Lost Ones: Brittney Griner And Of The Other Black Women Held On Flimsy Weed Charges.

“It’s funny how money change a situation
Miscommunication leads to complication
My emancipation don’t fit your equation”

-Lost Ones- Lauryn Hill

I was born in 1975. I came to age during the 80s. Multiple large, ice-cold, glasses of orange-flavored Kool-Aid regarding Russia being the sworn enemy of the United States of America were provided to me in order to quench my thirst. I drank every last drop and demanded more. I am not soft on Russia. The American propaganda worked on me. So when I write that Russia’s maltreatment of Ms. Griner is not something of their own inventing, but stolen from America, I am not absolving Russia of its actions, I am holding America responsible.

On 7 July 2022 Ms. Griner plead guilty of possessing the hemp oil, but declines having any intent to illegally bring the banned substance into Russia. Too many black people in America are coerced into pleading guilty in order to escape the ultimatum of more time. We do not know why she plead guilty. 18% of all people exonerated for a crime they did not commit, plead guilty. 65% of those people were people of color. America is the gold standard for the maltreatment of non-whites.

The world looks to the United States of America for how to completely abuse anyone who is not protected by whiteness. America’s abhorrent treatment of Native Americans and the Descendants of Slaves are the paragon for those looking to oppress others. In particular the Nazis used the Black Codes and Jim Crow laws to inform their treatment of Jews. Segregating Jews in ghettos. Bruce Western has described a Ghetto as an area with very little opportunity and filled with poverty. In fact, if we take it to its logical conclusion poverty is violence. Those caught in the grasp of this deadly beast are more likely to either witness violence, be the victim of violence, or the perpetuator of violence. Sadly, it is usually a combination of all three.

Photo by Colin C Murphy on Unsplash

The world has watched and learned from America’s disparate treatment of black people. White people use weed as much as black people, if not even more. White people sell more weed than black people, yet when you think of a drug dealer you automatically think of a young black male wearing baggy clothes. Despite, no one fitting that description can be found at Phish concert supplying people with weed and shrooms. Nor was it “Marcus” following the Dead around in a VW van selling weed at each of their shows. Yet, the iconography of a young black male with a hoodie and baggie jeans persist as our collective image of a drug dealer.

The War On Drugs Was Nixon’s Payback At Hippies And Black People

The War On Drugs was unleashed on this country by President Nixon. This paranoid menace, was fixated on settling scores. He aimed his sites on two groups: white hippies who were against the war and black people. Nixon knew he could not make being a hippie or black a crime, despite his desire to do so. Instead, he looked to tie hippies to cannabis and blacks to heroin and then increase the penalties for those two substances.

Eventually, the only people in America getting arrested for weed were black folk. In 2015, 30 percent of all felony marijuana arrests were black women, despite making up approximately 6% of the population in the alleged progressive stronghold of San Francisco, California. In parts of Wisconsin, black people are more than 29 times more likely to be arrested for weed than white people. According the ACLU a black person is 3.64 times more likely to be arrested for cannabis, in America, than a white person. Despite, white people using at the same rate, if not higher.

The war on drugs have left black homes fatherless, motherless, and powerless because too many lack the ability to be voters in their own community. This was not an unfortunate consequence, but the intended result of the War On Drugs.

Photo by Library of Congress on Unsplash

Russia Is Treating Ms. Griner The Way She Would Be Treated In America, If She Was A Non-Celebrity.

Right now untold wives, mothers, sisters, daughters, are languishing in jails and prisons in America, because of weed. Many black women are unable to afford bail, due to the historic effects of racist and oppressive systems that have plundered black people for centuries. In Boston, a female Descendant of Slaves has $8.00 in wealth compared to a white family having over $200,000.00. With this type of (white) man-made wealth disparity, even a modest bail amount of $1,000.00 is the equivalent of a $10,000,000.00 for most black women. Further, the bail hearings do not take in consideration the strength of the evidence that the state is alleged to have. Accordingly, many black women are forced to wait for a trial date, which might not come for years or plead guilty to a crime they did not commit in order to get back home to their family.

Brittney Griner is an amazing basketball player, but she is a black lesbian basketball player, and therefore her perceived value is less based on the historical treatment of black lesbians in America. Even LeBron James’s value would be less than Tom Brady, if he found himself in the same circumstances. Granted, both of these men would inspire more vocal and constant attention to their plight than Ms. Griner. The cost that America would have to pay to free Mr. James or Mr. Brady, would also be higher. Yet, America is not willing to pay the cost to free Ms. Griner, because the American public has not demanded it.

In the words of Ms. Hill, Ms. Griner’s “…emancipation don’t fit your equation.”

We as a society should demand not just Ms. Griner be set free for her alleged weed crime, but everyone who is currently incarcerated in America for cannabis crimes also be set free.

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Garrick McFadden

I am a civil-rights attorney. I write about #whiteness, #racism, #hiphop, policing & politics.