Whatever happened to crack babies?

The wonderful Retro Report (which revisits popular news stories of the years gone by and follows up on their claims) has posted a great, 10-minute documentary on "crack babies," concluding that the promised crack baby epidemic of kids with gross deformities who couldn't attend regular school never materialized. The documentary says that the entire phenomenon was extrapolated from a single, preliminary study, and that most of the "crack baby" effects were actually the result of low birth weight.

Crack Babies: A Tale from the Drug Wars (via Kottke)


    1. You mean because they didn’t show an Indian, Native American, or Asian babies? HOW DARE THEY!

      1. It isn’t exactly news that crack cocaine is black cocaine, while good, honest, powder is the choice of rock stars and Wall Street assholes…

        As with any stereotype, this doesn’t hold up entirely upon contact with ‘data’; but ‘crack’ is overwhelmingly the downmarket and endesireable demographic among recreational alkaloids. 

        1. Well, except that in the reporting  there was a decent amount of white babies, and white women being prosecuted. I would say there was about 60% African American women. 

          Like Whitney Houston says, ‘I didn’t do crack, crack is cheap. Only poor people do crack.”

          There is a divide, and it’s a socioeconomic one. To say that that crack is black, and powder is white, is incredibly racist. And does not appear to be the reporting that’s going on in those stories. 

          1. To say that that crack is black, and powder is white, is incredibly racist.

            For a variety of reasons both socioeconomic and cultural, crack cocaine has disproportionately impacted the black community. Other drugs such as powdered cocaine, meth and heroin have disproportionately impacted the white community. However, sentencing laws were written in a way that effectively penalized crack addicts more harshly than other drug addicts for no rational reason. Speculate on the motive for those laws all you want, but the effect is unescapable.

  1. This is why I never listen to the BS that the DEA or cops put out about drug scares. The most recent one with bath salts was also completely bullshit. Bath salts don’t make you eat another person’s face and the face eater wasn’t high on bath salts. But cops still need to throw people in jail because of them and speculate wildly (lots of new laws were passed). Another one before that was about how kids were making drugs out of feces–called jenkem. Apparently it was supposed to be popular in schools. Some cops when they found poop in abandoned buildings speculated that people were making jenkem there.

    If the cops can’t make up a new drug scare every couple of years, the public might question why paramilitary anti-drug organizations need to exist in the first place.

  2. This was around the same time of another dire warning from the law-and-order-at-all-costs crowd, about “superpredators”. We were supposedly going to see a generation of the worst criminals imaginable coming out of the inner city. As with the “crack baby” thing, it was a myth founded on racism and classism with the intent of justifying the militarization of police forces, funding of new prisons, relaxation of restrictions on law enforcement tactics. The predicted crime wave never surfaced, but we got all the things they claimed we’d need to deal with it anyway.

  3. My nephew was a “crackbaby” but really the only thing he has in common with the stereotype is two horrible piece of shit parents. 

  4. One more reason to hope and look forward to the coming drug-peace as a “when” and not an “if.”

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