Behind the Eight Ball : Sex for Crack Cocaine Exchange and Poor Black Women book cover
1st Edition

Behind the Eight Ball
Sex for Crack Cocaine Exchange and Poor Black Women

ISBN 9780789024572
Published October 3, 2005 by Routledge
262 Pages

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Book Description

Inner-city black women open their hearts to share the pain of crack addiction and its consequences

Behind the Eight Ball: Sex for Crack Cocaine Exchange and Poor Black Women documents an American tragedy that highlights the widening gap between social and economic classes. In their own words, poor black women—nameless, faceless, and marginalized by poverty—share the details of their lives before and after crack cocaine invaded their communities, each recalling the circumstances of her introduction to the drug and her first experience using sex to support her addiction. These candid interviews expose the socioeconomic changes in inner-city neighborhoods that created the perfect conditions for a crack stronghold; the crack cocaine economy's impact on the lives of inner-city residents; and the social and familial consequences of crack addiction among poor, black women.

Behind the Eight Ball: Sex for Crack Cocaine Exchange and Poor Black Women places crack addiction, crack-related prostitution and its consequences, STDs, HIV, and pregnancy into the context of the larger social issues of inner-city poverty, race, gender, and class. This unique book reveals the sex-for-crack barter system as evidence of a long-term social exclusion and systemic racism that has worked to destroy the self-image of poor black American women. The women interviewed reflect this negative image, exchanging sex for crack on a regular basis to support their addictions at the risk-and reality-of unplanned pregnancies.

“The baby I am carrying now, I don’t know who the father is. There are a few (men) that I had sex with around the time I got pregnant—that day. But which one it is, I don’t know who.”

Behind the Eight Ball: Sex for Crack Cocaine Exchange and Poor Black Women examines:

  • why poor black women addicted to crack are disproportionately at risk for sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, and unplanned pregnancies
  • how the social and economic characteristics of poor black communities support crack distribution and consumption
  • how crack use and the exchange of sex for crack damages struggling black families
  • why the care of many children is entrusted to child welfare agencies
  • how and why women are marginalized in the crack culture
Behind the Eight Ball: Sex for Crack Cocaine Exchange and Poor Black Women is an insightful and enlightening look at the motivations behind the decision to risk illness, injury, disease, death, and pregnancy to support addiction.

Table of Contents

  • Foreword (Johnnetta B. Cole)
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1. The Social and Economic Precursors of Crack Use in Inner Cities
  • Crack Use and Women
  • Crack Use and Pregnancy
  • Crack Use and Motherhood
  • The Atlanta Crack Scene
  • Chapter 2. Bearing the Legacy of Social Change: A Theory of Gender Roles Among the Inner-City Poor
  • Gender Role Origins
  • Slavery and Gender Roles
  • Segregation and Gender Roles: Significance of the Sharecropping System
  • The Desegregation Era: Proliferation of a Ghetto Subculture and Increased Gender Role Tension
  • Late-Century Changes in Social Policy: 1980s and 1990s
  • Analysis of the Influence of Crack on Gender Roles
  • Chapter 3. The Crack Culture and Its Roles: The Complexities of Crack Prostitution
  • Addict’s Roles
  • The Crack Culture
  • Crack Houses
  • Crack House Roles and Rules
  • The Role of Black Women in the Crack Culture
  • Crack Roles versus Gender Roles
  • Gender Relationships in the Crack Culture
  • Defining Sex-for-Crack Exchange
  • Chapter 4. A Picture of the Women
  • Identification of the Women Studied
  • Women Who Exchanged Sex for Crack
  • Sex-for-Crack Pregnancies and Their Outcomes
  • Women Who Became Pregnant
  • Chapter 5. Lives of Women Who Exchange Sex for Crack
  • Stressed Life Situations
  • Difficult Beginnings: Lives Before Crack
  • The Crack Transformation
  • Chapter 6. Exchanging Sex for Crack and Sexual Risk Taking
  • Sex for Crack Initiation: Transition from Quasi-Relationships to Prostitution
  • Sexual Risk Taking
  • Role Negotiation: Partner Selection, Power, and Control
  • Chapter 7. Sex-for-Crack Pregnancies
  • The Women and Their Pregnancies
  • Issues Influencing Pregnancy Responses
  • Child Loss
  • Chapter 8. Sex-for-Crack Children
  • Life Circumstances of Sex-for-Crack Children
  • Children’s Relationships with Family Members
  • Mothering Sex-for-Crack Children
  • Abuse, Neglect, and Abandonment
  • Chapter 9. Discussion, Conclusions, and Policy Suggestions
  • Discussion
  • Sex-for-Crack Pregnancies and Their Outcomes
  • Awareness of Risk
  • Child Loss and Custody Issues
  • Crack Use, Motherhood, and Opportunity Structure
  • Life Quality of Sex-for-Crack Children
  • Discussion of Related Issues
  • Social Structure and the Legacy of Social Change
  • Crack and Gender Roles
  • Policy Suggestions
  • Conclusions
  • Chapter 10. Method Notes
  • Overview
  • Background and Project Sequence
  • Project-Participant Profile
  • Screening and Sampling Processes
  • Ethnography
  • Human Subjects’ Concerns
  • Data Analysis
  • Glossary
  • References
  • Index

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Tanya Telfair Sharpe