Now look at this montage of newspaper headlines from Thursday around New York and the country. You've all probably heard about this story. That is how much play it got. And, of course, it dovetails with the O.J. Simpson verdict being announced. And it's got some interesting statistics, this story, and I predict that you're going to see a lot of hay made about this. I think a lot of people you see--"Crossfire" probably do a topic on this. The weekend shows will probably mention this. We'll have serious, somber discussions about the meaning of this. And a bunch of intellectuals--you know how intellectuals talk. I love watching intellectuals on TV. They'll sit there and go, Well, my opinion is I looked at the data, don't you see,' and it'll take a half-hour for them to get their first two sentences completed. It sounds like they're constipated, most of these intellectuals, when they're speaking.
But this does have some data and I will guarantee you this is going to be--I'm going to assume that everything in it's true for this--just for the sake of discussion. And I will guarantee you that it's going to be mishandled, misreported and the wrong conclusions are going to be drawn from it. Basically, the thrust of the story is that black men in their 20s in this country--one-third of all black men in their 20s are either in jail or on parole. And that--that--that if this were the case in the white population, if one-third of the white male population in this country in its 20s were in jail, that we would stop everything, declare a national emergency and try to solve the problem. And I think in 1990 the--the number was one in four black men in their 20s were in jail. Now--there you see it--now in 1995 it's--it's one in three.
But here is the real nuts and bolts of this that everybody's going to focus on and misread, I believe. Blacks make up 12 percent of the United States' population. They constitute 13 percent of all monthly drug users, according to this same report. However, black males in their 20s represent 35 percent of those arrested for drug possession, 55 percent of those convicted for drug possession and 74 percent of those sentenced to prison for drug possession.
Now people are going to sit there and say, This proves that America's racist. This proves that cops target blacks unfairly and put them in jail unfairly. They got to be falsely accused. They've got to be falsely convicted. They got to be falsely imprisoned'--and this is supposed to prove to everybody that this is terribly wrong.
Now I think the proper way to look at this is the exact opposite. Let's all admit something: There's nothing good about drug use. We know it. It destroys individuals. It destroys families. Drug use destroys societies. Drug use, some might say, is destroying this country. And we have laws against selling drugs, pushing drugs, using drugs, importing drugs. And the laws are good because we know what happens to people in societies and neighborhoods which become consumed by them. And so if people are violating the law by doing drugs, they ought to be accused and they ought to be convicted and they ought to be sent up.
If you're a black living in the inner city--and--and I firmly believe that, no matter what your race, if you have children--or even if you don't--you don't want to be surrounded by drug infestation. You don't want your kids running around being tempted by the quick profits of drug sales or the quick high of drug use. And if the cops are in these neighborhoods and ridding these neighborhoods of these people, then that's good and you ought to be happy about it.
What this says to me is that too many whites are getting away with drug use, too many whites are getting away with drug sales, too many whites are getting away with trafficking in this stuff. The answer to this disparity is not to start letting people out of jail because we're not putting others in jail who are breaking the law. The answer is to go out and find the ones who are getting away with it, convict them and send them up the river, too. That's how you deal with this, ladies and gentlemen.
And I guarantee you that everybody's going to look at this and draw the wrong conclusion. They're going to say, America's racist. We're unfairly targeting blacks.' I think blacks ought to be dis--unhappy--whites ought to be unhappy about this. If--if white people are getting away with this stuff, they're tempting your kids, they're tempt--they're--they're in the process perhaps of getting into your neighborhoods. This stuff is des--is destructive. So you--you mark my words, as this is reported all across the media, America's racist. America unfairly targets blacks,' and so forth, when, in fact, too many whites, apparently, are getting away with it.