Obama-Inspired Surrender of Black Leadership Makes Real Criminal Code Reform, Mass Incarceration Rollback Unlikely

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

There's a House Judiciary Committee Task Force on Overcriminalization committed to combing through the federal code looking for ways to lock up fewer people. Should we get our hopes up, or get our fight for justice and rolling back the state on? Will the black misleadership class be any help? Probably not much. Should that stop us? Let's hope not.

Obama-Inspired Surrender of Black Leadership Makes Real Criminal Code Reform, Mass Incarceration Rollback Unlikely

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

The common, and grossly misguided pillars of African American political “wisdom” since the beginning of Barack Obama's campaign for the White House in 2006 till the present day have been

  • shut down discussions of differences between African Americans, so white folks will think we're united;

  • don't press thorny and embarrassing political demands upon the First Black President, because he's the President Of All Americans, not just us;

  • close ranks around the First Black President to strengthen his hand against any and all critics.

Black America has deployed itself as a wall around Barack Obama. In practice however, the only thing we really protect President Obama and the class of black political misleaders over which he presides from is their duty to represent and do right by us.

There's no issue that uniquely the states black lives, black families and black communities like mass incarceration, the rise of the current prison state. Presidential candidate Barack Obama promised to address the racist laws that specified penalties for crack vs powdered cocaine at 100 to 1. But even with record black voter turnouts, a black Attorney General, 42 black members of Congress, Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, and a black president, the disparity was lightened to a mere 18 to 1, while not a single one of the tens or hundreds of thousands of unfair sentences being served were lightened by a single hour. Members of Congress floated the excuse that it was the best they could do against Republican intransigence, even though Republicans were in a minority when they did that deal. The fact is that from the president and his attorney general on down none of our black political leaders were willing to put their star power, their oratorical and deal-making skills, their political careers on the line. None were willing to handcuff themselves to the White House fence, or go on a hunger strike, or But opportunity is knocking again, this time in the form of a bipartisan House Judiciary Committee Task Force on Overcriminalization. Supposedly, they and their staffers will comb through the vast library of federal criminal code looking for ways to lock up fewer people.

There are lots of opinions in play. Right On Crime, an influential and well-funded conservative imagine tank headed by Newt Gingrich, believes the only thing really wrong with the prison state is how much it costs. This was the guiding spirit in similar efforts to address “overincarceration” in Texas and Georgia. Others, even other conservatives, like the Heritage Foundation, want to address the lack of any intent and “mistake of law” provisions in thousands of current federal criminal laws. Lack of these provisions means that people can and are found guilty of offenses they have no knowledge that they're committing and when defendants have no intention to violate any law.

There are and ought to be more progressive opinions in the mix too. The good people at places like the Sentencing Project and ACLU, and more like and unlike them, will weigh in as well. But these are organizations mainly of lawyers, good for producing briefing papers and giving respectful testimony at hearings. That won't do the trick. Pushing the rock of the prison state uphill will take a lot more, including some profound disrespect of the authority that led us where we are today. It would be a great good thing to see local and national organizations composed of and led by the formerly incarcerated and the families of the imprisoned involved in aggressive, insistent and impolite advocacy for justice.

My guess, however, is that the traditional civil rights leaders funded by corporations and feeling a lot more responsibility to the White House and their funders than they do to the people and communities affected by the prison state, will cut a series of bad, lazy deals. Their top priority will be not embarrassing the president by demanding that he act like a leader on this issue.

Rev. Al and Ben Jealous will probably put on a show of involving the White House or Attorney General, have a DC rally or two and strive mightily to divert the energies of those outraged at the prison state into voting Democrat in the 2014 elections. The problem is that we've already been voting the last three elections in record numbers without much effect on the incarceration rate. It's not that the current black leadership has forgotten the arts of creative confrontation and political organizing outside electoral mobilizations. Their predecessors stopped doing that stuff more than 4 decades ago, when many of them were toddlers or still unborn.

We'll have to learn the arts of creative confrontation all over again for this new era. And it IS a new era, one in which anybody who disrupts business as usual to achieve political ends may be labeled a “domestic terrorist.”

We can confidently predict that the current black political class will do its best to let this opportunity to roll back the prison state slip through its fingers just like they did the crack-vs-powder cocaine disparity back back in 2009 and 2010. Surrender and accommodation, and taking credit for imaginary victories are in their DNA. But we hope their voices aren't the only ones heard in black America. We hope to use the existence of the House Judiciary Committee Task Force on Overcriminalization to breathe new life into honest explorations of how the prison state affects us all, and how we can challenge it.

Our black misleadership class can and likely will make us lose this battle. But the war against the prison state is one that we will eventually win.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report and a state committee member of the Georgia Green Party. Contact him via this site's contact page, or at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.


Wrong Focus Sir

You state that: "There's no issue that uniquely the states (sic) black lives, black families and black communities like mass incarceration, the rise of the current prison state." 

I am unsure whether you don't know or simply refuse to admit the truth. But the 75% illegitimate black childbirth rate and 90% black fatherlessness are issues far more unique and affects more black lives, black families, and black communities than does mass incarceration. Equally important is that black single motherhood is what drives the fatherlessness, the educational failure, the unemployment, the drug use, the crime, and the incarceration you lament.

If we want to put a stop to the mass incarceration and the growing prison state, we must put a stop to the epidemic of black children being born and raised without fathers.We must put a stop to the fatherless black home.  How do we do this? We focus our energies on halting the government welfare and child support systems that subsidize illegitimate childbirth. We also 'call out' the irresponsible women that breed outside of marriage for a government paycheck.

Of course there will be those who cry, ' What about the irresponsible men?!' My answer is that there are only irresponsible men because there are promiscuous/irresponsible women. Eliminate the latter and you correct the former. (See my book, Black Genocide: The Untold Truth About Child Support Enforcement.)

IMO Your {non}Analysis Is Not Just Flawed_It's Problematic:

First of all the issue of so-called 'illegitimate' Black children is a 2 way street [it takes 2 to tango]- Meaning there's plenty of Blame{game} to go around RE bad choices of both Black men & women on that score. While you're seemingly focused on accusing too many [Black] women of being 'too hot to trot', one might easily make the counter accusation that too many [Black] men are too 'dogishly' irresponsible [which Pres Obama has effectively said publicly several times, including at Morehouse's graduation just last month]Plus DON'T over-look the reality of the historical impact of 'Ole Massa's sex-capades of forcing slave women & girls {ala Thomas Jefferson & Sally Hemmings} to 'breed' 'litters' of {often half-white} 'pic-a-ninnies'- which set the stage for this troubling 'legacy'. 

2nd} FYI: As recently as just 4 decades ago [IE: the 1970s] 2/3 - 3/4 of Black urban families actually had fathers in the home. But in just 1 generation [certainly not more than 2]- IE: the later 1980s going into the 1990s- those stats actually flipped such that 2/3 - 3/4 of Black house-holds were / are now being headed by single moms. So obviously this issue can NOT be an inherently Black [woman] issue- despite the FOX-Noise type hype [maybe you should look at some Scandinavian countries IE: Iceland where single motherhood is accepted as almost normal].

3rd} If you look at the trend of when Black households had 2/3 - 3/4 of Black fathers at home, then flipped to now 2/3 - 3/4 are headed by single moms [circa later 1970s thru to the 1980s & 90s], you can see that it closely coincides w several other trends that hit Black communities hard IE: the [phony] so-called 'War on Crime' [including a rash of mandatory '3 strikes' laws - even for stealing a sandwich] = the phony 'War on Drugs' [= mainly marijuana - including that notoriously racist 100 to 1 penal disparity in crack vs powder cocaine], legalized racial profiling policing aka 'Stop & Frisk', etc- which led to the rise of the 'Prison Industrial Complex' [= $BIG BIZ$] = Mass Black [& Brown] Incarceration = 'The New Jim Crow'. Of Course when the Prison state locked / locks up so many young Black men [age 18 - 36]- this breaks up Black families [FYI: the number of US prisoners increased at-least 5 - 8 Xs since 1980 when at-least 60% of US prisoners were white men - Also prison teaches men how to be criminals- not how to be fathers & husbands], & makes it hard for ex-cons w criminal records to get decent-paying jobs so they can take care of a family. [FYI: There's been a repeating history of the CIA, DoD & Wall St Banksters being implicated in the drug trade- From Vietnam, to Iran-Contra in Central & South America {ala the Crack explosion of the 1980s}, to now in Afghanistan]. Of-course this leads to hi rates of Brothers re-offending. [FYI: Contrary to popular Hype & Spin- Whites commit 2 - 3Xs more serious crimes than Blacks- From FBI 2010 Crime Data Sheet: Offenders by Race: Total % of Offenders: 69.5% white -vs 28% Black - This was/is true for all major crimes except murder- where the totals were about equal for both whites & Blacks -&- Robbery {as much a financial as a violent crime} where Blacks committed about 26% more robberies than whites. Tellingly whites committed 2.1Xs as many DRUG offenses as Blacks, & also 7 - 8Xs as many DUI vehicular homicides as Blacks {which kills as many or even more than gun-murders].

4th} Add this to the general trend, since the 1970s - 80s, of de-industrialization & de-unionization of the US' [urban] work-force- leading to Hi- Black [male] unemployment / under-employment, & the so-called "sexual-revolution's" [of the latter 1960s, into 70s & 80s]  devaluing of 'traditional family values' across the entire US.

5th} Since obviously you've got a problem w 'Welfare as We Know It'- the way to 'humanely' end it is to roll-out a full employment prog at a fair & living-wage in safe working conditions, etc. But that would run counter to the Neo-Liberal Disaster-capitalist agenda of both the Repugs & Obama's Dims. It would also mean significantly cutting the budget of the Military Industrial Surveillance {in}Security Complex, & reigning in the US' military imperialist [war] agenda abroad.

IMO the combo of all of these trends since the 1970s, especially RE: Black mass imprisonment & unemployment, adequately explains why Black families went from 2/3 - 3/4 having fathers at home to now 2/3 - 3/4 of Black families are headed by single moms- although more so-called 'liberal' moral [sexual] attitudes & standards- for both women & men [of all colors]- IMO was also likely a significant contributing factor. 


On a related but slightly different topic. A recent report on AIDS Disproportional impacts on Blacks, curiously ignored the reality of Black mass incarceration as likely a [or even THEE] major factor RE this seriously problematic trend. It concluded that the main culprits were the fact that Black MSM men were 5 - 6Xs more likely to have male sex partners of the same race / ethnicity as compared to white MSM men [curiously 1/3 of white MSM men have sex w non-white males- HUMM], & also something about age disparities among Black MSM men as compared to white MSM men, as well as Black MSM men allegedly being more likely to stop using condoms when they enter long-term relationships w other Black MSM men. Be that as it may- How is it that NOT a mumbling word was said about the major role that mass Black incarceration likely plays in the AIDS explosion RE: Black men on the 'Down Lo' & also the exposure to their Black women partners- who have the highest AIDS rates among all other women in the USA??!!! IMO its also interesting that they also failed to even speculate on the role that intravenous drug use among Blacks might play in this tragic state of affairs.



“The U.S. imprisons more people per capita than any country in the world. With less than 5 percent of the world population, the U.S. imprisons more than 25 percent of all people imprisoned in the world.

There are more than 2.3 million prisoners in federal, state and local prisons in the U.S. Twice as many people are under probation and parole. Many tens of thousands of other prisoners include undocumented immigrants facing deportation, prisoners awaiting sentencing and youthful offenders in categories considered reform or detention.

The racism that pervades every aspect of life in capitalist society — from jobs, income and housing to education and opportunity — is most brutally reflected by who is caught up in the U.S. prison system.

More than 60 percent of U.S. prisoners are people of color. Seventy percent of those being sentenced under the three strikes law in California — which requires mandatory sentences of 25 years to life after three felony convictions — are people of color. Nationally, 39 percent of African-American men in their 20s are in prison, on probation or on parole. The U.S. imprisons more people than South Africa did under apartheid. (Linn Washington, “Incarceration Nation”)

The U.S. prison population is not only the largest in the world — it is relentlessly growing. The U.S. prison population is more than five times what it was 30 years ago.”

(From The Pentagon and Slave Labor in U.S. Prisons by Sara Flounders Global Research, February 04, 2013)


The difference between “illegitimate” and “legitimate” children is that some shaman performs some obscurandist ritual to sanctify the fornication of the parents of “legitimate" children.

Birth rates in poor areas are tied to lack of access to family planning support,  limited sex education, and the pro-creation, anti-contraception efforts by religious organizations.  This is true with all three Abrahamic religions:  the ultraorthodox Israelis, the fundamentalist Muslims, and the most bizarre Christian sects—although all religions are intrinsically bizarre.

The issues raised by Mr. Swift are nothing more than deranged racist arguments that have been repeatedly discredited by reputable investigators. 


Facts about Family Planning RE Black & Brown Women.

75% of US Family-Planning [PPFA] Clinics are in or near Black & Brown neighborhoods.

Over 1/2 of Black pregnancies & nearly 1/3 Hispanic pregnancies are terminated by abortion- vs only about 9% - 10% for white women. Thus NON-White women [& teen girls] account for nearly 2/3s of all abortions in the USA- w Black women [& teen girls] accounting for 37% of the total. Thus abortion rates for Black women [& teen girls] is 5 - 6 Xs higher than for white women [from the Guttmacher Institute's stats - FYI: Guttmacher is effectively the research arm of PPFA].

(From Information Please: 54% of women having abortions were using a contraceptive method about the same time they got pregnant

As opposed to just- 8% of women having abortions have never used a method of birth control - [IE: nearly 7Xs as many women getting abortions used birth-control at the time they got pregnant as those who never used birth-control].

90% women at risk of unintended pregnancy are using a contraceptive method.

Sex-education classes that include info about artificial birth-control modalities [& now abortion] have been mandated in most US Public Jr & Sr Hi-Schools since at-least the early 1970s. Abortion & STI / AIDS counselors have also been available in most Urban Jr & Sr Hi-Schools since at-least the early 1990s. Some of these counselors even distribute condoms [& OBC pills] to students & can even make abortion referrals for teenage girl students- without parental knowledge &/or consent.

More Nixaklielian Nonsense




I don’t know where you have obtained this data—there are no specific citations, but it is bogus—like the “information” in so many of your nearly incoherent comments.

Above are two of many articles refuting the latest Nixaklielian barrage of distortions, misinformation,  and misquotations.  I especially recommend perusal of the second article.

Well Since You Didn't Bother to Look for Them Yourself-

Here's the chapter & verse of the sources which I in fact did actually allude to: 

} Planned Parenthood is the country's leading abortion provider. Its affiliates performed more than 305,000 abortions in 2007. 

The largest abortion clinic in the United States openned in Houston, Texas, in April 2010. Planned Parenthood renovated a former Houston bank into a 78,000 square foot facility. Pro-life advocates called it an abortion super center that includes a surgical wing equipped to provide late-term abortions.

Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood director [for 8 yrs] turned pro-life advocate, says the new clinic will target minorities. “It’s a neighborhood where 85 percent of the population is minority,” she said. “That is very intentional by Planned Parenthood.” “Seventy-six percent of Planned Parenthood clinics are built in minority neighborhoods,” Ms Johnson continued. “It's very intentional and goes back to the roots of the organization.” {


Guttmacher Policy Review [GPR] Summer 2008, Vol 11, Num 3- entitled: 'Abortion & Women of Color- the Bigger Picture'

Breif History of Sex Education [@ www.open.edu/openlearn/body-mind/health/health-studies/brief-history-sex-education ]

And I site my on personal experience as both a student & a teacher of CPS Schools.


And here's Some interesting excerpts from the source you sitedwww.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2835625/ :}

Abortion rates are also strikingly different across racial/ethnic and SES categories; in 2000 Black women had a rate of 49 per 1,000 women, Hispanic women 33 per 1,000 women, and women with an income of less than 100% of the FPL 44 per 1,000. In contrast, the rate for both White women and women earning more than 200% of the FPL was only 13 per 1,000. Between 1994 and 2000, the proportion of women having abortions who were low SES or minority women increased markedly. [FYI: this info shows that in the late 1990 to 2000 Black women were having abortions at rates 4 Xs greater than white women (Note: the US' aver pregnancy rate = about 97-100 per 1000 women)- PS: the info I sited from Guttmacher is from 2008, as the disparity had increased]

The historical relationship between discriminatory beliefs towards poor and minority populations and some family planning programs and policies, including the nonconsensual sterilization of mentally ill, poor, minority and immigrant women and coercive family planning programs, affects the relationship between these communities and family planning providers [DUHH!!!]. In fact, coercion around family planning has never receded completely to the background, as evidenced by controversy over recent programs in which specific populations [IE: Black, Latina, Native American women] were paid to use 'highly effective' [Humm] contraceptive methods. The family planning experiences of disadvantaged women are inevitably affected by these inequities.

Safety concerns for many Black women are shaped by [so-called] 'conspiracy' beliefs about contraception arising from this history of the use of contraception to control the fertility of vulnerable populations. A recent study assessing these concerns found that more than one third of respondents agreed that “medical and public health institutions [have an actual notorious history of] use poor and minority people as guinea pigs to try out new birth control methods". This distrust extends to Hispanics as well. Concerns about side effects from hormonal contraceptives appear to be particularly prevalent. For Black women, menstrual irregularities caused by hormonal contraceptive methods were of particular concern.

A study of patient experiences with medical care during pregnancy found that low-income Black and Latina women were more likely to report being encouraged to limit their family size than middle-class Whites, and a survey of family planning clients found that Blacks were more likely to report being pressured to start a contraceptive method than Whites. In a survey of Black women, 28% reported they had been encouraged to use one form of birth control when they preferred another, and 67% reported that they had experienced race-based discrimination when obtaining family planning services. An analysis of the National Survey of Family Growth also indicated that Black and Hispanic women were more likely to report having received counseling about birth control than White women, and that Hispanic women were more likely to be counseled about sterilization... { Remember the Context: Last yr it was reported that non-white births have now surpassed white births & by 2042 whites will be the minority population in the US.]

Please Get the Facts

The Facts:

1. Controlling for socioeconomic status, race, and place of residence, the strongest predictor of whether a person will end up in prison is that he was raised by a single mother (i.e. fatherless).

2. By 1996, 70 percent of inmates in state juvenile detention centers serving long-term sentences were raised by single mothers.

3. Seventy-two percent of juvenile murderers and 60% of rapists come from single-mother homes.

4. Seventy percent of teenage births, dropouts, suicides, runaways, juvenile delinquents, and child murders involve children raised by single mothers.

5. Girls raised without fathers are more sexually promiscuous and more likely to end up divorced.

6. A 1990 study by the Progressive Policy Institute showed that after controlling for single motherhood, the difference between black and white crime rates disappeared.

The black crime and incarceration rates are symptoms of a much deeper problem. That problem is that black children are being born and raised fatherless. Such children are improperly socialized and ill-equipped to function in American society. Such children are the victims of a government child support/welfare policy that provides incentives to women who produce fatherless children.

For more details read my book, Black Genocide: The Untold Truth About Child Support Enforcement. Its available on Amazon.com.

Yours is a 'What Came First the Chicken or the Egg' Argument

It's a given that the info you site is likely factual, but you still have NOT looked at the over-all historical trend. I'll repeat again, up until the 1960s & 70s 2/3 - 3/4 of Black families had fathers in the home & at-least +60% of US prisoners were white men. By 1980 the prison population became increasingly Black & Brown w whites now making up less than 1/3 & Blacks being almost 1/2 of US inmates- while at the same time many prison became so-called 'privatized' [= $profitized$] & the US' prison population exploded by 5 - 7 Xs since 1980- even as crime rates fell. Much / Most of the exploding US prison population was due to the phony 'War on Drugs', mainly for simple marijuana possession- yet by the FBI's own stats show that whites commit 2 - 3 Xs as much total crime than Blacks- including drug violations. This implies that IF the US' Criminalized {in}Justice were not in fact RACIST- whites would/should still be over 60% of US prisoners & Blacks not more than about 1/4 of US inmates [FYI: the FBI itself also has a notorious legacy of racism & was founded by notoriously racist Gay Edgar Hoover]. 

During this same period Black families went from 2/3 - 3/4 having fathers in the home to now 2/3 - 3/4 of Black families are headed by single moms. IMO there's much more to this trend than your overly simplistic [& rather insultingly sexist] assertion that all of a sudden since 1980, Black women just couldn't keep their legs closed & panties on!

I've no doubts that having Black fathers in the home is a good thing, but that by itself won't magically fix the Black mass unemployment crisis, & mass Black incarceration via the Racially biased policies of the so-called Wars of Crime & Drugs [kinda hard to have Black fathers at home if they're locked up on  marijuana beefs] & 'Stop & Frisk', etc. Thus while reducing &/or ending single Black motherhood is IMO certainly desirable, it's by itself NO 'Magic Bullet' solution!

The House negro -in- chief has no right...

...to talk down to Black people when it was his people who created the problems you speak of, in order to breakup the Black Liberation movement...

Obama repeats to Black folks many of the stereotypes whites said about him, and Blacks in general, while being raised by his white CIA mother and grandparents in Hawaii & Indonesia. How sad. Marrying Michelle and going to a Black church hasn't changed the manchurian candidates perception.

Too bad HE doesn't ever take any personal responsibility. He's always the first one to BLAME something, anything, on Republicans or whoever else he can get away with putting the blame on. 
Part of "responsibility" regarding ANYTHING is HONESTY. How can you take responsibility for something that is never your fault? And the reason "nothing" is your fault is because you're such a LIAR. 

He needs to stop preaching. He's got no room to talk. He needs to address HIS HOMETOWN. I can't see how the graduates of Morehouse are exactly the right audience for his stupid rhetoric.

It's amazing to have a "Black" President who claims Chicago is his home town but has to be begged by Farrakhan and Jesse Jackson to go there and do something for the youth. It is equally amazing to have a President who can bail out corporations whose CEOs squandered millions but does nothing to help Detriot (a majority Black City).

This guy and his wife have a lot of nerve telling Black people they're not special or entitled to anything, and then blaming the victims (AGAIN!) for the social crisis many Americans find themselves in, as if these 2 haven't been coddled and given a helping hand along the way by rich folks their whole entire lives: Peter Geithner? Zbigniew Brzezinski? Abner Mikva? Bettylu Saltzman? David Axelrod? Penny Pritzker? James & Susan Crown? Bill Ayers? Tony Rezko? etc.  
Anyway... Black college kids are under a mountain of debt (Support the Warren bill S. 897). Wages for young Black adults are falling - and being slashed in half in some cases (See his Government/Wall St. auto industry restructuring). 30 million people are unemployed or underemployed. 
40 percent of Blacks live below poverty line. 14% black unemployment (probably higher than that). 1 million Blacks in gulag's: that's 1 in 10 behind bars or on parole. 2.5 million families lost their homes in just three years according to a Root link i was reading. 
While they gave their boot strap "tough love" speeches, another house negro in Detroit is carrying out a ruthless attack on Black people in order to pay off wealthy bondholders. All of this goes on while zombie banks and hedge fund hyena's are entitled to our government tax money, pensions, health care, Social Security, and the (privatized) "Federal" Reserve's printing mill to the tune of 84 billion a month! But they lie and tell us "You useless eater's are bankrupting America, there's no money to pay for you peons."!!!

End Mass Incarceration Movement

Hello, I represent the End Mass Incarceration Movement.

We are a national movement and we are marching on Washington D.C. in early 2014.

We are currently conducting rallies, gaining support, all across the nation.

You and everyone interested are invited to join our efforts. I am in Fort Lauderdale and so far, I have been heading up the Florida effort. I am organizing a rally in South Florida and looking for partners and supporters.

My public phone number is 954-213-3327.

More information can be found on our End Mass Incarceration Facebook Page, as well:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/END-MASS-Incarceration/514844805218729 or by visiting the 'Change the WORLD' Blog: http://thechangetheworldmovement.com/emi/ 

Thank you!

Black leadership

The disturbance in between white and black people still continuous in America; therefore we have found different black people were take over their community charge. But with the help of American President Obama, many of black leaders were surrender to avoid criminal codes. It is quite better to maintain in the country; through beneficial supportive programs.

Leadership coaching in Florida