Slate: The Eleventh Hour - #304 Drugs & African-Amers. Rec: 2/12/90. Dir: Andrew Wilk
Funding for the program by announcer and overlay the Eleventh Hour graphic.
The Eleventh Hour graphic and show opener.
Show opens with Host Lipsyte in the studio and sitting in front of four small tv screens with "DRUGS" in big letters.
Host Robert Lipsyte gives some statistics about African Americans - and the highly disproportionate amount of drug arrests versus their population and their drug usage numbers. He states they (Afr. Amers) feel that the War on Drugs is a "War on them".
Host Lipsyte continuing to speak about tonight's topic "Drugs and Racism" announces the show and introduces himself. He cuts to an off site segment and introduces, Andrew Cooper, Publisher The City Sun.
Police officer arresting perp. Perp (African American male) in handcuffs and lying face down on the ground as police officer literally picks him up by the handcuffs.
Perp lying face down on the ground between two parked cars and wearing bright red pants, white shirt, and handcuffed as police officer pats him down.
Night time crime scene, cars parked several police officer standing over perp who is lying face down on the street.
Wide shot crime scene evening. Crime scene tape, Police van and cars parked, onlookers.
Evening, perp walk - two officers walking with handcuffed African American perp.
Dead body wrapped in yellow cloth lying on the ground - evening crime scene, onlookers
Police officers looking down at body wrapped in white lying on the ground. Ambulance parked on street, onlookers standing behind crime scene tape. Key Food Supermarket in bkgd.
Andrew W. Cooper, Publisher of The City Sun, reporting outside in ghetto neighborhood
B&W footage tilt down on huge crowd of people. sign held up high reads among others, - "we shall overcome"...
B&W footage Martin Luther King addressing a crowd.
B&W clip Malcolm X speaking to unseen group or reporters
Host Lipsyte in the studio introduces and welcomes guests on tonight's program, Les Payne, Columnist & Asst Managing Editor Newt; Stanley Crouch, Writer (Village Voice, Esquire)
Wide shot Host Robert Lipsyte sitting in the studio with Payne and Crouch.
Andrew Cooper, some people say it's self evident some people say as paranoia. Is there a clear responsibility for drugs in the black community right now?
Stanley Crouch 9:36
Well, I think that you have a I believe a lot of things at work at the same time, every one of them is that you have you have an overworked police force, you have a very long and complex antipathy that exists between the police and the black community that has had often to do with very badly handled police work, which means that that the community which should be the major agent of assistance, to the to the police has not always been had a greater confidence in the police. So for for a number of years, black criminals have actually been able to use the the the, as the cliche goes the downside of community police relations to justify their position saying that there's some kind of rebel against white authority et cetera to resist the white man is these people coming in afterwards because then that's putting up with this, they're not going to accept the failure that the white society is imposing on them and cetera. And and for a while that worked. But I think that it has now become such an incredibly terrible problem that people have to look at something like what Jesse Jackson was saying, which when he was on the campaign in 1988, and always got an incredible response from the community was he said, Look, we have to face something, we now use one of his rhymed homilies, we now face more deaths from Northern dope than we ever did from Southern rope. And he went on to say that the the, the community was gonna have to demand decency, it was gonna have to essentially community people were gonna have to take back their community.
Robert Lipsyte 11:08
Look, let's step back for a moment. Les I mean, Southern southern rope was was policy was northern dope policy. I mean, was there an imposition of dope on the black community from the white establishment
Les Payne 11:23
Andy Cooper raised that point. And I think that it's a good one to raise because I think we need to keep in mind with the history of some of these things were. And as you mentioned, I did in fact, work on a drug series, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1974, which is also in book form a thing called the heroin trail. And what we did essentially, is that we went to Turkey, we went to France, we went to Germany went to all along each step of the trail. And one of the interesting things that I found is that all along the way, people would say, when they were asked, Why are you contributing to this great drug menace that at that point, this is 1972, was wrecking the lives of youngsters in Harlem? And they would say, it's not our problem. It's an American problem. We don't have a drug problem in Istanbul, we don't have a drug problem in Munich. We don't have a drug problem in Motzei. And therefore, it's your problem. And what similarly was happening in this country is that the white community did not have a drug problem. So I think there's something into what and what Andy Cooper was saying. I think also what he said was that the dominant society, which is a law enforcement in cahoots with underworld type did not inhibit, I think it is true that they did not inhibit I would go a little half step beyond that and say that there was evidence circumstantial, though it is that not only did it not inhibited, but it profited from every level. If you read the Knapp Commission report, and you go back and find that police. Narco units, by the way, were taken money from drug pushers along with pimps, etc. So there was at least a juxtaposition of law enforcement people profiting from what the mafia up until a certain point was doing. And one last point I would like to make because it's often talked about these days people say that quote that Andy Cooper mentioned, was from Puzo's book fiction in the movie, The Godfather, total fiction, if I may I rent I'd like to read up just a short piece from from from our findings. There was a meeting in August 1972 of the cosa nostra leaders who met on Staten Island, the home of a man named Johnny Johnny Dalessio. It was the Don Carlo Gambino was there as well and this is not fiction. The thrust of the discussion reportedly was that they should take baby in the cosa nostra should take control of narcotics both to provide income for younger not wealthy family members, and also to take drugs out of the suburbs and confine them to the ghetto. When they ran it for 30 years. This is one federal law enforcement sources told us quote when they ran it, because an officer for 30 years it never got sold near a school or in the suburbs. You want to listen to them on wiretaps. He said they say what are they doing to our boys in Vietnam selling them heroin and and this is a quote that is precisely what Puzo was alluded to accept this as fact, it was picked up by the Federal wiretap the stuff belongs in the ghetto that was the position of the Cosa Nostra
Robert Lipsyte 14:03
that that's from that's from the heroin trail the days pills uprising serious, but now we've talked about economic exploitation and apathy. But I mean, we also hear the word genocide, the idea that drugs were imposed on the black community as a kind of a way of containment or pruning. Young black activism, is that paranoia? Is there something into that?
Stanley Crouch 14:26
I think that's absurd. I think we I think I think something is very rarely ever looked at it and discussion, is it a lot of the lenient attitude towards drugs it began to develop in the late 60s had to do with the fact that so many white kids from very well to do families were using drugs. You remember when they were talking about making LSD a felony and some senators stood up in Capitol Hill and said, Wait a minute, we shouldn't make this a felony. Because after all, these are just young people experimenting. We want somebody to have a felony arrest for drug use to follow him or her for the rest of his or her life and So what I mean is I think I think, see, I think what I'm saying is that they see we can't disconnect what happened from the from the enormous, enormous drug use during the during the hippie era. I mean, all of those people, we were smoking marijuana, the streets of San Francisco and LA, etc, then cocaine began to come in. And heroin began to come in. But I mean, the lax attitude towards it. The protective attitude, okay, these kids experimenting, I think, was what
Robert Lipsyte 15:26
yeah, but I know a lot of those kids, Stanley, and they shaved and they put on a suit and they they went right into corporations and into society. And that's not happening in the black community
Les Payne 15:33
Yeah, but a lot, I think I think we need to connect us to the fact is, we have a very serious problem. And I think that there are differences, and I think we're using drugs loosely. But we're really talking about in the late 60s and 70s, I should make clear, it's heroin, which was a major hard narcotic. Now I think the difference between the approach of the hippies is a difference. And blacks is the same as a mods and the rockers of London, and the hippies here. the mods and rockers of London, like the blacks in the ghettos in those years, approach drugs, because they were kids who had not had enough, the hippies had had too much. And so one was approaching in kind of an experimental recreational. And I think that the lower economic groups, which is where most of these black kids, they pursue it, not for recreational purpose simply for but for escapism, the life's lives are so painful, it is an economic kind of Genesis that drives them to it. So I think the effect getting back to your earlier point has been that it was in fact, you if even if it were not us, I would argue that it would, and I think I can show some circumstantial evidence, but even if it were not, the effect was that it did, in fact, cool out a whole generation of increasingly active, not politically informed people, but they were mainly a street gangs.
Host Lipsyte stops the interview for a moment, announces guest joining them soon. He reads some of the statistics proving the disproportionate amount of drug arrests in the African-American community vs. actual drug users.
Lipsyte unseen reads: African-Americans are 12% of illegal drug users but account for 38% of drug arrests in the U.S. - overlay a brick wall backdrop
Lipsyte continues narrating statistics: "African-Americans comprise more than 48% of cocaine and heroin arrests. Since 1984 the number of Black arrests increased four times." -overly brick wall
Host Lipsyte introduces Sterling Johnson, Attorney and New York City's Special Narcotics Prosecutor.
narcotics prosecutor. Welcome. What do those numbers mean?
Sterling Johnson 17:39
It means that you have blacks involved in the drug traffic more now than ever before. And not only as users but also as entrepreneurs, Steerers, sellers, importers, so they're involved also. And it's easier to catch the low level drug trafficker than it is the middle level and the higher level drug dealer.
Robert Lipsyte 18:05
Stanley had brought up the fact that within the black community until recently, there was a kind of community support for drug dealers, in terms of them being seen as Renegades against white society. Is that a problem for law enforcement?
Sterling Johnson 18:22
I think at one time, yes, that was correct. But right now, I think that the black community is against drug dealers, because, like the white community, if there is a drug problem in your community that does impact upon me directly, then it's not as much of a problem for me as it is for you. But when that drug problem impacts upon me directly, it's as much a problem for me as it is for you.
Robert Lipsyte 18:50
As a law enforcement officer, do you have any reaction to some of those thoughts that we've heard in this half hour? Words like genocide, words like dope being imposed on the black community as a kind of containment or economic exploitation?
Sterling Johnson 19:08
I think at one time when we just hit a heroin problem, I think that that there might have been some truth to that. And there is a perception of what's going on right now. Because when you were dealing with heroin, and that was the only drug during that particular time, it was the white exporter dealing with the white importer, who was selling to the black drug dealer. And many times these black drug dealers work for the white import or that group. Now you have blacks getting into the drug business on their own, they have connections over in Colombia, they have connections in Southeast Asia, Southwest Asia, and they are giving the white drug trafficker a run for their money. You have the white drug trafficker clipping or whacking out black drug dealers. You have the black drug dealers wiping out the white drug dealer. So they are In from the womb to the tomb,
Robert Lipsyte 20:01
we're moving towards equal opportunity. That's terrific. Let me ask you this. I mean, what what needs to be done now?
Sterling Johnson 20:10
Well, one of the things anytime and then I think it was alluded to here, that anytime we have a foreign policy that conflicts with a drug policy, drugs fall by the wayside. I was reading in the paper today. And I've heard it many, many times that this country is not putting enough resources into the drug problem, treatment, prevention, education, law enforcement, the whole bit, we put $10 million. We have the savings and loan association that went belly up, we found $300 billion, and we have to address the drug problem as if it were the saving alone Association. The other thing I think that we must do, you got some people. I mean, I think it's crazy, talking about legalization of drugs. And you've got some of these academicians from these college towns and a former Secretary of State who will stand on their pedestals and they say legal lies drugs. I say that's a terrible it's not even a subliminal message that they were sending. You know, I don't think they'll go to 160 Street and Amsterdam Avenue, Bed Stuy or Brownsville to South Bronx, and espouse this same theory. So I think it is wrong. I think they say contain the problem. Keep us on a reservation and it'll go away.
Robert Lipsyte 21:33
What do you think should be done les?
Les Payne 21:36
I was listening to Sterling Johnson certainly makes sense. I think that crack cocaine for instance is so terrifyingly addictive that seemed to me to legalize that is to ask for, you know, a great deal more problems than we have. And it's not simply alcohol. You know, which first few sniffs you know, your body, you know, rebels against I mean, you call a few sneeze and says you shouldn't drink this, but cocaine I understand. You know, and certainly crack is more addictive. I think another thing, a point that was raised earlier about Playthell Benjamin by bringing in the National Guard. And Major Owens is also advocating this. I mean, the National Guard, as we know, can can can barely lace their boots, you know, so and they are not trained for law enforcement. I think this is also asking for a lot of mischief. I mean, we're going to bring in Dan Quayle's old unit. And he has incredible that the black community should see itself so desperate that they have to resort to these measures, I think. And I think very interesting, because politics do in fact, enter into this. I think if we look at the heroin, and I think that this is a connection of it here, now, the Nation of Islam, and Malcolm X and others began to operate on rehabilitation. And I think that they, more than anyone else began to get at the cause that people resort to it other than the economic call to psychological reasons. Aside from strictly the economic reasons why Black youngsters resort to it and back, not so young people resort to it
Robert Lipsyte 22:48
It has to come out of the community. Do you think that's the case?
Stanley Crouch 22:50
Well, I think I think those things are good. But I think also that, you know, we need a much more stringent punishment for users. Because you see if 70% of the dope is bought by white people, who are who are not in some say that some impart what they call the casual user. And we say if you had a law that says that if you were found with a certain amount of cocaine, and the law was able to seize 50% of your assets and put that into, into drug rehabilitation, you know, users don't buy in other words onwards, if we're if we're for stockbrokers, and we decide we're going to have some big party, we're gonna buy, you know, a couple of eighths and have a party with champagne and stuff and we get busted. And the law says that they can take 50% of our assets and put them in if we convicted, and put them put them put that money into law enforcement and rehabilitation. I think that that that kind of thing would be very discouraging to the kind of person who's not necessarily an addict, but who seems to be involved in supplying so much of the money that fuels the trade,
Robert Lipsyte 23:54
Stanley crouch les payne Sterling Johnson, thanks so much for being with us.
Wide shot of studio with Host Lipsyte sitting around coffee table with tonight's guests.
Wide shot Lipsyte sitting with guests from the show in the studio. Interview concludes. Lipsyte thanks them all for being on the program.
Host Lipsyte sitting in front of four small tv screens that read DRUGS in large letters. He talks about a topic from a prior show - the decriminalization of drugs and cuts to another segment, Talkback.
Host Lipsyte in studio sitting in front of small tv screens with Talkback envelopes displayed. He introduces, Dr. Kildare Clark, Kings County Emergency Room.
Dr. Clark outdoors and speaking into camera about drug legalization.
Copy of letter from Ralph Berton viewer overlay over letter reads: " I'm 79, and I grew up during Prohibition. I saw the mob making billions of dollars making and distributing liquor, and saw them, because of an unworkable law, getting a lasting grip on our country. Lipsyte unseen narrates.
Continuing...Our making it lillegal to buy drugs is costing them, and us, billions of dollars every year. Our spending those billions isn't stopping them. It's not only wasting our money (and theirs), but overfilling our jails, wasting our policemen, prosecutors, sailors, detectives, judges etc. by the tens of thousands - all for nothing"
Back with Lipsyte in studio introduces Dr. Robert Millman, Professor of Psychiatry Cornell Medical Center, from a prior Eleventh Hour program.
Dr. Millman from pre-taped Eleventh Hour program, giving his opinion about the legalization of drugs.
Letter from viewer with overlay reads: "It really troubles me that people really think the problems of drug addiction can be curbed by legalization. this would be the most disastrous mistake our country could ever make. It would ruin our country politically, socially and economically." Lipsyte narrates.
Continued letter with Lipsyte reading: "My best friend died from an overdose of cocaine. She was only 26 years old, with two children, It was less than a half ofd gram of coke that killed her. She had been using drugs for a year and had at times used more than a half of gram.
And continuing..."You never know which time you get high could be your last. By legalizing drugs the death rate of our youth will rise tremendously. We need our young people for they are our hope for a better life."
Back with Lipsyte in the studio. He refers to another letter from viewer, Harry Katz.
Letter from viewer, overlay reads: "Hearing once again what can only be characterized as a voice of frustration calling for the legalization of cocaine, I feel compelled to lend my voice as a recovering addict and former crack user to the current debate.
Continued letter overlay reads: Legalization appears to be an issue promulgated by law enforcement officials and others who feel they have exhausted every other avenue of approach to control and abate the social ills caused by an inability to deal effectively with drug abuse.
Continued letter with overlay reads: while it is true that it could greatly reduce the flow of drugs into this country as well as the number of drug-related arrests, this approach totally ignores the addictive nature of the drug.
Continuing...Inherent in the policy of legalization is the concept of condoning usage. Both addicts and first time users may come to feel that the drug is no longer considered dangerous or life threatening. It has been established that attempts at legalization in other countries such as Israel and Egypt were dismal failures.
Lipsyte continues to read...Drug related problems are becoming more and more prevalent in our lives and most of us harbor some secret desire to see a quick and immediate solution applied. But legalization can only open a Pandor's box of problems we can only begin to surmise the effects of and can only create much bigger problems than we already have".
Back with Lipsyte in the studio he encourages viewers to write their comments to TALKBACK.
TALKBACK envelope with The Eleventh Hour address.
Rotary phone handset with overlay phone number for The Eleventh Hour.
Lipsyte announces show and introduces himself. Show end.
Show credits overlay show graphics.
Funding for program by announcer. Charitable organizations overlay show graphic.
Description: The Eleventh Hour - Show # Title: Drugs and Racism Guests: Andrew Cooper, Publisher The City Sun; Stanley Crouch, Writer; Les Payne, Managing Editor; Sterling Johnson, NYC Special Narcotics Prosecutor Description: The Eleventh Hour reviews with special guests, the disproportionate black drug arrests vs their population and illegal drug usage numbers. Original Broadcast Date: 2-20-90
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