I am not saying that this is not a huge problem, nor that we shouldn’t fight it, nor that it may, in fact, be the biggest problem with today’s America and a sign of deep, systemic racism, and a kind of division between two different Americas and a desire to keep one of those Americas where it is while promoting the other one.
I have no idea what the first statistic means. Let’s break it down. Five times as many whites are using drugs as African Americans. OK, that, at first, sounds like a surprising and damning statistic. White people are apparently INSANE drug users.
Actually, there are 200 million white people in America and 37 million black people in America. So there are 5.4 times more white people than black people. So the /rate/ of drug use is about the same among black and white Americans. That is /not/ surprising, and is a much more accurate and truthful statistic.
This is not to say that I don’t believe the war on drugs has been a terrible thing for minority and poor populations in the US. Yes, it absolutely has, and I believe it should end. There are lots of damning statistics (for example that African Americans represent 12% of the total population of drug users, but 59% of those in state prison for a drug offense (NAACP.)
There are enough shocking truths that we shouldn’t have to make the numbers look worse than they actually are.