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The US Constitution once counted Black slaves as worth three-fifths of Whites Today Black per capita income is three-fifths of Whites Thats an economic measure of enduring racism The Latino-White ratio is even worse One out of three Black men in there twenties is now in prison or jail on probation or on parole on any given day The comparable figure for Latinos is about one in eight and for Whites one in fifteenIt is impossible to understand why so many people of color particularly Blacks have a record and why so many more will get a record without understanding the racially biased war on drugs One out of three women state prisoners is serving time for drug offenses More than twice as many people are arrested for drug possession as for trafficking According to a Justice Department report drug trafficking has been elevated above almost every serious crime except murder including kidnapping assault arson and firearms Most drug offenders are nonviolent and many are low-level offenders with no prior criminal recordsThree out of four drug users are White but Blacks are much more likely to be arrested for drug offenses and receive longer sentences Blacks constitute 13 percent of all drug users but 35 percent of arrests for drug possession 55 percent of convictions and 74 percent of prison sentences Almost 90 percent of people sentenced to state prison for drug possessions in 1992 were Black and LatinoDrug arrests climbed for juveniles of color while decreasing for White juveniles The disproportionate arrests and media coverage feed the mistaken assumption that Black youth use drugs at higher rates than WhitesIt is said that truth is the first casualty in war and the war on drugs is no exception While many of the easily spotted street corner buyers are White as well the big money traffickers and money launderers you dont have to be dealing or buying on street corners to feel the racial bias of
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