In the discussion thread: The War on Drugs is really just a war on Black People [View all]
Response to theinquisitivechad (Reply #5)
Sat Oct 20, 2012, 09:54 PM
Igel (24,430 posts)
11. There are.
5 minute with Google points out some of them.
You're more likely to be arrested if you use more frequently. Frequency has a racial skew, it's claimed--it's not use "use vs not use" but "use often vs use occasionally vs not use".
You're more likely to be arrested if you use publicly. This also, it's claimed, has a racial skew.
Some drugs are "racialized" in that they're associated with minorities and penalties are higher. Sometimes this is just outside perception; sometimes those "inside" the community agree or even advocate for the increased penalties, even if they later wish they hadn't.
Location matters. You're probably more likely to be caught in urban areas than suburban areas or rural areas. There's a racial skew to urbanization in the US.
Juries aren't race-free. When they look at a defendant they judge him in many ways. Will he reform? How serious was his crime, anyway? Etc.
Legal representation matters, as well as susceptibility to plea-bargaining pressure. Do you have your own lawyer? Is the public defender just trying to get through his case load so he pushes for you to plea bargain instead of fight it in court?
Instead we're left with post-hoc reasoning. "Look, a correlation. That proves causality." We have a racial skew in the outcome, it suggests that race matters at some point in the process and it could in a lot of ways. Finding out how is a matter of ongoing research and would be quite interesting to look at. (Not this year, though.)
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