Points has a post on the history of black support for the war on drugs.
When I began researching grassroots responses to crack-cocaine I found myself—albeit naively—both surprised and confused by heavy-handed, aggressive calls for more policing and harsher sentencing from working and middle class black urbanites. Was this unique to the period? Did this represent a specific and different response to the marketing invention of crack? Moreover, I found myself asking: What motivated calls to stigmatize and scapegoat members of their own local communities? Why would local leaders deliberately attract negative attention to their already beleaguered districts, thereby further perpetuating negative stereotypes regarding the debasement of inner-city culture? Where were the progressive voices calling for moderate, rational, public health responses?
“Rational”? Pretty condescending. It’s not to difficult to imagine this being a very rational response when trying, against great odds, to build and maintain strong, upwardly mobile minority communities in cities and neighborhoods that are constantly on the edge of disaster.
In spite of that, it’s a worthwhile read.
As, I’ve pointed out in previous posts, while policies like the crack sentencing guidelines have had horribly racist effects, the policy was supported by the Congressional Black Caucus.