Whites More Likely To Use Drugs, Blacks More Likely To Go To Jail For It | Kulture Kritic
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Whites More Likely To Use Drugs, Blacks More Likely To Go To Jail For It

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Whites More Likely To Use Drugs, Blacks More Likely To Go To Jail For It

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April V. Taylor

As the country continues to grapple with race in the context of the criminal justice system, it is important to not forget just how much of a role the War on Drugs and its disproportionate impact on Black families and communities plays in the perpetuation of racism and inequality.  Black people now constitute nearly 1 million of the total 2.3 million people who fill America’s jails and prisons, finding themselves incarcerated at a rate nearly six times that of whites.

A significant contributing factor to the disproportionately high numbers of Black people who are incarcerated is the disparity in drug prosecutions and sentencing. The NAACP reports that despite the fact that five times as many white people are using drugs as Black people, Black people wind up being sent to prison on drug related charges 10 times more often than white people.  A 2011 survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration shows that 20 percent of white people report having used cocaine, while only 10 percent of Black people report having used it.

A 2009 report from Human Rights Watch revealed that Black people are arrested for drug position at a rate more than three times higher than white people. While Black people constitute 14 percent of the country’s total population of regular drug users, they represent 37 percent of arrests for drug offenses and 59 percent of inmates serving time in a state prison for a drug offense. Even more shocking is that, according to the Sentencing Project, Black people serve almost the same amount of time for a drug offense (58.7 months) as a white person does for a violent offense (61.7 months).

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As criminalization perpetuates an underclass within American society through housing, education and employment discrimination based on drug related offenses, Black people are paying more of a ‘debt to society’ than the people who are using drugs the most. As California senator Mark Leno points out, “One can take it to conspiratorial or racist theories…the motivation I don’t think needs to be determined. The results are he same: Our policy and lawmaking perpetuates a chronic underclass of citizens.”



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  1. Al Hill II

    March 24, 2021 at 8:34 am

    The unfortunate big difference between “White Drug Usage” & “Black Drug Usage” is the Body Count

  2. godfather05

    March 24, 2021 at 2:45 pm

    Whites get counseling and blacks and other minorities go to jail. This is a government system nation wide. Ferguson is not the exception it is the American rule.


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