Stop Philly Flash Mobs: End War on Drugs
At the core of young black men's violence against mostly white victims: the constant presence of police.
Reps. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Ron Paul (R-Texas) are sponsoring a bill in Congress to end the war on pot, and while it would surprise few that Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) is on board, how about Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.)? Public figures are increasingly united in the realization that after 40 years, the war on drugs has been a failure. Drugs are as available now as they were then -- and as cheap -- and the prisons are overflowing.
Steps Toward Change
And then last month the NAACP took its place in the battle against the war on drugs. I have had my cavils about the NAACP in the past, but this is the most admirable thing I have seen it do in my lifetime, and I will grumble about the NAACP no more.
These are important developments: A wall is crumbling. There are even special things happening in Philadelphia itself. District Attorney Seth Williams has essentially legalized marijuana. He understandably would rather that we not put it that way, but possession of up to 30 grams is now classified as a summary offense rather than a misdemeanor and doesn't go into the record.
This is the kind of thing that, if it gradually leads to an end to the entire Prohibitionist charade, will stop activities like young black men hurting white people for sport.
I confidently predict -- as I did the election of Barack Obama back in 2006, when everybody was telling me I was crazy -- that if the war on drugs ended, then in just 10 years the notion of young black men trawling the streets looking for white people to jump on would sound as antique as a blaxploitation movie. Letting go of the war on weed, as in Philadelphia, is a great first step -- and hopefully one along the way to the complete dismantling of the New Prohibition, which would be, in its way, the second civil rights revolution that many wish for.
John McWhorter is a regular contributor to The Root.