If you have been thinking that malt liquor is more plentiful in black neighborhoods, youre right.
A University of Minnesota study revealed that in 10 cities, malt liquor is more widely available in poor, black neighborhoods.
The study revealed that poor neighborhoods with high concentrations of African-Americans had significantly greater than average number of liquor stores, 40-ounce bottles of malt liquor in coolers, and storefront ads promoting malt liquor.
Rhona Jones-Webb, the studys principal investigator, said she was not surprised by the findings. It wasnt overly surprising, as I think theres been anecdotal evidence and we are one of the first to systematically document that.
University researchers said that malt liquor was of particular concern because of its high alcohol content and the fact that its 40-ounce containers are sold cold for immediate consumption at a low price. The study indicated that the average 40-ounce bottle cost just $1.87, less than a gallon of milk.
Its cheaper than pot, cheaper than crack, said Horace Small, executive director of the Union of Minority Neighborhoods in Boston.
Small said malt liquor sales are a contributing factor to the myriad problems that impoverished communities face. Youre more prone to have a chip on your shoulder when youve got two bottles of that…in you, he said.
Small added that while upper- and middle-class neighborhoods are likely to organize against such businesses, disenfranchised poor and minority communities are not likely to put up much of a fight.
Its a setup, he said. Policy makers know theyre poor; they know theres violence. Why do they have to put another liquor store in there? Weve got smoking cessation programs, sex awareness programs, but no one is focusing on fortified liquor consumption and its impact on communities, Small said.