Boston Globe columnist Derrick Z. Jackson has a piece on the discrimination surrounding marijuana. It’s not just the police targeting blacks and Hispanics at a much higher rate as the ACLU report showed; but also a cultural phenomenon in Hollywood, where white marijuana use is glorified, and minorities are perpetrated as thugs.
What a strange and segregated drug trip America is on. On one level, the national mood toward marijuana has softened, with legalization in Washington and Colorado and the approval of medical marijuana in states including Massachusetts. Television shows regularly feature the recreational use of marijuana. The Globe recently listed more than a dozen shows where characters chill out or even work in a cannabis haze. In one scene in “Mad Men,” a character walks into the office, sniffs pot, and declares, “I smell creativity.”
I smell a cultural rat.
The vast majority of actors and actresses in these shows are white. The shows include “The Office,” “Parenthood,” “Workaholics,” “Hot in Cleveland,” “Shameless,” and “Californication.” For millions of white television viewers, marijuana has wafted into another form of entertainment.
But for hundreds of thousands of African-Americans, possession remains a passport to prison.