The Instigator
tulle
Pro (for)
Winning
3 Points
The Contender
FourTrouble
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Supporting the Criminalization of Marijuana is Not Racist

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
tulle
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/5/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,458 times Debate No: 24086
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (42)
Votes (1)

 

tulle

Pro

==Resolved==

Supporting the Criminalization of Marijuana is Not Racist.


==Definitions==

Marijuana: cannabis [1] --- for the purpose of this debate, we are talking about marijuana for recreational use.

Support: to speak in favour of (a motion); to give approval to (a cause, principle, etc); subscribe to [2]

Criminalization: the process by which behaviours and individuals are transformed into crime and criminals. [3]

Racist: to discriminate against members of particular racial groups [4]; the belief that races have distinctive cultural characteristics determined by hereditary factors and that this endows some races with an intrinsic superiority over others; abusive or aggressive behaviour towards members of another race on the basis of such a belief [5]

==Miscellaneous==

This debate is not about whether marijuana should or should not be legal so please do not derail it as such.

Round 1 is for the acceptance of the resolution and definitions. However, if my opponent would like to present an argument during the first round, that would be fine---this would mean Con must not use the final round. If you have any questions or concerns, please direct them to the comments and I will do my best to be accommodating.

I will argue that the illegality of marijuana is not racist, while my opponent will have to argue that it is. We will share the burden of proof.

Thank you.


==Sources==

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...(drug)
[2] http://dictionary.reference.com...
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[4] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[5] http://dictionary.reference.com...
FourTrouble

Con

Thanks for the debate, it should be good. I think the definitions are fine, so I'll turn it over to tulle.
Debate Round No. 1
tulle

Pro

==Introduction==

Thank you for accepting this debate.

Although the resolution was worded negatively so that I could take the "Pro" position, it is difficult for me to anticipate what my opponent's arguments will be and, therefore, this round will focus on a rebuttal of the most common argument I have heard for why supporting the criminalization of marijuana is racist.

Debate.org member Korashk explains in one thread: "it has to do with how enforcement works. Something like 50%+ of drug related offenders in prison are minorities, despite that not being anywhere close to a representative percent of those that use drugs.

The argument is that the drug war disproportionately affects minorities, and is therefore racist." [1]

In the context of this thread, the term "drug war" was used to also encompass the criminalization of marijuana.

==Arguments==

01. That a crime disproportionately affects minorities does not make the criminalization of a behaviour racist. There are several crimes that disproportionately affect minorities, including homicide. [2]

Regardless of whether homicide should or should not be legal, the legal status of homicide in and of itself is not racist, despite disproportionately affecting minorities. For a law to be racist it would have to imply that the behaviour or activity is inherent in that race. Not all minorities smoke marijuana, nor is marijuana smoking exclusive to minorities.

02. That racial profiling is an issue does not make the criminalization of a behaviour racist.

Black people are more likely to be pulled over by police officers than white people. [3] This is not an argument for the legalization of any driving offence, nor does it make the criminalization of any driving offence racist.

==Conclusion==

In this round I have brought forth the following arguments: The first is that criminalizing a behaviour that is not inherent for a certain race is not racist. The second is that, although racial profiling is a problem, it does not make the criminalization of any behaviour racist. By extension, those who support the criminalization of marijuana are not racist, because the criminalization of marijuana is not racist.

I look forward to any rebuttals my opponent may have, as well as any new arguments he would like to present. Thank you for your time.

==Sources==

[1] http://www.debate.org...
[2] http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov...
[3] http://www.cbc.ca...
[4] http://en.wikipedia.org...
FourTrouble

Con

FourTrouble forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
tulle

Pro

It is regrettable that my opponent is not able to continue this debate. Turning it over.
FourTrouble

Con

NOTE: I apologize for forfeiting the previous round. If readers of the debate want to take off conduct points, I completely understand. That said, in the spirit of debate, I'd appreciate it if they did not take off points for arguments. Thank you. Now, onto my argument.


Marijuana is readily available on every college campus and every office building, not to mention the streets of every city. As my opponent notes, the use of marijuana is not exclusive to minorities. But the fact of wholesale discrimination in the criminal justice system is exclusive to minorities. The war on drugs (in which marijuana plays a key role) has defined an entire segment of the population (young Black men) as criminal, and it has led to the incarceration of a substantial percentage of their population.

My opponent says "criminalizing a behaviour that is not inherent for a certain race is not racist." This only makes sense if "race" itself is "inherent," an unchanging collective identity. But recent studies in sociology, anthropology, and biology, suggest that race is as much a social institution as criminalization. What it means to be "Black" or "Latino" is constantly changing to reflect the endless metamorphasis of civil society.

The crux of this debate is whether race is a social phenomenon or whether it is solely biological. My opponent's argument rests on the false assumption that race is defined solely through biological factors. I argue that race is a social construction, a system of meaning that connects physical features to ongoing social and political struggles. The meaning of terms like Black, White, Asian, and Latino are not defined solely by a genetic difference - race is defined by a context of social institutions that generate meanings that we attach to each group.

For example, in general Black people perform worse than White people on the SAT - does this mean Black people are inherently dumber than White people? If you believe race is biological, the answer to this question is yes. But if you believe race is a social phenomenon, then the answer to this question is no. Instead, you would say that the test ignores the context in which Black people grow up, the fact that they have less access to SAT preparation or the fact that Black culture (an explicitly social phenomenon) doesn't place as much value on the SAT as White culture. The point here is quite clear: race is a social phenomenon.

Therefore, what it means to be "Black" is itself defined by its social context, not by something that is biologically inherent in Black people. Now, I am certain my opponent agrees that young Black men (as defined by our current social context) have a higher probability of getting arrested for smoking marijuana than young White men (as defined by our current social context). This is a fact about our society - a fact about the way race is defined by us - and it is a fact that would change if marijuana were legalized.

If marijuana were legalized, young Black men would have the same social status as young White men with respect to the use of marijuana. But if marijuana remains criminalized, young Black men would have a lower social status than young White men with respect to the use of marijuana. The meaning of the categories "Black" and "White" changes in each case, as the meanings attached to a race are defined by the particular social context in which it is situated.

If marijuana is criminalized, the vast majority of the people who are arrested and incarcerated for using it will be young Black men. This is a fact about the society in which we live, and therefore, criminalizing marijuana defines young Black men as more criminal than young White men. This creates a racist differential between Black men and White men. Therefore, supporting the criminalization of marijuana is racist.

The resolution is negated.
Debate Round No. 3
tulle

Pro

tulle forfeited this round.
FourTrouble

Con

Thanks again to tulle for this debate. Since it is the last round, I'll offer a brief summary of my arguments.

In the previous round, I argued that race itself is not solely biological - it is a social phenomenon. In other words, race is defined by a set of meanings (created by humans) that are given to different physical characteristics. A Latino man is not biologically different than a White man in any significant way - the difference is social. Different groups of people are afforded a different social status (and this status is not always established politically, as it is often a purely cultural or social fact).

Therefore, I argued that the criminalization of marijuana is racist. Why? Because criminalization of marijuana changes the social landscape: while different ethnic groups smoke marijuana in equal numbers, the number of Black men arrested for smoking marijuana is significantly greater than the number of White men arrested for smoking marijuana. In effect, the way race is defined changes - Black men are defined as inherently more criminal than White men. This is a social fact, just as race itself is a social fact defined by its social context.

My opponent has not offered a response to my argument, as she forfeited the last round. I forfeited a round as well, the second round, so I ask readers to not take off conduct points from either of us. That said, my argument has not been countered. Hence, the resolution is negated.
Debate Round No. 4
42 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by tulle 4 years ago
tulle
I started this debate because the topic had come up in the forums.
Posted by thigner 4 years ago
thigner
SO.. did I understand this debate well?

main issue of this debate is supporter of criminalization of marijuana is racist because more ration of minorities are likely to burn marijuana.

Whatsoever. Regardless of races, there barely exist issues resolved if we put the article that says it must be evenly resolved at the point of racism.

Assume that I'm the owner of the biggest fatty icecream maker and I decided to increase the price of icecreams and put more additives which makes it more delicious and makes consumers to be more fatty.

And someone sue me as racist because some minorities eat icecream more as portion and it will make that race more fatty. so i'm racist. am I?
Posted by tulle 4 years ago
tulle
To be fair, you didn't address either of my arguments either.
Posted by FourTrouble 4 years ago
FourTrouble
If smoking marijuana is a neutral behavior, then why is it substantially more criminal for a Black person to smoke than a White person?

Slavery is racist because "it was an institution defined around perceptions of race" (your words). The criminal justice system is also an institution that is defined around perceptions or race. Think about it: if the institution that determines whether something is criminal or not is racist, then how is it possible to criminalize a behavior without extending the domain in which the criminal justice system operates?

I think the problem here is that you are conflating whether something is moral or not with whether something is criminal or not. The problem is that we aren't debating whether an action is moral or not, we are debating a human institution, the criminal justice system, so what is and is not criminal is constantly changing. In our society, Black people are considered more criminal, and criminalizing marijuana extends the domain in which Black people are considered criminal. Will criminalizing marijuana ALWAYS be racist? Not necessarily. But at the moment, supporting it definitely is racist.

Sorry, I won't debate this again because I already know how the DDO community will vote, regardless of who ends up making the stronger arguments. When someone votes against me even though all my arguments were dropped, I honestly lose all incentive to debate the topic anymore.
Posted by tulle 4 years ago
tulle
I don't know---maybe if you're up to it, we can take another stab at this?
Posted by tulle 4 years ago
tulle
Slavery was forcing a group of people to work for free as second class citizens based on race. That in and of itself is racist. It was an institution defined around perceptions of race. Race was an indicator and predictor for where you stood in that system, that is, whether you were a slave owner or a slave. Marijuana smoking has nothing to do with race. Race is neither an indicator nor a predictor of marijuana smoking. Racial profiling and racial law enforcement is a problem with SEVERAL crimes. That does not mean the behaviour being a crime in and of itself is racist---it means the racial profiling and racial law enforcement is racist.

Police officers are more likely to shoot a black person than a white person. Does this mean police officers should not have guns and that people who support police officers having guns are racist?

I literally do not think I can explain it any simpler than I explained it in my second round.
Posted by FourTrouble 4 years ago
FourTrouble
I don't see what you are saying - if Black people and White people are affected DIFFERENTLY by the same POLITICAL INSTITUTION, doesn't it make the political institution racist? If slavery were legalized, no one would say the United States was not racist because slavery is racist - they would say the United States was racist precisely because it legalized slavery. Condoning racial profiling is racist. Condoning racist law enforcement is racist. I really don't see any argument emerging from you other than pointing out that it's counter-intuitive.
Posted by tulle 4 years ago
tulle
"I will argue that the illegality of marijuana is not racist, while my opponent will have to argue that it is."
Posted by tulle 4 years ago
tulle
Racial profiling is/can be racist. I acknowledge that black people are disproportionately affected because of racism and racial profiling. I think you need to re-read my first round :/
Posted by FourTrouble 4 years ago
FourTrouble
or it could be asked - do you think racial profiling is racist? the correct answer from your viewpoint would be "no," in which case you run into a double-bind, because saying racial profiling isn't racist is itself racist, as it implies there is ACTUALLY a GOOD reason Black people are profiled, which is racist-thinking.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Stephen_Hawkins 4 years ago
Stephen_Hawkins
tulleFourTroubleTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: This was poor quality due to the numerous forfeits, but the actual debate is quite semantic anyway, and not going in a great direction, in my opinion. However, the definition at the beginning of R1 by tulle stating "hereditary factor" is the determining factor, and CON accepted, I'm going to have to give points to tulle. However, due to the flimsy nature, I'm only giving the single point.