“And there wasn’t very many black guys in my position. So when I would go into the war room, where we were setting up all of our drug and gun and addiction task force determining what cities we were going to hit, I would notice that most of the time it always appeared to be urban areas.
“That’s when I asked the question, well, don’t they sell drugs out in Potomac and Springfield, and places like that? Maybe you all think they don’t, but statistics show they use more drugs out in those areas [rich and white] than anywhere.”
~ Matthew Fogg, former US Marshal and special agent for the DEA
I’ve been saying this for years, but it is nice hearing an insider admit it. This is the obvious truth that we Americans are afraid to face.
In the interview (transcription), Fogg then goes right to the heart of the matter when he says, “What I began to see is that the drug war is totally about race. If we were locking up everybody, white and black, for doing the same drugs, they would have done the same thing they did with prohibition. They would have outlawed it.”
That is a great point. But we forget that Prohibition did target the poor and minorities, just as the War On Drugs does today. The difference was that Prohibition ended up having a broader impact than intended. The drug prohibitionists of today learned the lesson from that failure and so have been more careful to keep drug prohibition from going beyond the narrow focus of attacking the disadvantaged.
Still, once the monster is created, it is hard to control. Like alcohol prohibition before it, drug prohibition has grown and more well off whites are realizing they aren’t as safe from it as they assumed. They didn’t predict how far the police would become militarized and how brazen in their violent tactics. Seeing news reports about innocent blacks being regularly attacked and killed by police gets too much, even for the average white person who lives a safe distance from such violence, for it breaks through the spell of willful ignorance.
So, public support is now turning against drug prohibition for the exact same reason it turned against alcohol prohibition. It just took a bit longer this time around.