 2017, the number of incarcerated Black males was still TWICE the level when Ronald Reagan took office 1980.
Black females suffered increased incarceration rates in this 20 year period as well. In 1980, about 45 Black women per 100,000 were under government control; by 2000, this number had quadrupled to some 212 per 100,000 citizens.
In 1990, the NYPD made less than 1,000 arrests for marijuana possession each year. Ten years later, the annual number had risen to over 50,000. [source]
Ronald Reagan, GHW Bush, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Joe Biden. Four White men and one woman; twenty disastrous years for African Americans.
“Well I tell you what, if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t Black.”
Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden, May 2020
Joe Biden has apologized for opposing busing and the 1977 “racial jungle” comment. Says he misspoke recently when he said, “Well I tell you what, if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t Black.” Joe Biden has serious internal issues concerning race relations in America.
Biden’s Fatal and Flawed Logic
Anyone who has been active in politics for nearly 50 years, as has Joe Biden, will have made errors. We’re all human. Barack Obama opposed gay marriage over the course of his life. He admitted in 2009 he had evolved. Hillary and Biden and GW Bush supported the incompetent decision to invade Iraq. History shows all three were wrong. Huge blow to the military prestige and economic state of our nation.
Beginning in 1999, marijuana law violations became the country’s single largest arrest category, a reality that continues to be reflected in current crime reports. In 2018, American police departments made over 600,000 arrests for marijuana possession alone, more than they made for all murder, rape, robbery, and other serious crimes combined. [source]
Yet Senator Biden, Vice President Biden, Presidential Candidate Joe Biden still doesn’t comprehend the breadth of his failure with the 1994 Crime bill. Without question, crime was rising in America. Ronald Reagan, GHW Bush, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Joe Biden failed to understand why this was occurring. For this reason, I will never vote for Joe.
In the early 1990s, as the myth of the marijuana-smoking “super predator” crept back into public consciousness, lawmakers ratcheted the penalties back up. [source]
Americans were not becoming a more “violent” people; we weren’t more disposed to engage in crime. National economic policies — Reaganomics, Supply Side Economics or Trickle Down theory — led factory owners to flee our inner cities. Many left the nation for foreign shores. The economic base in our inner cities collapsed. Millions of good-paying jobs ended. Families were devastated.
During President Clinton’s first term, the number of marijuana-related arrests increased by 43%, climbing past 500,000 arrests in 1995 alone.
But the racially-biased nature of cannabis law enforcement became apparent almost immediately. By the end of the decade, the racial disparities had become shocking. By 2002, though Black residents made up around 14% of the country’s marijuana consumers, they would constitute 30% of marijuana arrests. [source]
Americans weren’t turning to crime or increased illicit drug use due to lack of moral character. The U.S. government through specific policy enactments destroyed their world. Millions were trapped in economic dead zones. Business owners forced to close due to the C19 crisis are frustrated today — yet government has allocated trillions to support entrepreneurs during the crisis. Government didn’t respond this way in the 1980s and ’90s.
A young Black teen who had planned to inspire to a decent-paying union job like his father was left hopeless. These jobs were gone — never to return. His options were a minimum wage position at McDonalds or stand on a corner being a lookout for a neighborhood drug lord. Government provided no assistance; just the heavy hand of law enforcement.
America’s elites focused on the top of the social pyramid. Nobody cared about the lower middle class or poor, as shown in Illustration 3. We all recognize this now. Democrats handed out welfare to single mothers. They starved and disparaged young males, particularly those of color. Joe Biden still fails to understand his error today.
“Anyone with even the most cursory knowledge of drug-trafficking patterns and of police arrest and incentives could have foreseen that the enemy troops of the War on Drugs would consist largely of young, inner-city Black males.” [source]
Criminologist Michael H. Tonry
The Best & Brightest in America were cruel and callous to inner city families that had collapsed due to globalization and Supply Side economics. “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps,” said Ronald Reagan. Many young Black youngsters didn’t have money for boots — or books — or college education — or to start a family — or to make a down payment on a home.
“So one of the unintended consequences of [stop-and-frisk policies] is people say, ‘Oh my God, you are arresting kids for marijuana that are all minorities’. Yes, that’s true. [It’s] because we put all the cops in minority neighborhoods … because that’s where all the crime is.” [source]
New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg
Abandoned by the elites, their role models became flashy rappers driving Escalades, wearing $300 Nikes, and adorned in diamond and gold bling. Snoop Dogg and Dr Dre rapped about “gin and juice,” and encouraged anti-police 187 rhetoric. The War on Drugs designed by Nixon, Reagan, the Clinton’s and Joe Biden had become a War on Black Inner City Americans.
All they ever wanted were decent paying jobs and a fair chance for opportunity in America. Joe Biden gave them more cops and harsher drug sentences. Working Man Biden deeply empathizes with White blue-collar labor in Scranton, PA, but has never understood the pain of inner city Black folk.
His running mate, Kamala Harris, honed her political skills as an efficient prosecutor and Attorney General in California locking up poor Black males as well. These human beings didn’t deserve prison bars; they needed jobs and opportunity.
Donald Trump is a buffoon. Most of us recognize this. Yet he fights for jobs for Americans. He’s correct, in my opinion, to stand up to China. The nation steals our intellectual property, copies our innovative work, and uses below-market labor to beat American manufacturers. Trump was correct to repeal and replace NAFTA. This trade deal gave away too much to Canada and Mexico.
Prior to COVID-19, Trump’s economy was actually working for ALL Americans. Unfortunately, Trump didn’t wage this war against nature effectively. His arrogance and lack of compassion for other human beings doesn’t serve him well in a global pandemic. SEE President Trump Reckless and Stupid. Hawaii Gov Ige and Lt Gov Josh Green Deadly and Dangerous
Sadly, we’re in much the same state in Election 2020 as we were in Election 2016. Neither candidate is right for America. Both are highly-flawed political actors. This says something about our democratic Republic. With over 330 million citizens, these are the two candidates who bubbled up to the top of our participatory system. To me, this highlights the disfunctionality of America.
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