President Donald Trump made a very controversial promise about punishment in America: to provide the death penalty for leading drug dealers, despite many studies suggesting not only that the death penalty is not an effective deterrent, but worse, that it is not applied fairly to people of color. Yet, after conversations with the Chinese president and others, Donald Trump says the death penalty is in order for leading drug traffickers whose dealings cause the deaths of thousands of users.
We in the Black community know that wrongful deaths will not bring life.
We welcome and are not opposed to punishing those who prey upon our neighborhoods. But the law also punishes our neighborhoods when skin color determines who is punished and how. Who can afford attorneys to be let off for rehab will always beat the poor relegated wrongfully to death row?
Many who look like Donald Trump or who look like his sons and his son-in-law, his wife and daughter, and his cabinet members (with the exception of Ben Carson) will not go to jail. White Americans do not receive the extent of the “colored” death penalty.
From a Black perspective, the realistic compassion Thurgood Marshall spoke of to fortify empathy with Black victims of injustice extends more often to Whites than to Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians. Trump’s new program, welcomed by all to end the scourge of drugs, will still be a scourge for Blacks when the “justice” is managed by Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III.
There is a danger here and a most chilling message: Harvested poppies lead to the production of opiate drugs from Afghanistan in Asia where we have military presence. Drugs are also from Columbia, South America; Mexico, just across the Rio Grande to other parts of S.E. Asia, and the world that produces drugs that are poisoning and ravaging our nation.
With Blacks being a major target and a group guaranteed to be the most disproportionate number in America’s penal system, they are also among the poorest and thus unable to acquire legal counsel. The African American community is the most saturated community in regards to illegal drugs.
Remember Maxine Waters’ warning about the U.S. bringing drugs into South Central L.A., her congressional district for more than 30 years.
Think again about the spokesperson and facilitator who is applying for this new Federal death penalty emphasis: Alabama’s Honorable Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III. This is not a game invented by Donald Trump; it is a game played since the 1980s. Is Trump just the latest to do so or will he change the game as promised? Is the now-lowest unemployment rate for Blacks being used to hide the highest number to be incarcerated or a step to begin lowering it?
Too many Black Americans have been unfairly charged, unfairly convicted and unfairly sentenced to death row.
To honor his pledge in Detroit during the campaign, President Trump needs to help prevent Blacks and other Americans of color from being beaten to their knees with death penalty policies unfairly carried out.
Listen closely, Black America. Be vigilant. Most importantly, work for the survival of all races in America.
Ron Edwards hosts radio and TV shows.