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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

A new round of white denial: Drugs, Race and Reality

A new round of white denial: Drugs, Race and Reality in the 'burbs
It's the same story for young adults. Whites are 66% of 18-25 year olds, but 70% of drug users that age. Blacks are 13.5% of persons in that age cohort, but only 13% of young adult users, while Hispanics are nearly 15% of that age group, but only 12% of drug users 18-25.
When it comes to drug dealing, the picture changes only slightly. According to the Justice Department, drug users tend to buy from same-race dealers. So the nearly three-quarters of users who are white, mainly rely on white dope peddlers, not the Jamaicans or Dominicans of popular imagery. When it comes to drugs like ecstasy-a hot product for the Virginia cartel-the dealers and users have long been known to be mostly white, middle class males between 14 and 32.

One would know none of these things from reading the Post story on the recently uncovered suburban Drug Empire, or drug related articles in any other nationally prominent paper. Instead, white suburban dealers and users are presented as exceptions to an otherwise law-abiding rule.
In the instant case, the accused, from the Prince William County hamlets of Chantilly and Centreville are youths that reporter Josh White describes as "good kids," who "went bad." When was the last time a black or Latino drug dealer or gang-banger was described this way? To those who study media, implicit in most news coverage when they do it is the suggestion that it's because they were congenital criminals; it was their IQ or pathological underclass families. They don't "go" bad; they just are bad.
However, when stories are written about pale-faced killers or dealers, or in this case both, sympathetic adjectives fill the pages. Crime becomes human interest-a cautionary tale. We are encouraged to identify with the instigators of the mayhem in ways we never would be were they dark or poor.
Whites Use More Drugs Than Blacks: The Great Narco Lie | Black Agenda Report
Whites are eleven percent more likely to have used drugs than Blacks and twenty-five percent more likely to have done so than Hispanics."
My husband is a Black man. He is one of the hardest working Americans I know, but he is wearing the face of crime in America. That means that if he is in an elevator with a white woman, she is apt to clutch her purse a little tighter. If he’s traveling down a dark deserted street, she might cross over to the other side. When he goes into a store, the security guard is likely to follow him, anticipating theft.
If you look at the prison system, it is filled with a whole lot of people who look like him. Indeed, it appears that these Black rascals are the culprits terrorizing honest, law-abiding Americans. These are the deadbeats who are sucking up all the drugs and thwarting the Drug War causing murder and mayhem in an otherwise civilized society. That is what many people think.
Although it may be of little comfort to know this, the Bernie Madoffs and Wall Street derivative junkies of the world are more likely to do you harm than my dapper husband walking to his car parked on St. Paul Street. At least we can be pretty sure that this Black man is not about to foreclose on your home due to predatory and tricky lending practices. He is not about to ship your young men off to war to be killed based on the Pinocchio principle—lying through your teeth. This Black man is not trying to rip off struggling, recession-weary Americans to give stuff to the rich. He is not likely to go to a school and unload an AR15 assault weapon on our children. Nonetheless, we easily see the criminal as the dark man whose TV images have flashed before our eyes in the Zero Tolerance Drug War aimed at black and brown communities. But isn’t that smart policing since that’s where all the criminals are? Are they really?
After Nixon launched the Drug War, there was much public conversation about drugs as an anathema to society and the need to “get tough” on drug criminals. I always thought this was because drugs were proliferating in society. As it turns out, that was not the case.

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