Pubdate: Fri, 4 Apr 2008
Source: Houston Chronicle (TX)
Copyright: 2008 Houston Chronicle Publishing Company Division, Hearst Newspaper
Author: Suzanne Wills


Regarding Monday's Outlook article "No more excuses: Let's talk 
candidly about slavery / Response to Obama speech makes plain the 
race divide": By 1807, the British had abolished the slave trade. In 
1833, they abolished slavery. In the United States, a strong 
abolitionist movement was well-established. Andrew Jackson was 
president from 1828 to 1836. In the midst of this, Jackson chose to 
enslave 140 humans for his personal convenience. My great-grandfather 
and his brother could afford only 40 human beings but made the same 
choice. "Evil," "mean" and "vicious" are strong words but appropriate.

Those who say it is unfair to judge slave owners by modern standards
choose to ignore that the standards of abolitionists were much the
same as ours.

It's good for those like Carl Byker and historian Bobby Lovett - and
Barack Obama - to ask us to face our history. Perhaps we should ask
whether we are repeating racist blindness today in more subtle but
significant ways. One major example: African-Americans use and sell
about 14 percent of the illegal drugs and do about 74 percent of the
prison time for drug law violations; the impact of the drug war on
African-American families has been catastrophic.

Whites do the crime, but blacks do the time.

Suzanne Wills

Drug Policy Forum of Texas, Dallas
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