John Leverso Blog 7
Domination in the legal system
Critical theory also known as the Frankfort school of thought evolved in the 1930s in Germany. Critical theory is an examination and critique of society in general.
It draws from a variety of knowledge basis e.g. social sciences humanities, etc. Conflict theory’s main goal is to transform society and culture by eliminating domination. Furthermore, its goal is to bring conscience awareness to exploitation and this in turn will create a sense of liberation. In this blog I will analyze critical theory in regards to race, controlled substance jail terms, specifically, cocaine and the legal system. I will argue that the doling out ofpunishment is dominated by the white race and this domination is apparent inthe differences in the sentencing criteria of two types of the same drug,
cocaine. In addition I will compare arrest rates of different ethnic
Cocaine, critical theory, and domination are related by white domination over other ethnic groups in the legal systemspecifically in regards to drug use and sentencing.
There are two forms of cocaine that are bought and sold illegally, powder
cocaine and crack cocaine. Powder cocaine is mainly abused by white people and crack cocaine is mainly abused byAfrican Americans. Both are derived from the coco plant, but until recently the sentencing guidelines were more than double for crack than for powder cocaine. This huge sentencing disparity is due to the fact that powder cocaine is
a drug for white America and white America makes the laws. The domination of the white race in the legal system makes these disparities a reality. People in predominately African American neighborhoods are targeted more than people in predominately white neighbor hoods. Critical theorist would argue this is a form of racial domination because
those with the power use the power to lessen the punishment of a predominantly
white drug and increase the punishment for a predominantly African American
Fortunately, new laws have decreased the level of sentencing disparity
among drug convictions. In 2010 the penalties for crack cocaine were significantly reduced bringing sentencing guidelines closer for the two drugs. I argue that while this is a good start the legal system is still dominated by the white race. While the sentencing guidelines are now similar the arrest rate disparity is growing. From 1970 to the present the drug arrest rate for whites has risen from 3.5 to 4.5 per 1000 people while drug arrest rates for African Americans has risen from 6.5 to 2.91 per 1000 ( see references).
This is a huge disparity! This gives credence to my argument that domination still
Sentencing disparities have been reduced but domination still
exists. In order to end this domination I propose to stop targeting people based on race or ethnic back ground and stop racial profiling. Until this happens the legal system will be dominated by the white race and liberation of society that critical theorists seek will never be found. Our legal system is flawed and needs to be fixed in order to get to the level of perfection that critical theorists seek.
Cocaine Impact Analysis - May 20, 2011 - United States
Race Drugs and Policing,understanding disparities in drug deliveries and