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The Kid Who Sold Crack to the President
August 20, 2010 10:26 AM   Subscribe

"This is crack cocaine," Bush solemnly announced, holding up a plastic bag filled with a white chunky substance in his Sept. 5 speech on drug policy. It was "seized a few days ago in a park across the street from the White House . . . . It could easily have been heroin or PCP." In 1989 the White House came up with the idea of having George H.W. Bush hold up a bag of crack on national television in order to illustrate how bad the US drug problem had gotten. They decided to have a drug buy set up in Lafayette Park, directly across the street from the White House, to obtain the props for his speech. They contacted a DEA agent who set up a drug buy with a Spingarn High School senior with no prior arrest record, but things didn't go as planned:

In the courtroom here where the trial opened this week, decorum went out the window. There were guffaws from the judge on down to the jurors, as a Federal drug agent, Sam Gaye, described the logistical difficulties of the Drug Enforcement Administration in setting up the purchase at Lafayette Park across from the White House. First, the drug dealer did not show, (Federal drug agent) Mr. Gaye testified Thursday. Then a microphone planted on a D.E.A. agent malfunctioned. Then the agency's cameraman trying to videotape the deal was assaulted by a homeless person, never getting close enough to capture the episode. Those in the courtroom viewed the tape, which showed little but the park's greenery and some tourists.
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The judge in the case said it was like a "Keystone Kops thing".
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Under cross-examination by Stow, Gaye described the Sept. 1 meeting, an account that elicited muffled laughter from the jury. The laughter turned into guffaws when Stow played the the DEA videotape. It begins with a shot of Lafayette Square on a summer day. Gaye can be seen waiting on Pennsylvania Avenue; the White House and the usual hordes of summer tourists are seen in the background. Suddenly, just before the car with Jackson and the informer appears, an angry looking woman rears up from below the camera's field of vision, and unintelligible shouts can be heard. For the nest few moments, the tape shows only high-speed, jerky shots of grass and pavement and rapid pans of horizon. By the time it focuses again on Gaye and Jackson, the two men are in the far distance.

"Was the agent ever able to get close enough to film the transaction?" Carroll asked Gaye.
"No sir," Gaye said. "He was too far away."

---
when first contacted by an undercover DEA agent posing as a drug buyer, the teenage suspect seemed baffled by the agent's request. "Where the {expletive} is the White House?" he replied in a conversation that was secretly tape-recorded by the DEA....When finally told it was the residence of the president, he replied, "Oh, you mean where Reagan lives." "We had to manipulate him to get him down there," said William McMullan, assistant special agent in charge of DEA's Washington field office. "It wasn't easy."
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The White House and drug enforcement officials claimed that nothing out of the ordinary occurred, but court testimony showed otherwise.

"We don't consider that a problem area," said Maj. Robert Hines, commander of criminal investigations for the U.S. Park Police, which patrols the park. "There's too much activity going on there for drug dealers . . . . There's always a uniformed police presence there." Hines said there have been about a half dozen arrests for marijuana possession in the park this year, but no record of any crack dealing in the park "except for that DEA buy."

The Justice Department official who got the White House call -- Richard Weatherbee, a special assistant to Attorney General Dick Thornburgh responsible for drug policy -- phoned James Millford, executive assistant to DEA Administrator Jack Lawn. On Aug. 25, Millford called McMullan in the Washington field office.

"Do you have anything going on around the White House?" McMullan recalled Millford saying. "I don't know about the White House," McMullan said he replied, but said there was an undercover buy his agents were hoping to negotiate "four or five blocks away." "Any possibility of you moving it down to the White House?" Millford asked, according to McMullan. "Evidently, the president wants to show it could be bought anywhere."

---
The 18-year-old who sold the DEA agent the crack was tried for that transaction, as well as three earlier sales; the first one ended in mistrial, on retrial he was convicted of three counts with two being dropped, including the Lafayette Park sale. The judge in the case sentenced him to 10 years due to mandatory minimums for selling crack near a school but suggested that he seek clemency from his buyer, which was never granted.

While it gave a bolster to Bush's approval ratings, it was also seen by many as government overreach in the war on drugs and has been cited as an example of why we should rethink our approach to the war on drugs, the racial disparity in the war on drugs (as well as other disparities), and the media frenzy (PDF) surrounding crack.
posted by Challahtronix (86 comments total) 66 users marked this as a favorite

 
There was an excellent article in the Washington City Paper at the time called "the Kid Who Sold Crack to the President" but I can only find the abstract. There was also another article I cannot find from a few years back with an update on what the seller, Keith Jackson, was doing now- he's happily married with children, living in the Baltimore/DC area, and doesn't want to talk about the story at all. And lastly, I can't find the picture of Bush holding up the bag of crack anywhere on the internet.
posted by Challahtronix at 10:30 AM on August 20, 2010


So the takeaway from this is that George Bush got his people to buy him some crack.
posted by fuq at 10:31 AM on August 20, 2010 [35 favorites]


As it turns out, the "War on Drugs" is more like Arrested Development than The Wire.

Also:
Security Theatre Drug War ... Puppetshow?
posted by 2bucksplus at 10:31 AM on August 20, 2010 [14 favorites]


SO this is pretty much like an episode of The Wire.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:33 AM on August 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


As it turns out, the "War on Drugs" is more like Arrested Development than The Wire.

THERE'S ALWAYS MONEY IN AFGHANISTAN, MICHAEL GEORGE.
posted by griphus at 10:34 AM on August 20, 2010 [29 favorites]


Why didn't he just ask his son for some blow?
posted by Big_B at 10:34 AM on August 20, 2010 [94 favorites]


Suddenly, just before the car with Jackson and the informer appears, an angry looking woman rears up from below the camera's field of vision, and unintelligible shouts can be heard.

I so want to see this video. Is it available in any of the links?
posted by NoMich at 10:34 AM on August 20, 2010


Oh man, this is hilarious. I had forgotten about this incident.
In fact, when first contacted by an undercover DEA agent posing as a drug buyer, the teenage suspect seemed baffled by the agent's request.

"Where the {expletive} is the White House?" he replied in a conversation that was secretly tape-recorded by the DEA.

posted by zarq at 10:35 AM on August 20, 2010


I can't find the picture of Bush holding up the bag of crack anywhere on the internet.

Here you go (pan up a bit to see the picture).
posted by jedicus at 10:36 AM on August 20, 2010 [6 favorites]


Your tax dollars at work.
posted by bardic at 10:38 AM on August 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


This is one incident. Multiple this by the number of press conferences held each year by all politicians. The sheer amount of artifice is mind-boggling.
posted by infinitefloatingbrains at 10:40 AM on August 20, 2010 [12 favorites]


Oh, it's Bush I. I was confused because Bush II probably had some crack on him most of the time.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 10:41 AM on August 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


jedicus: awesome, thanks!
posted by Challahtronix at 10:44 AM on August 20, 2010


Imagine George H.W. Bush taking a hit off a glass tube crackpipe while sitting behind his desk in the Oval Office. It's easy if you try.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:48 AM on August 20, 2010 [7 favorites]


Oh man, this is hilarious.

I think the kid who did 10 years would disagree with you.
posted by dry white toast at 10:50 AM on August 20, 2010 [15 favorites]


Imagine George H.W. Bush taking a hit off a glass tube crackpipe while sitting behind his desk in the Oval Office. It's easy if you try.

I always figured he did it in that little alcove that seems to be an intentional blind spot in otherwise oppressive internal surveillance. Where Clinton got the blow job. Oh, if those alcove walls could talk. Bush snorting, Nixon slipping into his old Whittier football pads, Carter praying for relief for the lust in his heart, Clinton succumbing to the lust in his, Reagan looking for his keys, Haig frantically masturbating during his brief, self-proclaimed in-chargery... Ah, good times, good times...
posted by umberto at 11:02 AM on August 20, 2010 [18 favorites]


I remember watching that speech and thinking, "Damn that's a lot of crack! He must be throwing a party."
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot at 11:02 AM on August 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


I think the kid who did 10 years would disagree with you.

I have no sympathy for him.
According to DEA officials, the suspect had been the target of a three-month undercover investigation before the White House request and had sold crack to agents on three previous occasions in other parts of the city.

DEA officials said yesterday they have held off on arresting the suspect in hopes that he would sell a larger amount of crack to undercover agents and could be charged with a more serious offense.

He broke the law repeatedly, and was not jailed as a direct result of this incident.
posted by zarq at 11:09 AM on August 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


We need that video!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:09 AM on August 20, 2010


Imagine George H.W. Bush taking a hit off a glass tube crackpipe while sitting behind his desk in the Oval Office. It's easy if you try.

Obligatory
posted by jtron at 11:09 AM on August 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey: “Oh, it's Bush I. I was confused because Bush II probably had some crack on him most of the time.”

I know – that's exactly what I was thinking. This is a perfect example of government inefficiency. If Bush Sr. wanted a bag of crack, there was no need to waste time and tax dollars trying to buy it in the park. He should've just called up his kid.
posted by koeselitz at 11:10 AM on August 20, 2010


This is an amazing anecdote because it clearly illustrates 3 things:

1. The war on drugs is a farce.
2. The authorities are incompetent.
3. Republicans will do anything to score political points. Repeat, anything.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:15 AM on August 20, 2010 [13 favorites]


... Ah, good times, good times...

You forgot to mention Obama on his prayer rug giving a Nazi salute to the Soviet flag with his Kenyan passport in hand.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:17 AM on August 20, 2010 [6 favorites]


I just want to publicly thank the DEA for its efforts to protect the purity of Our Women against the relentless threat of cocaine-crazed super-Negroes.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:19 AM on August 20, 2010 [10 favorites]


Dude used to be the head of the CIA and he had to go to the streets to buy crack?
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:19 AM on August 20, 2010 [9 favorites]



/NOT CONSPIRACIST
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:19 AM on August 20, 2010


Cool story, bro.
posted by Gator at 11:23 AM on August 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Obligatory

Oh, Christ.
Aaand, there's one more thing: Nancy and I are hooked on heroin.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:29 AM on August 20, 2010



This is an amazing anecdote because it clearly illustrates 3 things:

1. The war on drugs is a farce.
2. The authorities are incompetent.
3. Republicans will do anything to score political points. Repeat, anything.


What it clearly illustrates is that Republican presidential candidates are completely out of touch with average Americans and probably always will be.
posted by notreally at 11:29 AM on August 20, 2010


Now, like, I'm President. It would be pretty hard for some drug guy to come into the White House and start offering it up, you know?...I bet if they did, I hope I would say, "Hey, get lost. We don't want any of that."
posted by Mayor Curley at 11:30 AM on August 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


I have no sympathy for him.

I do, for the simple fact that he got 10 years because of blatantly racist mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines.

If he had been selling the same amount of powder cocaine, he would probably have gotten 2 years. And it just so happens that most people convicted for possession of crack are Black, whereas most people convicted for possession of powder cocaine are white.

Yes I realize we're talking about distribution rather than possession, but the reality that mandatory minimum sentences of all kinds disproportionately impact minorities is well-documented.

So yeah, still not funny.
posted by dry white toast at 11:37 AM on August 20, 2010 [39 favorites]


What it clearly illustrates is that Republican presidential candidates are completely out of touch with average Americans and probably always will be.

There is no "average American." That's a myth perpetuated by political parties and marketers who have found that portraying their potential supporter as an "everyman" helps them sell to those who want to be a part of the majority.

An added bonus: it helps them demonize and marginalize the opposition.

Republicans and Democrats talk about how valuable average Americans are -- each according to their own definition of what "average" is. Don't believe the hype.
posted by zarq at 11:39 AM on August 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Yes I realize we're talking about distribution rather than possession,

No, apparently you don't. Otherwise you wouldn't have used a completely inapplicable argument to attack my point.

but the reality that mandatory minimum sentences of all kinds disproportionately impact minorities is well-documented.

Yes, it is. And if you'd like to talk about that, feel free. I may even chime in to agree with you. But if you're going to address this specific case in which a guy repeatedly sold crack cocaine to undercover DEA agents, then it would be nice if you stuck to the facts.
posted by zarq at 11:43 AM on August 20, 2010


What it clearly illustrates is that Republican presidential candidates are completely out of touch with average Americans and probably always will be.

We already had this illustrated when Giuliani thought that a gallon of milk cost $1.25.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:48 AM on August 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


I have no sympathy for him.

...

DEA officials said yesterday they have held off on arresting the suspect in hopes that he would sell a larger amount of crack to undercover agents and could be charged with a more serious offense.

Really? No sympathy for a petty criminal lured into bigger, riskier deals by the people who are going to arrest him? Really?

"Do you have anything going on around the White House?" McMullan recalled Millford saying. "I don't know about the White House," McMullan said he replied, but said there was an undercover buy his agents were hoping to negotiate "four or five blocks away." "Any possibility of you moving it down to the White House?" Millford asked, according to McMullan. "Evidently, the president wants to show it could be bought anywhere."

I can imagine similar conversations with Health & Human Services.

"Do you have any research showing really dangerous side-effects of cocaine? Evidently, the president wants to show that it kills 50% of first-time users."
posted by mrgrimm at 11:50 AM on August 20, 2010 [6 favorites]


We already had this illustrated when Giuliani thought that a gallon of milk cost $1.25.

Or when Bush I was confronted with a checkout scanner.
posted by jtron at 11:56 AM on August 20, 2010


The president's crack is whack!
posted by Artw at 12:04 PM on August 20, 2010


"Where the fuck is the White House?"
posted by dortmunder at 12:06 PM on August 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


This is one incident. Multiple this by the number of press conferences held each year by all politicians. The sheer amount of artifice is mind-boggling.

Been here five years, have never agreed with a comment more strongly.
posted by popechunk at 12:10 PM on August 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Really? No sympathy for a petty criminal lured into bigger, riskier deals by the people who are going to arrest him? Really?

No.

a) What bigger, riskier deals?

b) He wasn't coerced and this wasn't entrapment. When a person is ready and willing to break the law, and a government agent merely gives them an opportunity to do so, that's not entrapment. He chose to commit a crime. Then he chose to do so again. And again.
posted by zarq at 12:13 PM on August 20, 2010


Shortly after the bag of crack was held up the presidents new crack-addicted killer law enforcement robot went on a muderous rampage.
posted by Artw at 12:16 PM on August 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


zarq, the reason he was hit with a 10-year mandatory minimum wasn't the fact that there were three deals or even the amount of the drugs, but the fact that two of the deals took place within 1,000 feet of Eastern High School. I don't know if the DEA lured him there to get a harsher sentence, but the fact that they were willing to lure him to the White House to make him a national pariah for a prop in a presidential speech to me speaks volumes.
posted by Challahtronix at 12:19 PM on August 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


Was anyone else hearing the Benny Hill theme song as they read this? Good grief.
posted by jquinby at 12:23 PM on August 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


eh, regarding sympathy argument:

I don't think anyone is saying he's guilt free. But for crissake, he's an 18 year old kid living in a shitty area who's getting fucked by government agents who want to fuck him even more. Obviously he shouldn't be selling crack. Of course. but 10 years in big boy prison for selling drugs as an 18 year old? 10 years is a long time, especially for someone that young. And it's certainly not going to improve his life any. I think that's worthy of sympathy at least. He's certainly not getting anything else out of the situation aside from a very unique headline.
posted by heyethan at 12:25 PM on August 20, 2010 [7 favorites]


He wasn't coerced and this wasn't entrapment. When a person is ready and willing to break the law, and a government agent merely gives them an opportunity to do so, that's not entrapment. He chose to commit a crime. Then he chose to do so again. And again.

you sure about that? the links seem to describe a pretty flimsy case, with botched evidence and virtually no real case against him. you sure that was him?

not to mention the descriptions in the very text of this fpp show that they had to go to extraordinary lengths to get him to come at all.
posted by shmegegge at 12:26 PM on August 20, 2010


I just want to publicly thank the DEA for its efforts to protect the purity of Our Women against the relentless threat of cocaine-crazed super-Negroes.

Dude, I just saw Cocaine-Crazed Super-Negroes open for Primus, and they were awesome. DEA needs to let a brother rock out.
posted by rusty at 12:26 PM on August 20, 2010 [8 favorites]


He wasn't coerced and this wasn't entrapment. When a person is ready and willing to break the law, and a government agent merely gives them an opportunity to do so, that's not entrapment. He chose to commit a crime. Then he chose to do so again. And again.

I know when I was 18 I didn't have to choose whether or not to sell crack, and I'm glad that none of the stupid decisions I made back then landed me in jail for 10 years and permanently sabotaged my ability to ever get a decent job. Regardless of whether you think this particular kid deserved what he got, it's pretty ridiculous that people like Bush think the solution to the problem is to pay to keep kids like that locked up for years rather than spending money on programs designed to help them improve their lives.
posted by burnmp3s at 12:40 PM on August 20, 2010 [18 favorites]


Um... the president couldn't just get in touch with the DEA and like, ask them for some of the crack they already had? Or were they all out? How about the local police precincts? Was there no crack in evidence lockers somewhere?

This is even more fucked up than it looks at first. Or did they need fresh crack? Nothing but the best for the prez.

Or fuck it, chop up a bar of Ivory soap. That's what I do... when... ah...

Nothing to see here, move along.
posted by Splunge at 12:41 PM on August 20, 2010 [5 favorites]


...but the fact that two of the deals took place within 1,000 feet of Eastern High School. I don't know if the DEA lured him there...

If you don't know whether they were responsible for his choice of location at the first three drug deals, then you can't reasonably blame them for that.

...but the fact that they were willing to lure him to the White House to make him a national pariah for a prop in a presidential speech to me speaks volumes.

He was selling crack. Crack dealers were already pariahs to the nation before Bush made the speech. The only thing that Bush did was dramatize a problem by portraying drug deals in a particular location as a commonplace problem, when they probably didn't happen in Lafayette Park often or at all.

Mr. Jackson wasn't named in the speech.
Keith Jackson was convicted of unlawful distribution of 5 grams or more of cocaine base, unlawful distribution of 50 grams or more of cocaine base within 1000 feet of a secondary school, and unlawful distribution of 5 grams or more of cocaine base within 1000 feet of a secondary school, all in violation of 21 U.S.C. ยง 841.
All three of those charges could have been based solely on his first three sales to DEA agents. The fourth sale was more of a debacle than anything else. And the videotape shown to the jury didn't show him selling anything to the DEA agent.
posted by zarq at 12:42 PM on August 20, 2010


> I think the kid who did 10 years would disagree with you.

I have no sympathy for him.


I do. I'm no fan of crack or regular cocaine, but when the sentences for crack were 100 times longer than regular cocaine (as of 2010 it was reduced to 18, but still tragic), then I have a bit of sympathy for someone who was put through the meat grinder like that.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:44 PM on August 20, 2010


he's an 18 year old kid living in a shitty area...10 years in big boy prison

What always gets me is that if I were a politician who campaigned on giving 18 year old kids from 'poor' neighborhoods a 10 year guaranteed place to live, food to eat, and clothes to wear, I'd be drummed out of town by both sides. And with 3-strikes laws, it would be a lifetime.

sigh
posted by nomisxid at 12:45 PM on August 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


i wonder what happened to Keith Jackson (the kid they busted for selling the crack). i'd love to read that story, but my google fu is failing me.
posted by msconduct at 12:51 PM on August 20, 2010


> Nancy and I are hooked on heroin.

Man, do I miss Night Flight.
posted by davelog at 12:57 PM on August 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Anyone else picturing W, half crying, with a powdering of white around his nose say in a petulant voice "I learned it from you, OK? I learned it from watching you!"
posted by quin at 1:00 PM on August 20, 2010 [10 favorites]


This is even more fucked up than it looks at first. Or did they need fresh crack? Nothing but the best for the prez.

Or fuck it, chop up a bar of Ivory soap. That's what I do... when... ah...


They need to promote fear and hysteria in the masses (if you haven't noticed, this is what the drug war is all about), so they created a situation in which they could claim it was even happening on the doorstep of the white house.

The sad thing is this isn't even the worst use of the "hold up a scary vial" play from the Bush Family Presidential Playbook.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:01 PM on August 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why didn't he just borrow some cocaine from his son?
posted by hal_c_on at 1:08 PM on August 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


i wonder what happened to Keith Jackson

He FUMMMMMBBBBBLED! Oh golly!
posted by Mayor Curley at 1:21 PM on August 20, 2010


a mefite sent me a link to the video in question as well as a better pic:

C-SPAN: Presidential Address on National Drug Policy September 5th, 1989: In a nationally televised speech, President Bush unveiled his anti-drug plan. During the speech, the president held up a bag of crack cocaine purchased by drug agents across the street from the White House

and the still picture.
posted by Challahtronix at 1:21 PM on August 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Google's Newspaper thing is hilarious - from
Here you go (pan up a bit to see the picture).

Thanks Jedicus - Google kindly not only highlights your search terms, but also highlights the headlines and links... this means that as I pan up, so I get this big blue box highlighting "Drugs" LOL

Sorry for the ramble, but that's funny
posted by Metheglen at 1:24 PM on August 20, 2010


My fellow Americans, we cannot afford to stand by and wait until the mushroom cloud comes in the form of a bag of crack!
posted by rusty at 1:33 PM on August 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Terrible story and awesome post!
posted by serazin at 2:36 PM on August 20, 2010


This is one incident. Multiple this by the number of press conferences held each year by all politicians. The sheer amount of artifice is mind-boggling.
posted by infinitefloatingbrains at 1:40 PM on August 20 [5 favorites +] [!]


Anyone else remember the three politicians--I think it was Rudy Giuliani, Al D'Amato and a third person whose identity escapes me--who went to demonstrate how easy it was to buy drugs on a New York street, got duded up as regular folks and posed on the sidewalk? Except all of them were still wearing wingtips? I remember this happening; can't recall the specifics.
posted by etaoin at 2:39 PM on August 20, 2010


Anyone have a link to the relevant Doonesbury cartoon?
posted by serazin at 2:39 PM on August 20, 2010


See... Clinton was just trying to do the same thing only about prostitutes... then Erskine Bowles made some mistakes and one thing followed another and bam!
posted by edgeways at 2:40 PM on August 20, 2010


Anyone have a link to the relevant Doonesbury cartoon?

The storyline starts here and goes through October 21st.
posted by Challahtronix at 3:06 PM on August 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Here you go

I be trippin' on the evil look in Bush's eyes.
posted by telstar at 3:21 PM on August 20, 2010


Another thing the two Bush administrations had in common: male prostitutes.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:38 PM on August 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


"I have spoken of a thousand lit crack pipes-"

"... thousand points of light, Mr. President ..."

"... thousand points of light ..."
posted by bwg at 4:52 PM on August 20, 2010


Why didn't he just ask his son for some blow?

Come on. Because everyone knows that crack cocaine is way worse than normal cocaine. For one, black people use it!
posted by Solon and Thanks at 5:26 PM on August 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


the mushroom cloud

Psh. Everyone knows you can't smoke mushrooms.
posted by flaterik at 7:24 PM on August 20, 2010


I remember watching that speech and thinking, "Damn that's a lot of crack! He must be throwing a party."

That "crack" looks suspiciously like white chocolate almond bark.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:25 PM on August 20, 2010


Pee Wee Herman's Crack PSA
posted by msbutah at 7:37 PM on August 20, 2010


dry white toast : I do, for the simple fact that he got 10 years because of blatantly racist mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines.

WhaWhaWHAT?

I'll grant that we have a massively disproportionate minority prison populaation. And I'll grant that just about every study since the beginning of time has found that mandatory minimums do more harm than good.

But "racist"? Mandatory minimums mean that the middle class white kid gets at least the same 10 years (or whatever) as the poor black kid!

So, could you elaborate on how taking any (possibly racially biased) discretionary leniency out of the process makes it more racist?
posted by pla at 8:23 PM on August 20, 2010


Crack is generally associated with black people and cocaine is generally associated with white people. Crack gets you way more time than an equal amount of coke, and far, far more time than the coke would've got you before you made crack. The rhetoric around crack is generally heavily racialized and involves all manner of panic about big black men, which is generally the number one sign of racist horseshit. The mandatory minimums for crack are ludicrously high compared to the mandatory minimums for cocaine precisely because it is so strongly associated with inner-city black men.

(Bonus racist stereotyping: what race of woman do you see in your mind's eye when you hear the phrase "crack whore"? That is exactly why the minimums are so much higher.)
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:35 PM on August 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Pope Guilty : (Bonus racist stereotyping: what race of woman do you see in your mind's eye when you hear the phrase "crack whore"? That is exactly why the minimums are so much higher.)

And today's Final Jeopardy clue, "Watermelon goes best with this form of cooked fowl".

Seriously?

How does it count as less racist to say black people prefer crack to coke (and thus, laws based on that preference themselves count as inherently racist), than to make a joke about fried chicken or the basketball career prospects of Whitey?
posted by pla at 8:44 PM on August 20, 2010


But "racist"? Mandatory minimums mean that the middle class white kid gets at least the same 10 years (or whatever) as the poor black kid!

So, could you elaborate on how taking any (possibly racially biased) discretionary leniency out of the process makes it more racist?
posted by pla at 11:23 PM on August 20 [+] [!]


because white kids have parents who can pay lawyers to pick holes in a bullshit setup like that and get the whole thing throwed out. never even goes to trial.
posted by toodleydoodley at 8:57 PM on August 20, 2010



Mandatory minimums mean that the middle class white kid gets at least the same 10 years (or whatever) as the poor black kid!



hahahahaahahahahaha
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:21 PM on August 20, 2010 [6 favorites]


How does it count as less racist to say black people prefer crack to coke (and thus, laws based on that preference themselves count as inherently racist), than to make a joke about fried chicken or the basketball career prospects of Whitey?

I'm talking about stereotypes. The stereotypes are racist and wrong, but to deny that they exist and that they carry an enormous amount of weight in our society is stupid and dishonest, like your argument.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:34 PM on August 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


It may be a fact that black people consume more watermelon or crack than other ethnic groups on a per capita basis. Using this fact (if substantiated) to draw conclusions about the impact of government policies is not racism.

Racism is saying "oh, you're black, you must eat watermelon and smoke crack!"
posted by Zalzidrax at 12:15 AM on August 21, 2010


"He was selling crack. Crack dealers were already pariahs to the nation before Bush made the speech. The only thing that Bush did was dramatize a problem by portraying drug deals in a particular location as a commonplace problem, when they probably didn't happen in Lafayette Park often or at all. "

IE: dramatize means lie about the scope and location of a problem for sound bites and publicity images useful for your spin campaign. Man this kind of action (like the ludicrous practice of press releases equating a 52X CD-rom with 52 infringement devices or valuing wholesale volumes of drugs by their nominal street value) by authorities pisses me off.
posted by Mitheral at 12:25 AM on August 21, 2010


It may be a fact that black people consume more watermelon or crack than other ethnic groups on a per capita basis.

As I understand it, white people actually consume more crack than black people. This shouldn't be surprising, since white people outnumber black people about six to one. It's not that black people actually consume more crack than white people, it's that crack is, in the public mind, most tightly associated with inner-city black people.


press releases equating a 52X CD-rom with 52 infringement devices

That's hilarious!
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:27 AM on August 21, 2010


As I understand it, white people actually consume more crack than black people. This shouldn't be surprising, since white people outnumber black people about six to one. It's not that black people actually consume more crack than white people, it's that crack is, in the public mind, most tightly associated with inner-city black people.

Well I did say per capita, but that's a good point. The policy would still be racist even if the perception that black people smoke crack more often was totally wrong. It would just be racism partially hamstrung by its own stupidity. Of course that's small consolation to the poor bastard of whatever color who's lost 8 more years of his life because a bunch of xenophobic politicians want to look tough and punish those black folks back into line.
posted by Zalzidrax at 12:44 AM on August 21, 2010


pla: “How does it count as less racist to say black people prefer crack to coke (and thus, laws based on that preference themselves count as inherently racist), than to make a joke about fried chicken or the basketball career prospects of Whitey?”

Crack is cheaper than coke. It's really as simple as that. And black people are disproportionately represented in the poorer segments of society.

So, yes: congratulations. You've won this one. The law isn't technically bigotry against black people per se. It's bigotry against the poor. I don't quite see how that's so much more fantastic.
posted by koeselitz at 1:58 AM on August 21, 2010


Pla,

The institutional racism inherent in our drug sentencing laws is obviously a new concept to you...and apparently to a lot of other members to metafilter. No big deal...people aren't born knowing everything.

I'm not going to argue with you using conjencture or hypotheticals...just go to these 2 links from very credible sources.

http://nicic.gov/Library/018315


http://www.drugpolicy.org/communities/race/

On the second link, scroll down to the third paragraph to read pretty conclusive data.

Also, I understand why u used those stereotypical items to demonstrate your point...but you could have done it without that.

Good luck.
posted by hal_c_on at 5:02 AM on August 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


There were guffaws from the judge on down to the jurors, as a Federal drug agent, Sam Gaye, described...

Everyone laughed when they found out his name was Gaye?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 1:31 PM on August 21, 2010


So, can someone confirm that that is a metric shitload of crack? Every time I've seen crack, it's just little tiny crystals in the bottom of a little tiny baggy. Not that scary.
posted by mike_bling at 9:54 PM on August 21, 2010


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