Movie Friday: Equal Opportunity Enforcement

Here in BC, policy-makers and law enforcement agencies are starting to ask themselves some serious questions about our approach to marijuana (and if they’re not, they should be). After the marijuana legalization votes in Washington State, cross-border drug trafficking is going to change character in a significant way. Considering how much of BC’s economy is fueled by drug money, and how much we spend trying to prosecute gangs that make money from weed and other, more dangerous drugs, it’s going to become a serious issue.

But one simply cannot talk about drugs and law enforcement in the absence of a deep understanding of how white supremacy and plutocracy operate in the War on Drugs. ‘Batman’ explains:

Policy is not blind. Even in the passive sense in which anti-drug laws disproportionately affect people of colour (PoCs) – programs like stop and frisk that make it more likely for them (us) to be arrested in the first place, latent racism among judges and jurors, economic factors that make a fair trial less likely, the indifference and/or hostility of a population who are not predisposed to give PoC second chances in the first place – policies can have a disproportionate racial effect.

Add to that the intentional, conscious racism that clearly directed policy at some level within the DEA, and you arrive at a system that targets black communities. Wed that to a for-profit prison system and a forced labour policy and bingo! you’ve just brought back slavery without any need to fuss with the thirteenth amendment.

None of this can be understood without being able to see the edifice of white supremacy. And once you see it, it’s hard to see anything else.

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  1. ShowMetheData says

    I had been thinking through this with respect to NY’s “stop & frisk” video I had seen linked here at FTB
    Teen’s iPod Exposes Violence And Racial Profiling In NYPD’s Stop & Frisk Interrogations

    Thinking like a good little skeptic, I would have a random number generator that a cop would use to pick the next frisk target.

    If you choose the area then you can be “random” while picking up 87% minority targets.

    Choose the Wall Street area and there would be the noise of a 1,000 caterwauling rich cats lashing out at the “justice system”

  2. bobo says

    hey crommunist, you are in BC too!

    yay! /wave

    Crommunist: have you seen the CBC Doczone documentary about the marijuna industry in BC? “Cannabiz”

    They visit Grand Forks and everything, very interesting. Some of the cops in the documentary are even skeptical about the ‘good’ they are doing by prosecuting non-violent offenders…

  3. John D says

    I have heard similar themes before. Specifically, that drug policy was centered on marijuana and crack cocaine, but not powder cocaine (which was largely seen as a white drug of white collar professionals).

    I don’t think actions at the policy level are necessarily anti-black (as far as which drugs are gone after). I do think that they may be class specific. Powder cocaine isn’t interfered with because it is something elites do, not because it is something that whites do.

    Whites makeup 72% of the population (in the U.S.) and blacks makeup 11%. So, in total numbers there will most likely be AT LEAST as many whites smoking crack or smoking pot as blacks.

    In the case of pot, there are probably 3 or 4 times as many white smokers as black smokers, maybe more.

    My thinking is the DEA just doesn’t care about any whites caught up in this net. It’s not a race thing, it’s a “Loser” (in their eyes thing).

    Any punitive measures against the lower class will automatically disproportionately affect blacks as larger segments of the black population live in poverty.

    Now, if you want to talk about patrols and other decisions in local enforcement, I have no doubt that a lot of racism goes on all the time.

  4. No Light says

    I don’t think actions at the policy level are necessarily anti-black

    Then you’re living in a fairytale. It’s a dual system, especially in the US, where men of colour are imprisoned and made unworthy of dignity and respect, and the women they leave behind are labelled “immoral” for being a single parent, and “welfare queen” if they require financial assistance. That removes their dignity and respect too.

    Prisons and the Projects are the new plantations.

  5. John D says

    I’m not arguing that racism in law enforcement doesn’t exist.

    I’m arguing that racism is the predominant factor in policy decisions. If a punitive measure against blacks is going to catch more whites in the net than blacks, that doesn’t seem a very good punishment does it?

    It clearly has more to do with class than race, as these are punitive measures against poverty stricken people (of all genders and races).

    Just so you know, black men face the harshest sentencing because of two factors: racism and misandry.

    Many studies show there is a male disadvantage in sentencing nearly as strong as the black disadvantage.

    [Everyone wave bye-bye to John D! – C]

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