Now Drug-Free School Zones Hurt Blacks

By conventional measures of racist attitudes — support for school segregation, opposition to racial intermarriage and the like — white people have become decreasingly racist over time, as seen in the chart above extracted from Gallup organization data and published by the Institute for Government and Public Affairs. Older racists are literally dying out, replaced by young people with egalitarian attitudes.

Yet I don’t remember the preoccupation with race, discrimination and prejudice being so intense since the urban race riots of the late 1960s. Partisan commentators like to blame President Trump, not without some justification, for rhetoric that is racially insensitive or, as they would say, outright racist. But that tells only part of the story. Leftist academics, think tanks, politicians, and media have committed themselves all out to the narrative that not only are Trump and his supporters grievously racist, but so are America and America’s institutions. The bombardment of messages is inescapable. I get reminders in my inbox every day.

The latest missive to provoke my ire comes from the Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Policy, a Virginia think tank that is mainstream liberal in orientation — not on the lunatic fringe of the left. Today, an email arrived entitled, “Beyond Fiscal Impact Statements: Understanding the Racial Equity Impacts of Public Policy Choices.”

As an example of unintended racial impact, Research Director Loren Goren refers to policies that enhance penalties for distributing drugs within a certain number of feet of a school. Such penalties, she writes, “contribute to longer terms of incarceration and have a disparate impact on people of color. Communities of color generally have more population density and therefore any particular arrest is more likely to be within the school zone.”

As it happens, I have some knowledge of the intersection of drug violence and elementary schools. When I moved in Richmond’s gentrifying Church Hill neighborhood some 30 years ago, I lived a block from Chimborazo Elementary School. I participated in a neighborhood clean-up of the school grounds, cleaning trash and broken glass off the cement playground — not that it made much difference, because I don’t remember kids playing outside very often.

There was a reason for that. Drug-related violence was endemic in the neighborhood. Three people were murdered in a crack house on my block. I recall an incident in which perpetrators on the school grounds shot and wounded three people across the street.

So, who are we supposed to sympathize with? The shooters, on the logic that they operated in a dense urban neighborhood, thus finding it difficult to avoid the schoolyard when conducting their criminal mayhem? Or the school kids, whose recess activities were curtailed due to criminal behavior that ran rampant and uncontrolled at the time? (Things are better now.) I’m sorry, but I fail to see how this is even a question that intelligent people can ask.

Aside from white supremacists representing about one percent of the population, the most race-obsessed people in the United States today are white liberals who are desperate to avoid acknowledging the stupendous failures of welfare policy, K-12 disciplinary policy, the every-family-deserves-to-own-a-house policy, the every-American-deserves-to-attend-college policy, and the myriad other ways in which social justice palliatives have blown up like exploding cigars and made life worse for poor African-Americans. Instead, white liberals double down on the narrative that racism permeates every corner of our society and racists lurk behind every bush. The strategem absolves them of guilt for their failures but it feeds the narrative of African-American victimhood.

White supremacists could not have masterminded policies better designed to fail, demoralize African-Americans, and keep them poor and marginalized.

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4 responses to “Now Drug-Free School Zones Hurt Blacks”

  1. “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”
    ― John G. Roberts Jr.

  2. LarrytheG Avatar

    The problems that we have as a result of people who do not have a job and do not have the education needed is their activities to earn money – usually through illegal activities.

    These folks are parented by folks who also don’t have decent educations, have low incomes – and live in neighborhoods with bad schools.

    There’s enough blame to go around but the reality is – when people live in generations and cycles of poverty – drugs are sold and often near schools.

    But what’s the point of looking at this problem as if it is connected to race as if race itself is the problem?

    Race is not the problem – it’s a lack of education and a lack of jobs and opportunity… that leads to drug use and drug trafficking…

    it happens to all races of folks – opioids are largely a white problem in rural America – yet we continue to see articles through the lens of race… which
    really has nothing to do with it even if drugs and crime manifest themselves in different percentages with different races.

    If you have significant populations of people who do not have decent educations, cannot find or get a job – you’re going to have problems and “seeing” that problem as one of race is just plain ignorant in my view.

    We have serious problems with large segments of our population not getting true access to a decent education. From that point on – all manner of bad stuff happens – and it really don’t matter what color you are – unless of course your color determines whether you get access to a good education or not.

    How are we ever going to actually deal with the real problems if we continue to insist it’s about race as a color and not policies towards race?

    We now have the internet – and instead of widespread enlightenment on issues like this – it’s become a megaphone for ignorance and hate.

  3. Steve Haner Avatar
    Steve Haner

    One feels sympathy for this family, but their cries of racial discrimination in this case just fall flat. This involves a black suspect, a black officer, who works for a black chief and black mayor, and the case was reviewed by a black prosecutor who concluded the officer made a rational (if tragic) decision in the middle of a chaotic and dangerous event. By all accounts this was a good person who went crazy under a combination of drugs. The complaint that this was racial unfortunately makes it easier to dismiss cases where the complaint is legitimate. A white guy posing the same threat beside a busy highway would likely have also ended up dead. This is just not a situation a lone police officer is equipped or trained to handle.

    I tend to agree with Jim that an assertion that “drug free school” laws have a disparate impact also fall flat, but before I completely accept that I’d have to ask if they were being uniformly enforced. I think the people behind those laws fully intended them to apply everywhere. I want them enforced everywhere. I agree with Larry that the epidemic of drug abuse crosses all lines (and Jim’s own earlier post about that unfortunate local magistrate proved that.)

    A better message from the Commonwealth Institute would have been these are laws that need to be enforced to the hilt and drug abuse by anyone is a pathway to failure in life and an early death.

    1. TooManyTaxes Avatar

      I have an acquaintance, who is a decent fellow at heart, who would say, even in a city such as Richmond, where many elected, appointed and employed government officials are black, white racism is the cause of the arrest and conviction of blacks. He simply doesn’t believe in human thought and decision-making. He’s also employed by a labor union so he may simply be mouthing what he is paid to say.

      Larry, you can lead a horse to water. People have a responsibility to ensure that their children get educations. As people grow older, they must also take on this responsibility.

      The federal government sends extra funds to Title I schools. The Commonwealth adds more. Many localities, including Fairfax County, adds even more money. The last time I looked, it was more than 3 cents from the real estate tax levy. These kids have smaller classes, more specialized teachers and aides, as well as other support people. At what point, can society finally demand responsible behavior in return? When can taxpayers insist that the resources be used as intended?

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