Sunday, February 28, 2010

Tyler Perry's Crack Mothers

New York Times editorial "Tyler Perry's Crack Mothers" (February 26th, 2010) confuses level of drug rates with per capita crack consumption. Specifically, it claims that depictions of black women as crack-addicted are improper because the total number of blacks admitted to clinics for addiction is now less than the total number of whites.

Furthermore, data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration revealed that of the total admissions to treatment services for crack use, blacks outpaced whites in 1996, but whites outpaced blacks in 2005 for those under 30 years old.

There are six whites in the U.S. for every black. If blacks used crack cocaine less than whites, as the Times appears to attempt to suggest, one should see black admissions to clinics being one sixth that of whites, rather than approximately the same.

This piece of evidence that the Times gives is simply ludicrous. If movies are to be ethnically fair, then they would show (approximately) six times as many black crack addicts as white.

One might add that a priori we expect that whites, who are on average weathier, are over-represented in the data the Times provides.

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