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http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/12/28/chris-hayess-graph-of-the-year-our-racist-criminal-justice-system-in-one-chart/

Question: How can we explain the fact that blacks and whites smoke the weed with equal frequency, however blacks are arrested 2.5 to 3.5 times as often?

Answer 1: The US justice system is racist against blacks.

Answer 2: I can’t think of any, can you?

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Answer 2: I can’t think of any, can you?

Well - context is everything. How many arrests are made because people have weed on them while committing other criminal acts? Without this contextual information the single stat does not mean much. Edited by TimG
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Well - context is everything. How many arrests are made because people have weed on them while committing other criminal acts? Without this contextual information the single stat does not mean much.

See - here's another item that is correct, but misleading. I suppose I would have generally caught that these variables are not independent, though.

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Well - context is everything. How many arrests are made because people have weed on them while committing other criminal acts? Without this contextual information the single stat does not mean much.

"Further, when someone is arrested for multiple crimes arising from a single police

enforcement action, the FBI/UCR Program calls it a “multiple-offense situation.” As

a general rule, a multiple-offense situation requires classifying each of the offenses

committed and determining which of them are Part I offenses as opposed to non-Part I

offenses.30 The Hierarchy Rule, as described in the FBI/UCR Handbook, requires that in

a multiple-offense situation — when more than one Part I offense is classified — the law

enforcement agency must identify the offense involved that is highest on the hierarchy

list and score that offense and not the other offense(s).31 Most relevantly for present

purposes, in a multiple-offense incident involving, for example, both Part I (e.g., Robbery

— Other Dangerous Weapon) and non-Part I offenses (e.g., Marijuana — Possession),

only the Part I offense, Robbery — Other Dangerous Weapon, must be classified and

scored. The arrest for marijuana possession would not be reported in this situation.

Thus, any racial disparity observed in the FBI/UCR data with respect to marijuana

possession is not a product of differential arrest rates for Part I crimes, as marijuana

possession offenses are not recorded with respect to these offenses. By contrast, in

a multiple-offense incident involving marijuana possession and a traffic violation —

neither of which constitute a Part I offense — the enforcement action is coded as both

a marijuana possession arrest and a traffic violation (i.e., the Hierarchy Rule does not

apply in this situation)."

Page 33-34: http://www.aclu.org/files/assets/aclu-thewaronmarijuana-rel2.pdf

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The "U.S. justice system" has always been biased against many groups, just like it is in Canada. Nothing surprising about that. "Smoking weed" is hardly the most definitive metric for system equality.

The point is that whites and blacks smoke about the same amount of weed. Blacks get arrested 3 times as often. The bias is not that surprising, it's more the level of discrimination.

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The point is that whites and blacks smoke about the same amount of weed. Blacks get arrested 3 times as often. The bias is not that surprising, it's more the level of discrimination.

"Whites and blacks" is binary thinking for a country that is far more diverse than that, even for "pot smoking". Is it discrimination to be arrested for violating the law when more "white people" get away with it ? Odd....

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See - here's another item that is correct, but misleading. I suppose I would have generally caught that these variables are not independent, though.

In the US, blacks tend to live in higher crime areas, which means those areas will have a greater police presence. I used to live in a rental housing area which had a lot of refugees and people on welfare. The police were up and down the street and parked in front of my building on a daily basis. The last time I saw any cops in my current neighborhood was two years ago when a neighbor reported two boys walking away with another neighbour's lawn mower. That was our big crime wave. Several cop cars showed up, caught the kids several blocks away, and returned the lawn mower. Nobody's seen a cop since then. I could smoke weed on my front porch all day long and not worry, well, except for that old woman across the street who watches everything like a hawk and would probably call the cops...

Edited by Argus
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The Hierarchy Rule, as described in the FBI/UCR Handbook, requires that in a multiple-offense situation — when more than one Part I offense is classified — the law enforcement agency must identify the offense involved that is highest on the hierarchy list and score that offense and not the other offense(s).

Well, my issue is the collection of blacks in the US and the collection of whites in the US are not the same so it is not reasonable to assume a difference in a single crime statistic can be reduced to a question of racism. Edited by TimG
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In the US, blacks tend to live in higher crime areas, which means those areas will have a greater police presence.

This theory is not supported by the report:

"Racial disparities in marijuana possession arrests exist regardless of county household income levels, and are greater in middle income and more affluent counties. In the counties with the 15 highest median household incomes (between $85K–$115K), Blacks are two

to eight times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites. In the 15 counties in the middle of the household income range (between $45K–$46K), Blacks are over three times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites. In the poorest 15 counties (median household incomes between $22K–$30K), Blacks are generally 1.5 to five times more likely to be arrested."

p17: http://www.aclu.org/files/assets/aclu-thewaronmarijuana-rel2.pdf

There is more on county-level findings on page 19.

Edited by carepov
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Obviously perceptions of behaviour vary depending on the race of the person doing it. Black kids smoking up aren't given the benefit of the doubt that white kids are, ie, just experimenting, going through a phase, goofy potheads. Black kids who smoke weed are received as a greater threat and their intentions perceived as more nefarious. It's not just for weed either, but other small crimes too.

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This theory is not supported by the report:

"Racial disparities in marijuana possession arrests exist regardless of county household income levels, and are greater in middle income and more affluent counties. In the counties with the 15 highest median household incomes (between $85K$115K), Blacks are two

to eight times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites. In the 15 counties in the middle of the household income range (between $45K$46K), Blacks are over three times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites. In the poorest 15 counties (median household incomes between $22K$30K), Blacks are generally 1.5 to five times more likely to be arrested."

p17: http://www.aclu.org/files/assets/aclu-thewaronmarijuana-rel2.pdf

There is more on county-level findings on page 19.

Argus, you had a good point (#8) till this post came along. Edited by BC_chick
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