vignettes of the nite XXVII: speaking the truth

This is a very interesting interview with scientist, Carl Hart, on his recent book, High Price: A Neuroscientist’s Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society. Its a wonderful example of the autobiographical merging with the ethical. Here’s a couple quotes:

“There are whole generations of black men wiped out because their records are blemished. If we start to deal with some of the consequences of our drug policy without legalization, I’m all ears. But if you avoid historical issues and you say, ‘We’re worried about creating the next big drug industry,’ you’re missing the point. What do you think has happened to some of these people? Their lives are ruined.”

“I cannot say that drugs got any of my friends. It wasn’t about drugs; it was about petty crime. They got caught up in the system. And the system did more harm than drugs. Once you’re in the system, the likelihood of getting out is very low.”

And speaking of institutional racism, and the need to call it out, the death of Nelson Mandela saddened me this week (my activism began in response to apartheid). He was and is a real hero to me. And just as with Lou Reed, I refuse to read about “the backlash”, manufactured media frenzy. Its vile.

(Speaking of which, while it can’t be undone, I wish his grandkids hadn’t done that reality TV show, Being Mandela, it almost tarnished his name. I get that a lot can happen in two generations – hello! and everyone wants to get paid, but c’mon). I do recommend this Frontline feature on his life, for a primer on the broad sweep of Mandela’s life, from a man born to a tribal chief to a political prisoner who spent 30 years in jail, and all he did before, during, and after. He is the Martin Luther King of South Africa no matter what mud the muckrackers sling. The doc also reminds you of those who also gave their life to the fight, and who, like Walter Sisulu, Mandela’s mentor, who was essential to his success, and forever in its shadow.

ANYWAY, coming across this accidentally tonight reminded me that are so many ways to make a difference, and speaking the truth whether its popular or not is first and foremost. ONWARD BOUND CITIZENS OF JANESTOWN!