Post-Racial America

Tucker Carlson is as down with "reefer" as any conservative white TV dinner heir who wore bow ties in his youth. The Fox News host has linked marijuana use to schizophrenia, violence, suicide, and death. He apparently thought Reefer Madness was a documentary. He's argued, with little evidence, that marijuana causes school shootings, even as a popular competing theory suggests guns are to blame.

Carlson recently flipped out on Bernie Sanders because the crazy socialist suggested in this week's debate that not only should weed pots be legalized, and people with weed pot convictions should have their records expunged, but also he wants to help racial minorities create businesses to enjoy some of the financial largesse of the newly legal industry. Reminder: we're talking selling a product that's already legal in 11 states. Sanders deserves some free market cred for promoting the economic benefits of intoxicating substances. That makes him more Team Kennedy than Team Castro.

Carlson however scared his viewers with the images of black teens selling dime bags in suburban neighborhoods. In his fevered imagination, Sanders's army of weed dealers will numb a generation of Tucker Carlsons, robbing them of a rosy future as a right-wing propagandist. They'll just loaf around on someone's ratty couch, smoking out like Brad Pitt in True Romance, and voting -- by mail, of course -- for all sorts of insidious socialist candidates and policies.

Oh, Marco Rubio, an actual sitting senator and a person under 90, also lost what was left of his mind because Sanders pitched ways for minorities to make some bank.

It's worth noting that the reefer isn't for everyone. The weed isn't free -- although it's already more accessible than decent health insurance.

Minorities were and are the people most impacted by the stupid war on drugs. It's not enough for black and brown youth to no longer get hassled on the streets, incarcerated, and stuck with permanent criminal records because they used or sold marijuana. They should also benefit financially from marijuana legalization.

CARLSON: First, they fill black neighborhoods with abortion clinics.

It's a popular anti-abortion talking point that Planned Parenthood -- presumably the "they" in Carlson's lie-laced sentence -- "targets" minority neighborhoods with all-night abortion clinics and laundromats. This is gross and completely false. The Guttmacher Institute, an independent reproductive health research group, provides fact-based data showing that fewer than one in 10 abortion providers are in majority-black neighborhoods. If conservatives really want to help black people, there's actual, non-imaginary white supremacy they could address.

CARLSON: Now their frontrunner is encouraging more black kids to sell drugs.

Here's what Sanders actually said:

SANDERS: I'll tell you what else we're gonna do. We're gonna provide help to the African-American, Latino, and Native-American communities to start businesses to sell legal marijuana rather than let a few corporations control the legalized marijuana market.

As of 2017, 73 percent of cannabis executives were men and 81 percent were white. The marijuana industry is expected to bring in $20 billion nationally this year. Corrective measures must take place or we'll witness the racial wealth gap widen further. Sanders understands the urgency of the matter.

Carlson just wants to stoke white fears, which is technically his job description but it's still repulsive.

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."


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