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Black Silent Majority The Rockefeller Drug Laws and the Politics of Punishment

Wednesday January 2016


Michael Javen Fortner Assistant Professor and Academic Director of Urban Studies, CUNY

That African-Americans are many more times likely to die at the hands of their black neighbors than at the hands of the police—or that blacks account for 32 percent of people shot by police, a figure almost identical to the black share of all arrests—is conveniently ignored by the Black Lives Matter movement and its progressive allies.

To such activists, talk of black-on-black violence is a distraction, while alleged over-policing of urban neighborhoods and “mass incarceration” are the result of a white-supremacist social order, the “New Jim Crow,” born of white backlash against the civil-rights movement. Not only is such a narrative false, argues CUNY professor Michael Fortner in his groundbreaking new book Black Silent Majority: The Rockefeller Drug Laws and the Politics of Punishment, it neglects the overwhelming support that middle-class African-Americans lent to the development of America’s current tough-on-crime criminal justice system. Please join us as professor Fortner and Jason Riley—M.I. senior fellow, Wall Street Journal columnist, and Fox News commentator—discuss these and other inconvenient truths.

Michael Javen Fortner is assistant professor and academic director of urban studies at the City University of New York. He holds a B.A. in political science and African-American studies from Emory University and a Ph.D. in government and social policy from Harvard University.