November 14, 2004

Crack Babies Talk Back: how the media created a powerful myth, what science is learning now, and (most importantly) what happened to a few of the children behind it.

This story actually makes me happy - not happy for what they have been through, but that the children are healthier than people thought. Though the article does point out that children with Fetal alcohol syndrome do not fair as well - I wonder if FAS will ever receive the media attention that "crack babies" did?

  • I'm glad you posted this - I had no idea that these kids were beating the odds. As far as FAS - I don't think there is a chance it will ever get the attention it deserves- our society is so attached to its one legal vice that few care enough to learn and even fewer want to hear about it.
  • Excellent, excellent post - I had absolutely no idea the 'crack baby' label was controversial.
  • I mistakenly thought the term "crack baby" was shorthand for "crack-addicted baby" (something the article says is scientifically inaccurate) or "baby born to a crack-addicted mother."
  • Well, according to the article, 'crack baby' means 'born to a crack addict', but they're not utterly fucked up like someone born with FAS.
  • Oh, and while we're on the subject -- you won't die from withdrawal from cocaine or heroin. Alcohol withdrawal, however, may kill severe alcoholics.
  • Yes, I guess that second idea isn't so much a mistake as my failure to grasp the full pejorative sense of the label. They Called Me a ‘Crack Baby’ - one of the stories from the special issue of Represent mentioned in the article.
  • Very intriguing post. Thank you, jb.
  • {banana, with the peel removed for smoking}
  • Nice, jb. Thanks for an enlightening post. ))))))
  • PY - thanks for the link directly to the magasine. That's much better. I hope you don't mind, but I am going to repost to mefi with your link.
  • Anecdote: a friend's mother was a neonatal nurse and foster parent, and often ended up fostering kids she'd helped bring into the world. When I knew her, she had a beautiful little boy called William, who was born to a crack addict. He seemed like a perfectly normal little boy to me and was perfectly developmentally normal too. And cute! In May, one Fox News station warned that meth babies “could make the crack baby look like a walk in the nursery.” Ah, Fox.
  • [this is good]
  • Thanks, jb. I wouldn't have looked for Represent without your outstanding post.
  • I have a friend who likes to tell people she's a crack baby. And she was, but she's also one of the most intelligent people I know. The problems she has are mostly caused by a completely dysfunctional family. This is a great post, I'm relieved to see some media coverage of this. Any little bit to help such a destructive stereotype is good... I forget which of the psychology courses I've taken mentioned the lack of reality behind the term 'crack baby', but it made pretty clear the fact that there is really nothing to back up the label. Unfortunately, FAS probably has no chance of getting anywhere near that kind of coverage.