“I’m less certain that the ‘tough on crime’ approach has been ‘largely vindicated’ by events–mostly because I think a large part of the events include the moral costs, and the real costs to communities where alarming numbers of men are under the watch of the state. One should consider the numbers here–blacks make up a third of all drug arrests, and black men are 12 times as likely to be imprisoned on a drug conviction. Four in Five of these arrests were for possession, not sale. Perhaps this is because the drug epidemic has run rampant through black communities, but probably not. The difference in illicit drug usage is slight (9.5 percent of blacks have used illicit substances, 8.2% of whites). Those are the sort of numbers that feed an intense distrust of the justice system in many black communities. I think Ross (though I can’t be sure) sees the ends justifying the means. But the means are disproportionately born by people who live far away from those ‘Nixon to China’ conservatives.”
(Via Ta-Nehisi Coates.)
Which is why many of us merely call it The System. I hope our white brothers and sisters see this too and understand our burden. I hope that once the economic crisis dies down, this will happen sooner rather than later. We can all start to move forward on how drugs is killing us, esp. black people, on all sides.