Sunday, November 16, 2003

Now that doesn't seem fair, does it?
Some numbers on blacks and marijuana.

Here are some fascinating charts about reported marijuana use among Americans of different age, gender, and ethnic groups. This is a chart of the percentage of black drug offenders in state prison.

For those of you who don't enjoy pouring over charts, here are some highlights:

- (Table 3.2) At the time of the survey, 9.9% of black participants had smoked weed in the last year, while 9.1% of whites had. (Among 18-25 year-olds, namely kids people our age, 24.2% of whites had used marijuana in the last year, while only 20% of blacks had.)

- (Table 3.1) 37.8% of white participants reported using pot during their lifetimes, while 28.5% of blacks had. (Again, look at the higher weed use among white people in our age group - 46.7% v. 31.6%.)

- (Table 3.3) The delineation in which the black pot use is largest compared to white pot use is among those who had used within the last month, and even then the proportion was low - 6.1% of blacks v. 5.2% of whites.

Now comes the crazy part.

- (Second link) 63% of drug admissions to state prisons are black, compared to 12% that are white.

Okay, let's think about this. America is 80% white, but only 12% black. Let's go with the least flattering figure for blacks and assume black marijuana users outnumber white users 6 to 5. Even then, in raw numbers, there are about 5.7 times as many whites using marijuana than blacks, so, by extention, there should be about 5.7 times as many whites in jail for weed as blacks. Instead, blacks outnumber whites over 5 to 1 on marijuana incarcerations.

In short, the criminal justice system is anti-black, for one reason or another. Those of you who doin't think it is can maybe counter my emperical data with a reasonable explanation. Maybe "Blacks love to turn themselves in," or "Blacks like to carry their weed out inthe open when they walk past cops." But no, it couldn't be that police are more likely to pursue marijuana use in black neighborhoods, or more likely to look the other way when a white college kid smells like pot, or that a judge is more likely to sentence a black person than a white person for the same drug charge. Of course not. This is America.


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