In Legalizing Marijuana End The Racial Bias Analysis

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Michelle Alexander’s article, “In Legalizing Marijuana, End the Racial Bias,” was published in May 2013 by the New York Times online. In this article, the author asserts that there is a correlation between the “war on marijuana” and racial profiling, creating an endemic of racial disparities. The author suggests that when the system punishes someone in possession of marijuana, more particularly a colored youth, they become a “second-class” citizen. Their rights are reduced exponentially and are “discriminated against legally” and labeled as criminals. This leaves them at a major disadvantage at an early age. The author then argues the point that black and brown youths are targeted and are more at risk of being stopped and frisked
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She argues that, “the war on marijuana has been waged primarily against black and brown youth.” This racial stigma is not a new concept; we all know about racial profiling and discrimination is prevalent in policing. There are criminological theories that suggest that there is a correlation between poverty and crime; however, most people associate poverty with minorities. The author suggests that police officers would not stop and search a white youth because they “look suspicious” or “seem out of place” whereas “black youth, get stopped, frisked and searched all the time.” Police officer’s patrol all areas and are trained to detect suspicious behavior. It is alarming to think that the training also involves stereotyping and profiling. Unfortunately, black and brown youths fall under this umbrella. The author cited, “In 2010, a study conducted in California revealed that although white youth use marijuana at higher rates than black youth, black youth were arrested at double, triple or even quadruple the rates of whites.” These rates are outrageous and more people should be outraged. This growing issue is adding to the racial divide that is happening
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