Friday, July 23, 2010


Despite having a bit of a fever today, I had a discussion with someone who means a lot to me, Alex Klein, about racism, and it really got me thinking about a few things.

See, Alex was on a kick about the laws surrounding Rock and Powdered cocaine, more commonly referred to as Crack and Coke. Crack, a drug primarily used in lower socioeconomic cultures, incurs much heavier penal punishment than Cocaine, a drug primarily used in the upper socioeconomic classes. Being as how low SES (Socioeconomic Status) areas are primarily black/hispanic/minority and high SES areas are primarily white, it is a form of institutionalized racism.

Now, I have this bad habit of taking the unconventional side on a lot of things. Most people would scream "RACISM!" but I was raised in a very different way... I wasn't taught racism when I was a kid. I didn't know any racial slurs other than the N word until I got to college. It's just not how I grew up. So in situations like this, I always wonder "...hmm, is there any chance that this isn't racially motivated?"

So it got me thinking. ...I know next to NOTHING about illicit drugs. So I'm here thinking maybe the laws have less to do with putting the blackies in jail and more to do with the drugs themselves. Maybe Crack is more addictive and destructive than Coke. Maybe because Coke is refined it's less of a health and safety hazard. Maybe the highs from the two drugs are different enough that we've determined that Coke is just plain safer than Crack, so the laws on Crack are tougher. Well, I decided to do some research, and by that I mean a bunch of google searches. From what I can see, Crack looks like it's a bit rougher on the system and has a nastier downfall after the high... but then again, there didn't seem to be as much information on Coke as there was Crack.

While I'm looking all this up, Alex says to me that whereas my theory could be rooted somewhere, why would reporters report on this stuff if it's not true?

Well let me tell you something. Reporters will report anything if it'll make them money. People would much rather read something about the institutionalized racism than the chemical makeup of Crack and Coke.

I never 100% trust the first opinion I hear, especially when it comes to sociology. I took a couple sociology classes in college, and they drove me up a wall - all they taught me was that racism will always be around because white people are horrible.

For instance.

My friend Matt was in a sociology course where they were discussing a children's book that featured an illustrated Barack Obama. In this illustration, Obama appeared quite a few shades lighter than he is in real life. After about ten minutes of the class banging back and forth ideas about white people demeaning his blackness or the company lightening Obama so white children wouldn't be intimidated by him, Matt finally raises his hand.
"Do any of you know anything about bookmaking? ...I thought so. Did you ever stop to think that dark ink costs more than light ink? They probably saved $100 Grand by lightening him up a little bit."

That stopped that conversation.

So I thought a bit more, and I realized another possible explanation for this whole Crack vs. Coke thing. Think about what the police have to deal with. Police don't have to bust into white people homes in order to stop Mrs. Anderson from doing a line or two before she does the laundry. Police don't have to stop white-people gang wars over refined cocaine. What police do have to do is get caught in shootouts revolving crack deals gone south. Police have far more trouble in the inner-city, where Crack is more prevalent, than in the suburbs where Coke is more prevalent. In the long run, Crack makes the streets more dangerous than Coke does, so they're more likely to have sink more money into dealing with Crack dealers than Coke dealers; therefore, our laws are much stricter on Crack than Coke.

Sure, it still boils down to the fact that the inner-city is more populated by the lower SES crowd and therefore more minorities and blacks and the suburbs are more white, but that's not Crack's fault.

There's still a lot that I don't know, and I recognize that this post has a lot of opinion with little research to back it up, unlike a majority of my posts, but you have to understand; I see a whole lot of white people jumping to the race card because it makes them seem less racist, but in the long run? Everybody likes to blame someone else. No one likes to take responsibility for themselves anymore. The inner-city has drug problems because people do drugs; the suburbs have drug problems because people do drugs. This doesn't make it racist, though; this makes it classist, and the world will always be classist.

And no, there's no bright side to the world being classist...
What I'm trying to get at is that there's no room full of old bald white guys figuring out new ways to get the darkies into prison. People need to start looking at all sides of an argument before settling on the easiest answer. The opposite of the Horse and Zebra proverb. I'm just rambling. I guess I don't have a solid ending to this post, a "final thought" if you will.

...I'm going to bed.

*drunk edit*
Fall Out Boy sings about cocaine, and they're harmless. I mean, have you seen Pete Wentz?
Most rappers that rap about crack also rap about killing bitches.
Point made.