Monday, January 19, 2015

A Dream Not Yet Realized

It seems to me that many Americans operate under the assumption that racism is a thing of the past. Sure, there are a few racists out there but they are the exception rather than the rule. After all, our nation elected a black president. How could racism possibly be a real and widespread issue in our nation today? We left those kinds of discriminatory attitudes behind long ago. Now we live in a colorblind society where everyone has the same opportunity to succeed and prosper.

The unfortunate reality is quite different. People of color, especially African-Americans, continue to face discrimination that has a regular impact on their life and well-being. Of course, it is difficult for most white folks to imagine this since we don't experience it for ourselves - and when you don't experience it on a regular basis it easy to discount the anecdotal stories or the flashes of media attention as exaggerated biases in perception. After all, I'm not racist, we think to ourselves, and most of the people I know don't seem to be racist so who is it then that is keeping people of color at such a disadvantage?

But the racism that exists in America today typically isn't the brazen and outspoken racism that existed in the Jim Crow era. It is much more subtle than that. It often exists at the level of subconscious biases that we don't even know - or are afraid to admit - that we have. The kinds of biases in perception that all people have - even otherwise good and kind people who would willingly give of themselves on behalf of others. It seems that one of the side effects of demonizing racism in our country is that we've convinced ourselves that only someone who is truly demonic could be racist when, in fact, all one has to be is human. It doesn't take lots of brazenly racist individuals to perpetuate racism. It only takes the subtly biased perceptions of those who hold power - those who control access to jobs, loans, housing, education, and the law - aggregated and multiplied millions of times over across our country to perpetuate a system of injustice that keeps whole groups of people at an overwhelming disadvantage in our society. 

That is one of the reasons I've compiled the data below. It is my hope that something like this can be one lens that helps us to see what we might otherwise not be able to see.

Housing and Loans

“...blacks and Latinos experienced discrimination in approximately half of their efforts to rent or buy housing….three housing studies have shown that when paired with similar white counterparts, blacks are likely to be shown fewer apartments, be quoted higher rents, or offered worse conditions, and be steered to specific neighborhoods.”[1]

 In a 2000 audit of twenty-three U.S. cities, whites were given more information about rentals and were shown more potential rental units and houses. The study also demonstrated an increase in geographic steering by real estate agents which perpetuated segregation.[2]

“In 2000, national black isolation was 65 percent and remained 80 percent or higher in cities such as Detroit, Newark, and Chicago. Due to higher white flight of families with children to segregated suburbs, white children are the most segregated (68.3 percent) by neighborhood.”[3]

“72 percent of black Americans born into the lowest economic quartile of neighborhoods reside in poor areas as adults, compared with only 40 percent of whites. Furthermore, race is also the most salient predictor of intergenerational downward residential mobility, with ‘the odds of downward mobility 3.6 times as large as odds for whites.’”[4]

In a study in Detroit “...53 percent of whites stated their preference for neighborhoods that are ‘all’ or ‘mostly’ white, only 22 percent of blacks preferred neighborhoods described as ‘all’ or ‘mostly’ black. In fact, 62 percent of blacks preferred neighborhoods described as ‘half and half.’”[5]

“...studies done in Chicago and New York revealed discrimination in seven out of ten lending institutions in Chicago and in the one institution studied in New York City.[6] National data from the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act shows that black applicants are denied mortgages at least twice as frequently as whites of the same income and gender. Finally, a study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston found that after controlling for a number of variables, blacks on average are denied loans 60 percent more times than whites.” [7]


The Civil Rights project at Harvard observed a trend starting in 1986 toward the resegregation of schools in the U.S. Due to this pattern throughout the 1990’s, schools were more segregated in the 2000-2001 school year than they had been in 1970.[8]

“Black students are suspended or expelled at triple the rate of their white peers, according to the U.S. Education Department's 2011-2012 Civil Rights Data Collection, a survey conducted every two years. Five percent of white students were suspended annually, compared with 16 percent of black students, according to the report. Black girls were suspended at a rate of 12 percent -- far greater than girls of other ethnicities and most categories of boys.

At the same time, minority students have less access to experienced teachers. Most minority students and English language learners are stuck in schools with the most new teachers. Seven percent of black students attend schools where as many as 20 percent of teachers fail to meet licensure and certification requirements. And one in four school districts pay teachers in less-diverse high schools $5,000 more than teachers in schools with higher black and Latino student enrollment.”[9]


There are currently 18 black members of the U.S. House of Representatives (4.1% of the 435 total members).

 There are currently 2 black senators in the U.S. Senate (out of 100) which is the most it has ever had. There have only been 8 black senators in the history of the U.S. Senate.[10]

Blacks hold only about 1 to 2 percent of all elected offices across every level of government in the U.S.[11]

“Since 2003, thirty four states have implemented voter ID laws[12]… Although it is claimed that these laws are race-neutral, research from the University of Delaware showed that racial animus was the best predictor of support for the law, regardless of political party. Some of the legislatures, such as those in Florida and Pennsylvania, implemented these laws despite openly claiming that voter fraud was not a problem…”[13]

Employment and Economics

In 2003, the median black family income was 61 percent of the white median family income.

Even when blacks and whites of similar characteristics are compared (work experience, education, etc.) the income gap between blacks and whites was still found to be about 14 percent.[14]

Blacks earn less than whites at every educational level. In fact, starting at the Associate’s degree level, the disparity between black and white earners grows with each successive degree attained.[15]

On average a black man who has graduated from college earns less than a white man who never finished high school.[16]

Even as blacks move up the occupational hierarchy, their income falls further behind their white peers.[17]

In a study in Milwaukee, job applicants were divided into four groups: whites without a criminal record, whites with a criminal record, blacks without a criminal record, and blacks with a criminal record. White applicants with a criminal record were more likely to be called back for an interview than black applicants without a criminal record.[18]

“Blacks owned only 3 percent of U.S. assets in 2001, even though they constituted 13 percent of the U.S. population. In 2001, the median net worth of whites, $120,989, was over 6.3 times that of blacks, which was only $19,024. Calculation of mean net worth reveals that, in 2001, the average black family had 17 cents for every dollar of the average white family.”[19]

Every Day Perception

“A survey was conducted in 1995 asking the following question: “Would you close your eyes for a second, envision a drug user, and describe that person to me?” The startling results were published in the Journal of Alcohol and Drug Education. Ninety-five percent of respondents pictured a black drug user, while only 5 percent imagined other racial groups.”[20]

“One study suggests that the standard crime news ‘script’ is so prevalent and so thoroughly racialized that viewers imagine a black perpetrator even when none exists. In that study, 60 percent of viewers who saw a story with no image falsely recalled seeing one, and 70 percent of those viewers believed the perpetrator to be African American.” [21]

“One study, for example, involved a video game that placed photographs of white and black individuals holding either a gun or other object (such as a wallet, soda can, or cell phone) into various photographics backgrounds. Participants were told to decide as quickly as possible whether to shoot the target. Consistent with earlier studies, participants were more likely to mistake a black target as armed when he was not, and mistake a white target as unarmed, when in fact he was armed.” [22]

Law Enforcement

One third of all black males born today can expect to serve some time in jail if current trends continue.

“Eight to nine percent of all blacks are arrested every year….Although blacks have always been overrepresented in the inmate population,... this overrepresentation has skyrocketed since 1960. By 1980, the incarceration rate of blacks was six times that of whites.”[23]

“Almost one in four black men aged 20 to 30 are under the supervision of the criminal justice system any given day.”[24]

“The rate of incarceration of blacks for criminal offenses is over eight times greater than that of whites, with 1 in 20 black men, in contrast to 1 in 180 white men, in prison.”[25]

“...according to the Federal Judicial Center, in 1990 the average sentences for blacks on weapons and drug charges were 49 percent longer than those for whites who had committed and been convicted of the same crimes - and that disparity has been rising over time.”[26]

“... of the people killed by police, over half are black; the police usually claim that when they killed blacks it was ‘accidental’ because they thought that the victim was armed although in fact the victims were unarmed in 75 percent of the cases…”[27]

“Whites who kill blacks in Stand Your Ground states are far more likely to be found justified in their killings. In non-Stand Your Ground states, whites are 250 percent more likely to be found justified in killing a black person than a white person who kills another white person; in Stand Your Ground states, that number jumps to 354 percent.”[28] 24 states have adopted these laws since 2000.[29]

“... the probability of arrest for cases [of rape] in which the victim was white and the suspect black was 0.336, for cases of white suspects and black victims the probability dropped to 0.107. Blacks represent 65 percent of those exonerated for rape and half of the exonerations of men convicted of raping white women, even though less than 10 percent of rapes of white women are by black men.”[30]

“The Baldus study researched more than 2000 murder cases in Georgia and “found that defendants charged with killing white victims received the death penalty eleven times more often than defendants charged with killing black victims. Georgia prosecutors seemed largely to blame for the disparity; they sought the death penalty in 70 percent of cases involving black defendants and white victims, but only 19 percent of cases involving white defendants and black victims. Sensitive to the fact that numerous factors besides race can influence the decision making of prosecutors, judges, and juries, Baldus and his colleagues subjected the raw data to highly sophisticated statistical analysis to see if nonracial factors might explain the discrepancies. Yet even after accounting for thirty-five nonracial variables, the researchers found that defendants charged with killing white victims were 4.3 times more likely to receive a death sentence than defendants charged with killing blacks.”[31]

Georgia’s district attorneys also invoked the “two strikes and you’re out” sentencing scheme (life imprisonment for a second drug offense no matter how small) only 1% of the time against white defendants but 16% of the time against black defendants. “The result was that 98.4 of those serving life sentences under the provision were black.”[32]

“One widely cited study was conducted by the San Jose Mercury News. The study reviewed 700,000 criminal cases that were matched by crime and criminal history of the defendant. The analysis revealed that similarly situated whites were far more successful than African American and Latinos in the plea bargaining process; in fact, ‘at virtually every state of the pretrial negotiation, whites are more successful than nonwhites.’”[33]

“A report in 2000 observed that among youth who have never been sent to a juvenile prison before, African Americans were more than six times as likely as whites to be sentenced to prison for identical crimes.”[34]

“In New Jersey, the data showed that only 15 percent of all drivers on the New Jersey Turnpike were racial minorities, yet 42 percent of all stops and 73 percent of all arrests were of black motorists - despite the fact that blacks and whites violated traffic laws at almost exactly the same rate. While radar stops were relatively consistent with the percentage of minority violators, discretionary stops made by officers involved in drug interdiction resulted in double the number of stops of minorities. A subsequent study conducted by the attorney general of New Jersey found that searches on the turnpike were even more discretionary than the initial stops - 77 percent of all consent searches were of minorities. The Maryland studies produced similar results: African Americans comprised only 17 percent of drivers along a stretch of I-95 outside of Baltimore, yet they were 70 percent of those who were stopped and searched. Only 21 percent of all drivers along that stretch of highway were racial minorities, yet those groups comprised nearly 80 percent of those pulled over and searched. What most surprised many analysts was that, in both studies whites were actually more likely than people of color to be carrying illegal drugs or contraband in their vehicles. In fact, in New Jersey, whites were almost twice as likely to be found with illegal drugs or contraband as African Americans, and five times as likely to be found with contraband as Latinos.”[35]

In Feb 2007, the NYPD released stats showing that they stopped 508,540 pedestrians in the previous year - 1,393 per day. More than half of those stopped were African American.[36]

“A criminal record today authorizes precisely the forms of discrimination we supposedly left behind- discrimination in employment, housing, education, public benefits, and jury service. Those labeled criminals can even be denied the right to vote.”[37]

“Two-thirds of people detained in jails report annual incomes under $12,000 prior to arrest. Predictably, most ex-offenders find themselves unable to pay many fees, costs, and fines associated with their imprisonment, as well as their child-support debts (which continue to accumulate while a person is incarcerated). As a result, many ex-offenders have their paychecks garnished. Federal law provides that a child-support enforcement officer can garnish up to 65 percent of an individual’s wages for child support. On top of that, probation officers in most states can require that an individual dedicate 35 percent of his or her income toward the payment of fines, fees, surcharges, and restitution charged by numerous agencies. Accordingly, a former inmate living at or below the poverty level can be charged by four or five departments at once and can be required to surrender 100 percent of his or her earnings.” [38]

“No other country in the world disenfranchises people who are released from prison in a manner even remotely resembling the United States. In fact, the United Nations Human Rights Committee has charged that U.S. disenfranchisement policies are discriminatory and violate international law. In those few European countries that permit limited post-prison disqualification, the sanction is very narrowly tailored and the number of people disenfranchised is probably in the dozens or hundreds. In the United States, by contrast, voting disqualification upon release from prison is automatic, with no legitimate purpose, and affects millions.” [39]

The War on Drugs

“Convictions for drug offenses are the single most important cause for the explosion in incarceration rates in the United States. Drug offenses alone account for two-thirds of the rise of the federal inmate population and more than half of the rise in state prisoners between 1985 and 2000. Approximately a half-million people are in prison or jail for a drug offense today, compared to an estimated 41,100 in 1980 - an increase of 1,100 percent. Drug arrests have tripled since 1980. As a result, more than 31 million people have been arrested for drug offenses since the drug war began. To put the matter in perspective, consider this: there are more people in prisons and jails today just for drug offenses than were incarcerated for all reasons in 1980. Nothing has contributed more to the systemic mass incarceration of people of color in the United States than the War on Drugs.”[40]

“...arrests for marijuana possession -a drug less harmful than tobacco or alcohol - accounted for nearly 80 percent of the growth in drug arrests in the 1990’s,”[41]

“In two short decades, between 1980 and 2000, the number of people incarcerated in our nation’s prisons and jails soared from roughly 300,000 to more than 2 million. by the end of 2007, more than 7 million - were behind bars, on probation, or on parole.”[42]

In 1984, Congress passed a law allowing federal law enforcement agencies to keep all the proceeds from drug related asset forfeitures and to allow state and local police to retain 80 percent of such forfeitures. ”Between 1988 and 1992, law enforcement seized over $1 billion dollars in such assets. These forfeiture laws have in turn allowed big time drug dealers to essentially “buy” reductions in sentences. “In Massachusetts, for example, an investigation by journalists found that on average a “payment of $50,000 in drug profits won a 6.3 years reduction in a sentence for dealers,” while agreements of $10,000 or more bought elimination or reduction of trafficking charges in almost three-fourths of such cases.” This results in the reality that most people serving time for drug charges are doing so for relatively minor offenses. [43]

In many cases, individuals charged with these minor offenses are too poor to afford quality legal representation, or in some cases any legal representation at all. “In Virginia, for example, fees paid to court-appointed attorneys for representing someone charged with a felony that carries a sentence of less than twenty years are capped at $482. And in Wisconsin, more than 11,000 poor people go to court without representation every year because anyone who earns more than $3,000 per year is considered able to afford a lawyer.”[44]

“In 1986, Congress passed The Anti-Drug Abuse Act, which established extremely long mandatory minimum prison terms for low-level drug dealing and possession of crack cocaine. The typical mandatory sentence for a first-time drug offense in federal court is five or ten years. By contrast, in other developed countries around the world, a first-time drug offense would merit not more than six months in jail, if jail time is imposed at all.” Prior to this act, “the longest sentence Congress had ever imposed for possession of any drug in any amount was one year.”[45]

“A conviction for the sale of five hundred grams of powder cocaine triggers a five-year mandatory sentence, while only five grams of crack triggers the same sentence.” 93 percent of convicted crack offenders are black, 5 percent are white. Powder cocaine users are predominantly white.[46]

Contrast this with alcohol use. “...drunk drivers were responsible for approximately 22,000 deaths annually, while overall alcohol related deaths were close to 100,000 a year. By contrast, during the same time period, there were no prevalence of statistics at all on crack, much less crack-related deaths…. The total of all drug-related deaths due to AIDS, drug overdose, or the violence associated with the illegal drug trade, was estimated at 21,000 annually - less than the number of deaths directly caused by drunk drivers, and a small fraction of the number of alcohol-related deaths that occur every year…” In spite of this, the state level mandatory sentences (there are no federal ones) for alcohol related offenses are “typically two days in jail for a first offense and two to ten days for a second offense.” “Drunk drivers are predominantly white and male. White men comprise 78 percent of the arrests for this offense in 1990 when new mandatory minimums governing drunk driving were being adopted. They are generally charged with misdemeanors and typically receive sentences involving fines, license suspension, and community service.”[47]

“ 1980, only 1 percent  of all prison admissions were parole violators. Twenty years later, more than one third (35 percent) of prison admissions resulted from parole violation. To put the matter more starkly: About as many people were returned to prison for parole violations in 2000 as were admitted to prison in 1980 for all reasons. Of all parole violators returned to prison in 2000, only one-third were returned for a new conviction; two-thirds were returned for a technical violation such as missing appointments with a parole officer, failing to maintain employment, or failing a drug test.”[48]

“People of all races use and sell illegal drugs at remarkably similar rates. If there are significant differences in the surveys to be found, they frequently suggest that whites, particularly white youth, are more likely to engage in illegal drug dealing than people of color. One study, for example published in 2000 by the National Institute on Drug Abuse reported that white students use cocaine at seven times the rate of black students, use crack cocaine at eight times the rate of black students, and use heroin at seven times the rate of black students. That same survey revealed that nearly identical percentages of white and black high school seniors use marijuana. The National Household Survey on Drug Abuse reported in 2000 that white youth aged 12-17 are more than a third more likely to have sold illegal drugs than African American youth. Thus the very same year Human Rights Watch was reporting that African American were being arrested and imprisoned at unprecedented rates, government data revealed that blacks were no more likely to be guilty of drug crimes than whites and that white youth were actually the most likely of any racial or ethnic group to be guilty of illegal drug possession and sales. Any notion that drug use among blacks is more severe or dangerous is belied by the data; white youth have about three times the number of drug-related emergency room visits as their African American counterparts.” [49]

“Self-report data suggests about 14 percent of U.S. illegal drug users are black; however, blacks constitute 35 percent of those arrested, 55 percent of those convicted, and 74 percent of those incarcerated for drug possession.”[50]

“More than 353,000 people were arrested and jailed by the NYPD between 1997 and 2006 for simple possession of small amounts of marijuana, with blacks five times more likely to be arrested than whites.”[51]

[1]  Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Racism without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in America, Fourth Edition edition (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2013), Kindle loc 935-44.

[2] Margery A. Turner, Stephen L. Ross, George C. Glaster, and John Yinger, Discrimination in Metropolitan Housing Markets: National Results from Phase 1 HDS (Washington, D.C.; The Urban Institute, 2002).

[3]Bonilla -Silva, loc 906-16. For more info see  Douglas S. Massey and Nancy A. Denton, American Apartheid: Segregation and the Making of the Underclass (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1998).

[4]Bonilla-Silva, loc 923-29. For more info see Patrick Sharkey et al., “The Intergenerational Transmission of Context 1,” American Journal of Sociology, n.d., 113–931.

[5] Bonilla-Silva, loc 4832-38.

[6]Cathy Cloud and George Galster, “What Do We Know about Racial Discrimination in Mortgage Markets?,” The Review of Black Political Economy 22, no. 1 (1993): 101–20.

[7]Bonilla-Silva, loc 950-54. Robert C. Smith, Racism in the Post Civil Rights Era: Now You See It, Now You Don’t (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1996).

[8]“Harvard Civil Rights Project Reports Rise In School Segregation,” The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, accessed January 7, 2015,

[9]Joy Resmovits, “American Schools Are STILL Racist, Government Report Finds,” Huffington Post, March 21, 2014,

[10]“The US Senate Will Now Have More Black Members Than Ever in Its History: 2,” Mother Jones, accessed January 7, 2015,

[11] Bonilla-Silva, 1085-6.

[12]Suevon Lee ProPublica et al., “Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Voter ID Laws,” ProPublica, accessed January 7, 2015, “There have been only a small number of fraud cases resulting in a conviction. A New York Times analysis from 2007  identified 120 cases filed by the Justice Department over five years. These cases, many of which stemmed from mistakenly filled registration forms or misunderstanding over voter eligibility, resulted in 86  convictions.There are "very few documented cases," said UC-Irvine professor and election law specialist Rick Hasen. "When you do see election fraud, it invariably involves election officials taking steps to change election results or it involves absentee ballots which voter ID laws can't prevent," he said. An analysis by News21, a national investigative reporting project, identified  10 voter impersonation cases out of 2,068 alleged election fraud cases since 2000 – or one out of every 15 million prospective voters.”
[13]Bonilla-Silva, loc 1072-76. Jamelle Bouie, “Pennsylvania Admits It: No Voter Fraud Problem,” The Washington Post - Blogs, July 24, 2012,

[14]Bonilla-Silva, loc 1457-62. Reynolds Farley and Walter Recharde Allen, The Color Line and the Quality of Life in America (Oxford University Press, 1989).

[15]Jennifer Cheeseman Day and United StatesThe Big Payoff Educational Attainment and Synthetic Estimates of Work-Life Earnings, Current Population Reports. Special Studies P23-210 (Washington, D.C: U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, U.S. Census Bureau, 2002),

[16]Michele Norris, “Race in America, 50 Years after the Dream,” Time, accessed January 7, 2015,,9171,2149604,00.html.

[17]Eric Grodsky and Devah Pager, “The Structure of Disadvantage: Individual and Occupational Determinants of the Black-White Wage Gap,” American Sociological Review 66, no. 4 (2001): 542–67.

[18]Bonilla-Silva, loc 1508-10. Devah Pager, “The Mark of a Criminal Record,” American Journal of Sociology 108, no. 5 (2003): 937–75.

[19] Bonilla-Silva, loc 1529-32.

[20]Michelle Alexander, and Cornel West, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (The New Press, 2012), 106. Betty Watson-Jones, Dionne Burston, “Drug Use and African Americans: Myth versus Reality,” Journal of Alcohol & Drug Education 40, no. 2 (Winter 1995): 19.

[21]Franklin D. Gilliam Jr. and Shanto Iyengar, “Prime Suspects: The Influence of Local Television News on the Viewing Public,” American Journal of Political Science 44, no. 3 (July 1, 2000): 560–73.

[22]Joshua Correll et al., “The Police Officer’s Dilemma: Using Ethnicity to Disambiguate Potentially Threatening Individuals,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 83, no. 6 (December 2002): 1314–29.

[23] Bonilla-Silva, loc 1160-66.

[24]Derrick Bell, Faces At The Bottom Of The Well: The Permanence Of Racism, Reprint edition (New York, NY: Basic Books, 1993).

[25]Bonilla-Silva, loc 1232-36. Reese, Prison Race by Reese,Renford. [2006] Paperback (CaroIina, 2006). See also             “Compare Arrest Rates,” accessed January 7, 2015,

[26]Farai Chideya, Don’t Believe the Hype: Fighting Cultural Misinformation About African Americans (New York: Plume, 1995).

[27]Lawrence W. Sherman, “Execution Without Trial:  Police Homicide and the Constitution,” Vanderbilt Law Review 33 (1980): 71. Reliable data for the number of people killed by police, whether black or otherwise, is woefully inadequate. See Reuben Fischer-Baum, “Nobody Knows How Many Americans The Police Kill Each Year,” FiveThirtyEight, accessed January 7, 2015,

[28]Bonilla-Silva, loc 1284-92. Sarah Childress, “Is There Racial Bias in ‘Stand Your Ground’ Laws? – Criminal Justice,” FRONTLINE, accessed January 7, 2015,

[29]Cora Currier ProPublica et al., “The 24 States That Have Sweeping Self-Defense Laws Just Like Florida’s,” ProPublica, accessed January 7, 2015,

[30]Bonilla-Silva, loc 1359-62. Douglas Smith, Christy Visher, and Laura Davidson, “Equity and Discretionary Justice:  The Influence of Race on Police Arrest Decisions,” Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology 75, no. 1 (January 1, 1984): 234.

[31] Alexander, 109.

[32] Alexander, 114.

[33] Alexander, 117.

[34] Alexander, 118. Eileen Poe Yamagata and Michael A Jobes, And Justice for Some: Differential Treatment of Youth of Color in the Justice System) Washington, DC: Building Blocks for Youth, 2000).

[35]Alexander, 133-134. State v Soto David A. Harris, Profiles in Injustice : Why Racial Profiling Cannot Work (New York: New Press, 2002). “In Volusia County, Florida, a reporter obtained 148 hours of video footage documenting more than 1000 highway stops conducted by state troopers. Only 5 percent of the drivers on the road were African American or Latino, but more than 80 percent of the people stopped and searched were minorities.” “Color Of Driver Is Key To Stops In I-95 Videos,” Orlando Sentinel, accessed January 12, 2015, “In Illinois, 30 percent of state police stops were of Latinos even though they comprised only 8 percent of the state population, only 3 percent of personal vehicle trips, and were less likely to have illegal contraband than whites.” “Driving While Black: Racial Profiling On Our Nation’s Highways,” American Civil Liberties Union, accessed January 12, 2015,
            “In 2001 study in Oakland, blacks were found to be stopped by police twice as often and searched three times as often as whites.”            “Oakland Police Department Announces Results of Racial Profiling Data Collection Program,” American Civil Liberties Union, accessed January 12, 2015,

[36] Alexander, 134. Al Baker and Emily Vasquez, “Number of People Stopped by New York Police Soars,” The New York Times, February 3, 2007, sec. New York Region,

[37] “A task force of the American Bar Association described the bleak reality facing a petty drug offender this way; [The] offender may be sentenced to a term of probation community service, and court costs. Unbeknownst to this offender, and perhaps any other actor in the sentencing process, as a result of his conviction he may be ineligible for many federally-funded health and welfare benefits, food stamps, public house, and federal educational assistance. His driver’s license may be automatically suspended, and he may no longer qualify for certain employment and professional licenses. If he is convicted of another crime he may be subject to imprisonment as a repeat offender. He will not be permitted to enlist in the military, or possess a firearm, or obtain a federal security clearance. if a citizen, he may lose the right to vote; if not, he becomes immediately deportable.” Alexander, 141-142. Meda Chesney-Lind and Marc Mauer, eds., Invisible Punishment: The Collateral Consequences of Mass Imprisonment, First Edition edition (New York: New Press, The, 2003).

[38]Alexander, 155. “Repaying-Debts-Cvr – CSG Justice Center,” accessed January 12, 2015,

[39]Alexander, 158. “Out of Step With the World,” American Civil Liberties Union, accessed January 12, 2015,

[40]Alexander, 60. Marc Mauer, Race to Incarcerate (The New Press, 2006). Marc Mauer and Ryan King, A 25-Year Quagmire: The “War on Drugs” and Its Impact on American Society (Washington, D.C. : Sentencing Project, 2007), 2.

[41]Alexander, 60. Ryan S. King and Marc Mauer, “The War on Marijuana: The Transformation of the War on Drugs in the 1990s,” Harm Reduction Journal 3, no. 1 (February 9, 2006): 6.

[42] Alexander, 60. Jessica Hallstrom The Pew Charitable Trusts Officer, “One in 31: The Long Reach of American Corrections,” accessed January 13, 2015,

[43]Alexander, 78-79. Eric D. Blumenson and Eva S. Nilsen, Policing for Profit: The Drug War’s Hidden Economic Agenda, SSRN Scholarly Paper (Rochester, NY: Social Science Research Network, January 29, 2007),

[44] Alexander, 85. Laura Parker, “8 Years in a Louisiana Jail But He Never Went to Trial,” USA Today, Aug 29, 2005. “In 2004, the American Bar Association released a report on the status of indigent defense, concluding that, ‘All too often, defendants plead guilty, even if that are innocent, without really understanding their legal rights or what is occurring. Sometimes the proceedings reflect little or no recognition that the accused is mentally ill or does not adequately understand English. The fundamental right to a lawyer that Americans assume applies to everyone accuses of criminal conduct effectively does not exist in practice for countless people across the United States.” American Bar Association, Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants, Gideon’s Broken Promise: America’s Continuing Quest for Equal Justice (Washington, D.C.: American Bar Association, Dec. 2004).

[45] Alexander, 87, 90.

[46] Alexander, 112. After standing for two decades, the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine has been reduced from 100-1 to 18-1 under Obama.

[47]Alexander, 206. C Reinarman and H G Levine, Crack Attack: Politics and Media in America’s Latest Drug Scare (From Images of Issues: Typifying Contemporary Social Problems, P 115-137, 1989, Joel Best, Ed. -- See NCJ-124897) (United States, 1989).

[48]Alexander, 95. Travis, BUT THEY ALL COME BACK (Washington, D.C: Urban Institute Press, 2005).

[49]Alexander, 99. United States Department of Health and Human Services. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Office of Applied Studies, National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, 2000: Version 5, October 11, 2002,

[50] Bonilla-Silva, loc 1239-42. Reese, Prison Race. The racial disparity in drug use, arrest, and conviction has been widely documented. See also Salaki Knafo, “When It Comes To Illegal Drug Use, White America Does The Crime, Black America Gets The Time,” Huffington Post, September 17, 2013, and 

[51] Alexander, 136.Harry G. Levine and Deborah Peterson Small, Marijuana Arrest Crusade: Racial Bias and Police Policy in New York City, 1997-2007 (New York: New York Civil Liberties Union, 2008), 4.

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