Andrew Sullivan and Conor Friedersdorf make a very reasonable argument about Ron Paul and racism. Whatever personal feelings he might have on the subject, they correctly point out, he is the only candidate from either party to support a number of policies that would do a great deal to reduce inequality and discrimination in our criminal justice system.
He is the only candidate that advocates ending the war on drugs, which has resulted in astonishing racial inequality in our criminal justice system. Drug use among black people is no different than white people, yet they are arrested, convicted and imprisoned at far higher rates. The numbers are absolutely staggering. On marijuana, for example, a higher percentage of whites use the drug than either blacks or Latinos, but arrest rates for possession are nearly three times higher for the racial minorities than for whites. Blacks make up about 13% of the population but they comprise 37% of all drug arrests, 59% of convictions and 74% of prison sentences for it. And Ron Paul is alone among the candidates of either party in wanting to end that destructive policy.
Ron Paul may be a racist, but he does support policies that would make a huge difference in the lives of racial minorities in this country and make this a much less unequal nation. Should that change anyone’s mind about supporting him? That’s up to each person to decide. for me, I still can’t support him. But let’s at least put that information on the table to be considered along with everything else. Friedersdorf’s article, in particular, is typically thoughtful and rational.