Thought I would drop this little gem of an article from the New York Times in here. A heroin crisis is hitting middle class white families. But instead of sending the drug users to jail like they did to crack cocaine users during the 1980’s and 90’s white families want their children’s drug use to be treated as a disease, not a crime. Folks are now having a change of heart about jailing drug users since it’s hitting white folks.
NEWTON, N.H. — When Courtney Griffin was using heroin, she lied, disappeared, and stole from her parents to support her $400-a-day habit. Her family paid her debts, never filed a police report and kept her addiction secret — until she was found dead last year of an overdose.
At Courtney’s funeral, they decided to acknowledge the reality that redefined their lives: Their bright, beautiful daughter, just 20, who played the French horn in high school and dreamed of living in Hawaii, had been kicked out of the Marines for drugs. Eventually, she overdosed at her boyfriend’s grandmother’s house, where she died alone.
“When I was a kid, junkies were the worst,” Doug Griffin, 63, Courtney’s father, recalled in their comfortable home here in southeastern New Hampshire. “I used to have an office in New York City. I saw them.”
Noting that “junkies” is a word he would never use now, he said that these days, “they’re working right next to you and you don’t even know it. They’re in my daughter’s bedroom — they are my daughter.”
When the nation’s long-running war against drugs was defined by the crack epidemic and based in poor, predominantly black urban areas, the public response was defined by zero tolerance and stiff prison sentences. But today’s heroin crisis is different. While heroin use has climbed among all demographic groups, it has skyrocketed among whites; nearly 90 percent of those who tried heroin for the first time in the last decade were white.
And the growing army of families of those lost to heroin — many of them in the suburbs and small towns — are now using their influence, anger and grief to cushion the country’s approach to drugs, from altering the language around addiction to prodding government to treat it not as a crime, but as a disease.
“Because the demographic of people affected are more white, more middle class, these are parents who are empowered,” said Michael Botticelli, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, better known as the nation’s drug czar. “They know how to call a legislator, they know how to get angry with their insurance company, they know how to advocate. They have been so instrumental in changing the conversation.”
Mr. Botticelli, a recovering alcoholic who has been sober for 26 years, speaks to some of these parents regularly.
Their efforts also include lobbying statehouses, holding rallies and starting nonprofit organizations, making these mothers and fathers part of a growing backlash against the harsh tactics of traditional drug enforcement. These days, in rare bipartisan or even nonpartisan agreement, punishment is out and compassion is in.
The presidential candidates of both parties are now talking about the drug epidemic, with Hillary Rodham Clinton hosting forums on the issue as Jeb Bush and Carly Fiorina tell their own stories of loss while calling for more care and empathy.
I swear my blood pressure went up while reading this article and I did a lot of eye rolling. You don’t use the word junkies anymore cause your daughter was one? It’s not just those other people anymore.
Some black scholars said they welcomed the shift, while expressing frustration that earlier calls by African-Americans for a more empathetic approach were largely ignored.
“This new turn to a more compassionate view of those addicted to heroin is welcome,” said Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, who specializes in racial issues at Columbia and U.C.L.A. law schools. “But,” she added, “one cannot help notice that had this compassion existed for African-Americans caught up in addiction and the behaviors it produces, the devastating impact of mass incarceration upon entire communities would never have happened.”
You can read the entire article at the New York Times. The Washington Post has a similar article about softening the current drug laws and features a story about a teen overdose on heroin.
So says Diane Black, the Tennessee Republican state senator whose legislative aide Sherri Goforth sent out an email showing President Barack Obama looking like a spook.
You see, Sherri Goforth sent an email showing images of all the presidents of the United States. According to the Los Angeles Times:
She did it by sending out an e-mail with images of all the presidents of the United States, with Barack Obama depicted below in the bottom right hand corner only as a pair of bright white eyes on a black background. Sort of like a ghost. But between just us, probably more like a spook. And for those not steeped in quaint Southern terminology for blacks, “spook” was once (an apparently still is) a popular slur.
The Los Angeles Times article also mentions the following:
Her boss, who reprimanded her, is emphasizing that she had nothing to do with it. The senator says she has always been a friend to “people with black skin.”
I feel much better now 😦
According to the Nashville Scene Diane Black has done plenty for black folks:
“It absolutely does not reflect any of my beliefs,” she says of the email that her staffer sent on a state computer to a bunch of her Republican buddies. “This is, believe me, not at all anything having to do with being derogatory toward someone in a minority.”
In fact, Black says, she’s “reached out to people all over this world” as a nurse. As evidence of her racist-free heart, she cites her trips to Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Guatemala. She went deep into the jungles of Guatemala like a great white bwana to help babies.
“I spent time in Haiti during the time of Aristide working with people with black skin who needed medical help,” she says. And if that’s not enough, her family once hosted a Brazilian exchange student in their home. Wow!
And what about Goforth? She said she sent the email to the wrong list of people. So apparently there was right list of people to send the email to but she hit the wrong button. Go figure. Anyway after backtracking on that wrong list comment Ms. Goforth issued another apology:
“I want to offer my deepest apology regarding the offensive nature of the email forwarded to several of my colleagues. I also want to make it clear that it was forwarded to me from an acquaintance with absolutely no political party ties and who is outside the Tennessee Capitol Hill arena. I should have deleted it upon receipt. Again, I am deeply sorry and offer a sincere apology to anyone offended.”
Makes your head spin, don’t it? I mean Rusty DePass basically calls First Lady Michelle Obama a gorilla and now this. So who will be the next person to act a fool and show their true colors.
As Mary C. Curtis over at Politics Daily states:
Lindsey Graham, one of South Carolina’s U.S. senators, has said he is “deeply troubled” by comments about race made by Judge Sonia Sotomayor.
So Senator Graham, since statements that speak of the need for diversity on the bench upset you, I know you’ll be demanding a clear apology from DePass – a South Carolina colleague — for his comments comparing the First Lady of the United States to an animal.
Is Senator Graham deeply troubled by Rusty DePass’s gorilla comments?
Yes folks we are certainly living in a post racial society.