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Drugs

Black People Are More Likely to Be Arrested for Weed Possession Than White People

The ACLU released an interactive map that highlights the shocking racial disparity of marijuana arrests in the United States. According to their findings, a Black person is three times as likely as a White person to be arrested for cannabis-related...

by Dave Schilling
Mar 21 2014, 5:07pm

Thumbnail photo via Flickr user Raquel Baranow

Welcome to another edition of This Week in Racism. I’ll be ranking news stories on a scale of one to RACIST, with “one” being the least racist and “RACIST” being the most racist.

–The ACLU released an interactive map of the United States that illustrates statistics of marijuana arrests by state. If your first thought was that there must be a racial bias, you win this week's prize (which is not free weed. Sorry, dude). According to the report, a cannabis-related arrest occurs in the US ever 0.01 hours. The individual getting arrested is 3.73 times more likely to be Black than White. Just in New York, it's almost five times more likely. In Iowa, that number jumps all the way up to eight times more likely. In this country, mere possession of weed is the offense 88 percent of the time. We spend $3.6 billion to enforce a law that disproportionately affects Black people.

Of course, marijuana laws affect plenty of other minorities besides Blacks. A 2010 article in The Nation reported that Blacks and Hispanics accounted for 87 percent of all marijuana-related arrests. Really, we're all just dancing around the fact that possession laws are absurd for marijuana, and everyone of all colors, creeds, and genders just needs to chill the fuck outRACIST

Photo via Flickr user M Glasgow

–A new one-hour pilot for a drama on ABC Family has the Arab world in a tizzy over... well, just about everything about it. The show, titled Alice in Arabia, was described as follows:

Alice in Arabia is a high-stakes drama series about a rebellious American teenage girl who, after tragedy befalls her parents, is unknowingly kidnapped by her extended family, who are Saudi Arabian. Alice finds herself a stranger in a new world but is intrigued by its offerings and people, whom she finds surprisingly diverse in their views on the world and her situation. Now a virtual prisoner in her grandfather’s royal compound, Alice must count on her independent spirit and wit to find a way to return home while surviving life behind the veil.

Hey! Good job, ABC Family, for developing a show about Arab characters! It's so refreshing to see a show in which Muslims are scary villains! Our plucky hero, a prisoner in a strange land, surely will use her guile and cunning to escape, while learning that all peoples are the same, even the ones who take her prisoner. Watch as Alice becomes "intrigued" by some weirdos who "unknowingly" kidnap her. Hide your kids, hide your wives, the Saudis are kidnapping errybody in here. The revolution WILL be televised... on ABC Family!

OK, maybe I'm being "glib" here. The girl in question is an Arab American (her grandfather kidnaps her), so it's not like they're doing some Last Samurai shit. This is an American TV show, so it makes sense that the protagonist is an American for the sake of identification. Also, it's not as though Alice is going to Saudi Arabia to kill a bunch of Muslims in some form of 21st-century cuteness crusade. Sounds like she's going to "learn some lessons" about tolerance. Plus, I haven't seen the show. Wait, actually, none of us has. Oh... 5

Photo via Flickr user Public Information Office

–A college at Cambridge University was forced to cancel a Gone with the Wind–themed dance after the students reminded the faculty that Gone with the Wind doesn't exactly have a great message about equality. St. Edmund's College at Cambridge has a summer ball every year, and this year, someone had the bright idea to theme the event after an incredibly old movie based on an inherently racist story of the noble struggle of the Confederate South. Gone with the Wind is notable for the performance of Hattie McDaniel, who won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her portrayal of Mammy, the kindly but stern house slave (or "proto-Madea," as I like to call her). In place of the absurdly insensitive slavery theme, St. Edmund's is doing a "journey through the seasons." I call that "every fucking day of my life," but I suppose that's not going to fly as a theme either. 7

The Most Racist Tweets of the Week: