If You Think the Word ‘Marijuana’ is Racist, Does That Make You a Racist, Too?
Legislators in the state of Washington recently passed a law to remove the word “marijuana” from several parts of the “Revised Code of Washington” replacing the word with Cannabis instead. The reason? Racism of course!
The Denver Channel reports;
Washington state Rep. Melanie Morgan gave testimony explaining the word’s racist past saying, “As recreational marijuana use became more popular, it was negatively associated with Mexican immigrants,” Morgan said.
“Even though it seems simple because it’s just one word, the reality is we’re healing the wrongs that were committed against Black and brown people around cannabis,” she said. – Source
Rep Morgan continued;
“It was … Anslinger that said and I quote, ‘Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind. And most marijuana users are Negroes, Hispanic, Caribbean, and entertainers. Their satanic music, jazz and swing result from marijuana usage.’” she said.
All of this is completely true, however – the question remains…is the word Marijuana racist?
I personally don’t believe it’s a racist word and rather “thinking it’s racist” is the real racism. It’s my hope that at the end of this article you too can see why “removing marijuana” from the books does little combat actual racism and seems more like a “whitewash” of the past trying to distance oneself from the guilt.
The Racist Roots of Marijuana
The word “marijuana” isn’t racist…but it was a racist that popularized the word. In fact, the word “Marijuana” is just a Mexican slang word for Cannabis. In fact, the word even appears in the famous song, “La Cucaracha” – which could be about corrupt politicians, a Mexican general who became president, or the soldiers who died during the Revolutionary war.
One part in particular makes reference to “Marijuana” which goes;
La cucaracha, la cucaracha,
Ya no puede caminar,
Porque no tiene,
porque le falta,
Marihuana que fumar
In English –
The cockroach, the cockroach,
No longer can walk
Because it doesn’t have
Marijuana to smoke…
The Mexican Army during the Revolutionary war would use cannabis prior to going into battle in order to reduce their battle anxiety, which is why the lyrics were added into the song. In fact, there are numerous versions of the song.
The question is…how did Anslinger – a fat white racist with a desire for power – even hear of the word in the first place?
To unravel this mystery, you have to look no further than his homeboy – William Randolph Hearst, a newspaper mogul who owned plenty of land on the Mexican side of the border. On this land, mainly used for timber, he was frequently raided by a man and his crew named “Doroteo Orango”.
But you all probably know him as Pancho Villa!
Pancho Villa, a revolutionary hero of Mexico was famous for paying Americans in gold to fight in his army, also didn’t have a problem in taking resources from Hearst’s lands…which is probably how Anslinger and Hearst came up with using the word “Marijuana” as their main vehicle for demonizing cannabis.
Villa’s crew most likely smoked a whole lot of sticky since they weren’t “official revolutionaries” and were more like a band of mercenaries. If you ever read “The Friends of Pancho Villa”, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
Now that Anslinger/Hearst had the ammunition, they primed the gun!
Anslinger was the bureaucrat, Hearst a newspaper mogul and together, government and the media worked to demonize the most beneficial plant in the US and essentially made it illegal over the course of 27 years.
To convince the rest of the public to abandon their most beneficial crop, Anslinger and Hearst didn’t have to go too far to do it. All they did was stoked the racist tendencies in the hearts of the general population and before you knew it – “regulations were passed” to keep the “devil weed” out of the hands of unsuspecting youths.
Wild stories of black and brown people were plastered on the media saying that they were near possessed with cannabis which made them do violent things. This worked for a decade or more…however, after the second World War and with the rise of the Cold War – cannabis was said to make you a passive communist lover…ideas that were still perpetuated by the same crew.
However, it wasn’t until 1971 that cannabis became officially “Public Enemy #1” according to Nixon, who used the new powers granted to him – by himself and his pharma lobby – to predominantly crack down on minority groups and break up protests. Since 1971, more than 20 million people have been arrested for marijuana related offenses and to this day, some people are still being arrested for the plant.
Predominantly minority communities were also most affected by the war on drugs, which reaffirmed the notion of the racism in the prohibition of drugs.
When Did Marijuana Become “Racist”?
I’ve just walked you through the concise history of cannabis prohibition and how racism was used to make the plant illegal. However, the question remains – is Marijuana Racist for being used by a racist for personal gain?
I don’t think so. On the contrary, to believe that Marijuana is racist is to believe that Anslinger and Hearst was right. If the word “Marijuana” was used to trigger the racist inclinations of Americans in the 1930s, then the lawmakers that decided that the word is racist agrees with Anslinger…
I’m sure there’s someone reading this right now saying, “I THINK MARIJUANA IS RACIST AND I DON’T AGREE WITH ANSLINGER!” but then again, Anslinger appropriated a word from Mexicans, flipped its meaning and used it as a weapon to trigger racists into voting against their own self-interest.
To reaffirm that “Marijuana is racist” is technically a reaffirmation that you view the world through a racist lens – appropriate a word that is still frequently used by Mexicans without any racial connotations – and then white-wash your guilt by striking any instance of it from official records.
Is marijuana racist? No, it’s racists that believe that marijuana is racist…
Besides, the cannabis counterculture appropriated the word and stole it from the racists…
Cheech & Chong Turned Marijuana into a Symbol of Resistance
During the 1970s-1980s, the comedy duo Cheech & Chong made a series of “Stoner flicks” where they would smoke “marijuana” and often would be at odds with Jonny Law. Marijuana, was seen as the counterculture and irrespective of the color of your skin or your sex, people from all walks of life came together to smoke….”marijuana”.
The counter culture took this “racist word” and turned it into a symbol of resistance against “the man”. The “man” is Anslinger, Hearst, DuPont. The “Man” is racist.
It’s the same legislators that want to strike marijuana from the public books now that voted on making it illegal in the first place.
Marijuana is not a racist word, but it certainly is a stain on the political class – that are often the most racist individuals who pander to people solely based on their race. Remember when Pelosi was wearing traditional Slavers uniforms to show their respect for the slaves in America?
Yes, the scarfs they wear is essentially an affirmation of Pro Slavery but hey – the Photo Op looks like they care and that’s what matters! You can read all about the Kente Scarfs here.
The word “Marijuana” and the act of smoking “Marijuana” became a symbol of resistance to the political bullshit being sold at mass via the filter of “morality” and “safety”. Marijuana is the great unifier that reached beyond racial lines and brought together a group of misfits, rejects, outcasts, etc.
These “unwanted” class of citizens were often the target of government sponsored propaganda that created the “stoner stereotype” in the hopes of deterring use. It was cannabis consumers that took that stereotype, turned it into a punchline and then utilized the cultural gravity of it to legalize cannabis for medical purposes in 1997.
And now, after a few decades of the popularity of marijuana growing…politicians are once more stepping in to “set things right” when it was them who “set things wrong” in the first place.
The Word Marijuana Has a History worth Remembering!
Did a racist use the word marijuana to dupe racist Americans into voting against their self interest? YES!
Did politicians use the system built to prohibit marijuana for political gain by claiming they are tough on crime
MORE ON THE RACISM AND THE WORD MARIJUANA, READ THESE…