Why do black and white marijuana arrest rates differ?

A new statistical study of federal crime data led by Ezekiel Edwards of the ACLU, as reported by Yahoo News, has concluded that black people are arrested for possessing marijuana far more often than white people, even though marijuana use by both races is about the same.  About 14% of black people and 12% of white people reported in 2010 that they had used marijuana during the previous year.  The study notes that in absolute numbers, far more whites were arrested for marijuana possession in 2010, 460,808, than blacks with 282,117 arrests, but those numbers translate into 716 arrests per 100,000 for blacks in 2010 versus 192 per 100,000 for whites.

Mr. Edwards attributed the disparate arrest rates to racial profiling by the police.

Ben Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP, said arrest disparities like those for marijuana possession have led to mass incarceration and criminalization of African Americans.  He compares the resulting arrest records to Jim Crow.

It would appear that after 45 years of concentrated effort and a complete re-ordering of the American society we cannot attain racial equality even in such a basic civic responsibility as law enforcement.  But, as Jim Pasco, executive director of the National Fraternal Order of Police says, "the use of marijuana is a crime."  His solution is to arrest more whites to even out the statistics.

A retired judge, Arthur Burnett Sr., with 40 years on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, says that the police concentrate their numbers in black communities because it is easier to intervene and make arrests in "open air" drug markets found in black communities than to look in homes, basements or country clubs found in white communities.  He is the CEO of the National African American Drug Policy Coalition.  Burnett says some black defendants, distrustful of authorities, may lash out, use profanities or be rebellious, behavior that makes it more likely that an officer will make an arrest.

This discussion goes beyond marijuana arrests and is mired deep in the nature/nurture controversy.  Nurture is the politically correct side of the barricade as Jason Richwine discovered at the Heritage Foundation.  A hint of Darwinism dropped among the evolutionists resulted in cognitive dissonance, elite pandemonium and an unemployment check for Mr. Richwine.  Bill Cosby, the TV role model for the black middle class, lost most of the affection he had gained in the black community by telling African Americans to teach their children better morals at a younger age.  While the nurture legions call for the elimination of poverty in the neighborhood, which they maintain has a devastating impact on the children's behavior, they dismiss the parents and the home, the primary environment for the child, as not pertinent.

So, after much heat and verbiage, we have dismissed any relevance to a biological basis, however slight, for black rebelliousness, to quote Judge Burnett's characterization of criminal activity, or the impact of parental input in child rearing on the moral behavior of their children and we find we are left with the Liberal narrative we have used from the beginning: more government poverty programs with more funding and the manipulation of the definition of racial profiling will remove the disparity between black and white arrests.  They never have.  The result from the continuing failure to achieve equal arrest results will be the call for more programs, more funding and even more bizarre police procedures.

Like the purloined letter, Judge Burnett put the particular issue of why the disparate numbers of black and white marijuana arrests and its solution in plain sight for everyone to ignore.  Blacks tend to buy, sell and do drugs in "open air" markets while whites "hide at home, in the basement or the country club."  Blacks tend to "lash out, use profanities or be rebellious" which Burnett notes makes it more likely that an officer will make an arrest, while whites tend to say "yes sir," and comply with the officers directions.  Funding or profiling are neither necessary nor sufficient to determine causation of disparate marijuana arrest between black and white.  Judge Burnett says blacks openly ignore marijuana laws and are rebellious towards the cops.  That explains it all and points to the solution.  Whites could emulate black behavior as an aid to law enforcement statistics, but it makes more sense for blacks to act white while smoking dope.  Someone should tell them.  Nurture is the deal.  ACLU and NAACP, you're needed.  Call your offices.


A new statistical study of federal crime data led by Ezekiel Edwards of the ACLU, as reported by Yahoo News, has concluded that black people are arrested for possessing marijuana far more often than white people, even though marijuana use by both races is about the same.  About 14% of black people and 12% of white people reported in 2010 that they had used marijuana during the previous year.  The study notes that in absolute numbers, far more whites were arrested for marijuana possession in 2010, 460,808, than blacks with 282,117 arrests, but those numbers translate into 716 arrests per 100,000 for blacks in 2010 versus 192 per 100,000 for whites.

Mr. Edwards attributed the disparate arrest rates to racial profiling by the police.

Ben Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP, said arrest disparities like those for marijuana possession have led to mass incarceration and criminalization of African Americans.  He compares the resulting arrest records to Jim Crow.

It would appear that after 45 years of concentrated effort and a complete re-ordering of the American society we cannot attain racial equality even in such a basic civic responsibility as law enforcement.  But, as Jim Pasco, executive director of the National Fraternal Order of Police says, "the use of marijuana is a crime."  His solution is to arrest more whites to even out the statistics.

A retired judge, Arthur Burnett Sr., with 40 years on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, says that the police concentrate their numbers in black communities because it is easier to intervene and make arrests in "open air" drug markets found in black communities than to look in homes, basements or country clubs found in white communities.  He is the CEO of the National African American Drug Policy Coalition.  Burnett says some black defendants, distrustful of authorities, may lash out, use profanities or be rebellious, behavior that makes it more likely that an officer will make an arrest.

This discussion goes beyond marijuana arrests and is mired deep in the nature/nurture controversy.  Nurture is the politically correct side of the barricade as Jason Richwine discovered at the Heritage Foundation.  A hint of Darwinism dropped among the evolutionists resulted in cognitive dissonance, elite pandemonium and an unemployment check for Mr. Richwine.  Bill Cosby, the TV role model for the black middle class, lost most of the affection he had gained in the black community by telling African Americans to teach their children better morals at a younger age.  While the nurture legions call for the elimination of poverty in the neighborhood, which they maintain has a devastating impact on the children's behavior, they dismiss the parents and the home, the primary environment for the child, as not pertinent.

So, after much heat and verbiage, we have dismissed any relevance to a biological basis, however slight, for black rebelliousness, to quote Judge Burnett's characterization of criminal activity, or the impact of parental input in child rearing on the moral behavior of their children and we find we are left with the Liberal narrative we have used from the beginning: more government poverty programs with more funding and the manipulation of the definition of racial profiling will remove the disparity between black and white arrests.  They never have.  The result from the continuing failure to achieve equal arrest results will be the call for more programs, more funding and even more bizarre police procedures.

Like the purloined letter, Judge Burnett put the particular issue of why the disparate numbers of black and white marijuana arrests and its solution in plain sight for everyone to ignore.  Blacks tend to buy, sell and do drugs in "open air" markets while whites "hide at home, in the basement or the country club."  Blacks tend to "lash out, use profanities or be rebellious" which Burnett notes makes it more likely that an officer will make an arrest, while whites tend to say "yes sir," and comply with the officers directions.  Funding or profiling are neither necessary nor sufficient to determine causation of disparate marijuana arrest between black and white.  Judge Burnett says blacks openly ignore marijuana laws and are rebellious towards the cops.  That explains it all and points to the solution.  Whites could emulate black behavior as an aid to law enforcement statistics, but it makes more sense for blacks to act white while smoking dope.  Someone should tell them.  Nurture is the deal.  ACLU and NAACP, you're needed.  Call your offices.


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