thesunatmidnight2:

 At the end, thirty feet or so from the counter that closed the entrance, a grinning Negro face bobbed and grimaced through a hole in the back curtain painted to represent a jungle river. The Negro’s head came right out of the spread terrific jaws of a crocodile. “Hit the nigger in the head, get a good ten cent seegar,” the barker said. “Three balls for a dime, folks. Try your skill and accuracy. Hit the nigger baby on the head get a handsome cane and pennant.

http://www.ferris.edu/jimcrow/question/oct12/index.htm

View post...
  • gradientlair:

While Black experiences with racism and anti-Blackness are used as analogies/metaphors and narratives to shape the experiences of non-Black people while erasing Black people’s experiences and humanity (as I discussed in White People Using Blackness and Anti-Black Racism Analogies For Their Experiences Is NOT Intersectionality), these experiences past and present are indicative of our lives, our history, our deaths. A reality. Not an anecdote to lead into something else. 
Michael Brown's execution and all of these extrajudicial executions are indicative of violence that never was truly “past” as it is always present. And it is a REALITY—not a metaphor—with a human cost in Black mental and physical health, in Black safety, in Black bodies. 
Below are the links mentioned in the tweets that I sent above: Black Women Were Lynched Too, Consuming Black Death, Family of Michael Brown, Teenager Shot to Death By Ferguson Police, Talks About His Life.
And look, I am disinterested in White supremacist sociopaths, anti-Black non-Black people of colour or unfortunately some Black people who have internalized racism and believe that the politics of respectability can protect us to now throw out the violent lie, derailment and misnomer (“Black on Black crime” is a misnomer and epistemic violence) that Black people “don’t care about intraracial crime.” This is a VIOLENT type of derailment and is dehumanization. When every race has intraracial crime yet only Black people are deemed to “not care” despite evidence to contrary and then civilian crime is juxtaposed to extrajudicial executions as modern lynchings and State violence? The false equalization is not solely epistemic violence; it is a direct attack on the mental health and well-being of Black people. Save it. (And notably, this derailment only addresses violence between cishet Black men; never a mention about any other Black people cared about or not.)
Black life is valuable in it of itself. Not solely as a trope for consumption with erasure and a demand that we feel gleeful about the erasure to prove “solidarity.” Anti-Blackness and misogynoir are not “progressive.” Michael Brown’s life MATTERED…FULL STOP.
Peace to every Black victim and family of this violence. (My own family is one of them, by the way.)
Peace to Michael Brown’s mother and his family. 
  • gradientlair:

While Black experiences with racism and anti-Blackness are used as analogies/metaphors and narratives to shape the experiences of non-Black people while erasing Black people’s experiences and humanity (as I discussed in White People Using Blackness and Anti-Black Racism Analogies For Their Experiences Is NOT Intersectionality), these experiences past and present are indicative of our lives, our history, our deaths. A reality. Not an anecdote to lead into something else. 
Michael Brown's execution and all of these extrajudicial executions are indicative of violence that never was truly “past” as it is always present. And it is a REALITY—not a metaphor—with a human cost in Black mental and physical health, in Black safety, in Black bodies. 
Below are the links mentioned in the tweets that I sent above: Black Women Were Lynched Too, Consuming Black Death, Family of Michael Brown, Teenager Shot to Death By Ferguson Police, Talks About His Life.
And look, I am disinterested in White supremacist sociopaths, anti-Black non-Black people of colour or unfortunately some Black people who have internalized racism and believe that the politics of respectability can protect us to now throw out the violent lie, derailment and misnomer (“Black on Black crime” is a misnomer and epistemic violence) that Black people “don’t care about intraracial crime.” This is a VIOLENT type of derailment and is dehumanization. When every race has intraracial crime yet only Black people are deemed to “not care” despite evidence to contrary and then civilian crime is juxtaposed to extrajudicial executions as modern lynchings and State violence? The false equalization is not solely epistemic violence; it is a direct attack on the mental health and well-being of Black people. Save it. (And notably, this derailment only addresses violence between cishet Black men; never a mention about any other Black people cared about or not.)
Black life is valuable in it of itself. Not solely as a trope for consumption with erasure and a demand that we feel gleeful about the erasure to prove “solidarity.” Anti-Blackness and misogynoir are not “progressive.” Michael Brown’s life MATTERED…FULL STOP.
Peace to every Black victim and family of this violence. (My own family is one of them, by the way.)
Peace to Michael Brown’s mother and his family. 
  • gradientlair:

While Black experiences with racism and anti-Blackness are used as analogies/metaphors and narratives to shape the experiences of non-Black people while erasing Black people’s experiences and humanity (as I discussed in White People Using Blackness and Anti-Black Racism Analogies For Their Experiences Is NOT Intersectionality), these experiences past and present are indicative of our lives, our history, our deaths. A reality. Not an anecdote to lead into something else. 
Michael Brown's execution and all of these extrajudicial executions are indicative of violence that never was truly “past” as it is always present. And it is a REALITY—not a metaphor—with a human cost in Black mental and physical health, in Black safety, in Black bodies. 
Below are the links mentioned in the tweets that I sent above: Black Women Were Lynched Too, Consuming Black Death, Family of Michael Brown, Teenager Shot to Death By Ferguson Police, Talks About His Life.
And look, I am disinterested in White supremacist sociopaths, anti-Black non-Black people of colour or unfortunately some Black people who have internalized racism and believe that the politics of respectability can protect us to now throw out the violent lie, derailment and misnomer (“Black on Black crime” is a misnomer and epistemic violence) that Black people “don’t care about intraracial crime.” This is a VIOLENT type of derailment and is dehumanization. When every race has intraracial crime yet only Black people are deemed to “not care” despite evidence to contrary and then civilian crime is juxtaposed to extrajudicial executions as modern lynchings and State violence? The false equalization is not solely epistemic violence; it is a direct attack on the mental health and well-being of Black people. Save it. (And notably, this derailment only addresses violence between cishet Black men; never a mention about any other Black people cared about or not.)
Black life is valuable in it of itself. Not solely as a trope for consumption with erasure and a demand that we feel gleeful about the erasure to prove “solidarity.” Anti-Blackness and misogynoir are not “progressive.” Michael Brown’s life MATTERED…FULL STOP.
Peace to every Black victim and family of this violence. (My own family is one of them, by the way.)
Peace to Michael Brown’s mother and his family. 
  • gradientlair:

While Black experiences with racism and anti-Blackness are used as analogies/metaphors and narratives to shape the experiences of non-Black people while erasing Black people’s experiences and humanity (as I discussed in White People Using Blackness and Anti-Black Racism Analogies For Their Experiences Is NOT Intersectionality), these experiences past and present are indicative of our lives, our history, our deaths. A reality. Not an anecdote to lead into something else. 
Michael Brown's execution and all of these extrajudicial executions are indicative of violence that never was truly “past” as it is always present. And it is a REALITY—not a metaphor—with a human cost in Black mental and physical health, in Black safety, in Black bodies. 
Below are the links mentioned in the tweets that I sent above: Black Women Were Lynched Too, Consuming Black Death, Family of Michael Brown, Teenager Shot to Death By Ferguson Police, Talks About His Life.
And look, I am disinterested in White supremacist sociopaths, anti-Black non-Black people of colour or unfortunately some Black people who have internalized racism and believe that the politics of respectability can protect us to now throw out the violent lie, derailment and misnomer (“Black on Black crime” is a misnomer and epistemic violence) that Black people “don’t care about intraracial crime.” This is a VIOLENT type of derailment and is dehumanization. When every race has intraracial crime yet only Black people are deemed to “not care” despite evidence to contrary and then civilian crime is juxtaposed to extrajudicial executions as modern lynchings and State violence? The false equalization is not solely epistemic violence; it is a direct attack on the mental health and well-being of Black people. Save it. (And notably, this derailment only addresses violence between cishet Black men; never a mention about any other Black people cared about or not.)
Black life is valuable in it of itself. Not solely as a trope for consumption with erasure and a demand that we feel gleeful about the erasure to prove “solidarity.” Anti-Blackness and misogynoir are not “progressive.” Michael Brown’s life MATTERED…FULL STOP.
Peace to every Black victim and family of this violence. (My own family is one of them, by the way.)
Peace to Michael Brown’s mother and his family. 
  • gradientlair:

While Black experiences with racism and anti-Blackness are used as analogies/metaphors and narratives to shape the experiences of non-Black people while erasing Black people’s experiences and humanity (as I discussed in White People Using Blackness and Anti-Black Racism Analogies For Their Experiences Is NOT Intersectionality), these experiences past and present are indicative of our lives, our history, our deaths. A reality. Not an anecdote to lead into something else. 
Michael Brown's execution and all of these extrajudicial executions are indicative of violence that never was truly “past” as it is always present. And it is a REALITY—not a metaphor—with a human cost in Black mental and physical health, in Black safety, in Black bodies. 
Below are the links mentioned in the tweets that I sent above: Black Women Were Lynched Too, Consuming Black Death, Family of Michael Brown, Teenager Shot to Death By Ferguson Police, Talks About His Life.
And look, I am disinterested in White supremacist sociopaths, anti-Black non-Black people of colour or unfortunately some Black people who have internalized racism and believe that the politics of respectability can protect us to now throw out the violent lie, derailment and misnomer (“Black on Black crime” is a misnomer and epistemic violence) that Black people “don’t care about intraracial crime.” This is a VIOLENT type of derailment and is dehumanization. When every race has intraracial crime yet only Black people are deemed to “not care” despite evidence to contrary and then civilian crime is juxtaposed to extrajudicial executions as modern lynchings and State violence? The false equalization is not solely epistemic violence; it is a direct attack on the mental health and well-being of Black people. Save it. (And notably, this derailment only addresses violence between cishet Black men; never a mention about any other Black people cared about or not.)
Black life is valuable in it of itself. Not solely as a trope for consumption with erasure and a demand that we feel gleeful about the erasure to prove “solidarity.” Anti-Blackness and misogynoir are not “progressive.” Michael Brown’s life MATTERED…FULL STOP.
Peace to every Black victim and family of this violence. (My own family is one of them, by the way.)
Peace to Michael Brown’s mother and his family. 
  • gradientlair:

While Black experiences with racism and anti-Blackness are used as analogies/metaphors and narratives to shape the experiences of non-Black people while erasing Black people’s experiences and humanity (as I discussed in White People Using Blackness and Anti-Black Racism Analogies For Their Experiences Is NOT Intersectionality), these experiences past and present are indicative of our lives, our history, our deaths. A reality. Not an anecdote to lead into something else. 
Michael Brown's execution and all of these extrajudicial executions are indicative of violence that never was truly “past” as it is always present. And it is a REALITY—not a metaphor—with a human cost in Black mental and physical health, in Black safety, in Black bodies. 
Below are the links mentioned in the tweets that I sent above: Black Women Were Lynched Too, Consuming Black Death, Family of Michael Brown, Teenager Shot to Death By Ferguson Police, Talks About His Life.
And look, I am disinterested in White supremacist sociopaths, anti-Black non-Black people of colour or unfortunately some Black people who have internalized racism and believe that the politics of respectability can protect us to now throw out the violent lie, derailment and misnomer (“Black on Black crime” is a misnomer and epistemic violence) that Black people “don’t care about intraracial crime.” This is a VIOLENT type of derailment and is dehumanization. When every race has intraracial crime yet only Black people are deemed to “not care” despite evidence to contrary and then civilian crime is juxtaposed to extrajudicial executions as modern lynchings and State violence? The false equalization is not solely epistemic violence; it is a direct attack on the mental health and well-being of Black people. Save it. (And notably, this derailment only addresses violence between cishet Black men; never a mention about any other Black people cared about or not.)
Black life is valuable in it of itself. Not solely as a trope for consumption with erasure and a demand that we feel gleeful about the erasure to prove “solidarity.” Anti-Blackness and misogynoir are not “progressive.” Michael Brown’s life MATTERED…FULL STOP.
Peace to every Black victim and family of this violence. (My own family is one of them, by the way.)
Peace to Michael Brown’s mother and his family. 
  • gradientlair:

While Black experiences with racism and anti-Blackness are used as analogies/metaphors and narratives to shape the experiences of non-Black people while erasing Black people’s experiences and humanity (as I discussed in White People Using Blackness and Anti-Black Racism Analogies For Their Experiences Is NOT Intersectionality), these experiences past and present are indicative of our lives, our history, our deaths. A reality. Not an anecdote to lead into something else. 
Michael Brown's execution and all of these extrajudicial executions are indicative of violence that never was truly “past” as it is always present. And it is a REALITY—not a metaphor—with a human cost in Black mental and physical health, in Black safety, in Black bodies. 
Below are the links mentioned in the tweets that I sent above: Black Women Were Lynched Too, Consuming Black Death, Family of Michael Brown, Teenager Shot to Death By Ferguson Police, Talks About His Life.
And look, I am disinterested in White supremacist sociopaths, anti-Black non-Black people of colour or unfortunately some Black people who have internalized racism and believe that the politics of respectability can protect us to now throw out the violent lie, derailment and misnomer (“Black on Black crime” is a misnomer and epistemic violence) that Black people “don’t care about intraracial crime.” This is a VIOLENT type of derailment and is dehumanization. When every race has intraracial crime yet only Black people are deemed to “not care” despite evidence to contrary and then civilian crime is juxtaposed to extrajudicial executions as modern lynchings and State violence? The false equalization is not solely epistemic violence; it is a direct attack on the mental health and well-being of Black people. Save it. (And notably, this derailment only addresses violence between cishet Black men; never a mention about any other Black people cared about or not.)
Black life is valuable in it of itself. Not solely as a trope for consumption with erasure and a demand that we feel gleeful about the erasure to prove “solidarity.” Anti-Blackness and misogynoir are not “progressive.” Michael Brown’s life MATTERED…FULL STOP.
Peace to every Black victim and family of this violence. (My own family is one of them, by the way.)
Peace to Michael Brown’s mother and his family. 
  • gradientlair:

While Black experiences with racism and anti-Blackness are used as analogies/metaphors and narratives to shape the experiences of non-Black people while erasing Black people’s experiences and humanity (as I discussed in White People Using Blackness and Anti-Black Racism Analogies For Their Experiences Is NOT Intersectionality), these experiences past and present are indicative of our lives, our history, our deaths. A reality. Not an anecdote to lead into something else. 
Michael Brown's execution and all of these extrajudicial executions are indicative of violence that never was truly “past” as it is always present. And it is a REALITY—not a metaphor—with a human cost in Black mental and physical health, in Black safety, in Black bodies. 
Below are the links mentioned in the tweets that I sent above: Black Women Were Lynched Too, Consuming Black Death, Family of Michael Brown, Teenager Shot to Death By Ferguson Police, Talks About His Life.
And look, I am disinterested in White supremacist sociopaths, anti-Black non-Black people of colour or unfortunately some Black people who have internalized racism and believe that the politics of respectability can protect us to now throw out the violent lie, derailment and misnomer (“Black on Black crime” is a misnomer and epistemic violence) that Black people “don’t care about intraracial crime.” This is a VIOLENT type of derailment and is dehumanization. When every race has intraracial crime yet only Black people are deemed to “not care” despite evidence to contrary and then civilian crime is juxtaposed to extrajudicial executions as modern lynchings and State violence? The false equalization is not solely epistemic violence; it is a direct attack on the mental health and well-being of Black people. Save it. (And notably, this derailment only addresses violence between cishet Black men; never a mention about any other Black people cared about or not.)
Black life is valuable in it of itself. Not solely as a trope for consumption with erasure and a demand that we feel gleeful about the erasure to prove “solidarity.” Anti-Blackness and misogynoir are not “progressive.” Michael Brown’s life MATTERED…FULL STOP.
Peace to every Black victim and family of this violence. (My own family is one of them, by the way.)
Peace to Michael Brown’s mother and his family. 

gradientlair:

While Black experiences with racism and anti-Blackness are used as analogies/metaphors and narratives to shape the experiences of non-Black people while erasing Black people’s experiences and humanity (as I discussed in White People Using Blackness and Anti-Black Racism Analogies For Their Experiences Is NOT Intersectionality), these experiences past and present are indicative of our lives, our history, our deaths. A reality. Not an anecdote to lead into something else. 

Michael Brown's execution and all of these extrajudicial executions are indicative of violence that never was truly “past” as it is always present. And it is a REALITY—not a metaphor—with a human cost in Black mental and physical health, in Black safety, in Black bodies. 

Below are the links mentioned in the tweets that I sent above: Black Women Were Lynched TooConsuming Black DeathFamily of Michael Brown, Teenager Shot to Death By Ferguson Police, Talks About His Life.

And look, I am disinterested in White supremacist sociopaths, anti-Black non-Black people of colour or unfortunately some Black people who have internalized racism and believe that the politics of respectability can protect us to now throw out the violent lie, derailment and misnomer (“Black on Black crime” is a misnomer and epistemic violence) that Black people “don’t care about intraracial crime.” This is a VIOLENT type of derailment and is dehumanization. When every race has intraracial crime yet only Black people are deemed to “not care” despite evidence to contrary and then civilian crime is juxtaposed to extrajudicial executions as modern lynchings and State violence? The false equalization is not solely epistemic violence; it is a direct attack on the mental health and well-being of Black people. Save it. (And notably, this derailment only addresses violence between cishet Black men; never a mention about any other Black people cared about or not.)

Black life is valuable in it of itself. Not solely as a trope for consumption with erasure and a demand that we feel gleeful about the erasure to prove “solidarity.” Anti-Blackness and misogynoir are not “progressive.” Michael Brown’s life MATTERED…FULL STOP.

Peace to every Black victim and family of this violence. (My own family is one of them, by the way.)

Peace to Michael Brown’s mother and his family. 

View post...

"Arizona war worker writes her Navy boyfriend a thank-you-note for the Jap skull he sent her."

Life Magazine Picture of the Week, May 22, 1944. 

[X]

(via covenesque)

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dynastylnoire:

freaking terrible

(Source: blackourstory)

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thisisnotjapan:

I was going through some old photographs and belongings of my grandmother’s in storage and I came across this. She saved the newspaper clipping from her internment.

Reading it made me feel so sad and disgusted I wanted to cry. 

View post...

Sorry the blog was totally abandoned, I had/have serious medical stuff come up that made it impossible to finish/work with others. I still am doing the giveaway, however…so…

In order, the winners are:

  1. wordstomeawhisper
  2. kyssthis16
  3. neverapologized
  4. pussy-bell
  5. wearesynchronizednowandforever

I sent them all asks and assuming they reply within 48 hours they’re the winners!

View post...
  • Day 6 of White History Month: Anti-Semitism in the College Admissions Process
[Images: Jerome Karabel, The Chosen: The Hidden History of Admission and Exclusion at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton]
“The creation of a new system of admissions occurred in the midst of one of the most reactionary moments in American history – a few years in the first half of the 1920s defined by rising xenophobia and anti-Semitism, widespread political repression, the emergence of the Ku Klux Klan as a genuine mass movement, the growing prominence of eugenics and scientific racism, and the imposition by Congress of a racially and ethnically biased regime of immigration restriction. Many of the features of college admissions with which we are all familiar – the emphasis on “character”, the preference for alumni suns and athletes, the widespread use of interviews and photos, the reliance on personal letters of recommendation, and the denigration of applicants whose sole strength is academic brilliance – have their roots in this period” – Jerome Karabel, The Chosen: The Hidden History of Admission and Exclusion at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton
“[S]tudies have found that racists hold two types of stereotyped beliefs: They believe the out-group is dirty, lazy, oversexed, and without control of their instincts (a typical accusation against blacks), or they believe the out-group is pushy, ambitious, conniving, and in control of business, money, and industry (a typical accusation against Jews)” – Charles R. Lawrence III, “The Id, the Ego, and Equal Protection: Reckoning with Unconscious Racism”
The origins of the college interview, letters of recommendation, and extracurricular activities have a common origin: anti-Semitism. The modern college admissions process came from efforts to keep Jewish students out of elite universities. An emphasis on holistic qualities that is despised by many white elites today was developed and supported in order to reject Jewish applicants.
In the 1800’s, elite universities such as Harvard drew from feeder schools – elite private schools that only the wealthy could attend, like Choate and St. Paul’s. Requirements for admission included Latin and Greek, which could hardly be met by the average student. By the turn of the century, several presidents from Ivy League universities were concerned that their universities were disproportionately educating the elite, and sought to attract public school students. Students were ineligible to apply if Black and/or female, but as long as they could perform well on an admissions exam, white middle and working-class boys were welcome.
This had unintended results for elite universities: by the early 1900s, Jewish students were disproportionately represented in many American universities.
Harvard’s Jewish population went from seven percent in 1900 to 22% in 1922. Universities in New York - with a large Jewish population - had the largest increases in Jewish applicants. By 1919, about 80% of students at CCNY and Hunter College were Jewish. Columbia’s Jewish population had reached 40% of its student body, leading to many among the white Protestant elite deciding to go to Harvard, Yale, and Princeton (and resulting in a college song in the image above). Columbia instituted a quota of 22% and began to require photographs of students be submitted.
Anti-Semitism in Elite University Admissions
At many elite universities, fellow students even complained that Jewish students were not sociable enough, were too competitive, and did not have good character. It was extremely difficult to justify anti-Semitic reasons to keep Jewish students out, so these universities needed to find a way to create discriminatory policies that specifically targeted Jewish applicants.
Harvard, Yale, and Princeton - seeking to avoid Columbia’s fate - devised ways to institutionalize anti-Semitism in their admissions. Generally, they created ways to examine an applicant’s “character”.
Harvard decided to examine “character” through a letter of recommendation. It also created an application that asked questions about the applicant’s “race and color”, father’s birthplace and mother’s maiden name.
During this period, Yale had stopped giving scholarships to Jewish students in order to discourage them from attending. In order to avoid appearing discriminatory, Yale sought to find factors that could make their decision look as if it were based in merit. This backfired, however, and Jewish enrollment rose to record high levels. 
Yale then went beyond what Columbia had done and required photographs not only of the applicant, but of his father. Like Harvard, “personality and character” would be taken into consideration. Yale also decided to give strong preferences to sons of alumni, which further decreased the Jewish enrollment. Legacy admissions preferences essentially serve the same purpose today as they did in the 1920’s. 
Princeton hoped that the anti-Semitism among the student population would dissuade Jewish students from attending. Jewish students were largely rejected from eating clubs and thus unable to enjoy full participation in undergraduate life. This was not enough - Princeton decided to look for “character”. Princeton did not just want bookish nerds - Princeton men were to be rugged, masculine leaders. The characteristics that were preferred were often constructed to exclude Jewish students based on stereotypes.
These efforts were effective: Jewish enrollment dropped significantly for decades.
The college application process had previously been much less rigorous, but anti-Semitism was enough to create admissions offices and lengthy applications. Demographic information, a personal essay, the college interview, recommendation letters from alumni or trusted officials, and extracurricular activities became part and parcel of the admissions process for elite universities.
  • Day 6 of White History Month: Anti-Semitism in the College Admissions Process
[Images: Jerome Karabel, The Chosen: The Hidden History of Admission and Exclusion at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton]
“The creation of a new system of admissions occurred in the midst of one of the most reactionary moments in American history – a few years in the first half of the 1920s defined by rising xenophobia and anti-Semitism, widespread political repression, the emergence of the Ku Klux Klan as a genuine mass movement, the growing prominence of eugenics and scientific racism, and the imposition by Congress of a racially and ethnically biased regime of immigration restriction. Many of the features of college admissions with which we are all familiar – the emphasis on “character”, the preference for alumni suns and athletes, the widespread use of interviews and photos, the reliance on personal letters of recommendation, and the denigration of applicants whose sole strength is academic brilliance – have their roots in this period” – Jerome Karabel, The Chosen: The Hidden History of Admission and Exclusion at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton
“[S]tudies have found that racists hold two types of stereotyped beliefs: They believe the out-group is dirty, lazy, oversexed, and without control of their instincts (a typical accusation against blacks), or they believe the out-group is pushy, ambitious, conniving, and in control of business, money, and industry (a typical accusation against Jews)” – Charles R. Lawrence III, “The Id, the Ego, and Equal Protection: Reckoning with Unconscious Racism”
The origins of the college interview, letters of recommendation, and extracurricular activities have a common origin: anti-Semitism. The modern college admissions process came from efforts to keep Jewish students out of elite universities. An emphasis on holistic qualities that is despised by many white elites today was developed and supported in order to reject Jewish applicants.
In the 1800’s, elite universities such as Harvard drew from feeder schools – elite private schools that only the wealthy could attend, like Choate and St. Paul’s. Requirements for admission included Latin and Greek, which could hardly be met by the average student. By the turn of the century, several presidents from Ivy League universities were concerned that their universities were disproportionately educating the elite, and sought to attract public school students. Students were ineligible to apply if Black and/or female, but as long as they could perform well on an admissions exam, white middle and working-class boys were welcome.
This had unintended results for elite universities: by the early 1900s, Jewish students were disproportionately represented in many American universities.
Harvard’s Jewish population went from seven percent in 1900 to 22% in 1922. Universities in New York - with a large Jewish population - had the largest increases in Jewish applicants. By 1919, about 80% of students at CCNY and Hunter College were Jewish. Columbia’s Jewish population had reached 40% of its student body, leading to many among the white Protestant elite deciding to go to Harvard, Yale, and Princeton (and resulting in a college song in the image above). Columbia instituted a quota of 22% and began to require photographs of students be submitted.
Anti-Semitism in Elite University Admissions
At many elite universities, fellow students even complained that Jewish students were not sociable enough, were too competitive, and did not have good character. It was extremely difficult to justify anti-Semitic reasons to keep Jewish students out, so these universities needed to find a way to create discriminatory policies that specifically targeted Jewish applicants.
Harvard, Yale, and Princeton - seeking to avoid Columbia’s fate - devised ways to institutionalize anti-Semitism in their admissions. Generally, they created ways to examine an applicant’s “character”.
Harvard decided to examine “character” through a letter of recommendation. It also created an application that asked questions about the applicant’s “race and color”, father’s birthplace and mother’s maiden name.
During this period, Yale had stopped giving scholarships to Jewish students in order to discourage them from attending. In order to avoid appearing discriminatory, Yale sought to find factors that could make their decision look as if it were based in merit. This backfired, however, and Jewish enrollment rose to record high levels. 
Yale then went beyond what Columbia had done and required photographs not only of the applicant, but of his father. Like Harvard, “personality and character” would be taken into consideration. Yale also decided to give strong preferences to sons of alumni, which further decreased the Jewish enrollment. Legacy admissions preferences essentially serve the same purpose today as they did in the 1920’s. 
Princeton hoped that the anti-Semitism among the student population would dissuade Jewish students from attending. Jewish students were largely rejected from eating clubs and thus unable to enjoy full participation in undergraduate life. This was not enough - Princeton decided to look for “character”. Princeton did not just want bookish nerds - Princeton men were to be rugged, masculine leaders. The characteristics that were preferred were often constructed to exclude Jewish students based on stereotypes.
These efforts were effective: Jewish enrollment dropped significantly for decades.
The college application process had previously been much less rigorous, but anti-Semitism was enough to create admissions offices and lengthy applications. Demographic information, a personal essay, the college interview, recommendation letters from alumni or trusted officials, and extracurricular activities became part and parcel of the admissions process for elite universities.
  • Day 6 of White History Month: Anti-Semitism in the College Admissions Process
[Images: Jerome Karabel, The Chosen: The Hidden History of Admission and Exclusion at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton]
“The creation of a new system of admissions occurred in the midst of one of the most reactionary moments in American history – a few years in the first half of the 1920s defined by rising xenophobia and anti-Semitism, widespread political repression, the emergence of the Ku Klux Klan as a genuine mass movement, the growing prominence of eugenics and scientific racism, and the imposition by Congress of a racially and ethnically biased regime of immigration restriction. Many of the features of college admissions with which we are all familiar – the emphasis on “character”, the preference for alumni suns and athletes, the widespread use of interviews and photos, the reliance on personal letters of recommendation, and the denigration of applicants whose sole strength is academic brilliance – have their roots in this period” – Jerome Karabel, The Chosen: The Hidden History of Admission and Exclusion at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton
“[S]tudies have found that racists hold two types of stereotyped beliefs: They believe the out-group is dirty, lazy, oversexed, and without control of their instincts (a typical accusation against blacks), or they believe the out-group is pushy, ambitious, conniving, and in control of business, money, and industry (a typical accusation against Jews)” – Charles R. Lawrence III, “The Id, the Ego, and Equal Protection: Reckoning with Unconscious Racism”
The origins of the college interview, letters of recommendation, and extracurricular activities have a common origin: anti-Semitism. The modern college admissions process came from efforts to keep Jewish students out of elite universities. An emphasis on holistic qualities that is despised by many white elites today was developed and supported in order to reject Jewish applicants.
In the 1800’s, elite universities such as Harvard drew from feeder schools – elite private schools that only the wealthy could attend, like Choate and St. Paul’s. Requirements for admission included Latin and Greek, which could hardly be met by the average student. By the turn of the century, several presidents from Ivy League universities were concerned that their universities were disproportionately educating the elite, and sought to attract public school students. Students were ineligible to apply if Black and/or female, but as long as they could perform well on an admissions exam, white middle and working-class boys were welcome.
This had unintended results for elite universities: by the early 1900s, Jewish students were disproportionately represented in many American universities.
Harvard’s Jewish population went from seven percent in 1900 to 22% in 1922. Universities in New York - with a large Jewish population - had the largest increases in Jewish applicants. By 1919, about 80% of students at CCNY and Hunter College were Jewish. Columbia’s Jewish population had reached 40% of its student body, leading to many among the white Protestant elite deciding to go to Harvard, Yale, and Princeton (and resulting in a college song in the image above). Columbia instituted a quota of 22% and began to require photographs of students be submitted.
Anti-Semitism in Elite University Admissions
At many elite universities, fellow students even complained that Jewish students were not sociable enough, were too competitive, and did not have good character. It was extremely difficult to justify anti-Semitic reasons to keep Jewish students out, so these universities needed to find a way to create discriminatory policies that specifically targeted Jewish applicants.
Harvard, Yale, and Princeton - seeking to avoid Columbia’s fate - devised ways to institutionalize anti-Semitism in their admissions. Generally, they created ways to examine an applicant’s “character”.
Harvard decided to examine “character” through a letter of recommendation. It also created an application that asked questions about the applicant’s “race and color”, father’s birthplace and mother’s maiden name.
During this period, Yale had stopped giving scholarships to Jewish students in order to discourage them from attending. In order to avoid appearing discriminatory, Yale sought to find factors that could make their decision look as if it were based in merit. This backfired, however, and Jewish enrollment rose to record high levels. 
Yale then went beyond what Columbia had done and required photographs not only of the applicant, but of his father. Like Harvard, “personality and character” would be taken into consideration. Yale also decided to give strong preferences to sons of alumni, which further decreased the Jewish enrollment. Legacy admissions preferences essentially serve the same purpose today as they did in the 1920’s. 
Princeton hoped that the anti-Semitism among the student population would dissuade Jewish students from attending. Jewish students were largely rejected from eating clubs and thus unable to enjoy full participation in undergraduate life. This was not enough - Princeton decided to look for “character”. Princeton did not just want bookish nerds - Princeton men were to be rugged, masculine leaders. The characteristics that were preferred were often constructed to exclude Jewish students based on stereotypes.
These efforts were effective: Jewish enrollment dropped significantly for decades.
The college application process had previously been much less rigorous, but anti-Semitism was enough to create admissions offices and lengthy applications. Demographic information, a personal essay, the college interview, recommendation letters from alumni or trusted officials, and extracurricular activities became part and parcel of the admissions process for elite universities.

Day 6 of White History Month: Anti-Semitism in the College Admissions Process

[Images: Jerome Karabel, The Chosen: The Hidden History of Admission and Exclusion at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton]

“The creation of a new system of admissions occurred in the midst of one of the most reactionary moments in American history – a few years in the first half of the 1920s defined by rising xenophobia and anti-Semitism, widespread political repression, the emergence of the Ku Klux Klan as a genuine mass movement, the growing prominence of eugenics and scientific racism, and the imposition by Congress of a racially and ethnically biased regime of immigration restriction. Many of the features of college admissions with which we are all familiar – the emphasis on “character”, the preference for alumni suns and athletes, the widespread use of interviews and photos, the reliance on personal letters of recommendation, and the denigration of applicants whose sole strength is academic brilliance – have their roots in this period” – Jerome Karabel, The Chosen: The Hidden History of Admission and Exclusion at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton

“[S]tudies have found that racists hold two types of stereotyped beliefs: They believe the out-group is dirty, lazy, oversexed, and without control of their instincts (a typical accusation against blacks), or they believe the out-group is pushy, ambitious, conniving, and in control of business, money, and industry (a typical accusation against Jews)” – Charles R. Lawrence III, “The Id, the Ego, and Equal Protection: Reckoning with Unconscious Racism”

The origins of the college interview, letters of recommendation, and extracurricular activities have a common origin: anti-Semitism. The modern college admissions process came from efforts to keep Jewish students out of elite universities. An emphasis on holistic qualities that is despised by many white elites today was developed and supported in order to reject Jewish applicants.

In the 1800’s, elite universities such as Harvard drew from feeder schools – elite private schools that only the wealthy could attend, like Choate and St. Paul’s. Requirements for admission included Latin and Greek, which could hardly be met by the average student. By the turn of the century, several presidents from Ivy League universities were concerned that their universities were disproportionately educating the elite, and sought to attract public school students. Students were ineligible to apply if Black and/or female, but as long as they could perform well on an admissions exam, white middle and working-class boys were welcome.

This had unintended results for elite universities: by the early 1900s, Jewish students were disproportionately represented in many American universities.

Harvard’s Jewish population went from seven percent in 1900 to 22% in 1922. Universities in New York - with a large Jewish population - had the largest increases in Jewish applicants. By 1919, about 80% of students at CCNY and Hunter College were Jewish. Columbia’s Jewish population had reached 40% of its student body, leading to many among the white Protestant elite deciding to go to Harvard, Yale, and Princeton (and resulting in a college song in the image above). Columbia instituted a quota of 22% and began to require photographs of students be submitted.

Anti-Semitism in Elite University Admissions

At many elite universities, fellow students even complained that Jewish students were not sociable enough, were too competitive, and did not have good character. It was extremely difficult to justify anti-Semitic reasons to keep Jewish students out, so these universities needed to find a way to create discriminatory policies that specifically targeted Jewish applicants.

Harvard, Yale, and Princeton - seeking to avoid Columbia’s fate - devised ways to institutionalize anti-Semitism in their admissions. Generally, they created ways to examine an applicant’s “character”.

Harvard decided to examine “character” through a letter of recommendation. It also created an application that asked questions about the applicant’s “race and color”, father’s birthplace and mother’s maiden name.

During this period, Yale had stopped giving scholarships to Jewish students in order to discourage them from attending. In order to avoid appearing discriminatory, Yale sought to find factors that could make their decision look as if it were based in merit. This backfired, however, and Jewish enrollment rose to record high levels. 

Yale then went beyond what Columbia had done and required photographs not only of the applicant, but of his father. Like Harvard, “personality and character” would be taken into consideration. Yale also decided to give strong preferences to sons of alumni, which further decreased the Jewish enrollment. Legacy admissions preferences essentially serve the same purpose today as they did in the 1920’s. 

Princeton hoped that the anti-Semitism among the student population would dissuade Jewish students from attending. Jewish students were largely rejected from eating clubs and thus unable to enjoy full participation in undergraduate life. This was not enough - Princeton decided to look for “character”. Princeton did not just want bookish nerds - Princeton men were to be rugged, masculine leaders. The characteristics that were preferred were often constructed to exclude Jewish students based on stereotypes.

These efforts were effective: Jewish enrollment dropped significantly for decades.

The college application process had previously been much less rigorous, but anti-Semitism was enough to create admissions offices and lengthy applications. Demographic information, a personal essay, the college interview, recommendation letters from alumni or trusted officials, and extracurricular activities became part and parcel of the admissions process for elite universities.

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  • Day 5 of White History Month: The War on Drugs - Racist Origins of Drug Policy
[Images: New York Times: February 8, 1914, ”The Mascot” New Orleans, August 3, 1889, The Ogden Standard: September 25, 1915, Washington Post: March 8, 1896], ACLU, “The War on Marijuana in Black and White" (pdf)]
“Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men” – Harry J. Anslinger
"Most marijuana smokers are Negroes, Hispanics, jazz musicians, and entertainers. Their satanic music is driven by marijuana, and marijuana smoking by white women makes them want to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and others. It is a drug that causes insanity, criminality, and death — the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind."- Harry J. Anslinger
"Anglo-American women having intimate relations with unknown Chinese laborers and vice operators bordered on the unthinkable. Songs about just such events existed during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. For example, in “Chung Hi Lo and Mary,” a young white woman, Mary, entered Chung Hi Lo’s opium den out of curiosity. There “he slipped her a ring, a golden thing” and quickly addicted her to opium." - Diana Ahmad, The Opium Debate and Chinese-Exclusion Laws in the American West
The history of criminalization of drugs in the United States has racist origins. While drugs are undeniably harmful, recreational drugs were tolerated for much of U.S. history. Linking Chinese Americans, Black Americans, and Latin@ (particularly Mexican) Americans to drug use served dual purposes: further justification for racist demonization and the creation of moral panics to outlaw drug use. Drug use was commonly linked to the white fear that men of color would “seduce” and have children with white women. 
In the 1900s, the temperance movement and Progressive drug reformers did not seek to spread the nature of the typical drug addict of the time – a middle-aged, middle-class white woman in a rural area who obtained drugs from a physician. Instead, drug users were depicted as Chinese, Black, or Mexican. Today, race is still inseparable from drug policy and the War on Drugs.
Opium and Chinese-Americans
Opium had been imported and used by white Americans for many years. In 1803 morphine was discovered, and in 1853 the hypodermic syringe was invented, increasing its popularity. Morphine and laudanum (a tincture of opium) were often abused by white Americans. In 1874, Felix Hoffman discovered heroin and in 1898 Bayer began to sell it. Heroin was marketed it as a pain medicine, cough suppressant, and morphine substitute. 
The first anti-opium laws – and first drug laws in the United States - targeted Chinese immigrants in the 1870s. Opium-smoking was largely practiced by Chinese-Americans, while white Americans instead used morphine and laudanum – which were not outlawed by these laws.
Chinese-American men were said to “lure” white women to opium dens in Chinatown. Chinese immigrants have largely been portrayed as a threat to Western values and mores. Smoking-opium was stretched as a rationable to demonize Chinese immigrants. Opium was linked to stereotypes of Yellow Peril (opium was said to corrupt white Americans and disrupt the American way) and Perpetual Foreigner (opium was seen as incompatible with Christian life, rendering Chinese Americans unassimilable). Eliminating opium was even used as justification to restrict (and eventually stop) Chinese immigration. 
Cocaine and Black Americans
The first anti-cocaine laws targeted Black men in the Southern US in the 1900s. Cocaine became associated with Black Americans, who were said to commit horrible crimes under the influence of cocaine (as well as marijuana).
Later, the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 created the large disparity – of 100 to one - between powder cocaine and crack cocaine sentencing guidelines. This meant that it would 1000 grams of cocaine to obtain the same sentence for 10 grams of crack cocaine. It was not until the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 that the 100:1 weight ratio was reduced to 18:1 - meaning that it takes 180 grams of cocaine to obtain the same sentence as for 10 grams of crack cocaine.
Of course, crack cocaine was also more widely used by Black Americans. Black Americans were also far more likely to distribute crack cocaine than powder cocaine. 
One reason given by Congress for the disparity included pregnant women consuming crack cocaine during pregnancy (resulting in so-called “crack babies”). The epidemic of “Crack Babies” was associated with Black. Pregnant women who used drugs were convicted of delivering drugs to a minor. In reality, the development of these children had less to do with crack cocaine and much to do with other circumstances. The Maternal Lifestyle Study found that - after controlling for other factors - crack cocaine and cocaine had no significant effect on behavioral problems. Observed differences were dependent on other mediating variables such as prenatal care and the environment in which children were raised, but the Reagan administration was more focused instead on rolling back assistance for poor mothers.
The Reagan administration’s obsessive focus on cocaine took place while the CIA was involved in drug trafficking and complicit in the dealing of cocaine to poor Black communities in the United States.
[No, despite demonization of Black Americans and Gary Webb, this is not a conspiracy theory - read Dark Alliance and This is Your Country on Drugs for more.]
Marijuana: Mexican and Black Americans
Cannabis was grown since European settlers arrived in the United States. Founders such as Thomas Jefferson and George Washington grew and used cannabis. In the early 1800s, hemp was the second most produced crop after cotton. It was an extremely labor-intensive crop – the slave labor of Black Americans was necessary for its production. The ending of formal slavery (and free labor) made it less profitable as a crop. Until moral panic hit in the early 1900s, cannabis was still prescribed for many medical conditions.
The timing of this moral panic is relevant: it coincided with both the Mexican Revolution of 1910 and the popularity of jazz.
After the Mexican Revolution, Mexican immigrants brought marijuana with them to the United States. Marijuana was said to make Mexican immigrants commit violent acts of crime. During the Great Depression, reports emerged that connected marijuana use with violent crime and social deviance. Soon after the Mexican revolution, marijuana spread to New Orleans and became popular in the jazz scene. Jazz musicians often were paid with marijuana and alcohol for their performances. Additionally, many jazz musicians used marijuana recreationally.
Harry J. Anslinger - the first commisioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics - was largely responsible for racist themes linking marijuana use to Black and Mexican Americans - particularly emphasizing the fear of racial mixing with white women. 
Today, long after the days of Anslinger, there are large racial disparities in the penalties for marijuana possession (among other racial disparities in the criminal justice system).
  • Day 5 of White History Month: The War on Drugs - Racist Origins of Drug Policy
[Images: New York Times: February 8, 1914, ”The Mascot” New Orleans, August 3, 1889, The Ogden Standard: September 25, 1915, Washington Post: March 8, 1896], ACLU, “The War on Marijuana in Black and White" (pdf)]
“Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men” – Harry J. Anslinger
"Most marijuana smokers are Negroes, Hispanics, jazz musicians, and entertainers. Their satanic music is driven by marijuana, and marijuana smoking by white women makes them want to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and others. It is a drug that causes insanity, criminality, and death — the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind."- Harry J. Anslinger
"Anglo-American women having intimate relations with unknown Chinese laborers and vice operators bordered on the unthinkable. Songs about just such events existed during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. For example, in “Chung Hi Lo and Mary,” a young white woman, Mary, entered Chung Hi Lo’s opium den out of curiosity. There “he slipped her a ring, a golden thing” and quickly addicted her to opium." - Diana Ahmad, The Opium Debate and Chinese-Exclusion Laws in the American West
The history of criminalization of drugs in the United States has racist origins. While drugs are undeniably harmful, recreational drugs were tolerated for much of U.S. history. Linking Chinese Americans, Black Americans, and Latin@ (particularly Mexican) Americans to drug use served dual purposes: further justification for racist demonization and the creation of moral panics to outlaw drug use. Drug use was commonly linked to the white fear that men of color would “seduce” and have children with white women. 
In the 1900s, the temperance movement and Progressive drug reformers did not seek to spread the nature of the typical drug addict of the time – a middle-aged, middle-class white woman in a rural area who obtained drugs from a physician. Instead, drug users were depicted as Chinese, Black, or Mexican. Today, race is still inseparable from drug policy and the War on Drugs.
Opium and Chinese-Americans
Opium had been imported and used by white Americans for many years. In 1803 morphine was discovered, and in 1853 the hypodermic syringe was invented, increasing its popularity. Morphine and laudanum (a tincture of opium) were often abused by white Americans. In 1874, Felix Hoffman discovered heroin and in 1898 Bayer began to sell it. Heroin was marketed it as a pain medicine, cough suppressant, and morphine substitute. 
The first anti-opium laws – and first drug laws in the United States - targeted Chinese immigrants in the 1870s. Opium-smoking was largely practiced by Chinese-Americans, while white Americans instead used morphine and laudanum – which were not outlawed by these laws.
Chinese-American men were said to “lure” white women to opium dens in Chinatown. Chinese immigrants have largely been portrayed as a threat to Western values and mores. Smoking-opium was stretched as a rationable to demonize Chinese immigrants. Opium was linked to stereotypes of Yellow Peril (opium was said to corrupt white Americans and disrupt the American way) and Perpetual Foreigner (opium was seen as incompatible with Christian life, rendering Chinese Americans unassimilable). Eliminating opium was even used as justification to restrict (and eventually stop) Chinese immigration. 
Cocaine and Black Americans
The first anti-cocaine laws targeted Black men in the Southern US in the 1900s. Cocaine became associated with Black Americans, who were said to commit horrible crimes under the influence of cocaine (as well as marijuana).
Later, the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 created the large disparity – of 100 to one - between powder cocaine and crack cocaine sentencing guidelines. This meant that it would 1000 grams of cocaine to obtain the same sentence for 10 grams of crack cocaine. It was not until the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 that the 100:1 weight ratio was reduced to 18:1 - meaning that it takes 180 grams of cocaine to obtain the same sentence as for 10 grams of crack cocaine.
Of course, crack cocaine was also more widely used by Black Americans. Black Americans were also far more likely to distribute crack cocaine than powder cocaine. 
One reason given by Congress for the disparity included pregnant women consuming crack cocaine during pregnancy (resulting in so-called “crack babies”). The epidemic of “Crack Babies” was associated with Black. Pregnant women who used drugs were convicted of delivering drugs to a minor. In reality, the development of these children had less to do with crack cocaine and much to do with other circumstances. The Maternal Lifestyle Study found that - after controlling for other factors - crack cocaine and cocaine had no significant effect on behavioral problems. Observed differences were dependent on other mediating variables such as prenatal care and the environment in which children were raised, but the Reagan administration was more focused instead on rolling back assistance for poor mothers.
The Reagan administration’s obsessive focus on cocaine took place while the CIA was involved in drug trafficking and complicit in the dealing of cocaine to poor Black communities in the United States.
[No, despite demonization of Black Americans and Gary Webb, this is not a conspiracy theory - read Dark Alliance and This is Your Country on Drugs for more.]
Marijuana: Mexican and Black Americans
Cannabis was grown since European settlers arrived in the United States. Founders such as Thomas Jefferson and George Washington grew and used cannabis. In the early 1800s, hemp was the second most produced crop after cotton. It was an extremely labor-intensive crop – the slave labor of Black Americans was necessary for its production. The ending of formal slavery (and free labor) made it less profitable as a crop. Until moral panic hit in the early 1900s, cannabis was still prescribed for many medical conditions.
The timing of this moral panic is relevant: it coincided with both the Mexican Revolution of 1910 and the popularity of jazz.
After the Mexican Revolution, Mexican immigrants brought marijuana with them to the United States. Marijuana was said to make Mexican immigrants commit violent acts of crime. During the Great Depression, reports emerged that connected marijuana use with violent crime and social deviance. Soon after the Mexican revolution, marijuana spread to New Orleans and became popular in the jazz scene. Jazz musicians often were paid with marijuana and alcohol for their performances. Additionally, many jazz musicians used marijuana recreationally.
Harry J. Anslinger - the first commisioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics - was largely responsible for racist themes linking marijuana use to Black and Mexican Americans - particularly emphasizing the fear of racial mixing with white women. 
Today, long after the days of Anslinger, there are large racial disparities in the penalties for marijuana possession (among other racial disparities in the criminal justice system).
  • Day 5 of White History Month: The War on Drugs - Racist Origins of Drug Policy
[Images: New York Times: February 8, 1914, ”The Mascot” New Orleans, August 3, 1889, The Ogden Standard: September 25, 1915, Washington Post: March 8, 1896], ACLU, “The War on Marijuana in Black and White" (pdf)]
“Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men” – Harry J. Anslinger
"Most marijuana smokers are Negroes, Hispanics, jazz musicians, and entertainers. Their satanic music is driven by marijuana, and marijuana smoking by white women makes them want to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and others. It is a drug that causes insanity, criminality, and death — the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind."- Harry J. Anslinger
"Anglo-American women having intimate relations with unknown Chinese laborers and vice operators bordered on the unthinkable. Songs about just such events existed during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. For example, in “Chung Hi Lo and Mary,” a young white woman, Mary, entered Chung Hi Lo’s opium den out of curiosity. There “he slipped her a ring, a golden thing” and quickly addicted her to opium." - Diana Ahmad, The Opium Debate and Chinese-Exclusion Laws in the American West
The history of criminalization of drugs in the United States has racist origins. While drugs are undeniably harmful, recreational drugs were tolerated for much of U.S. history. Linking Chinese Americans, Black Americans, and Latin@ (particularly Mexican) Americans to drug use served dual purposes: further justification for racist demonization and the creation of moral panics to outlaw drug use. Drug use was commonly linked to the white fear that men of color would “seduce” and have children with white women. 
In the 1900s, the temperance movement and Progressive drug reformers did not seek to spread the nature of the typical drug addict of the time – a middle-aged, middle-class white woman in a rural area who obtained drugs from a physician. Instead, drug users were depicted as Chinese, Black, or Mexican. Today, race is still inseparable from drug policy and the War on Drugs.
Opium and Chinese-Americans
Opium had been imported and used by white Americans for many years. In 1803 morphine was discovered, and in 1853 the hypodermic syringe was invented, increasing its popularity. Morphine and laudanum (a tincture of opium) were often abused by white Americans. In 1874, Felix Hoffman discovered heroin and in 1898 Bayer began to sell it. Heroin was marketed it as a pain medicine, cough suppressant, and morphine substitute. 
The first anti-opium laws – and first drug laws in the United States - targeted Chinese immigrants in the 1870s. Opium-smoking was largely practiced by Chinese-Americans, while white Americans instead used morphine and laudanum – which were not outlawed by these laws.
Chinese-American men were said to “lure” white women to opium dens in Chinatown. Chinese immigrants have largely been portrayed as a threat to Western values and mores. Smoking-opium was stretched as a rationable to demonize Chinese immigrants. Opium was linked to stereotypes of Yellow Peril (opium was said to corrupt white Americans and disrupt the American way) and Perpetual Foreigner (opium was seen as incompatible with Christian life, rendering Chinese Americans unassimilable). Eliminating opium was even used as justification to restrict (and eventually stop) Chinese immigration. 
Cocaine and Black Americans
The first anti-cocaine laws targeted Black men in the Southern US in the 1900s. Cocaine became associated with Black Americans, who were said to commit horrible crimes under the influence of cocaine (as well as marijuana).
Later, the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 created the large disparity – of 100 to one - between powder cocaine and crack cocaine sentencing guidelines. This meant that it would 1000 grams of cocaine to obtain the same sentence for 10 grams of crack cocaine. It was not until the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 that the 100:1 weight ratio was reduced to 18:1 - meaning that it takes 180 grams of cocaine to obtain the same sentence as for 10 grams of crack cocaine.
Of course, crack cocaine was also more widely used by Black Americans. Black Americans were also far more likely to distribute crack cocaine than powder cocaine. 
One reason given by Congress for the disparity included pregnant women consuming crack cocaine during pregnancy (resulting in so-called “crack babies”). The epidemic of “Crack Babies” was associated with Black. Pregnant women who used drugs were convicted of delivering drugs to a minor. In reality, the development of these children had less to do with crack cocaine and much to do with other circumstances. The Maternal Lifestyle Study found that - after controlling for other factors - crack cocaine and cocaine had no significant effect on behavioral problems. Observed differences were dependent on other mediating variables such as prenatal care and the environment in which children were raised, but the Reagan administration was more focused instead on rolling back assistance for poor mothers.
The Reagan administration’s obsessive focus on cocaine took place while the CIA was involved in drug trafficking and complicit in the dealing of cocaine to poor Black communities in the United States.
[No, despite demonization of Black Americans and Gary Webb, this is not a conspiracy theory - read Dark Alliance and This is Your Country on Drugs for more.]
Marijuana: Mexican and Black Americans
Cannabis was grown since European settlers arrived in the United States. Founders such as Thomas Jefferson and George Washington grew and used cannabis. In the early 1800s, hemp was the second most produced crop after cotton. It was an extremely labor-intensive crop – the slave labor of Black Americans was necessary for its production. The ending of formal slavery (and free labor) made it less profitable as a crop. Until moral panic hit in the early 1900s, cannabis was still prescribed for many medical conditions.
The timing of this moral panic is relevant: it coincided with both the Mexican Revolution of 1910 and the popularity of jazz.
After the Mexican Revolution, Mexican immigrants brought marijuana with them to the United States. Marijuana was said to make Mexican immigrants commit violent acts of crime. During the Great Depression, reports emerged that connected marijuana use with violent crime and social deviance. Soon after the Mexican revolution, marijuana spread to New Orleans and became popular in the jazz scene. Jazz musicians often were paid with marijuana and alcohol for their performances. Additionally, many jazz musicians used marijuana recreationally.
Harry J. Anslinger - the first commisioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics - was largely responsible for racist themes linking marijuana use to Black and Mexican Americans - particularly emphasizing the fear of racial mixing with white women. 
Today, long after the days of Anslinger, there are large racial disparities in the penalties for marijuana possession (among other racial disparities in the criminal justice system).
  • Day 5 of White History Month: The War on Drugs - Racist Origins of Drug Policy
[Images: New York Times: February 8, 1914, ”The Mascot” New Orleans, August 3, 1889, The Ogden Standard: September 25, 1915, Washington Post: March 8, 1896], ACLU, “The War on Marijuana in Black and White" (pdf)]
“Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men” – Harry J. Anslinger
"Most marijuana smokers are Negroes, Hispanics, jazz musicians, and entertainers. Their satanic music is driven by marijuana, and marijuana smoking by white women makes them want to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and others. It is a drug that causes insanity, criminality, and death — the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind."- Harry J. Anslinger
"Anglo-American women having intimate relations with unknown Chinese laborers and vice operators bordered on the unthinkable. Songs about just such events existed during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. For example, in “Chung Hi Lo and Mary,” a young white woman, Mary, entered Chung Hi Lo’s opium den out of curiosity. There “he slipped her a ring, a golden thing” and quickly addicted her to opium." - Diana Ahmad, The Opium Debate and Chinese-Exclusion Laws in the American West
The history of criminalization of drugs in the United States has racist origins. While drugs are undeniably harmful, recreational drugs were tolerated for much of U.S. history. Linking Chinese Americans, Black Americans, and Latin@ (particularly Mexican) Americans to drug use served dual purposes: further justification for racist demonization and the creation of moral panics to outlaw drug use. Drug use was commonly linked to the white fear that men of color would “seduce” and have children with white women. 
In the 1900s, the temperance movement and Progressive drug reformers did not seek to spread the nature of the typical drug addict of the time – a middle-aged, middle-class white woman in a rural area who obtained drugs from a physician. Instead, drug users were depicted as Chinese, Black, or Mexican. Today, race is still inseparable from drug policy and the War on Drugs.
Opium and Chinese-Americans
Opium had been imported and used by white Americans for many years. In 1803 morphine was discovered, and in 1853 the hypodermic syringe was invented, increasing its popularity. Morphine and laudanum (a tincture of opium) were often abused by white Americans. In 1874, Felix Hoffman discovered heroin and in 1898 Bayer began to sell it. Heroin was marketed it as a pain medicine, cough suppressant, and morphine substitute. 
The first anti-opium laws – and first drug laws in the United States - targeted Chinese immigrants in the 1870s. Opium-smoking was largely practiced by Chinese-Americans, while white Americans instead used morphine and laudanum – which were not outlawed by these laws.
Chinese-American men were said to “lure” white women to opium dens in Chinatown. Chinese immigrants have largely been portrayed as a threat to Western values and mores. Smoking-opium was stretched as a rationable to demonize Chinese immigrants. Opium was linked to stereotypes of Yellow Peril (opium was said to corrupt white Americans and disrupt the American way) and Perpetual Foreigner (opium was seen as incompatible with Christian life, rendering Chinese Americans unassimilable). Eliminating opium was even used as justification to restrict (and eventually stop) Chinese immigration. 
Cocaine and Black Americans
The first anti-cocaine laws targeted Black men in the Southern US in the 1900s. Cocaine became associated with Black Americans, who were said to commit horrible crimes under the influence of cocaine (as well as marijuana).
Later, the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 created the large disparity – of 100 to one - between powder cocaine and crack cocaine sentencing guidelines. This meant that it would 1000 grams of cocaine to obtain the same sentence for 10 grams of crack cocaine. It was not until the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 that the 100:1 weight ratio was reduced to 18:1 - meaning that it takes 180 grams of cocaine to obtain the same sentence as for 10 grams of crack cocaine.
Of course, crack cocaine was also more widely used by Black Americans. Black Americans were also far more likely to distribute crack cocaine than powder cocaine. 
One reason given by Congress for the disparity included pregnant women consuming crack cocaine during pregnancy (resulting in so-called “crack babies”). The epidemic of “Crack Babies” was associated with Black. Pregnant women who used drugs were convicted of delivering drugs to a minor. In reality, the development of these children had less to do with crack cocaine and much to do with other circumstances. The Maternal Lifestyle Study found that - after controlling for other factors - crack cocaine and cocaine had no significant effect on behavioral problems. Observed differences were dependent on other mediating variables such as prenatal care and the environment in which children were raised, but the Reagan administration was more focused instead on rolling back assistance for poor mothers.
The Reagan administration’s obsessive focus on cocaine took place while the CIA was involved in drug trafficking and complicit in the dealing of cocaine to poor Black communities in the United States.
[No, despite demonization of Black Americans and Gary Webb, this is not a conspiracy theory - read Dark Alliance and This is Your Country on Drugs for more.]
Marijuana: Mexican and Black Americans
Cannabis was grown since European settlers arrived in the United States. Founders such as Thomas Jefferson and George Washington grew and used cannabis. In the early 1800s, hemp was the second most produced crop after cotton. It was an extremely labor-intensive crop – the slave labor of Black Americans was necessary for its production. The ending of formal slavery (and free labor) made it less profitable as a crop. Until moral panic hit in the early 1900s, cannabis was still prescribed for many medical conditions.
The timing of this moral panic is relevant: it coincided with both the Mexican Revolution of 1910 and the popularity of jazz.
After the Mexican Revolution, Mexican immigrants brought marijuana with them to the United States. Marijuana was said to make Mexican immigrants commit violent acts of crime. During the Great Depression, reports emerged that connected marijuana use with violent crime and social deviance. Soon after the Mexican revolution, marijuana spread to New Orleans and became popular in the jazz scene. Jazz musicians often were paid with marijuana and alcohol for their performances. Additionally, many jazz musicians used marijuana recreationally.
Harry J. Anslinger - the first commisioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics - was largely responsible for racist themes linking marijuana use to Black and Mexican Americans - particularly emphasizing the fear of racial mixing with white women. 
Today, long after the days of Anslinger, there are large racial disparities in the penalties for marijuana possession (among other racial disparities in the criminal justice system).
  • Day 5 of White History Month: The War on Drugs - Racist Origins of Drug Policy
[Images: New York Times: February 8, 1914, ”The Mascot” New Orleans, August 3, 1889, The Ogden Standard: September 25, 1915, Washington Post: March 8, 1896], ACLU, “The War on Marijuana in Black and White" (pdf)]
“Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men” – Harry J. Anslinger
"Most marijuana smokers are Negroes, Hispanics, jazz musicians, and entertainers. Their satanic music is driven by marijuana, and marijuana smoking by white women makes them want to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and others. It is a drug that causes insanity, criminality, and death — the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind."- Harry J. Anslinger
"Anglo-American women having intimate relations with unknown Chinese laborers and vice operators bordered on the unthinkable. Songs about just such events existed during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. For example, in “Chung Hi Lo and Mary,” a young white woman, Mary, entered Chung Hi Lo’s opium den out of curiosity. There “he slipped her a ring, a golden thing” and quickly addicted her to opium." - Diana Ahmad, The Opium Debate and Chinese-Exclusion Laws in the American West
The history of criminalization of drugs in the United States has racist origins. While drugs are undeniably harmful, recreational drugs were tolerated for much of U.S. history. Linking Chinese Americans, Black Americans, and Latin@ (particularly Mexican) Americans to drug use served dual purposes: further justification for racist demonization and the creation of moral panics to outlaw drug use. Drug use was commonly linked to the white fear that men of color would “seduce” and have children with white women. 
In the 1900s, the temperance movement and Progressive drug reformers did not seek to spread the nature of the typical drug addict of the time – a middle-aged, middle-class white woman in a rural area who obtained drugs from a physician. Instead, drug users were depicted as Chinese, Black, or Mexican. Today, race is still inseparable from drug policy and the War on Drugs.
Opium and Chinese-Americans
Opium had been imported and used by white Americans for many years. In 1803 morphine was discovered, and in 1853 the hypodermic syringe was invented, increasing its popularity. Morphine and laudanum (a tincture of opium) were often abused by white Americans. In 1874, Felix Hoffman discovered heroin and in 1898 Bayer began to sell it. Heroin was marketed it as a pain medicine, cough suppressant, and morphine substitute. 
The first anti-opium laws – and first drug laws in the United States - targeted Chinese immigrants in the 1870s. Opium-smoking was largely practiced by Chinese-Americans, while white Americans instead used morphine and laudanum – which were not outlawed by these laws.
Chinese-American men were said to “lure” white women to opium dens in Chinatown. Chinese immigrants have largely been portrayed as a threat to Western values and mores. Smoking-opium was stretched as a rationable to demonize Chinese immigrants. Opium was linked to stereotypes of Yellow Peril (opium was said to corrupt white Americans and disrupt the American way) and Perpetual Foreigner (opium was seen as incompatible with Christian life, rendering Chinese Americans unassimilable). Eliminating opium was even used as justification to restrict (and eventually stop) Chinese immigration. 
Cocaine and Black Americans
The first anti-cocaine laws targeted Black men in the Southern US in the 1900s. Cocaine became associated with Black Americans, who were said to commit horrible crimes under the influence of cocaine (as well as marijuana).
Later, the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 created the large disparity – of 100 to one - between powder cocaine and crack cocaine sentencing guidelines. This meant that it would 1000 grams of cocaine to obtain the same sentence for 10 grams of crack cocaine. It was not until the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 that the 100:1 weight ratio was reduced to 18:1 - meaning that it takes 180 grams of cocaine to obtain the same sentence as for 10 grams of crack cocaine.
Of course, crack cocaine was also more widely used by Black Americans. Black Americans were also far more likely to distribute crack cocaine than powder cocaine. 
One reason given by Congress for the disparity included pregnant women consuming crack cocaine during pregnancy (resulting in so-called “crack babies”). The epidemic of “Crack Babies” was associated with Black. Pregnant women who used drugs were convicted of delivering drugs to a minor. In reality, the development of these children had less to do with crack cocaine and much to do with other circumstances. The Maternal Lifestyle Study found that - after controlling for other factors - crack cocaine and cocaine had no significant effect on behavioral problems. Observed differences were dependent on other mediating variables such as prenatal care and the environment in which children were raised, but the Reagan administration was more focused instead on rolling back assistance for poor mothers.
The Reagan administration’s obsessive focus on cocaine took place while the CIA was involved in drug trafficking and complicit in the dealing of cocaine to poor Black communities in the United States.
[No, despite demonization of Black Americans and Gary Webb, this is not a conspiracy theory - read Dark Alliance and This is Your Country on Drugs for more.]
Marijuana: Mexican and Black Americans
Cannabis was grown since European settlers arrived in the United States. Founders such as Thomas Jefferson and George Washington grew and used cannabis. In the early 1800s, hemp was the second most produced crop after cotton. It was an extremely labor-intensive crop – the slave labor of Black Americans was necessary for its production. The ending of formal slavery (and free labor) made it less profitable as a crop. Until moral panic hit in the early 1900s, cannabis was still prescribed for many medical conditions.
The timing of this moral panic is relevant: it coincided with both the Mexican Revolution of 1910 and the popularity of jazz.
After the Mexican Revolution, Mexican immigrants brought marijuana with them to the United States. Marijuana was said to make Mexican immigrants commit violent acts of crime. During the Great Depression, reports emerged that connected marijuana use with violent crime and social deviance. Soon after the Mexican revolution, marijuana spread to New Orleans and became popular in the jazz scene. Jazz musicians often were paid with marijuana and alcohol for their performances. Additionally, many jazz musicians used marijuana recreationally.
Harry J. Anslinger - the first commisioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics - was largely responsible for racist themes linking marijuana use to Black and Mexican Americans - particularly emphasizing the fear of racial mixing with white women. 
Today, long after the days of Anslinger, there are large racial disparities in the penalties for marijuana possession (among other racial disparities in the criminal justice system).
  • Day 5 of White History Month: The War on Drugs - Racist Origins of Drug Policy
[Images: New York Times: February 8, 1914, ”The Mascot” New Orleans, August 3, 1889, The Ogden Standard: September 25, 1915, Washington Post: March 8, 1896], ACLU, “The War on Marijuana in Black and White" (pdf)]
“Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men” – Harry J. Anslinger
"Most marijuana smokers are Negroes, Hispanics, jazz musicians, and entertainers. Their satanic music is driven by marijuana, and marijuana smoking by white women makes them want to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and others. It is a drug that causes insanity, criminality, and death — the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind."- Harry J. Anslinger
"Anglo-American women having intimate relations with unknown Chinese laborers and vice operators bordered on the unthinkable. Songs about just such events existed during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. For example, in “Chung Hi Lo and Mary,” a young white woman, Mary, entered Chung Hi Lo’s opium den out of curiosity. There “he slipped her a ring, a golden thing” and quickly addicted her to opium." - Diana Ahmad, The Opium Debate and Chinese-Exclusion Laws in the American West
The history of criminalization of drugs in the United States has racist origins. While drugs are undeniably harmful, recreational drugs were tolerated for much of U.S. history. Linking Chinese Americans, Black Americans, and Latin@ (particularly Mexican) Americans to drug use served dual purposes: further justification for racist demonization and the creation of moral panics to outlaw drug use. Drug use was commonly linked to the white fear that men of color would “seduce” and have children with white women. 
In the 1900s, the temperance movement and Progressive drug reformers did not seek to spread the nature of the typical drug addict of the time – a middle-aged, middle-class white woman in a rural area who obtained drugs from a physician. Instead, drug users were depicted as Chinese, Black, or Mexican. Today, race is still inseparable from drug policy and the War on Drugs.
Opium and Chinese-Americans
Opium had been imported and used by white Americans for many years. In 1803 morphine was discovered, and in 1853 the hypodermic syringe was invented, increasing its popularity. Morphine and laudanum (a tincture of opium) were often abused by white Americans. In 1874, Felix Hoffman discovered heroin and in 1898 Bayer began to sell it. Heroin was marketed it as a pain medicine, cough suppressant, and morphine substitute. 
The first anti-opium laws – and first drug laws in the United States - targeted Chinese immigrants in the 1870s. Opium-smoking was largely practiced by Chinese-Americans, while white Americans instead used morphine and laudanum – which were not outlawed by these laws.
Chinese-American men were said to “lure” white women to opium dens in Chinatown. Chinese immigrants have largely been portrayed as a threat to Western values and mores. Smoking-opium was stretched as a rationable to demonize Chinese immigrants. Opium was linked to stereotypes of Yellow Peril (opium was said to corrupt white Americans and disrupt the American way) and Perpetual Foreigner (opium was seen as incompatible with Christian life, rendering Chinese Americans unassimilable). Eliminating opium was even used as justification to restrict (and eventually stop) Chinese immigration. 
Cocaine and Black Americans
The first anti-cocaine laws targeted Black men in the Southern US in the 1900s. Cocaine became associated with Black Americans, who were said to commit horrible crimes under the influence of cocaine (as well as marijuana).
Later, the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 created the large disparity – of 100 to one - between powder cocaine and crack cocaine sentencing guidelines. This meant that it would 1000 grams of cocaine to obtain the same sentence for 10 grams of crack cocaine. It was not until the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 that the 100:1 weight ratio was reduced to 18:1 - meaning that it takes 180 grams of cocaine to obtain the same sentence as for 10 grams of crack cocaine.
Of course, crack cocaine was also more widely used by Black Americans. Black Americans were also far more likely to distribute crack cocaine than powder cocaine. 
One reason given by Congress for the disparity included pregnant women consuming crack cocaine during pregnancy (resulting in so-called “crack babies”). The epidemic of “Crack Babies” was associated with Black. Pregnant women who used drugs were convicted of delivering drugs to a minor. In reality, the development of these children had less to do with crack cocaine and much to do with other circumstances. The Maternal Lifestyle Study found that - after controlling for other factors - crack cocaine and cocaine had no significant effect on behavioral problems. Observed differences were dependent on other mediating variables such as prenatal care and the environment in which children were raised, but the Reagan administration was more focused instead on rolling back assistance for poor mothers.
The Reagan administration’s obsessive focus on cocaine took place while the CIA was involved in drug trafficking and complicit in the dealing of cocaine to poor Black communities in the United States.
[No, despite demonization of Black Americans and Gary Webb, this is not a conspiracy theory - read Dark Alliance and This is Your Country on Drugs for more.]
Marijuana: Mexican and Black Americans
Cannabis was grown since European settlers arrived in the United States. Founders such as Thomas Jefferson and George Washington grew and used cannabis. In the early 1800s, hemp was the second most produced crop after cotton. It was an extremely labor-intensive crop – the slave labor of Black Americans was necessary for its production. The ending of formal slavery (and free labor) made it less profitable as a crop. Until moral panic hit in the early 1900s, cannabis was still prescribed for many medical conditions.
The timing of this moral panic is relevant: it coincided with both the Mexican Revolution of 1910 and the popularity of jazz.
After the Mexican Revolution, Mexican immigrants brought marijuana with them to the United States. Marijuana was said to make Mexican immigrants commit violent acts of crime. During the Great Depression, reports emerged that connected marijuana use with violent crime and social deviance. Soon after the Mexican revolution, marijuana spread to New Orleans and became popular in the jazz scene. Jazz musicians often were paid with marijuana and alcohol for their performances. Additionally, many jazz musicians used marijuana recreationally.
Harry J. Anslinger - the first commisioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics - was largely responsible for racist themes linking marijuana use to Black and Mexican Americans - particularly emphasizing the fear of racial mixing with white women. 
Today, long after the days of Anslinger, there are large racial disparities in the penalties for marijuana possession (among other racial disparities in the criminal justice system).
  • Day 5 of White History Month: The War on Drugs - Racist Origins of Drug Policy
[Images: New York Times: February 8, 1914, ”The Mascot” New Orleans, August 3, 1889, The Ogden Standard: September 25, 1915, Washington Post: March 8, 1896], ACLU, “The War on Marijuana in Black and White" (pdf)]
“Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men” – Harry J. Anslinger
"Most marijuana smokers are Negroes, Hispanics, jazz musicians, and entertainers. Their satanic music is driven by marijuana, and marijuana smoking by white women makes them want to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and others. It is a drug that causes insanity, criminality, and death — the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind."- Harry J. Anslinger
"Anglo-American women having intimate relations with unknown Chinese laborers and vice operators bordered on the unthinkable. Songs about just such events existed during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. For example, in “Chung Hi Lo and Mary,” a young white woman, Mary, entered Chung Hi Lo’s opium den out of curiosity. There “he slipped her a ring, a golden thing” and quickly addicted her to opium." - Diana Ahmad, The Opium Debate and Chinese-Exclusion Laws in the American West
The history of criminalization of drugs in the United States has racist origins. While drugs are undeniably harmful, recreational drugs were tolerated for much of U.S. history. Linking Chinese Americans, Black Americans, and Latin@ (particularly Mexican) Americans to drug use served dual purposes: further justification for racist demonization and the creation of moral panics to outlaw drug use. Drug use was commonly linked to the white fear that men of color would “seduce” and have children with white women. 
In the 1900s, the temperance movement and Progressive drug reformers did not seek to spread the nature of the typical drug addict of the time – a middle-aged, middle-class white woman in a rural area who obtained drugs from a physician. Instead, drug users were depicted as Chinese, Black, or Mexican. Today, race is still inseparable from drug policy and the War on Drugs.
Opium and Chinese-Americans
Opium had been imported and used by white Americans for many years. In 1803 morphine was discovered, and in 1853 the hypodermic syringe was invented, increasing its popularity. Morphine and laudanum (a tincture of opium) were often abused by white Americans. In 1874, Felix Hoffman discovered heroin and in 1898 Bayer began to sell it. Heroin was marketed it as a pain medicine, cough suppressant, and morphine substitute. 
The first anti-opium laws – and first drug laws in the United States - targeted Chinese immigrants in the 1870s. Opium-smoking was largely practiced by Chinese-Americans, while white Americans instead used morphine and laudanum – which were not outlawed by these laws.
Chinese-American men were said to “lure” white women to opium dens in Chinatown. Chinese immigrants have largely been portrayed as a threat to Western values and mores. Smoking-opium was stretched as a rationable to demonize Chinese immigrants. Opium was linked to stereotypes of Yellow Peril (opium was said to corrupt white Americans and disrupt the American way) and Perpetual Foreigner (opium was seen as incompatible with Christian life, rendering Chinese Americans unassimilable). Eliminating opium was even used as justification to restrict (and eventually stop) Chinese immigration. 
Cocaine and Black Americans
The first anti-cocaine laws targeted Black men in the Southern US in the 1900s. Cocaine became associated with Black Americans, who were said to commit horrible crimes under the influence of cocaine (as well as marijuana).
Later, the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 created the large disparity – of 100 to one - between powder cocaine and crack cocaine sentencing guidelines. This meant that it would 1000 grams of cocaine to obtain the same sentence for 10 grams of crack cocaine. It was not until the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 that the 100:1 weight ratio was reduced to 18:1 - meaning that it takes 180 grams of cocaine to obtain the same sentence as for 10 grams of crack cocaine.
Of course, crack cocaine was also more widely used by Black Americans. Black Americans were also far more likely to distribute crack cocaine than powder cocaine. 
One reason given by Congress for the disparity included pregnant women consuming crack cocaine during pregnancy (resulting in so-called “crack babies”). The epidemic of “Crack Babies” was associated with Black. Pregnant women who used drugs were convicted of delivering drugs to a minor. In reality, the development of these children had less to do with crack cocaine and much to do with other circumstances. The Maternal Lifestyle Study found that - after controlling for other factors - crack cocaine and cocaine had no significant effect on behavioral problems. Observed differences were dependent on other mediating variables such as prenatal care and the environment in which children were raised, but the Reagan administration was more focused instead on rolling back assistance for poor mothers.
The Reagan administration’s obsessive focus on cocaine took place while the CIA was involved in drug trafficking and complicit in the dealing of cocaine to poor Black communities in the United States.
[No, despite demonization of Black Americans and Gary Webb, this is not a conspiracy theory - read Dark Alliance and This is Your Country on Drugs for more.]
Marijuana: Mexican and Black Americans
Cannabis was grown since European settlers arrived in the United States. Founders such as Thomas Jefferson and George Washington grew and used cannabis. In the early 1800s, hemp was the second most produced crop after cotton. It was an extremely labor-intensive crop – the slave labor of Black Americans was necessary for its production. The ending of formal slavery (and free labor) made it less profitable as a crop. Until moral panic hit in the early 1900s, cannabis was still prescribed for many medical conditions.
The timing of this moral panic is relevant: it coincided with both the Mexican Revolution of 1910 and the popularity of jazz.
After the Mexican Revolution, Mexican immigrants brought marijuana with them to the United States. Marijuana was said to make Mexican immigrants commit violent acts of crime. During the Great Depression, reports emerged that connected marijuana use with violent crime and social deviance. Soon after the Mexican revolution, marijuana spread to New Orleans and became popular in the jazz scene. Jazz musicians often were paid with marijuana and alcohol for their performances. Additionally, many jazz musicians used marijuana recreationally.
Harry J. Anslinger - the first commisioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics - was largely responsible for racist themes linking marijuana use to Black and Mexican Americans - particularly emphasizing the fear of racial mixing with white women. 
Today, long after the days of Anslinger, there are large racial disparities in the penalties for marijuana possession (among other racial disparities in the criminal justice system).

Day 5 of White History Month: The War on Drugs - Racist Origins of Drug Policy

[Images: New York Times: February 8, 1914, ”The Mascot” New Orleans, August 3, 1889, The Ogden Standard: September 25, 1915, Washington Post: March 8, 1896], ACLU, “The War on Marijuana in Black and White" (pdf)]

“Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men” – Harry J. Anslinger

"Most marijuana smokers are Negroes, Hispanics, jazz musicians, and entertainers. Their satanic music is driven by marijuana, and marijuana smoking by white women makes them want to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and others. It is a drug that causes insanity, criminality, and death — the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind."- Harry J. Anslinger

"Anglo-American women having intimate relations with unknown Chinese laborers and vice operators bordered on the unthinkable. Songs about just such events existed during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. For example, in “Chung Hi Lo and Mary,” a young white woman, Mary, entered Chung Hi Lo’s opium den out of curiosity. There “he slipped her a ring, a golden thing” and quickly addicted her to opium." - Diana Ahmad, The Opium Debate and Chinese-Exclusion Laws in the American West

The history of criminalization of drugs in the United States has racist origins. While drugs are undeniably harmful, recreational drugs were tolerated for much of U.S. history. Linking Chinese Americans, Black Americans, and Latin@ (particularly Mexican) Americans to drug use served dual purposes: further justification for racist demonization and the creation of moral panics to outlaw drug use. Drug use was commonly linked to the white fear that men of color would “seduce” and have children with white women. 

In the 1900s, the temperance movement and Progressive drug reformers did not seek to spread the nature of the typical drug addict of the time – a middle-aged, middle-class white woman in a rural area who obtained drugs from a physician. Instead, drug users were depicted as Chinese, Black, or Mexican. Today, race is still inseparable from drug policy and the War on Drugs.

Opium and Chinese-Americans

Opium had been imported and used by white Americans for many years. In 1803 morphine was discovered, and in 1853 the hypodermic syringe was invented, increasing its popularity. Morphine and laudanum (a tincture of opium) were often abused by white Americans. In 1874, Felix Hoffman discovered heroin and in 1898 Bayer began to sell it. Heroin was marketed it as a pain medicine, cough suppressant, and morphine substitute. 

The first anti-opium laws – and first drug laws in the United States - targeted Chinese immigrants in the 1870s. Opium-smoking was largely practiced by Chinese-Americans, while white Americans instead used morphine and laudanum – which were not outlawed by these laws.

Chinese-American men were said to “lure” white women to opium dens in Chinatown. Chinese immigrants have largely been portrayed as a threat to Western values and mores. Smoking-opium was stretched as a rationable to demonize Chinese immigrants. Opium was linked to stereotypes of Yellow Peril (opium was said to corrupt white Americans and disrupt the American way) and Perpetual Foreigner (opium was seen as incompatible with Christian life, rendering Chinese Americans unassimilable). Eliminating opium was even used as justification to restrict (and eventually stop) Chinese immigration. 

Cocaine and Black Americans

The first anti-cocaine laws targeted Black men in the Southern US in the 1900s. Cocaine became associated with Black Americans, who were said to commit horrible crimes under the influence of cocaine (as well as marijuana).

Later, the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 created the large disparity – of 100 to one - between powder cocaine and crack cocaine sentencing guidelines. This meant that it would 1000 grams of cocaine to obtain the same sentence for 10 grams of crack cocaine. It was not until the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 that the 100:1 weight ratio was reduced to 18:1 - meaning that it takes 180 grams of cocaine to obtain the same sentence as for 10 grams of crack cocaine.

Of course, crack cocaine was also more widely used by Black Americans. Black Americans were also far more likely to distribute crack cocaine than powder cocaine. 

One reason given by Congress for the disparity included pregnant women consuming crack cocaine during pregnancy (resulting in so-called “crack babies”). The epidemic of “Crack Babies” was associated with Black. Pregnant women who used drugs were convicted of delivering drugs to a minor. In reality, the development of these children had less to do with crack cocaine and much to do with other circumstances. The Maternal Lifestyle Study found that - after controlling for other factors - crack cocaine and cocaine had no significant effect on behavioral problems. Observed differences were dependent on other mediating variables such as prenatal care and the environment in which children were raised, but the Reagan administration was more focused instead on rolling back assistance for poor mothers.

The Reagan administration’s obsessive focus on cocaine took place while the CIA was involved in drug trafficking and complicit in the dealing of cocaine to poor Black communities in the United States.

[No, despite demonization of Black Americans and Gary Webb, this is not a conspiracy theory - read Dark Alliance and This is Your Country on Drugs for more.]

Marijuana: Mexican and Black Americans

Cannabis was grown since European settlers arrived in the United States. Founders such as Thomas Jefferson and George Washington grew and used cannabis. In the early 1800s, hemp was the second most produced crop after cotton. It was an extremely labor-intensive crop – the slave labor of Black Americans was necessary for its production. The ending of formal slavery (and free labor) made it less profitable as a crop. Until moral panic hit in the early 1900s, cannabis was still prescribed for many medical conditions.

The timing of this moral panic is relevant: it coincided with both the Mexican Revolution of 1910 and the popularity of jazz.

After the Mexican Revolution, Mexican immigrants brought marijuana with them to the United States. Marijuana was said to make Mexican immigrants commit violent acts of crime. During the Great Depression, reports emerged that connected marijuana use with violent crime and social deviance. Soon after the Mexican revolution, marijuana spread to New Orleans and became popular in the jazz scene. Jazz musicians often were paid with marijuana and alcohol for their performances. Additionally, many jazz musicians used marijuana recreationally.

Harry J. Anslinger - the first commisioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics - was largely responsible for racist themes linking marijuana use to Black and Mexican Americans - particularly emphasizing the fear of racial mixing with white women. 

Today, long after the days of Anslinger, there are large racial disparities in the penalties for marijuana possession (among other racial disparities in the criminal justice system).

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  • Day 4 of White History Month: Criminalizing Blackness, Part 3 - Blackness as Criminality, Whiteness as Virtue and Innocence
[TW: rape]
[Images: “Criminal Penalties by Race in Virginia” from The Color of Crime, Amnesty USA [x], “Report on Stand Your Ground Laws Highlight Racial Disparities”]
“Whiteness” was created in opposition to “blackness,” in comparison to which it was not only different but quite superior. Indeed, from the seventeenth century forward black women, men, and children were “constructed as lazy, ignorant, lascivious, and criminal; Whites as industrious, knowledgeable, virtuous, and law-abiding.” - Joe Feagin, Racist America
While Black Americans have been cast as criminals and sentenced unfairly throughout history, this is not only a result of the strict criminal justice system in the United States. Black Americans have rarely been considered legitimate victims, even in a legal sense; white Americans have benefitted from this. Many white Americans who are viewed in a positive light today, including the Founders and many Presidents of the United States, are celebrated for the unspeakable acts they committed.
Criminal Justice
In nearly all cases of white racial mob violence and lynching of Black Americans, no one was punished. The victim simply died “at the hands of persons unknown." despite the fact that the perpetrators were often known (and police officers were often involved in this mob violence themselves). Lynching was extremely common, yet efforts to pass anti-lynching laws were ignored by white congressmen and when introduced, failed. When the victims were Black, and particularly when the perpetrators were white, legal interventions were virtually unheard of.
Sexual Violence
During slavery, Black women were considered unrapeable: white men could rape Black women without punishment. Black men could rape Black women with no punishment except in cases where a Black woman was injured severely enough to prevent work. The unpunished rape of Black women was not limited to Southerners, as Northern soldiers during the Civil War also sexually assaulted Black women. This continued after slavery, all while a Black man could be lynched for (fabricated) rationalizations of protecting white womanhood.
An accurate account of historical sexual violence during slavery would be that of the white male rapist and Black female victim (and occasionally white women implicating innocent Black men). Instead, the stereotypes that emerged (and continued on today) are those of the Jezebel, the Black male rapist, and the virtuous, chaste white woman. 
For many years, Black women could not be considered victims of rape. White men continued to assault Black women. Unlike white women, Black women largely worked outside the home and were vulnerable to assault by both white male employers and white supremacist groups such as the KKK.
Media
In The Birth of a Nation, racial oppression was glorified. White supremacists, particularly the KKK, were turned into heroes. Black people were reduced to harmful anti-Black stereotypes in order to justify white supremacy.
Contemporary Examples
Criminal Justice
Black women are sexually assaulted at a higher rate than white women. When Black women are sexually assaulted and the case is reported and goes to trial, white juries and judges do not take it seriously. As a result, rapists of Black women received lighter sentences than when the victims are white. Additionally, the testimony of Black female rape victims is taken less seriously than that of white rape victims.
The majority of death row defendants have been convicted for murdering white victims even while Black Americans make up approximately half of homicide victims.
Stand Your Ground
Stand Your Ground laws have resulted in cases with white murderers and Black victims being ruled as justifiable homicides. Much of the focus in these cases was not on the adult white men who had murdered, but on the character of the victims.  The recent case of Trayvon Martin is an example of this - even when the white offender has a criminal history, he is privileged over a Black victim. The focus shifted to make Zimmerman’s murder of Trayvon Martin appear as justifiable or even as beneficial. Similarly, Michael Dunn murdered Jordan Davis after he refused to turn down his music. There is no situation in which this would be acceptable, yet the jury could not even decide on a murder charge.
In many publicized cases where white men killed innocent Black victims, the police were hesitant to even pursue the criminal, and the prosecution was not eager to proceed. Many white Americans instead suggested to focus on “Black-on-Black” crime. White supremacist groups and even conservative commentators took this a step further by suggesting that white victims of Black crime are overlooked.
Compare these cases to that of Marissa Alexander - a Black woman who fired warning shots in self-defense and injured no one - and the racial differences are clear.
Media

"Looking first at race of alleged perpetrators, we find approximately an equal number of Blacks and Whites (173 versus 179). At one level this equivalence seems reasonable, since Blacks do commit crime far in excess of their population proportions. At another, however, representing Blacks far more often in criminal roles than Whites effectively makes them into symbols of threat. A related signal arises from the portrayal of victims. By a 1.5:1 (241 to 160) ratio, White victims outnumbered Blacks in news reports—even though Blacks in Chicago and most core cities are more likely to be victimized. Another way of comparing news of victimization is length of time devoted to the story: the average story featuring Black victims was 106 seconds long; those featuring White victims, 185 seconds long. Using total story time as a measure, the ratio of time spent on White victims to that on Blacks exceeded 3:1. - Robert M. Entman and Andrew Rojecki, The Black Image in the White Mind




Thus, the more socially valuable the “players” in a crime story are, the more newsworthy the story is. The factors associated with finding a “good” crime story result in the devaluation and invisibility of many victims. Media researchers Carolyn Byerly and Karen Ross point out, “As with other kinds of crime reporting, issues of gender are further complicated by issues of race.” Not only are marginalized and disenfranchised female victims deemed less interesting than white middle-class women (meaning that their victimizations receive less news coverage), but the media also depict them in stereotypically unflattering ways (i.e., black women as “Jezebels”) and project blame and culpability onto them. Michelle L. Meloy and Susan L. Miller, The Victimization of Women: Law, Policies, and Politics
  • Day 4 of White History Month: Criminalizing Blackness, Part 3 - Blackness as Criminality, Whiteness as Virtue and Innocence
[TW: rape]
[Images: “Criminal Penalties by Race in Virginia” from The Color of Crime, Amnesty USA [x], “Report on Stand Your Ground Laws Highlight Racial Disparities”]
“Whiteness” was created in opposition to “blackness,” in comparison to which it was not only different but quite superior. Indeed, from the seventeenth century forward black women, men, and children were “constructed as lazy, ignorant, lascivious, and criminal; Whites as industrious, knowledgeable, virtuous, and law-abiding.” - Joe Feagin, Racist America
While Black Americans have been cast as criminals and sentenced unfairly throughout history, this is not only a result of the strict criminal justice system in the United States. Black Americans have rarely been considered legitimate victims, even in a legal sense; white Americans have benefitted from this. Many white Americans who are viewed in a positive light today, including the Founders and many Presidents of the United States, are celebrated for the unspeakable acts they committed.
Criminal Justice
In nearly all cases of white racial mob violence and lynching of Black Americans, no one was punished. The victim simply died “at the hands of persons unknown." despite the fact that the perpetrators were often known (and police officers were often involved in this mob violence themselves). Lynching was extremely common, yet efforts to pass anti-lynching laws were ignored by white congressmen and when introduced, failed. When the victims were Black, and particularly when the perpetrators were white, legal interventions were virtually unheard of.
Sexual Violence
During slavery, Black women were considered unrapeable: white men could rape Black women without punishment. Black men could rape Black women with no punishment except in cases where a Black woman was injured severely enough to prevent work. The unpunished rape of Black women was not limited to Southerners, as Northern soldiers during the Civil War also sexually assaulted Black women. This continued after slavery, all while a Black man could be lynched for (fabricated) rationalizations of protecting white womanhood.
An accurate account of historical sexual violence during slavery would be that of the white male rapist and Black female victim (and occasionally white women implicating innocent Black men). Instead, the stereotypes that emerged (and continued on today) are those of the Jezebel, the Black male rapist, and the virtuous, chaste white woman. 
For many years, Black women could not be considered victims of rape. White men continued to assault Black women. Unlike white women, Black women largely worked outside the home and were vulnerable to assault by both white male employers and white supremacist groups such as the KKK.
Media
In The Birth of a Nation, racial oppression was glorified. White supremacists, particularly the KKK, were turned into heroes. Black people were reduced to harmful anti-Black stereotypes in order to justify white supremacy.
Contemporary Examples
Criminal Justice
Black women are sexually assaulted at a higher rate than white women. When Black women are sexually assaulted and the case is reported and goes to trial, white juries and judges do not take it seriously. As a result, rapists of Black women received lighter sentences than when the victims are white. Additionally, the testimony of Black female rape victims is taken less seriously than that of white rape victims.
The majority of death row defendants have been convicted for murdering white victims even while Black Americans make up approximately half of homicide victims.
Stand Your Ground
Stand Your Ground laws have resulted in cases with white murderers and Black victims being ruled as justifiable homicides. Much of the focus in these cases was not on the adult white men who had murdered, but on the character of the victims.  The recent case of Trayvon Martin is an example of this - even when the white offender has a criminal history, he is privileged over a Black victim. The focus shifted to make Zimmerman’s murder of Trayvon Martin appear as justifiable or even as beneficial. Similarly, Michael Dunn murdered Jordan Davis after he refused to turn down his music. There is no situation in which this would be acceptable, yet the jury could not even decide on a murder charge.
In many publicized cases where white men killed innocent Black victims, the police were hesitant to even pursue the criminal, and the prosecution was not eager to proceed. Many white Americans instead suggested to focus on “Black-on-Black” crime. White supremacist groups and even conservative commentators took this a step further by suggesting that white victims of Black crime are overlooked.
Compare these cases to that of Marissa Alexander - a Black woman who fired warning shots in self-defense and injured no one - and the racial differences are clear.
Media

"Looking first at race of alleged perpetrators, we find approximately an equal number of Blacks and Whites (173 versus 179). At one level this equivalence seems reasonable, since Blacks do commit crime far in excess of their population proportions. At another, however, representing Blacks far more often in criminal roles than Whites effectively makes them into symbols of threat. A related signal arises from the portrayal of victims. By a 1.5:1 (241 to 160) ratio, White victims outnumbered Blacks in news reports—even though Blacks in Chicago and most core cities are more likely to be victimized. Another way of comparing news of victimization is length of time devoted to the story: the average story featuring Black victims was 106 seconds long; those featuring White victims, 185 seconds long. Using total story time as a measure, the ratio of time spent on White victims to that on Blacks exceeded 3:1. - Robert M. Entman and Andrew Rojecki, The Black Image in the White Mind




Thus, the more socially valuable the “players” in a crime story are, the more newsworthy the story is. The factors associated with finding a “good” crime story result in the devaluation and invisibility of many victims. Media researchers Carolyn Byerly and Karen Ross point out, “As with other kinds of crime reporting, issues of gender are further complicated by issues of race.” Not only are marginalized and disenfranchised female victims deemed less interesting than white middle-class women (meaning that their victimizations receive less news coverage), but the media also depict them in stereotypically unflattering ways (i.e., black women as “Jezebels”) and project blame and culpability onto them. Michelle L. Meloy and Susan L. Miller, The Victimization of Women: Law, Policies, and Politics
  • Day 4 of White History Month: Criminalizing Blackness, Part 3 - Blackness as Criminality, Whiteness as Virtue and Innocence
[TW: rape]
[Images: “Criminal Penalties by Race in Virginia” from The Color of Crime, Amnesty USA [x], “Report on Stand Your Ground Laws Highlight Racial Disparities”]
“Whiteness” was created in opposition to “blackness,” in comparison to which it was not only different but quite superior. Indeed, from the seventeenth century forward black women, men, and children were “constructed as lazy, ignorant, lascivious, and criminal; Whites as industrious, knowledgeable, virtuous, and law-abiding.” - Joe Feagin, Racist America
While Black Americans have been cast as criminals and sentenced unfairly throughout history, this is not only a result of the strict criminal justice system in the United States. Black Americans have rarely been considered legitimate victims, even in a legal sense; white Americans have benefitted from this. Many white Americans who are viewed in a positive light today, including the Founders and many Presidents of the United States, are celebrated for the unspeakable acts they committed.
Criminal Justice
In nearly all cases of white racial mob violence and lynching of Black Americans, no one was punished. The victim simply died “at the hands of persons unknown." despite the fact that the perpetrators were often known (and police officers were often involved in this mob violence themselves). Lynching was extremely common, yet efforts to pass anti-lynching laws were ignored by white congressmen and when introduced, failed. When the victims were Black, and particularly when the perpetrators were white, legal interventions were virtually unheard of.
Sexual Violence
During slavery, Black women were considered unrapeable: white men could rape Black women without punishment. Black men could rape Black women with no punishment except in cases where a Black woman was injured severely enough to prevent work. The unpunished rape of Black women was not limited to Southerners, as Northern soldiers during the Civil War also sexually assaulted Black women. This continued after slavery, all while a Black man could be lynched for (fabricated) rationalizations of protecting white womanhood.
An accurate account of historical sexual violence during slavery would be that of the white male rapist and Black female victim (and occasionally white women implicating innocent Black men). Instead, the stereotypes that emerged (and continued on today) are those of the Jezebel, the Black male rapist, and the virtuous, chaste white woman. 
For many years, Black women could not be considered victims of rape. White men continued to assault Black women. Unlike white women, Black women largely worked outside the home and were vulnerable to assault by both white male employers and white supremacist groups such as the KKK.
Media
In The Birth of a Nation, racial oppression was glorified. White supremacists, particularly the KKK, were turned into heroes. Black people were reduced to harmful anti-Black stereotypes in order to justify white supremacy.
Contemporary Examples
Criminal Justice
Black women are sexually assaulted at a higher rate than white women. When Black women are sexually assaulted and the case is reported and goes to trial, white juries and judges do not take it seriously. As a result, rapists of Black women received lighter sentences than when the victims are white. Additionally, the testimony of Black female rape victims is taken less seriously than that of white rape victims.
The majority of death row defendants have been convicted for murdering white victims even while Black Americans make up approximately half of homicide victims.
Stand Your Ground
Stand Your Ground laws have resulted in cases with white murderers and Black victims being ruled as justifiable homicides. Much of the focus in these cases was not on the adult white men who had murdered, but on the character of the victims.  The recent case of Trayvon Martin is an example of this - even when the white offender has a criminal history, he is privileged over a Black victim. The focus shifted to make Zimmerman’s murder of Trayvon Martin appear as justifiable or even as beneficial. Similarly, Michael Dunn murdered Jordan Davis after he refused to turn down his music. There is no situation in which this would be acceptable, yet the jury could not even decide on a murder charge.
In many publicized cases where white men killed innocent Black victims, the police were hesitant to even pursue the criminal, and the prosecution was not eager to proceed. Many white Americans instead suggested to focus on “Black-on-Black” crime. White supremacist groups and even conservative commentators took this a step further by suggesting that white victims of Black crime are overlooked.
Compare these cases to that of Marissa Alexander - a Black woman who fired warning shots in self-defense and injured no one - and the racial differences are clear.
Media

"Looking first at race of alleged perpetrators, we find approximately an equal number of Blacks and Whites (173 versus 179). At one level this equivalence seems reasonable, since Blacks do commit crime far in excess of their population proportions. At another, however, representing Blacks far more often in criminal roles than Whites effectively makes them into symbols of threat. A related signal arises from the portrayal of victims. By a 1.5:1 (241 to 160) ratio, White victims outnumbered Blacks in news reports—even though Blacks in Chicago and most core cities are more likely to be victimized. Another way of comparing news of victimization is length of time devoted to the story: the average story featuring Black victims was 106 seconds long; those featuring White victims, 185 seconds long. Using total story time as a measure, the ratio of time spent on White victims to that on Blacks exceeded 3:1. - Robert M. Entman and Andrew Rojecki, The Black Image in the White Mind




Thus, the more socially valuable the “players” in a crime story are, the more newsworthy the story is. The factors associated with finding a “good” crime story result in the devaluation and invisibility of many victims. Media researchers Carolyn Byerly and Karen Ross point out, “As with other kinds of crime reporting, issues of gender are further complicated by issues of race.” Not only are marginalized and disenfranchised female victims deemed less interesting than white middle-class women (meaning that their victimizations receive less news coverage), but the media also depict them in stereotypically unflattering ways (i.e., black women as “Jezebels”) and project blame and culpability onto them. Michelle L. Meloy and Susan L. Miller, The Victimization of Women: Law, Policies, and Politics

Day 4 of White History Month: Criminalizing Blackness, Part 3 - Blackness as Criminality, Whiteness as Virtue and Innocence

[TW: rape]

[Images: “Criminal Penalties by Race in Virginia” from The Color of Crime, Amnesty USA [x], “Report on Stand Your Ground Laws Highlight Racial Disparities”]

“Whiteness” was created in opposition to “blackness,” in comparison to which it was not only different but quite superior. Indeed, from the seventeenth century forward black women, men, and children were “constructed as lazy, ignorant, lascivious, and criminal; Whites as industrious, knowledgeable, virtuous, and law-abiding.” - Joe Feagin, Racist America

While Black Americans have been cast as criminals and sentenced unfairly throughout history, this is not only a result of the strict criminal justice system in the United States. Black Americans have rarely been considered legitimate victims, even in a legal sense; white Americans have benefitted from this. Many white Americans who are viewed in a positive light today, including the Founders and many Presidents of the United States, are celebrated for the unspeakable acts they committed.

Criminal Justice

In nearly all cases of white racial mob violence and lynching of Black Americans, no one was punished. The victim simply died “at the hands of persons unknown." despite the fact that the perpetrators were often known (and police officers were often involved in this mob violence themselves). Lynching was extremely common, yet efforts to pass anti-lynching laws were ignored by white congressmen and when introduced, failed. When the victims were Black, and particularly when the perpetrators were white, legal interventions were virtually unheard of.

Sexual Violence

During slavery, Black women were considered unrapeable: white men could rape Black women without punishment. Black men could rape Black women with no punishment except in cases where a Black woman was injured severely enough to prevent work. The unpunished rape of Black women was not limited to Southerners, as Northern soldiers during the Civil War also sexually assaulted Black women. This continued after slavery, all while a Black man could be lynched for (fabricated) rationalizations of protecting white womanhood.

An accurate account of historical sexual violence during slavery would be that of the white male rapist and Black female victim (and occasionally white women implicating innocent Black men). Instead, the stereotypes that emerged (and continued on today) are those of the Jezebel, the Black male rapist, and the virtuous, chaste white woman. 

For many years, Black women could not be considered victims of rape. White men continued to assault Black women. Unlike white women, Black women largely worked outside the home and were vulnerable to assault by both white male employers and white supremacist groups such as the KKK.

Media

In The Birth of a Nation, racial oppression was glorified. White supremacists, particularly the KKK, were turned into heroes. Black people were reduced to harmful anti-Black stereotypes in order to justify white supremacy.

Contemporary Examples

Criminal Justice

Black women are sexually assaulted at a higher rate than white women. When Black women are sexually assaulted and the case is reported and goes to trial, white juries and judges do not take it seriously. As a result, rapists of Black women received lighter sentences than when the victims are white. Additionally, the testimony of Black female rape victims is taken less seriously than that of white rape victims.

The majority of death row defendants have been convicted for murdering white victims even while Black Americans make up approximately half of homicide victims.

Stand Your Ground

Stand Your Ground laws have resulted in cases with white murderers and Black victims being ruled as justifiable homicides. Much of the focus in these cases was not on the adult white men who had murdered, but on the character of the victims.  The recent case of Trayvon Martin is an example of this - even when the white offender has a criminal history, he is privileged over a Black victim. The focus shifted to make Zimmerman’s murder of Trayvon Martin appear as justifiable or even as beneficial. Similarly, Michael Dunn murdered Jordan Davis after he refused to turn down his music. There is no situation in which this would be acceptable, yet the jury could not even decide on a murder charge.

In many publicized cases where white men killed innocent Black victims, the police were hesitant to even pursue the criminal, and the prosecution was not eager to proceed. Many white Americans instead suggested to focus on “Black-on-Black” crime. White supremacist groups and even conservative commentators took this a step further by suggesting that white victims of Black crime are overlooked.

Compare these cases to that of Marissa Alexander - a Black woman who fired warning shots in self-defense and injured no one - and the racial differences are clear.

Media

"Looking first at race of alleged perpetrators, we find approximately an equal number of Blacks and Whites (173 versus 179). At one level this equivalence seems reasonable, since Blacks do commit crime far in excess of their population proportions. At another, however, representing Blacks far more often in criminal roles than Whites effectively makes them into symbols of threat. A related signal arises from the portrayal of victims. By a 1.5:1 (241 to 160) ratio, White victims outnumbered Blacks in news reports—even though Blacks in Chicago and most core cities are more likely to be victimized. Another way of comparing news of victimization is length of time devoted to the story: the average story featuring Black victims was 106 seconds long; those featuring White victims, 185 seconds long. Using total story time as a measure, the ratio of time spent on White victims to that on Blacks exceeded 3:1. - Robert M. Entman and Andrew Rojecki, The Black Image in the White Mind
Thus, the more socially valuable the “players” in a crime story are, the more newsworthy the story is. The factors associated with finding a “good” crime story result in the devaluation and invisibility of many victims. Media researchers Carolyn Byerly and Karen Ross point out, “As with other kinds of crime reporting, issues of gender are further complicated by issues of race.” Not only are marginalized and disenfranchised female victims deemed less interesting than white middle-class women (meaning that their victimizations receive less news coverage), but the media also depict them in stereotypically unflattering ways (i.e., black women as “Jezebels”) and project blame and culpability onto them. Michelle L. Meloy and Susan L. Miller, The Victimization of Women: Law, Policies, and Politics
View post...
  • Day 3 of White History Month: Criminalizing Blackness, Part 2 - Jim Crow Etiquette
Images: Jim Crow Museum [x], Smithsonian Institute [x], New York Daily News [x]
The legal aspects of Jim Crow are important to recognize, but Jim Crow was not just a set of laws, but as described by Leophus Taharka King, a “set of ideas, social norms, life ways, mythoforms, role-play symbols, sanctions, and devastations created after the Civil War by white politicians intent on maintaining a system of oppressive control over African American life and economics”.
Often the legal aspects of Jim Crow are the most recognized, leading to other institutions being ignored. The racial etiquette of Jim Crow worked alongside the laws. Jim Crow etiquette was a system of pervasive anti-Black norms that regulated daily life, particularly in the South. These laws were intended to subjugate Black Americans or “keep them in their place”.
Examples of Jim Crow etiquette:
White Americans referring to Black Americans by their first names or with infantilizing terms such as “boy” or “girl”  - all while Black Americans had to address white Americans with the utmost respect, using honorifics 
Black Americans were not to display their intelligence or knowledge in a way that could threaten white Americans
Black Americans could not suggest that white Americans were lying or even that their intentions were bad
During World War II, until Eleanor Roosevelt intervened, Black nurses were only allowed to tend to German prisoners of war – not white American soldiers. This occurred even with a severe shortage of nurses. 
Black and White Americans were separated in hospitals and only private ambulances would pick up Black patients.
Black women received no assistance with luggage or bags on trains or buses.
When not excluded by law, Black Americans were often were often still restricted from attending movies, the theatre, and other forms of entertainment. If allowed, they generally had to use back entrances and sit upstairs in sections referred to as “nigger heaven” or “buzzard roost.”
Black Americans were not allowed to try on clothes, as businesses feared that white Americans would never buy them if they did. 
The consequences for violating these norms were dire. Black Americans had virtually no legal protection in a system entirely controlled by white Americans. Lynching was used as a tool of intimidation and a way to control and limit the lives of Black Americans. It often took place precisely because Black Americans refused to accept the racist status quo. A number of Black women, often those who resisted white male sexual violence, were raped, tortured, and killed. Thriving Black communities (such as Rosewood) faced violence and destruction. Successful Black women and men were tortured and lynched.
The period of Jim Crow is popularly held to have ended 1950s and 1960s, but many of the norms and ideas about how Black people should behave did not end.
Jim Crow Etiquette Today
Like the racial disparities of Black codes and Jim Crow laws, remnants of the Jim Crow etiquette are still in place.
Black Americans are still often kept out of white spaces. Even middle class Black Americans are frequently followed in stores and excluded from white spaces (see: Sikes and Feagin’s Living with Racism: The Black Middle-Class Experience). Recent cases can be seen even at high-end chains; an example of this is Barneys racially profiling customers. De facto residential segregation and housing discrimination still continue today.
George Zimmerman murdered Trayvon Martin because of his own racially-based, anti-Black fears. Nothing about Trayvon Martin was threatening, but the fact that a Black boy would be walking around a largely white, gated community after dark was justification enough for Zimmerman to stalk, confront, and murder him.
Driving While Black
In many cases, Black drivers are stopped for no reason other than their race. When stopped, Black drivers (and often, Latin@ drivers) are more likely to be searched than white Americans. Black and Latino men are more likely to have force used against them.
This is particularly true in cities that are more segregated and that have smaller Black populations.
[See: “Contacts between Police and the Public: Findings from the 2002 National Survey” [x]
"Vehicle Cues and Racial Profiling: Police Officers’ Perceptions of Vehicles and Drivers" [x] ]
Police Brutality

Analyzing 130 police-brutality accounts in several cities across the nation, Kim Lersch discovered that the targets of this type of police malpractice are almost always black or Latino. The latter made up 97 percent of the victims of police brutality.Yet the overwhelming majority (93 percent) of officers involved in these incidents were white. Police brutality mainly involves white-on-black or white-on-Latino violence. Moreover, it appears that white elites in many cities sometimes use or allow police harassment in order to keep black residents “in their place.” Some police harassment and brutality targeting Americans of color seem to be linked to maintaining de facto housing segregation. Since the days of slavery, being “out of place” has been potentially dangerous for black Americans, especially black men. If black men are found in historically white residential areas, they still run the risk of harassment by the public or private police forces there. - Joe Feagin, Racist America
  • Day 3 of White History Month: Criminalizing Blackness, Part 2 - Jim Crow Etiquette
Images: Jim Crow Museum [x], Smithsonian Institute [x], New York Daily News [x]
The legal aspects of Jim Crow are important to recognize, but Jim Crow was not just a set of laws, but as described by Leophus Taharka King, a “set of ideas, social norms, life ways, mythoforms, role-play symbols, sanctions, and devastations created after the Civil War by white politicians intent on maintaining a system of oppressive control over African American life and economics”.
Often the legal aspects of Jim Crow are the most recognized, leading to other institutions being ignored. The racial etiquette of Jim Crow worked alongside the laws. Jim Crow etiquette was a system of pervasive anti-Black norms that regulated daily life, particularly in the South. These laws were intended to subjugate Black Americans or “keep them in their place”.
Examples of Jim Crow etiquette:
White Americans referring to Black Americans by their first names or with infantilizing terms such as “boy” or “girl”  - all while Black Americans had to address white Americans with the utmost respect, using honorifics 
Black Americans were not to display their intelligence or knowledge in a way that could threaten white Americans
Black Americans could not suggest that white Americans were lying or even that their intentions were bad
During World War II, until Eleanor Roosevelt intervened, Black nurses were only allowed to tend to German prisoners of war – not white American soldiers. This occurred even with a severe shortage of nurses. 
Black and White Americans were separated in hospitals and only private ambulances would pick up Black patients.
Black women received no assistance with luggage or bags on trains or buses.
When not excluded by law, Black Americans were often were often still restricted from attending movies, the theatre, and other forms of entertainment. If allowed, they generally had to use back entrances and sit upstairs in sections referred to as “nigger heaven” or “buzzard roost.”
Black Americans were not allowed to try on clothes, as businesses feared that white Americans would never buy them if they did. 
The consequences for violating these norms were dire. Black Americans had virtually no legal protection in a system entirely controlled by white Americans. Lynching was used as a tool of intimidation and a way to control and limit the lives of Black Americans. It often took place precisely because Black Americans refused to accept the racist status quo. A number of Black women, often those who resisted white male sexual violence, were raped, tortured, and killed. Thriving Black communities (such as Rosewood) faced violence and destruction. Successful Black women and men were tortured and lynched.
The period of Jim Crow is popularly held to have ended 1950s and 1960s, but many of the norms and ideas about how Black people should behave did not end.
Jim Crow Etiquette Today
Like the racial disparities of Black codes and Jim Crow laws, remnants of the Jim Crow etiquette are still in place.
Black Americans are still often kept out of white spaces. Even middle class Black Americans are frequently followed in stores and excluded from white spaces (see: Sikes and Feagin’s Living with Racism: The Black Middle-Class Experience). Recent cases can be seen even at high-end chains; an example of this is Barneys racially profiling customers. De facto residential segregation and housing discrimination still continue today.
George Zimmerman murdered Trayvon Martin because of his own racially-based, anti-Black fears. Nothing about Trayvon Martin was threatening, but the fact that a Black boy would be walking around a largely white, gated community after dark was justification enough for Zimmerman to stalk, confront, and murder him.
Driving While Black
In many cases, Black drivers are stopped for no reason other than their race. When stopped, Black drivers (and often, Latin@ drivers) are more likely to be searched than white Americans. Black and Latino men are more likely to have force used against them.
This is particularly true in cities that are more segregated and that have smaller Black populations.
[See: “Contacts between Police and the Public: Findings from the 2002 National Survey” [x]
"Vehicle Cues and Racial Profiling: Police Officers’ Perceptions of Vehicles and Drivers" [x] ]
Police Brutality

Analyzing 130 police-brutality accounts in several cities across the nation, Kim Lersch discovered that the targets of this type of police malpractice are almost always black or Latino. The latter made up 97 percent of the victims of police brutality.Yet the overwhelming majority (93 percent) of officers involved in these incidents were white. Police brutality mainly involves white-on-black or white-on-Latino violence. Moreover, it appears that white elites in many cities sometimes use or allow police harassment in order to keep black residents “in their place.” Some police harassment and brutality targeting Americans of color seem to be linked to maintaining de facto housing segregation. Since the days of slavery, being “out of place” has been potentially dangerous for black Americans, especially black men. If black men are found in historically white residential areas, they still run the risk of harassment by the public or private police forces there. - Joe Feagin, Racist America
  • Day 3 of White History Month: Criminalizing Blackness, Part 2 - Jim Crow Etiquette
Images: Jim Crow Museum [x], Smithsonian Institute [x], New York Daily News [x]
The legal aspects of Jim Crow are important to recognize, but Jim Crow was not just a set of laws, but as described by Leophus Taharka King, a “set of ideas, social norms, life ways, mythoforms, role-play symbols, sanctions, and devastations created after the Civil War by white politicians intent on maintaining a system of oppressive control over African American life and economics”.
Often the legal aspects of Jim Crow are the most recognized, leading to other institutions being ignored. The racial etiquette of Jim Crow worked alongside the laws. Jim Crow etiquette was a system of pervasive anti-Black norms that regulated daily life, particularly in the South. These laws were intended to subjugate Black Americans or “keep them in their place”.
Examples of Jim Crow etiquette:
White Americans referring to Black Americans by their first names or with infantilizing terms such as “boy” or “girl”  - all while Black Americans had to address white Americans with the utmost respect, using honorifics 
Black Americans were not to display their intelligence or knowledge in a way that could threaten white Americans
Black Americans could not suggest that white Americans were lying or even that their intentions were bad
During World War II, until Eleanor Roosevelt intervened, Black nurses were only allowed to tend to German prisoners of war – not white American soldiers. This occurred even with a severe shortage of nurses. 
Black and White Americans were separated in hospitals and only private ambulances would pick up Black patients.
Black women received no assistance with luggage or bags on trains or buses.
When not excluded by law, Black Americans were often were often still restricted from attending movies, the theatre, and other forms of entertainment. If allowed, they generally had to use back entrances and sit upstairs in sections referred to as “nigger heaven” or “buzzard roost.”
Black Americans were not allowed to try on clothes, as businesses feared that white Americans would never buy them if they did. 
The consequences for violating these norms were dire. Black Americans had virtually no legal protection in a system entirely controlled by white Americans. Lynching was used as a tool of intimidation and a way to control and limit the lives of Black Americans. It often took place precisely because Black Americans refused to accept the racist status quo. A number of Black women, often those who resisted white male sexual violence, were raped, tortured, and killed. Thriving Black communities (such as Rosewood) faced violence and destruction. Successful Black women and men were tortured and lynched.
The period of Jim Crow is popularly held to have ended 1950s and 1960s, but many of the norms and ideas about how Black people should behave did not end.
Jim Crow Etiquette Today
Like the racial disparities of Black codes and Jim Crow laws, remnants of the Jim Crow etiquette are still in place.
Black Americans are still often kept out of white spaces. Even middle class Black Americans are frequently followed in stores and excluded from white spaces (see: Sikes and Feagin’s Living with Racism: The Black Middle-Class Experience). Recent cases can be seen even at high-end chains; an example of this is Barneys racially profiling customers. De facto residential segregation and housing discrimination still continue today.
George Zimmerman murdered Trayvon Martin because of his own racially-based, anti-Black fears. Nothing about Trayvon Martin was threatening, but the fact that a Black boy would be walking around a largely white, gated community after dark was justification enough for Zimmerman to stalk, confront, and murder him.
Driving While Black
In many cases, Black drivers are stopped for no reason other than their race. When stopped, Black drivers (and often, Latin@ drivers) are more likely to be searched than white Americans. Black and Latino men are more likely to have force used against them.
This is particularly true in cities that are more segregated and that have smaller Black populations.
[See: “Contacts between Police and the Public: Findings from the 2002 National Survey” [x]
"Vehicle Cues and Racial Profiling: Police Officers’ Perceptions of Vehicles and Drivers" [x] ]
Police Brutality

Analyzing 130 police-brutality accounts in several cities across the nation, Kim Lersch discovered that the targets of this type of police malpractice are almost always black or Latino. The latter made up 97 percent of the victims of police brutality.Yet the overwhelming majority (93 percent) of officers involved in these incidents were white. Police brutality mainly involves white-on-black or white-on-Latino violence. Moreover, it appears that white elites in many cities sometimes use or allow police harassment in order to keep black residents “in their place.” Some police harassment and brutality targeting Americans of color seem to be linked to maintaining de facto housing segregation. Since the days of slavery, being “out of place” has been potentially dangerous for black Americans, especially black men. If black men are found in historically white residential areas, they still run the risk of harassment by the public or private police forces there. - Joe Feagin, Racist America

Day 3 of White History Month: Criminalizing Blackness, Part 2 - Jim Crow Etiquette

Images: Jim Crow Museum [x], Smithsonian Institute [x], New York Daily News [x]

The legal aspects of Jim Crow are important to recognize, but Jim Crow was not just a set of laws, but as described by Leophus Taharka King, a “set of ideas, social norms, life ways, mythoforms, role-play symbols, sanctions, and devastations created after the Civil War by white politicians intent on maintaining a system of oppressive control over African American life and economics”.

Often the legal aspects of Jim Crow are the most recognized, leading to other institutions being ignored. The racial etiquette of Jim Crow worked alongside the laws. Jim Crow etiquette was a system of pervasive anti-Black norms that regulated daily life, particularly in the South. These laws were intended to subjugate Black Americans or “keep them in their place”.

Examples of Jim Crow etiquette:

  • White Americans referring to Black Americans by their first names or with infantilizing terms such as “boy” or “girl”  - all while Black Americans had to address white Americans with the utmost respect, using honorifics 
  • Black Americans were not to display their intelligence or knowledge in a way that could threaten white Americans
  • Black Americans could not suggest that white Americans were lying or even that their intentions were bad
  • During World War II, until Eleanor Roosevelt intervened, Black nurses were only allowed to tend to German prisoners of war – not white American soldiers. This occurred even with a severe shortage of nurses. 
  • Black and White Americans were separated in hospitals and only private ambulances would pick up Black patients.
  • Black women received no assistance with luggage or bags on trains or buses.
  • When not excluded by law, Black Americans were often were often still restricted from attending movies, the theatre, and other forms of entertainment. If allowed, they generally had to use back entrances and sit upstairs in sections referred to as “nigger heaven” or “buzzard roost.”
  • Black Americans were not allowed to try on clothes, as businesses feared that white Americans would never buy them if they did. 

The consequences for violating these norms were dire. Black Americans had virtually no legal protection in a system entirely controlled by white Americans. Lynching was used as a tool of intimidation and a way to control and limit the lives of Black Americans. It often took place precisely because Black Americans refused to accept the racist status quo. A number of Black women, often those who resisted white male sexual violence, were raped, tortured, and killed. Thriving Black communities (such as Rosewood) faced violence and destruction. Successful Black women and men were tortured and lynched.

The period of Jim Crow is popularly held to have ended 1950s and 1960s, but many of the norms and ideas about how Black people should behave did not end.

Jim Crow Etiquette Today

Like the racial disparities of Black codes and Jim Crow laws, remnants of the Jim Crow etiquette are still in place.

Black Americans are still often kept out of white spaces. Even middle class Black Americans are frequently followed in stores and excluded from white spaces (see: Sikes and Feagin’s Living with Racism: The Black Middle-Class Experience). Recent cases can be seen even at high-end chains; an example of this is Barneys racially profiling customers. De facto residential segregation and housing discrimination still continue today.

George Zimmerman murdered Trayvon Martin because of his own racially-based, anti-Black fears. Nothing about Trayvon Martin was threatening, but the fact that a Black boy would be walking around a largely white, gated community after dark was justification enough for Zimmerman to stalk, confront, and murder him.

Driving While Black

In many cases, Black drivers are stopped for no reason other than their race. When stopped, Black drivers (and often, Latin@ drivers) are more likely to be searched than white Americans. Black and Latino men are more likely to have force used against them.

This is particularly true in cities that are more segregated and that have smaller Black populations.

[See: “Contacts between Police and the Public: Findings from the 2002 National Survey” [x]

"Vehicle Cues and Racial Profiling: Police Officers’ Perceptions of Vehicles and Drivers" [x] ]

Police Brutality

Analyzing 130 police-brutality accounts in several cities across the nation, Kim Lersch discovered that the targets of this type of police malpractice are almost always black or Latino. The latter made up 97 percent of the victims of police brutality.Yet the overwhelming majority (93 percent) of officers involved in these incidents were white. Police brutality mainly involves white-on-black or white-on-Latino violence. Moreover, it appears that white elites in many cities sometimes use or allow police harassment in order to keep black residents “in their place.” Some police harassment and brutality targeting Americans of color seem to be linked to maintaining de facto housing segregation. Since the days of slavery, being “out of place” has been potentially dangerous for black Americans, especially black men. If black men are found in historically white residential areas, they still run the risk of harassment by the public or private police forces there. - Joe Feagin, Racist America
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