Tag Archives: moral panic

What is it about gold teeth that freaks people out?

The United States Army has banned grills.  Here is a quote from Animal Magazine who excerpted the Army new regulations:

The use of gold caps, platinum caps, or caps of any unnatural color or texture (permanent or removable) for purposes of dental ornamentation is prohibited. Teeth, whether natural, capped, or veneered, will not be decorated with designs, jewels, initials, or similar ornamentation.

via US Army To Ban Neck Tattoos, Cornrows And Grills – ANIMAL.

You understand that most grills are removable right?  What is it about gold teeth that makes people freak out?  My criticism is that they are wasteful and might damage your teeth or mouth.  But that might be true of sour patch kids, and I don’t think the Army should ban them.

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Filed under forbidden fruit, representation

New thinking about crack

I appreciate the insights of Dr. Carl Hart, professor at Columbia University writing about drug use and moral panic.  Quoted here in an interview with Salon.

CH: I think crack cocaine is the easiest example  In the 1980s, as I was coming of age in my teens and my early 20s, people—black people, white folks, a number of people in the country—said crack was so awful it was causing women to give up their babies and neglect their children such that grandmothers had to raise another generation of children.

Now, if you look at the history in poor communities—my community, my family—long before crack ever hit the scene, that sort of thing happened in my house. We were raised by my grandmother. My mother went away because she and my father split up. She went away in search of better jobs and left the state, but it wasn’t just her. This sort of thing, this pathology that is attributed to drugs, happened to immigrant communities like the Eastern European Jews when they came to the Lower East SIde, but people simply blamed crack in the 1980s and the 1990s.

Another example is that, since the crack era, multiple studies have found that the effects of crack cocaine use during pregnancy do not create an epidemic of doomed black “crack babies.” Instead, crack-exposed children are growing up to lead normal lives, and studies have repeatedly found that the diferences between them and babies who were not exposed cannot be isolated from the health effects of growing up poor, without a stable, safe environment or access to healthcare.

via Carl Hart: Drugs don’t turn people into criminals – Salon.com.

When asked about what to do about these problems, Dr. Hart explains:

CH: That is complex, but quite simple to start. The first thing is we decriminalize all drugs. More than 80% of people arrested for drugs are arrested for simple possession. Wen you decriminalize, now you have that huge number of people—we’re talking 1.5 million people arrested every year—that no longer have that blemish on their record. That increases the likelihood that they can get jobs, participate in the mainstream.

Number two is dramatically increase realistic education about drugs—none of this “this is your brain on drugs” stuff, but real education, which looks like making sure people understand effects of drugs they’re using, particularly potentially medical affects. Don’t use heroin with another sedative because it increases the likelihood of respiratory depression. Realistic education, telling people what to do, how to prevent negative effects associated with drugs. We do it with alcohol—you shouldn’t binge drink, don’t drink on an empty stomach—and could do it with other drugs.

via Carl Hart: Drugs don’t turn people into criminals – Salon.com.

Hart has a book: High Price, check it out.  Thanks to Salon.

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Filed under drugs, health, learning, race, representation