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Wrongs of the Past

One might think that the era of racist legislation is long past. For the most part, it is, although its legacy hangs on in the form of outdated laws. But even today, legislators and enforcement officials alike still have unfair preconceptions and occasionally participate in racial profiling that the modern citizen may find shocking.

Before proceed, we should like to point out that many, and probably most, officials do not enact discriminatory practices on the basis of race. Our society has grown in leaps and bounds in the past 100 years, and most of our leaders and other government officials reflect this. Let us not paint the situation with too broad of a brush. At the same time, however, there are some disturbing statistics which show that this is a serious problem and requires scrutiny, even though it is a difficult and touchy subject.

The Numbers

Statistics aren't the hard and fast truth, but they do often give us an indication of trend that we might have otherwise not noticed in our all-too-subjective personal experiences. A study from the US Bureau of Justice Statistics, we see that there were seven times as many black males in prison for drug crimes as for white males in 1997. There are also twice as many hispanic males as white males. Yet white males have the highest rate of drug use of any demographic! The disparity here is stunning. Moreover, as drug-related incarceration rates have skyrocketed, black and hispanic males have once again borne the brunt of this injustice. (More)

Fair for All?

Whether this disparity is a matter of legislation that was targeted (inadvertently or not) at certain minorities, or whether it is the result of racial profiling by enforcement officials, is a topic explored elsewhere.

Regardless, it's clear that our current system needs a massive overhaul. Thankfully, the US government is no longer the exclusive playground of discriminatory white males, and legislators are beginning to take steps towards revamping our laws in order to make them fair for all.