In 1971, when the “war on drugs” was declared, Nixon’s Chief Domestic Advisor was John Ehrlichman.
What We Know :
- With two separate trials in 1974 and 1975, both pertaining to his crucial role in the Watergate scandal, Ehrlichman ultimately served 18 months in prison and was disbarred, disabling him from practising law. Ehrlichman released this statement because he felt that, “people will often be incredibly honest if given the chance.”
- Ehrlichman was the only one of twenty-five that was sentenced. He was found guilty of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and two counts of making false statements to a grand jury in the Watergate case. He was also the only one to willing to go to jail and dropped his appeals.
- In a 1994 interview with Journalist dan Baum, Ehrlichman made a statement regarding the racist backbone of the Nixon Presidency. “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”
- The targeting and arresting of black people seems to be on the rise. This causes loss of opportunity when trying to get a job or a loan, which can cause a life of poverty for themselves and their future families; in a legal situation, which is a high probability of occurring with the racist targeting, this leads to having fewer resources to protect themselves. This catch 22 situation seems to be overlooked in our policies.
With this still a problem today, it’s clear how this racist and classist mentality affects the total economy. It has been found that within the black community, unemployment is undercounted by seven percent.