Monday, September 14, 2009

The Racist Drug War

From Human Rights Watch:

Blacks have been arrested nationwide on drug charges at higher rates than whites for nearly three decades, even though they engage in drug offenses at comparable rates, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Using data obtained from the FBI, the report reveals the extent and persistence of racial disparities in US drug-law enforcement. The data also show that most drug arrests are for nothing more serious than possession.

The 20-page report, "Decades of Disparity: Drug Arrests and Race in the United States," says that adult African Americans were arrested on drug charges at rates that were 2.8 to 5.5 times as high as those of white adults in every year from 1980 through 2007, the last year for which complete data were available. About one in three of the more than 25.4 million adult drug arrestees during that period was African American.

"Jim Crow may be dead, but the drug war has never been color-blind," said Jamie Fellner, senior counsel with Human Rights Watch's US Program and author of the report. "Although whites and blacks use and sell drugs, the heavy hand of the law is more likely to fall on black shoulders"

"Hauling hundreds of thousands of people down to the station house each year because they have some weed or a rock of crack cocaine in their pocket has had little impact on drug use," said Fellner. "But the stigma of a drug arrest, especially if followed by a conviction, limits employment, education and housing opportunities. A more effective, less destructive drug policy would prioritize treatment, education, and positive social investments in poor communities over arrest and incarceration."

As if the fact that the Drug War is stupid, unjust, destructive, and counterproductive wasn't it enough, it's proponents are increasingly coming to the realization that the policies they defend are racist. And what's more, the public is increasingly coming to this realization as well.

We will soon be at the point where the only people who defend this War on (Americans Who Like) Drugs are the loonies who think weed will kill you, and the massive criminal/military/pharmaceutical complex that profits from it.

Oh, and the biggest supporters of them all- the drug cartels.

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