Kansas state Rep. Steve Alford (R – Old Whitepeople) is not a fan of the devil weed Marihuana, and at a legislative meet-n-greet Saturday in Garden City, he offered some historical context and scientific reasoning to explain why he opposes legalization of Satan Cigarettes: Black people’s “genetics” just makes them susceptible to all sorts of crime when they smoke the stuff. Alford later “apologized” for the comments after they made national news.
Zach Worf, the head of the Finney County Democrats, had suggested that legalization could be a financial boon for Kansas, which has been in a budget crisis since Gov. Sam Brownback slashed taxes and miraculous economic growth failed to result. Kansas does not currently allow even medical marijuana, let alone recreational use. Alford urged the young whippersnapper to consider the lessons of history, and of pseudoscience, too:
Alford first argued the smell of marijuana smoke wafting from public smoking or people getting potted up on weed in cars would take away his “freedom” to enjoy clean air, but Worf noted that Colorado bans public smoking just like with tobacco. Then Alford got all sciencey, noting that in the medical opinion of his wife, a magistrate judge, “Basically any way you say it, marijuana is an entry drug into the higher drugs.” And who better to offer a scientific opinion than a judge? Except maybe actual scientific studies, which tend not to support that claim.
Still, Alford does respect scientific evidence, at least if it was scientific evidence drummed up by race-baiters of the 1930s. Speaking to an all-white group of about 60, Alford explained,
What you really need to do is go back in the ’30s, when they outlawed all types of drugs in Kansas [and] across the United States. What was the reason why they did that?
One of the reasons why — I hate to say it — it’s that, the African Americans, they were basically users and they basically responded the worst off to those drugs just because of their character makeup, their genetics and that. And so basically what we’re trying to do is, we’re trying to do a complete reverse with people not remembering what has happened in the past. So, basically, I’m against marijuana, all the way through, too.
The Garden City Telegram points out that Alford’s remarks did indeed have a historical precedent: They echoed the words of Harry J. Anslinger, the founding head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, which imposed the first national anti-marijuana regulations. Anslinger campaigned for a national ban on weed, arguing that “Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men” and that restrictions on marijuana were needed to curb “its effect on the degenerate races.”
Just for the hell of piling on, and because it’s so perfectly typical of how 1930s anti-drug propaganda was shot through with racism, the paper added that this quote has also been attributed to Anslinger:
There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the U.S., and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others.
We did our Due Dillinger and checked WikiQuote, which says that attribution to Anslinger is “disputed.” But it’s still a bang-up line, even if it’s fake history.
Mr. Worf told the Telegram that when he heard Alford’s comments, “for a brief moment he felt like he’d been taken back in time” — yet another of Worf’s frequent frustrating experiences with time travel. After the event, Worf said, he told Alford the comments were “the most racist thing [he had] ever heard.”
On Monday, after widespread condemnation of his remarks from lawmakers and state officials of both parties, Alford offered a classic not-quite apology and “clarification”:
“I apologize, I regret my comments and I sincerely apologize to anyone whom I have hurt,” Alford said in a statement, clarifying that what he was referring to were the “damaging effects on the African American community.”
Yep, he was clearly talking about the character and genetic problems of the African-American community, not individuals, because that would be racist.
Also, in a poetic bit of coincidental timing, the US Attorney for Massachusetts announced Monday that, although voters approved the legalization of pot in November’s election, he wasn’t about to commit to letting just any common jazz criminal get away with selling the stuff:
“I cannot, however, provide assurances that certain categories of participants in the state-level marijuana trade will be immune from federal prosecution.”
Black people. He means black people, duh.