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September 2012

The 'War on Drugs' is Quantifiably Racist

In statistical, scientific, and measurable analysis, the policy and law-enforcement practices that have been produced by the myth that drugs are society's number one threat form a system of oppression for black Americans in particular and are therefore racist. Despite full knowledge of this fact, many who benefit from the prison industrial complex, or gain political advantage from talking tough about drug crimes, do little or nothing to correct or stop it.

A new book The New Jim Crow and a new documentary The House I Live In, reveal the truth.

A Few Facts:

  • There are more blacks under correctional control today—in prison or jail, on probation or parole—than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began
  • As of 2004, more African American men were disenfranchised (due to felon disenfranchisement laws) than in 1870, the year the Fifteenth Amendment was ratified prohibiting laws that explicitly deny the right to vote on the basis of race
  • Over 1 Trillion dollars ($1,000,000,000,000) has been spent on the 'War on Drugs', yet drugs are no less accessible, used, sold, or potent
  • Black Americans constitute 13% of all drug users, but 35% of those arrested for drug possession, 55% of persons convicted, and 74% of people sent to prison

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The Pattern of Passage

Pattern of Passage

One of life's most prominent patterns is the pattern of passage. At many different times in our lives, in many different ways, we all pass through from one status to another. This process has a discernible pattern. 

First, there is an Initial Status. In this phase, there is stability, equilibrium. This is "normal" life. 
Next, we encounter separation. This can be a trial, a crisis, or an opportunity. In some way distance is created from our "normal life" (Initial Status).
After the separation occurs, we find ourselves in a precarious phase. We haven't yet attained a new status, but we have left our previous status behind. This is the 'betwixt and between' phase called "Liminality". This phase can be confusing, but it is also the place of discovery.
Then comes the Rite of Passage. At some point in this transition from one status to the next, there comes a demarcation point—a point at which we cross over to the other side. This is often commemorated by a ceremony or a ritual (i.e. a "rite").
The person who undergoes a Rite of Passage must overcome a challenge. They also must have new knowledge imparted to them from elders who have passed through themselves. Finally, they are granted the new status.
When an intiate gains new status they can then be re-integrated back into the community—now with a new identity. This is the "Return" transition.
The final stage of a passage is the new status. In this phase, a person accepts new responsibility, leadership. Once one has passed through, they are now equipped to usher others through. They are now an elder. 
The granting of the new status does not magically make a person worthy of it. Instead, the initiate now must live into her or his new status.
One person will undergo many passages in their life. Each is like its own quest. Let us pass through well.

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Welcome to

Theological Graffiti is a blog written by T. C. Moore @tc_moore ...a Jesus-disciple, husband, father, Associate Pastor @NewCityChurch of Los Angeles, sometimes web designer, writer, and theology geek. For more about me, visit my Personal Website or my Online Profile. Otherwise, enjoy the graffiti.

T. C.

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