Color and Punishment
My paper attempts to address the myths and truths of drugs, race and punishment. Researching this question, I intend to identify the problems and scenarios associated with these problems Are minorities unfairly treated in this problem? Or, are the facts so biased against a certain race that they cannot be ignored? Certain races may have certain rights and privileges, but remember nobody is above the law. We all abide by the same rules or the system fails. Drug Profiles 3 Profiles in Drugs, Color and Punishment
A scenario such as the one presented seems so commonplace. Two people with the same issue present different outcomes. Both teenage boys are caught with drugs. The White male in this case checks into rehab for counseling. The Black male winds up jailed because he was found by the police instead of his parents, as depicted in the White family. Is this fair for either male? The short answer is “No. ” However, society has deemed the answer, “It depends” as appropriate. Both men were found to have drugs in their possession. There is no disputing that fact.
The contrast is the parents of Gotfried White got to him before the authorities did. Meanwhile, Alfred Black was in plain sight when the cops arrested him for drug possession. They both broke the law because possessing drugs is illegal—especially for minors! Minority groups do not see it that way. They perceive the cops targeting them for wrongdoing because of their skin color. Tim Wise opined in a column that racial profiling goes way back in history and is seen as justified by some people because of skin color or a possible “threat” to others (Wise, 2002, p. 1)
Wise said groups see this as a continuation of minorities committing most of the crimes. That is why police officers are watching “those people” for possible infractions. (Wise, 2002, p. 1) In fact, Wise pointed out that police officers did not target White people after the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 the way they targeted Arabs and Muslims after 9/11/2001. (Wise, p1) Drugs are the same way in that the groups being focused on are wrong, according to Wise. Roughly one-third of all drug arrest is Black people. More than that is the number of arrested White people.
Why does this continue? Because the authorities can get away with the practice, that is why. Drug Profiles 4 The figures speak for themselves. According to a recent study, the number of Black people sent to prison for drug-related crimes fell by 21 percent between 1995 and 2005 (Ford, 2009, p. 1) during that same period the number of White related drug crimes increased by nearly 43 percent. (Ford, 2009, p. 1) Clearly, the message is getting through to someone that African-Americans are not necessarily the problem anymore.
White people may be in heavy denial over this subject, but it easy to see where the perception and reality collide. (Ford, 2009. p. 1) Another study conducted by the U. S Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) found a large number of Blacks arrested for drug offenses (Western, 2007, p. 45). That was due in part to President Richard Nixon in the 1970s and President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s war on drugs. That led to many arrests of non-Whites. As the 1990s approached, the figures dropped for Black people and arrests rose for Whites (Western, 2007. p. 46).
In short, Blacks and minorities are not doing the crimes (or getting busted for them) as white people. So, what happened to the teenagers in this example is typical of what options are available in certain situations. Police officers are likely to pick up someone breaking the law. The thought that it would be minorities first is wrong because they are not doing the crimes—or not getting caught as often—as White people. Both teenagers should have either been admitted to rehab as first-time offenders then sent off to jail for subsequent violations.
Because one party did not have the choice the other person had does not mean they should be treated differently as was the case here. Both men need help and should have access to it, be it a free clinic or a private facility. Just because someone has different skin does not mean they should be sent away for doing the same crime. Drug Profiles 5 References Ford, G. , “Black Drug Incarcerations Way Down, White Numbers Way Up. ” Black Agenda Report, April 22, 2009. Retrieved May 26, 2009 from: http://www. blackagendareport. com/? q=content/black-drug-incarceration-rates-down-white-numbers-way
Western, B. , “Inequality, Crime and the Prison Boom. ” Punishment and Inequality in America. New York, Russell Sage Foundation, 2007. Retrieved May 26, 2009 from: http://books. google. com/books? id=vi767qVJf_EC&pg=PA46&lpg=PA46&dq=drugs,+whites,+blacks+and+punishment&source=bl&ots=LnuaNDW7Mm&sig=J4RVCCbRP5BtX6UFVRNPkushico&hl=en&ei=hTEcSqfmHMWktweKw-XqDA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=7#PPA45,M1 Wise, T. “Racial Profiling and its Apologists” Z Magazine. March 2002. Retrieved May 26, 2009, from: http://www. zmag. org/zmag/viewArticle/13257Sample Essay of Eduzaurus.com