Blacks In Government Blast "Racist" Drug War

By Tony O'Neill 09/02/11

A group that represents African-American government employees calls for an end to the war on drugs.

Incarceration rates show bias. Photo via

It seems hardly a week goes by without another mainstream group calling for an end to the war on drugs. This time it’s the turn of Blacks In Government (BIG), an organization representing African-American government employees at the federal, state, county and municipal levels. BIG resoundingly approved a resolution at a national delegates' meeting last week, calling for an end to the war on drugs—citing its racial bias and failure to effect levels of drug use in the US. In June this year the NAACP also passed a historic resolution calling for an end to the war on drugs. Other African-American groups that have taken a similar stance include National Black Caucus of State Legislators and the National Black Police Association.

The BIG resolution will be delivered to President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder, according to an alert sent out by LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition).  It calls for “alternatives to incarceration that may, in part, include a model to regulate and control the distribution of some drugs.” The resolution cites the words of LEAP’s Major Neil Franklin and US Marshal Matthew Fogg, who have long noted that African Americans constitute 53.5% of all imprisoned drug offenders in the US, even though drug use is divided pretty evenly across racial lines. Responding to this staggering discrepancy, BIG asks for “a federal investigation for solutions to eliminate the pretense and continued arrest and incarceration of African Americans at extraordinarily disparate rates for drug related charges.” Fogg, a former US marshal and BIG national first vice president, says “I personally witnessed racially biased enforcement procedures when I ran a joint DEA task force. When I requested equal enforcement of upscale suburban areas, I met internal resistance.” These are exciting times for opponents of the destructive and nonsensical war on drugs, with the anti-prohibitionist viewpoint moving rapidly into the mainstream. But are politicians listening?


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Tony O'Neill, a regular contributor to The Fix, is the author of several novels, including Digging the VeinDown and Out on Murder Mile and Sick City. He also co-authored the New York Times bestseller Hero of the Underground (with Jason Peter) and the Los Angeles Times bestseller Neon Angel (with Cherie Currie). He lives in New York with his wife and daughter. You can follow Tony on Twitter.