Blacks More Likely to Abuse Drugs Due to ‘Character Makeup’ and ‘Genetics,’ Says State Rep. Alford

Republican from Kansas cited decades-old racist propaganda to back his claim, then denied he’s a racist.


A 75-year-old white state representative from Kansas over the weekend cited 1930s racist propaganda in his argument against legalizing marijuana.

According to Republican Rep. Stephen Alford, marijuana and other drugs were outlawed nearly 80 years ago because of Blacks, who were susceptible to drug use thanks to “their genetics and that.”

The Garden City Telegram, which posted a video of Alford speaking, on Monday reported that Alford made the remarks on Saturday during a legislative session at a hospital.

“What was the reason why they [outlawed drugs]?” Alford asked a crowd. “One of the reasons why — I hate to say it — is the African Americans, they were basically users and they basically responded the worst off to those drugs. It’s 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 of the people not remembering what’s happened in the past. So basically, I’m against marijuana all the way through.”

No one in the audience was Black, The Telegram also reported.

Studies have shown that Blacks use marijuana at about the same rate as whites — however, they are nearly four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession (in some states, the disparity is even greater).

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in 2016 Blacks and whites also reported having used illicit drugs at some point in their lives at similar rates. And the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which released the report, also states that “risk factors” and “protective factors” for substance use disorders are multi-faceted.

SAMHSA reports that race can play a role in substance use — but in a societal way rather than genetic: “In society, risk factors can include norms and laws favorable to substance use, as well as racism and a lack of economic opportunity.”

The historical events Alford referred to to occurred when a racist man took over the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN), which led to the creation of the present-day Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The FBN’s first commissioner was Harry J. Anslinger, who headed the agency for more than three decades.

Anslinger prioritized outlawing marijuana and frequently injected racism into his arguments.

“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,” Anslinger was quoted as saying, along with, “Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.”

According to CBS News, even the name marijuana is a reference to the role race has played in the war on drugs: “The word ‘marijuana’ itself was part of this approach. What was commonly known as cannabis until the early 1900s was instead called marihuana, a Spanish word more likely to be associated with Mexicans.”

Anslinger also promoted the idea — without basis — that marijuana makes people psychotic. CBS also reported: “The problem was, there was little scientific evidence that supported Anslinger’s claims. He contacted 30 scientists, … and 29 told him cannabis was not a dangerous drug. But it was the theory of the single expert who agreed with him that he presented to the public — cannabis was an evil that should be banned — and the press ran with this sensationalized version.”

Despite Anslinger’s false two-part argument, the effects of his paranoia remain today.

Meanwhile, Alford apologized for his comments on Monday afternoon — after insisting to the Associated Press that he’s not a racist.

“I’m not going [to] make any more remarks about that. To me, that’s neutral. Basically, I got called a racist, which I’m really not, and it’s just the way people — the interpretation of people. To me, I’m trying to look at what’s really the best for Kansas,” he told the AP.

Also prior to Alford’s apology, Darrell Pope, president of the NAACP chapter in Hutchinson, told the AP that Alford is “an idiot” who “shows how oblivious Kansans are to selecting representatives to put someone like that in there to represent them.”

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  • Michael J. "Orange Mike" Lowrey

    So all the rural poor white folks in Trump country with opiate problems, the ones who have voted for Kansas’ insane Republican officials and legislators, it’s because us crackers and hillbillies and rednecks have inferior genetic makeups?

    • ORANGE MIKE–The White Republican Congress continues to ABANDON the lower-class
      white constituency that that elected them to office. You might enjoy this book:

      WHITE TRASH: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America.
      Nancy Isenberg. Viking, 2016.

      This book tells it all, including how the white underclass was created
      and maintained.

  • Just wow! Reefer madness? And in the meantime, let’s turn a complete blind eye to the opioid crisis plaguing the country….

  • David Andersen

    I constantly ask myself how we can end up with someone like Trump in office, or how people continue to trample others because of their race, sexuality, etc? Then I see things like this, and it reminds me of why there is protest and kneeling, and anger. These people continue to plague the leadership of America, and it sickens me. Their bigoted rhetoric panders to the uneducated and ignorant, while trying desperately to cling to their “good ol days”. This man has no place in a role of leadership. Epic fail!

  • Jeez, where do they find these people? I’m legitimately torn. On one hand, I hate that Trump has emboldened all these mental Neanderthals to come out of their hate-filled closets and publicly spew their racist garbage with impunity. On the other hand, it’s good that these ignoramuses are — finally — exposing their true colors (or aversions to same).

    • Grannybunny-As a former paralegal and retired lawyer, I’ve worked in top-tiered, international law firms with the so-called “best and brightest Ivy-league” white attorneys and this Alford-type racism has been vomited out everyday for over 40 years by educated white racist fools in corporate AmeriKKKa. tRump has made it convenient to blame him, but it has been endemic and pandemic for years. As Black people we hear this ignorance spewed out daily and regularly from JFK, through O’Bama to tRump.

      When whites quit giving themselves credit for “evolving” from their racist past, confess their own present personal racism, then there is a slim possibility of healing. This false sense of FAIRNESS whites attribute to themselves IS THE PROBLEM because it’s non-existent.

      • In painting all Whites with the same broad brush — that is, accusing all, uniformly, of racism — you are, similarly, engaging in racial bias and stereotyping. Where is your sense of FAIRNESS?

      • ZAZIJAMS–A few thoughts:

        1. There are whites who have “evolved from a racist past”, but they are NOT the ones who usually get elected
        or who are in power. You might enjoy this book, which is now in its 3rd edition:

        Gary Howard. Teachers College Press, 2016.

        His description of the process he experienced–going from a white identity attached to privilege to
        an ethnocultural identity in which “whiteness” as redefined–is what most of White Privileged America needs
        to undergo.

        2. I think the “false sense of fairness” is probably rooted in the false sense of “democracy.”

        I can imagine that, after The Trumpy Dump’s remarks on “s____hole countries”*, those new
        Americans who just got their citizenship are probably wondering why they bothered.

        *He’s denying those remarks, now–of course.

    • Charity Dell

      GRANNYBUNNY–They are not “mental Neanderthals.”
      Most of these ignoramuses would have to attend GRADUATE SCHOOL
      to attain to the Neanderthal Level. It’s not that the “elevator doesn’t
      go all the way to the top”–it’s that THE ELEVATOR WAS NEVER
      INSTALLED. The wheel may be turning, BUT THE HAMSTER IS DEAD.

      Most of these people FORGOT TO PAY THEIR BRAIN BILL.
      But then again, WHEN THERE IS NO WORKING CORTEX,
      is it really fair to accuse them of forgetting to pay their brain bill?
      Things that make you go hmmmmmm………

  • Amazing how they create a cultural of racism to include economics………….and they justify it………………………Wonder if they ever consider how people of color, on a daily basis, leave home and wonder if you will make it back. Some thing they take for granted. IF they are superior…….thru genetics then why do you create laws to provide you the advantage??
    In my little town…….the opiate addicts I see are white people walking the streets attempting to “earn” money for their habit

  • I’m a 62 year old African American lawyer who NEVER drank alcohol, marijuana or drugs and shun anyone who is so weak and feeble-minded that they would ruin their health to drink the white man’s poisonous fire-water, loco weed, or opiods. However, with the prevalence of IGNORANT RACISTS LIKE ALFORD AND WHITE SUPREMACIST OPPRESSION IN AMERIKKKA AND ALL OVER THE WORLD, I understand why Blacks need to get high as a temporary escape.

    White women don’t need weed to sleep with Black men, they simply prefer 9 inches over 5-inch pencil d*ck white men like Alford. A Black man doesn’t have to RUN AFTER white women because white women are more than willing to give It up (free of charge) to any Black man; it’s the quickest, easiest piece on the planet.

    Every time white people try to destroy Black people with drugs like crack, they reap what they sow, and now it’s mainly white people who are heroin addicts. Now, racist tRump following Uncle Tom O’bama’s lead, want to waste BILLIONS OF [BLACK] TAXPAYER DOLLARS to keep these weak, white dogs (pardon the insult to real dogs) using heroin from overdosing. Where are the ReBubbaCan’ts like Alford protesting the use of taxpayer dollars for sorry-az white heroin addicts? You ALWAYS hear these white, so-called “Christian” hypocrites complaining about taxpayer dollars being used for school lunches for poor Black children.

    Where’s the protest from that dumb, ignorant cheesehead Ryan who didn’t want taxpayer dollars to fund programs benefiting the elderly, but it’s OK to waste taxpayer dollars for the white equivalent of Black crackheads.

    Unfortunately, Alford ISN’T ON DRUGS, he’s just plain ignorant, stupid, racist and dumb as dirt. Alford, Ryan, Bannon and ALL of tRUMP’s cabinet, is a case where you wish they were all high on heroin rather than being plain, dumb, ignorant racists.

    • Charity Dell

      ZAZIJAMS–You crack me up! :-) LOL Just one question:

      1. How do you know Alford ISN’T on CRACK?

      Inquiring minds want to know!

  • Alford conveniently “forgot’ about the mortality rates of rural, poor, Euro-american males, ages 45–54,
    dying QUICKER than the rest of us out here in the US of A! And their champion “fearless leader” they
    elected has done NOTHING to improve their lot or eliminate their despair–the DESPAIR that drove
    them to tobacco, alcohol and drug addictions. Where are the promised jobs for these people?
    Where are the rehabilitation programs for these addicts out in the rural areas, Rust Belt states
    and Appalachia? I suggest Alford and his colleagues take that $34 billion that was designated for
    the precious “border wall” and pour it into health, education and welfare programs for the
    Poor White People abandoned by the current administration–and while they’re at it, maybe
    they could repair Puerto Rico!

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