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Enid Logan

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The Wrong Race, Committing Crime, Doing Drugs, and Maladjusted for Motherhood: The Nation’s Fury over “Crack Babies”

Logan discusses prenatal substance abuse, focusing on women addicted to crack and their children. She illustrates that the social, legal, and political trends that comprise the nation’s response to this problem were largely inspired by racial, gendered, and socioeconomic imperatives, rather than by the blind hand of justice. Stigmatizing and punishing poor drug-addicted black women, she argues, is useful not for preventing fetal harm, but for defending normative standards of gender and motherhood, the resuscitation of public innocence concerning the plight of the black poor, and the legitimization of a status quo characterized by continuing oppression and inequality. If the real imperatives driving the criminal prosecution of crack-addicted mothers were reflected upon, policymakers might begin to devise programs that empower pregnant addicts and allow them to be good mothers to their children.

drugs, crack babies, African Americans — mothers, children — fetal rights, drug abuse — mothers, minorities — war on drugs policy, mothers — African Americans, mothers — drug abuse, United States — social policy — drug control policy

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 26, No. 1 (1999): 115-138