Feeling better today. The dissociation seems to be almost gone. I was at least capable enough to write the following a short while ago on Facebook, and I think it’s spot-on:
One of my friends posted the following question: “Why do pot smokers do more time in prison than rapists? Serious question.
Hell, most rapists never see a jail cell.”
I’m going to share my answer here, because I think it’s very important that we realize these things.
My first response: “Reefer Madness. Plus the longstanding stereotype that it’s mostly black people who smoke weed. Combine that with institutionalized racism…”
My second, and more comprehensive response:
“I think it has to do with a combination of things:
Male privilege and misogyny, in so many ways. Women get thought of as “sluts” if they enjoy sex or have multiple partners, and get called “frigid” or “prudes” if they “withhold” sex; meanwhile men who have sex with multiple women are considered to be more manly–there’s a reason the women in these instances have been considered as “conquests”…as though it’s quintessentially a male right to “conquer as much pussy as we can get” (to quote Eddie Murphy).
In short, men have been considered superior for many hundreds of years, with women being relegated to secondary and even expendable status, and that still holds true today, no matter how much advocacy women have done (I like to think that the advocacy has done some good, but then I am saddened and angered when I read about another college football player raping another woman). And women are greatly more often the victims of rape than men. So men, the ruling sex, don’t have to care because it’s not something that happens to them as a rule.
(All this points to men as a whole being insecure with themselves and compensating on a vastly widespread and dangerous scale, and I think men need to be able to experience their emotions safely both at home and in school…with classes in the latter’s case beginning very early on, before the hardening and prejudices and acting out of high school or junior high take hold)
Hell, in the US it wasn’t even a crime for a man to rape his spouse until I think 1978. In Ireland divorce wasn’t legal until 1994 I think.
I think that covers why rape isn’t considered a huge deal legally, with regard to punishment length.
The pot thing on the other hand has to do with what I mentioned, but also the perception of “druggies” and “The War on Drugs” (I feel like there should be a trademark symbol after this). I think the war on drugs is racist (just ask Paul LePage about that one), but is also based on the same thing that mental illness is based on: doing illegal drugs or being mentally ill are considered moral failings, still, to this day. There’s plenty of social work history to back this up. The moral failing argument has been made for at least 150 years. Also, I think weed is considered a non-American crop–it’s considered a crop of non-white people, such as the Vietnamese…American boys got a taste of all that green when they were over there. Meanwhile, tobacco is considered fine because white slave owners owned the plantations and made black people work for them. There’s the children angle as well: pot has always been seen as a gateway drug, and there is this image of dealers enticing kids (which they no doubt do)…preying on America’s children. Making pot legal isn’t popular because of this association, and the gateway association with coke, heroin, etc.
I really do think these mentalities are still alive and well today, even if people aren’t aware of them. Pot smokers go to jail for longer because they are consciously or unconsciously considered more of a threat (and because of historical punishment precedents) than rapists (who are, after all, generally all men who are privileged…and often white. Can’t punish white men for getting some, now can we?)”.