Re: Department of Justice is lying about racial …
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Just as an aside, if you’re going to respond to a variety of quotes from different posters at the same time, I would appreciate it if you would include names so people would know who you were responding to. (I’m assuming this isn’t a problem for you because you seem quite computer literate)
[quote]…but I very much doubt civil unrest would divide along racial lines. It seems far more likely, it would divide along class lines – ultimately, the haves against the have-nots. Why wouldn’t it?[/quote]
I very much doubt you follow the news coverage whenever unrest breaks out in the inner-cities. It always divides along racial lines. No, the rich blacks likely won’t really join in, but inner-city unrest has always divided along the poor among each ethnic group turning against each other. Sublime even wrote a song about it:
In addition to the immediate trigger of the Rodney King verdicts, a range of other factors were cited as reasons for the unrest, including a long-standing perception that the Los Angeles Police Departmentroutinely engaged in racial profiling and used excessive force.
Oh weird, loot at that – racial profiling, high-unemployment, and a nation-wide recession… nope, the idea that when a minority perceives the system is stacked against them, that this could create violence, especially in times of economic down-turns, is crazy talk – sorry for wasting everyone’s time!!
Please be fair.
Putting my quote back in it’s original context, I did in fact say I thought a financial collapse WOULD affect blacks disproportionately because it would affect the poor and the inner-cities more, but I also said I thought it would affect ALL of us. I do not share your racially myopic view that a serious economic downturn will affect only inner-city blacks. That’s the reason I don’t think civil unrest will divide primarily along racial lines. But if you insist on limiting the discussion to inner-city blacks alone, as seems to be your aim, then yes, of course there will be a strong racial division.
As for following the news coverage, in fact, I do follow it, of course (it’s hard not to). And the incendiary role played by the media in the Rodney King riots was not lost on me. While I have no doubt that blacks are disproportionately the victims of police brutality, I’ve also noticed that given the opportunity, the media will always throw fuel on the flames whenever there is a racial incident to exploit. By contrast, for example, in my own home town a white man was beaten by police, far more severely than Rodney King, leaving him permanently disfigured and with blurred vision. But lacking a racial angle, the press simply ignored the story.
[quote]And this is in fact a trivial example compared to so many others, such as the trillions of dollars of hidden debt. No one here, or probably anywhere else is fooled into thinking, ‘gosh, I guess the war on drugs is not an unfair problem for blacks, after all.’ In my view the war on drugs is a very serious problem, but the fuzzy DoJ numbers you site are not -because they don’t change anything. [/quote]
And if you were black, I doubt you’d see the lives of hundreds of thousands of men like you as "trivial." Yes the trillions of dollars of hidden debt and other examples of misleading bookkeeping should be exposed, but ultimately there’s something more compelling to me about the fact these drug laws effect real lives.
Exactly what one-trillion dollars more debt does to any of us is kind of hard to say, locking up 10,000 more men is 10,000 lives very directly effected.
I do not need to be black to take the lives of hundreds of thousands of black men affected by the drug laws every bit as seriously as you or anyone else does. And frankly, your insistence on always conflating my arguments is becoming irritating. In no way did I even remotely imply that anyone’s real life is ‘trivial.’ But because I don’t share your fixation with the DoJ’s 2004 change in statistical methodology, you make the completely fantastic leap to the unrelated conclusion that I must therefore be callous and uncaring about the lives of others. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The problem as I see it is that there seems to be a duality about this thread in which you advance two arguments – (1) that the war on drugs is bad and (2) that the DoJ’s statistical methodology is a serious problem. (actually, the first part also divides in two – (1) the war on drugs is bad .. (2) because it’s racist) In either case, almost all of us agree with you on the first, but when we differ or have questions on the second, you insist on responding as though we in fact FAVOR the war on drugs. If you can’t see that this is a logical fallacy, and that it’s irresponsible and intellectually dishonest, than I think you’re going to have a hard time interacting with others – on this site, or any other.
As for your uncertainty about trillions of dollars in debt (it’s a lot more than "one-trillion"), you seem to be overlooking what is in my view the primary source of social injustice, worldwide. Nothing contributes as much to the impoverishment and exploitation of the poor as our now worldwide system of credit money with interest. As long as we continue to tolerate this, the rich will get richer and the poor will stay poor, labor will be cheap, savings will be punished, and Wall Street will be rewarded. Sadly, most minority activists seem completely unaware of this. If you really care about social injustice, instead of needlessly haranguing well meaning people on this site, you would do well to explore this further. CM can help.
[quote]Where did you get the 14% figure for black illicit drug users? I have a hard time imagining how we can get a reliable number on something like this from a survey. This is probably yet another example of ‘fuzzy’ government numbers.[/quote]
Directly from the DoJ. Read. The. Article.
Oh you know that’s a great point, I’m sure it’s impossible to get accurate numbers about who the illegal drugs users really are, so any debate or discussion about this is clearly pointless. You’ve just nullified this entire discussion, well played sir.
"Well played?" I’m not interested in "playing." I’m trying to be serious. But yes, in fact I would like to nullify a lot of this discussion – because if the numbers (not the laws – the numbers) are unreliable or irrelevant, I do think a lot of it is pointless. And yes, actually, I do think it’s quite difficult "to get accurate numbers about who the illegal drug users really are."
I find it ironic that in your original post you call attention to the DoJ’s dishonesty in their statistical methodology, yet you don’t want to question the validity of their numbers concerning the percentage of illicit drug users. What is it that convinces you they’re liars on the one hand, at the same time as they’re completely reliable on the other? Personally, I would question these figures no matter where they came from. I have no knowledge of how these surveys are conducted, but I have a hard time picturing any scenario in which they would not be vulnerable to a wide range of distortion.
[quote]Yes, in fact the data IS irrelevant if it’s not reliable or if we don’t take into account a potential host of mitigating circumstances that could cause it to be skewed. Certainly that seems to be your own position on the original DoJ data you’re complaining about. But even if the data is in fact reliable, it’s still irrelevant if it doesn’t change anything. [/quote]
So, what mitigating circumstance accounts for blacks making up 14% of illicit drug users, but half of those imprisoned for it? One example? Where are these mysterious circumstances that prove that how the system works isn’t unjust and racist?
HotRocks, do we have to keep going in circles? Your question has been answered repeatedly. Please stop asking the same thing over and over again, because you don’t like the answer. "One example?" Certainly, I, and others have brought up the fact that sentencing for crack-cocaine is much harsher than for powder cocaine and other drugs because of it’s greater dangers to society – it’s association with violent crime, etc. Whether this is an overtly racist policy or simply an unintended consequence, the effect is the same – far more blacks are likely to be ensnared by the system. But why does any of this even matter if we all agree the drug laws are bad?
But when you ask, "where are these mysterious circumstances that prove that how the system works isn’t unjust and racist?" you return to your favorite ploy – conflating my argument. I said nothing that warrants this question. But since you seem intent on impugning my motives, and since you have already very obnoxiously challenged my reading comprehension, please allow me to question yours. In an earlier post (#27), I said "the war on drugs is a spectacular failure, and the prison industrial complex that has grown up around it is shameful." Please tell me what part of that you didn’t get and why we still need to be arguing.
HotRocks, I’m generally slow to anger. I’ve probably got one of the longer fuses on this site. But quite frankly, I’ve had about enough of your righteous indignation and your smug, misplaced arrogance. You are NOT smarter than all the rest of us. You’ve proven that by your repeated inability to construct a logical argument. All you’ve accomplished here, so far is to take a group of people who actually largely agree with you, and antagonize them. I’d like to think you can do better. Please think about it.