Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Drug enforcement: something I've observed for years

Leonard Pitts speaks the truth.  I read what's beneath his by-line whenever I see it. 

In an Op-Ed essay that appeared in The Dallas Morning News recently, Pitts "unpacks" Michelle Alexander's book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (2010).

Below you'll find a short sample of Pitt's analysis. 

Disturbing stuff. 

But, my experience in the city over the past 16 years confirms it. 

Read the sample: 

Leonard Pitts: Disturbing 'Jim Crow' book is a must read

According to federal figures, blacks and whites use drugs at a roughly equal rate in percentage terms. In terms of raw numbers, whites are far and away the biggest users – and dealers – of illegal drugs.

So why aren't cops kicking their doors in? Why aren't their sons pulled over a dozen times in nine months? Why are black men 12 times as likely to be jailed for drugs as white ones? Why aren't white communities robbed of their fathers, brothers, sons?

To read the entire Pitts essay click here.

To order Michelle Anderson's book go here

Reactions?

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is something the African-American community, and its allies, have known about for decades. That this is something that is coming out in a book is not particularly therefore new. What is new is that white people may - MAY - be learning about this information for the first time.

If you want some interesting corroborating information, the 2005 Texas Survey of Substance Use Among College Students reports that, out of 11 categories of drug use - including alcohol, binge drinking, and tobacco - white students OVERWHELMINGLY use and abuse drugs IN ALL 11 CATEGORIES.

At the same time, the State of Texas reports that African-Americans, with all other things being equal, go to jail at a rate 7.5 TIMES THE RATE OF WHITE PEOPLE.

This isn't the new Jim Crow...this is the new slavery. When fully 1/3 of ALL African-American men IN THE ENTIRE COUNTRY between 18-30 are in prison; when an entire generation is being infected and impacted by AIDS and felony records; when racial profiling in arrests, verdicts, sentences, and parole happens routinely; when 60% of African-Americans who have tried to buy a house in Dallas in the past year have been discriminated against...

rcorum said...

Anon 6:00. I have a question. You begin by correctly showing that drug use among white college students is much higher than blacks, but you don't continue the comparison. For your comparison to really be accurate it would seem to me that you would have to compare the rate of going to jail not with white college students and the general black population, but between white college students and black college students. There was a book that I had to read way back when I was in college. I believe the title was "How to Lie With Statistics." I am not calling you a liar, but simply pointing out that the same statistics can be used by different people to support totally different conclusions. Today was the first day that I have heard of the book, and would like to read it, but I can't read every book Larry mentions. On a totally different note. Larry, when are you going to call our Biden for calling a struggling worker at a custard shop with a special needs kid a "smart ass?" I sure hope President Obama enjoys continued good health. I can only imagine in horror at what Biden might say as President.

Daniel said...

Richard, maybe you should actually WATCH the clip of Joe Biden's "banter" with the ice cream store manager.

Biden's comment had nothing to do with the manager having a special needs child. The exchange was related to a joke about the store manager giving him free ice cream in exchange for lower taxes.

I'm sure you got this from Fox news, because of the blatant insertion of a completely unrelated fact and your choice to ignore the conversational context. When are you going to call yourself out on your non-sequitors?

I'm sure Biden could hold his own as President, but we know you have visions of horror any time a person with a D next to his name opens his mouth.

rcorum said...

Not D as in Democrat, but D as in Daniel. Loosen up young man. Life is too short to be so angry. By the way D I did watch the clip.

Daniel said...

Nice jab with the D-aniel comment, although I have no political aspirations.

Richard, I'm glad you watched the video. Could you point out the instance where VP Biden said to the custard owner, "oh, you have a special needs kid? You're a smartass." Because all I saw in the video was a joke about free custard equaling lower taxes.
Would your ego allow you just once to admit you reached too far? I've never seen it, but I'm willing to be corrected.

I have visions of dragons and gum-drop fairies every night -- very soothing. I'm terribly sorry that I, or anyone for that matter, give you visions of horror. This could be a very serious medical concern, and I strongly suggest you don't take it lightly.

rcorum said...

Daniel, I really don't know why I waste my time dealing with you. Maybe it is because I really do like you and have great admiration for you father who was one of my all time best teachers. Please not that I did not say that Biden mentioned anything about the man having a special needs child. I only mentioned that as evidence that this man was just a regular guy who was trying to make a living under difficult circumstances. According to the worker at the custard shop he made a comment to Biden about his desire for the current administration to lower his taxes to which Biden said, "you don't have to be a smartass." That was not an appropriate comment, and no one denies that Biden has a long running tendency to put his foot in his mouth. I just don't see how you could under any circumstances have any defense for a comment like that. You also make assumptions about thing for which you have no knowledge. Let me fill you in. I watch the news every night. At 5:00 pm I watch the local news on our local NBC affilate. At 5:30 I watch NBC national news. I do watch Fox, and MSNBC, and CNN. I try to get the new from all sides. I grew up watching Walter Cronkite. I will listen to both sides, and even read books that represent other points of view. I read this blog to have my views challanged, but unfortunatly I have had to put up with you. I have even bought and read books that Larry has suggested. I am not one dimentional in my thinking. I hope you notice that Larry never ever responds like you do. I wish I knew how to make peace with you, or at least call a truce. Over the last few days there have been people who have outright attacked Larry on this blog. Why don't you deal with them?

rcorum said...

(corrected post)

Daniel, I really don't know why I waste my time dealing with you. Maybe it is because I really do like you and have great admiration for you father who was one of my all time best teachers. Please not that I did not say that Biden mentioned anything about the man having a special needs child. I only mentioned that as evidence that this man was just a regular guy who was trying to make a living under difficult circumstances. According to the worker at the custard shop he made a comment to Biden about his desire for the current administration to lower his taxes to which Biden said, "You don't have to be a smartass." That was not an appropriate comment, and no one denies that Biden has a long running tendency to put his foot in his mouth. I just don't see how you could under any circumstances have any defense for a comment like that. You also make assumptions about thing for which you have no knowledge. Let me fill you in. I watch the news every night. At 5:00 pm I watch the local news on our local NBC affiliate. At 5:30 I watch NBC national news. I do watch Fox, and MSNBC, and CNN. I try to get the new from all sides. I grew up watching Walter Cronkite. I will listen to both sides, and even read books that represent other points of view. I read this blog to have my views challenged, but unfortunately I have had to put up with you. I have even bought and read books that Larry has suggested. I am not one dimensional in my thinking. I hope you notice that Larry never ever responds like you do. I wish I knew how to make peace with you, or at least call a truce. Over the last few days there have been people who have outright attacked Larry on this blog. Why don't you deal with them?

Daniel said...

You implied correlation when you said Biden was "calling a struggling worker at a custard shop with a special needs kid a "smart ass", but you ignore the contextual joke about about exchanging lower taxes for free custard -- this is what I don't get. Can people without special needs kids not be "regular" guys? I don't see why else you inserted the fact, except to imply some level of correlation.

Biden is not a media-smart politician. He says things that normally would be fine in the confidence of friends that sound bad in front of a camera. Did Biden say something bigoted or racist? No. Then why should you be asking Larry to call him out? I don't see Larry calling out any politicians for swearing on TV, so why should he do so at your request. You are trying to make this a political issue, when it is not -- this it what watching too much news does... reductio ad politico.

I could have conversation with the anonymouses who lob bombs at what is posted here, but it would be like herding cats. You make some constructive comments on this blog, but sometimes you have one that comes out of left field.

I'm sorry for being an inconvenience... or a vision of horror, whichever it is.

rcorum said...

Daniel, I am slow, but I actually understand your point and adding the "special needs" remark was not useful. I do still stand by my general remarks about Biden. I really wish you would have commented on the bulk of my comments, but let us exchange thought on another topic that Larry might raise in the future. Here is a point of agreement. I dislike the anons as much as you do. Have a good day.

Anonymous said...

"So why aren't cops kicking their doors in? Why aren't their sons pulled over a dozen times in nine months? Why are black men 12 times as likely to be jailed for drugs as white ones? Why aren't white communities robbed of their fathers, brothers, sons?"

Which draws the most police attention, drug use by upper middle class suburban kids behind the doors of a large two-story home or a drive-by shooting to get even with another person b/c of a drug sale dispute? The skin colors are interchangable. It's how the illegal activity is conducted that draws attention.

Black police chiefs direct black officers to black neighborhoods and still the arrest ratios remain the same as before when it was a white police operation.

Leonard's going to have to work a bit harder before he convinces me that racism is the key to understanding this problem. But white liberals will buy his work hook, line and sinker. - And commit all the public resources they can get to solve this "inequity." Maybe the answer it to arrest more white kids.

Anonymous said...

If suburbanites acted more like this, there would be more arrests in predominantly white neighborhoods:

http://vimeo.com/12714406

Cody said...

I think anon. 9:44 makes a good point. I don't think it is necessarily tied to race(completely, though to deny that race has anything to do with it would be silly). I think it has more to do with poverty. It seems that people living in poverty have fewer resources for hiding their illegal activities and more tendency to hang out in/live in high crime areas, which seem to be subject to more scrutiny.