Blacks are far more likely to be arrested for selling or possessing drugs than whites, even though whites use drugs at the same rate. What’s more surprising is that whites are more likely to sell drugs, however that data was not found on the chart that was given by the Brookings’ Institution.

The Brookings’ Institution created a chart that depicted the change in the number of arrests of Black Americans in the United States between 2011 and 1980 by the category of the crime. In those thirty years, the arrest due to possession of drug paraphernalia and other crimes rose to 620,791, and the numbers of arrests due to drug abuse violations rose to 346, 268. However, the number of arrests for all property crimes decreased by 70, 231 and all violent crimes by 2,631.30_war_on_drugs_fig

In order to offer some perspective, the author of the study used an analysis provided by Robert Fairlie of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, where he stated that whites were 45 percent more likely than Blacks to sell drugs in 1980. Christopher Ingraham, who analyzed the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, saw that 6.6 percent of white adolescents and young adults (aged from 12 to 25) sold drugs, compared to 5.0 percent of Blacks.

This is partially due to the racial differences in the drug markets in the Black and white communities. In poor African-American centered neighborhoods, drugs are sold more often outside in the open. In white neighborhoods, these sales and transactions happen indoors amongst friends and acquaintances.

Obviously, if you sell drugs outside, you are more likely to get caught.

This information tells many stories that: 1) people do not get arrested for nonviolent drug crimes, and that 2) legalizing and decriminalizing drugs will not magically solve racial disparities in the criminal justice system.

(Photo Credit: FRANCOIS NASCIMBENI/AFP/Getty Images)