Drug convictions show the state of equality in America

Karenna Doctor, Staff Writer

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Ty Dolla $ign has “got his own drugs” and is now facing repercussions. The famed singer and rapper was indicted on November 30 for felony possession of THC and cocaine and misdemeanor possession of marijuana by a jury in Atlanta. He faces 15 years in prison for these charges.

Ty Dolla $ign’s real name is Tyrone William Griffin Jr.”

The arrest occurred on September 6 after cops smelled marijuana coming from a van that $ign was allegedly driving. There were five other people in the car, but they all walked away without criminal charges. $ign maintains his innocence and according to his attorney, Drew Findling, “He had no drugs on his person at all,” and the drugs were simply found in the car.

These claims bring up a more broad issue that occurs in America–drug convictions of minorities. Ty Dolla $ign is black and, statistically, black citizens are two-and-a-half times more likely to be arrested on possession or usage charges even though rates of usage are about equal across races (Channel 4 News). The conspicuous discrepancy between indictment of different races is not a new and has been shown time and time again.

It began with the War on Drugs campaign launched by Richard Nixon in the early 1970s and continued to gain ground through the Reagan presidency. With the epidemic of crack cocaine in the 80s, minorities in impoverished areas became statistically more likely to be arrested and charged for drugs. The trend has continued today despite legal acts to prevent it.

Now, de facto discrimination is more common. Marijuana’s legalization has occurred without measures to decriminalize it. When a white person uses marijuana, it is oftentimes, considered “okay” and “legal,” but as soon as minorities use it, they become “hood” or “criminals.”

Even recently, Demi Lovato’s overdose resulted in little legal backlash for her. Instead, she was sent to rehab and her drug dealer was interviewed by TMZ with no repercussions. Before Mac Miller’s tragic overdose, it was well known that he suffered from addiction issues but no one intervened and the legal system seemed to turn a blind eye.

When $ign claims that he wasn’t using and that the drugs in the car weren’t his, especially when they were not even found on his body, why is he being punished? Other celebrities, namely white ones, are not punished in the same manner and are always given the benefit of the doubt. Why are the others with him not being charged? And why is this case any different from so many others? Before America can be considered truly equal, there needs to be focus on eliminating bias in all realms of society–drug convictions are a great place to start.