A Reader Has A Question About Alcohol And Race
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Re: Jared Taylor's article School Suspensions: More Official Baloney

From: James Buster [Email him]

Jared Taylor  writes

"Race differences in rates of arrest for drinking offenses further discredit the notion that “racist” police unfairly target blacks. Public or under-age drinking is an offense for which the police have enormous leeway on whether to make an arrest. Unlike the pressure on police to arrest violent criminals, the public does not much care whether there are arrests of under-age drinkers. That means liquor-law violations would be a perfect opportunity to exercise police “racism:” Arrest the blacks and ignore the whites. Instead, whites (and Indians) are arrested more often for these offenses because they commit more of them than blacks or Asians. DOJ’s arrest rates confirm reports from schools: Different groups behave differently." [Source]

 I would argue that's unclear. It may be true, but there is a large confounding factor. That is, district attorneys tend to ignore minor crimes when they charge major ones.

If a black juvenile gets arrested for armed robbery or manslaughter, underage drinking (if present) will probably not also be charged. The additional years of prison would not be significant compared to the primary offense, and there is little political fallout to dropping a liquor charge to get a plea or simplify the case before the jury.

You would have to read the incident report in addition to the list of charges to determine the true extent of alcohol involvement. If you are relying on indictment or conviction data you are underreporting liquor-related violations.

I would argue that whites (and American Indians, whose alcoholism is quite notorious) get arrested more often for these charges simply because those were the only charges to be had while blacks, in line with their generally greater propensity for violence, are more likely to combine liquor law violations with violent crime.


See a previous letter by James Buster.

James Fulford writes: You can even attribute lower alcohol arrest rates for blacks to the fact that the police are easier about some public drinking, et cetera, in inner city areas.

This is what President Bush called “the soft bigotry of low expectations”—a white teenager drinking an illegal beer is violating social norms, a black teenager drinking 40 of malt liquor out of a paper bag is…not smoking crack.

However, either way, the point remains the same—there are differences in behavior between races that account for almost all of the differences in school discipline.

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