In fact, many racist quotations attributed to Anslinger are either poorly cited, wrong or just plain fabrications. (while Wikiquote labels this quotation as “disputed” several books have used it, which has sparked an unresolved controversy about its validity). In fact, when Anslinger revealed his obvious racism in 1934, it nearly lost him his job. After Anslinger called one marijuana user and informant a “ginger colored nigger,” Senator Joseph Guffey (PA-D) complained and asked that Anslinger be replaced. While Anslinger’s pejoratives explicitly betray his bigotry, politics demanded that he make a more subtle connection between race and marijuana.
The most racially charged depictions of black and Mexican peddlers appeared in yellow journalistic efforts to exploit sensationalized marijuana atrocities. Much of Anslinger’s anecdotal evidence relied on these articles, some of which he himself wrote, and each story fell into three basic types: articles about the prohibition movement, articles about criminals who blamed their actions on marijuana and the most common type, marijuana busts. Articles that documented marijuana and heroin arrests established the dominant narcotics storyline after 1937, as they emphasized busts that caught “peddlers” and always emphasized when dealers and growers were “Negro.” Once prohibition began, the message became less about the growing crisis and more to reassure Americans that the FBN had control of the situation and the problem was somewhat contained.