Following the release of figures showing huge disparities in the way drug laws impact black and white people, I wrote an article for Independent Voices thanks to Writers of Colour. I argued that not only is the war on drugs a flawed concept, it’s not even working well. Although black communities are the collateral damage in this war, the shrapnel hits everyone.
Despite taking fewer illegal drugs than their white peers, black people are six times more likely to be stopped and searched for drugs in the UK, according to a report by Release and the London School for Economics (LSE) this month.
This is just a national average though and in some areas the discrepancy is much higher. If you live in Dorset, for example, you are 17 times more likely to stopped in the street and searched for drugs if you happen to be black.
The inequality doesn’t stop there, because if found with drugs, black people are then twice as likely to be charged as white offenders.
You might hope that once you are in court, justice will be blind and treat you equally, but black people are jailed at six times the rate of white offenders.
While it might be over-egging the pudding to say being black in the UK is a criminal offence, it seems it is at least an aggravating circumstance…
I am proud to be part of Writers of Colour, – a collective of black and Asian writers challenging the lack of diversity in Britain’s mainstream media.