MN's Disproportionate Number of Disenfranchised Blacks PDF Print E-mail

In Dorm Room Dealers: Drugs and the Privileges of Race and Class, A. Rafik Mohamed and Erik D. Fritsvold point out that the rate of illicit drug and substance use is lower among young black adults than among young white adults, 34% versus 39%.  This means there are there are about 5 million white 18-to-25 year olds who are regular illicit drug users compared to about 1 million black users.  Yet half the people in state prisons for drug use are black.  Dorm-room dealing is low-risk because white, middle-class youth are "anti-targets" in the "war on drugs." The authors explain that white dorm room dealers are invisible to law enforcement because they do not fit the image of a drug dealer, or their drug dealing is ignored by the college's authorities.  Young black men are much more subject to searches and consequently much more frequently arrested for possession of drugs.

Currently almost 1 out of 10 voting-age African American Minnesotans are

disenfranchised compared to only 1 of 100 voting-age white Minnesotans

mn black and whites disenfranchised

michelle alexanderMichelle Alexander, who holds a joint appointment at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity and the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University, recently wrote a book on the effects of  the incarceration of black men for non-violent drug crimes:  The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.  In an interview with Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez on Democracy Now, she explains that "The war on drugs waged in ghetto communities has managed to brand as felons millions of people of color for relatively minor, nonviolent drug offenses. And once branded a felon, they’re ushered into a permanent second-class status . . . Those labeled felons may be denied the right to vote, are automatically excluded from juries, and my be legally discriminated against in employment, housing, access to education, and public benefits." 

Alexander uses the term "caste" not "class" because this population is locked into an inferior status by law and by policy.  They are locked into this caste for the same kind of drug activity that is largely ignored in middle-class and upper-middle-class white communities.
 View her Democracy Now interview or read the transcript.



MN's Leading Election System

With Secretary of State Steve Simon


steve simon


Listen to Secretary of State Steve Simon's excellent presentation on MN's outstanding election system emulated by many other states at the Think Again Brooklyns forum January 19, 2016.  Secretary Simon includes ways in which it can be improved, and he explains why it is important to vote.  He concludes with a quote from a tee shirt:  "Failure to vote is not an act of rebellion.  It is an act of surrender."

Get details on how to vote at

facebook logo

How Oregon Became the Easiest Place to Vote in the US

By Lornet Turnbull
YES! Magazine
October 8, 2016


In January, Oregon became the first state in the country to begin automatically registering eligible citizens to vote when they obtain or renew their driver's licenses or state IDs, completely shifting the burden of voter registration from the individual to the government. 

Read the Article

Think Again MN, Powered by Joomla!