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A Bitter Harvest: California, Marijuana, and the New Jim Crow

From: Chris Moore-Backman
Series: Bringing Down the New Jim Crow
Length: 59:00

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This documentary views Michelle Alexander's "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness" through the lens of California's marijuana industry. Marijuana is the single largest agricultural commodity in California and it is the primary vehicle for the war on drugs' racialized arrest and incarceration system, which has our prisons bursting at the seams nationwide. Great numbers of predominantly white men and women grow, harvest, and process marijuana in California for distribution throughout the United States. Local law enforcement and the communities they represent - communities whose economies are marijuana-dependent - benefit from letting this part of the illegal process go mostly undetected, while the crackdown happens almost exclusively in poor inner-city neighborhoods of color. Through interviews with Michelle Alexander, Stephen Gutwillig (Drug Policy Alliance), and Vincent Harding (renowned veteran of the African-American Freedom Movement), this program cracks open the question of why and how this discrepancy exists, and it explores some of its devastating consequences. It's a show that grapples head on with the reality of white privilege in the United States. Read the full description.

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A Bitter Harvest views Michelle Alexander's "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness" through the lens of California's marijuana industry.

Marijuana is the single largest agricultural commodity in California and it is the primary vehicle for the war on drugs' racialized arrest and incarceration system, which has our prisons bursting at the seams nationwide. Great numbers of predominantly white men and women grow, harvest, and process marijuana in California for distribution throughout the United States. Local law enforcement and the communities they represent - communities whose economies are marijuana-dependent - benefit from letting this part of the illegal process go mostly undetected, while the crackdown happens almost exclusively in poor inner-city neighborhoods of color.

Through interviews with Michelle Alexander, Stephen Gutwillig (Drug Policy Alliance), and Vincent Harding (renowned veteran of the African-American Freedom Movement), this program cracks open the question of why and how this discrepancy exists, and it explores some of its devastating consequences. It's a show that grapples head on with the reality of white privilege in the United States.

 

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Piece Description

A Bitter Harvest views Michelle Alexander's "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness" through the lens of California's marijuana industry.

Marijuana is the single largest agricultural commodity in California and it is the primary vehicle for the war on drugs' racialized arrest and incarceration system, which has our prisons bursting at the seams nationwide. Great numbers of predominantly white men and women grow, harvest, and process marijuana in California for distribution throughout the United States. Local law enforcement and the communities they represent - communities whose economies are marijuana-dependent - benefit from letting this part of the illegal process go mostly undetected, while the crackdown happens almost exclusively in poor inner-city neighborhoods of color.

Through interviews with Michelle Alexander, Stephen Gutwillig (Drug Policy Alliance), and Vincent Harding (renowned veteran of the African-American Freedom Movement), this program cracks open the question of why and how this discrepancy exists, and it explores some of its devastating consequences. It's a show that grapples head on with the reality of white privilege in the United States.

 

Transcript

A BITTER HARVEST: CALIFORNIA, MARIJUANA, AND THE NEW JIM CROW
EPISODE 1, BRINGING DOWN THE NEW JIM CROW

~

Michelle Alexander:
And this young man comes into my office, I'm spending my afternoon interviewing one young black man after another, who's been stopped, searched, for no apparent reason other than race. He has documented a pattern of stops and searches that he's experienced over a period of 9 months, with extraordinary detail. And on top of that, he was a good looking young man. He was well-spoken and charismatic and I thought to myself, "This is my dream plaintiff. This is the one we've been waiting for." And so I'm talking to him, getting all excited. Then he says something that has me pause, and I say "Wait, did you just say you're a felon? A drug felon?" And he gets quiet. And I just say "You know what, I'm sorry we can't represent you if you have a felony." And he...
Read the full transcript

Timing and Cues

The Continuous Version of "A Bitter Harvest" has two 30-second station id breaks: 13:25-13:55 and 33:20-33:50.

Musical Works

Title Artist Album Label Year Length
God Only Knows Joe Henry Civilians. Anti 2007 05:02
Our Song Joe Henry Civilians. Anti 2007 06:19