The Massive Liberal Failure On Race

Lyndon Johnson Affirmative Action

The Article: The Massive Liberal Failure on Race by Tanner Colby in Slate.

The Text: In 2009, I attended the NAACP’s 100th annual convention at the Midtown Hilton in New York. Not just the centenary celebration for the nation’s oldest civil rights organization, this was also the group’s first convention under our newly inaugurated black president. The theme of the week’s events was to pay homage to the great civil rights victories of the past while at the same time defining a new mission for the next century. But on the night NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous took the stage for his big speech, when the subject turned to affirmative action, he didn’t sound like he was charting a new course so much as doubling down on the orthodoxy of the past. “The only question about affirmative action,” Jealous declared, “isn’t whether or not we need the hammer. The only question is whether or not the hammer is big enough!”

The line was met with thunderous applause. At the time, this didn’t really stand out to me, because, like a lot of well-intentioned but minimally informed white liberals, I believed in affirmative action. I didn’t have terribly strong convictions about it, but given America’s history it generally seemed like “the right thing to do.” That was five years ago. Then, in the course of writing a book about the history of the color line and our efforts to erase it, I took a closer look at the origins of affirmative action, and its results. Having done so, I’m a believer no more.

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Bernie Sanders And Michele Bachmann Square Off In Poverty Debate

We’re just impressed that Sanders agreed to this segment in the first place.

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Your Daily Dose Of Irony

Kentucky Irony

The use of divisive social issues and pandering to the prejudices of a poorly-educated population have aided substantially in continued Republican control over southern states. As you can see (though Kentucky’s current governor is a Democrat), the real losers are the voters.

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How Racist Fiction Shaped US Drug Policy

Cocaine Race Policy

The Article: How the Myth of the ‘Negro Cocaine Fiend’ Helped Shape American Drug Policy by Carl L. Hart in The Nation.

The Text: Negro Cocaine “Fiends” Are a New Southern Menace. That was the headline of an article I came across while doing research for my PhD in 1996. It involved trying to understand the neurobiological and behavioral effects of psychoactive drugs like cocaine and nicotine. So I read everything that seemed relevant.

The provocatively headlined article had appeared in The New York Times on February 8, 1914. I was surprised by the title, although I knew it was once acceptable to print such blatantly racist words in respectable papers. But what really shocked me was how similar it was to modern media coverage of illegal drugs and how, from early on, the racialized discourse on drugs served a larger political purpose.

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The Racist War On Drugs

Keeping Chinese, Mexicans, African Americans in their “proper place”. These are the primary “reasons” behind drug prohibition–not the dangerous properties of the drugs themselves. Ethan Nadlemann, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance on our racist relationship with the War on Drugs.

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