CN September 29, 2011

A discussion about the racial disparities in marijuana sentencing and the class plots that have developed within Chicago’s African-American communities. Our guests are Mick Dumke (Chicago Reader) and Salim Muwakkil (In These Times and WVON). We talk at length about the article Mick co-authored with Ben Joravsky about the differences between white and black when arrests are made for the possession of pot, and the even worse disparities for incarceration (more than 90% of Chicagoans serving time for possession  are black.

Salim is writing an on-going series for In These Times about “The Other Chicago” an investigation into the lives of those African-American youth who have borne the brunt of the Great Recession.  In part one he discusses the growing rift between older African-Americans from the civil-rights era and younger blacks. Salim talks with a young guy who’s participated in what came to be called “flash mobs”. “You can’t get no iPods or nothing like that on the West Side. So we go to where you can and when we mob up, even the cops can’t stop us,” he says.

Here’s part one.

And here’s part two in which Salim considers changes in police-community relations. In this installment, a young man tells Salim that there are things one has to know when being stopped by police. “If I have my hands in my pockets when police stop me — and they stop me all the time — I freeze until they take my hands out of my pockets,” he says, because he knows someone who got shot as he removed his hands without warning.

It’s some very serious and worthwhile reading. And a solid conversation.


About Ken

Ken's the host of Chicago Newsroom. A former news director, reporter and radio program host, he's also a past Vice President of the Chicago Headline Club.
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