Source:   Waco TribuneHerald
Pub ] Date: May 16, 1997
Contact:   Disparity (Issue of racism focus on sentencing disparity crack/coke)

"To determine whether or not a drug should be controlled, it is 
important toknow the pattern of abuse of that substance, 
including the socioeconomic characteristics of the segments of the 
population involved in such abuse." The Controlled Substances Act  1970.


Your May 5 editorial recommending that the penalty for crack be reduced is right
on target.  Unfortunately, current drug laws owe their origin to racism rather than

Whatever the reasons, crack cocaine use is more common than powder cocaine
use in lowincome communities where AfricanAmericans are disproportionately
represented.  It is no accident that the penalties for crack are stiffer 
than the penalties for powder.  Consider the following.  
AfricanAmericans represent:

12 percent of the U.S. population
13 percent of drug users
35 percent of arrests for drug possession
55 percent of convictions for drug possession
74 percent of prison sentences for drug possession  (Did someone say 

The constabulary used to enforce drug laws.  Now it enforces drug laws.

The war on drugs has very little to do with reducing the harm associated 
with drug use.  The war on drugs is not concerned with reducing the 
number of users.

The war on drugs is a war on people.  The facts speak for themselves.