Drug Policy

Drugs, Racism, and The New York Times

Cocaine, opium, and racial paranoia.


Radley Balko has combed through the New York Times archives to see just how racist the paper's drug coverage was a century ago. Pretty racist, it turns out: The articles he found feature headlines like "NEGRO COCAINE 'FIENDS' ARE A NEW SOUTHERN MENACE" and subheds like "Drug-Crazed Negroes Start a Reign of Terror and Defy Whole Mississippi Town."

You can see the rest here, along with a bonus bit of bigotry the Times ran in 1885. That article's called "The Similarity of Chinamen," and I'd try to describe it, but I don't think any summary I could write would do it justice.

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  1. Well back then the Times was a Republican rag so it doesn’t matter.

    1. That’s BS. You’re buying into the democrat’s marketing pitch that republicans are racist. It’s simply not true. Even the war on women is a hoax.

      1. Hmm…should have used the sarcasm tag.

        Also the Solid South were not Democrats and Woodrow Wilson and FDR did not receive over 90% of the vote in Mississippi or South Carolina.

    2. my classmate’s sister-in-law makes $65/hour on the computer. She has been fired from work for 6 months but last month her payment was $15705 just working on the computer for a few hours. Here’s the site to read more… http://www.snag4.com

  2. Hilarious.

  3. Wasn’t “The Similarity of Chinamen” a comment on a Reason immigration post, a few weeks back?

    1. The Similarity of the Communist Leech Brown Horde has been a comment around here a lot lately.

    2. That is not the preferred nomenclature.

      1. The Chinaman is not the issue, Dude

  4. It has been proposed that every Chinaman shall have his photograph attached to his certificate…Even if it were practicable it would be useless. If Chinamen cannot be told apart in the flesh still less can they be distinguished be photographs.

    OMG, that is fucking awesome.

    1. Shouldn’t you be tending to some devil goat babies?

      1. Two died last night 🙁 The third is weak and barely holding on. The problem is that the mother’s teat is too low to the ground for the baby to latch. I have been bottle feeding it milk. Hopefully Ken will be home soon with some goat colostrum or something to save the little guy. I would milk the mom, but I can’t catch her let alone hold her still.

        1. Awe. Good luck.

  5. STEVE SMITH rape Negro Cocaine fiends. STEVE SMITH no discriminate by race or sex with who to rape.

    1. Verily, these are the most beautiful sentences in written English.

  6. If you’ve ever seen a Negro on cocaine you’d know how unbelievably fleet of foot they are.

    1. Unbelievably *similar*, too.

    2. True story from my time is the prosecutors office: One coked up suspect outran multiple cops. Twice. In the same night. I personally thought they should let the guy off with a warning but unfortunately for him he embarrassed some overweight good ol’ boys.

      1. I forgot the best part: When the first set of cops chased after him they left the cocaine and the cash they confiscated from the guy sitting on the hood of their car. Naturally the evidence disappeared.

        1. Should have got Will Smith to help. I heard he ran down a cephalopod on foot.

  7. “Special to the New York Times.”


  8. Radley Balko has combed through the New York Times archives to see just how racist the paper’s drug coverage was a century ago. Pretty racist, it turns out: The articles he found feature headlines like “NEGRO COCAINE ‘FIENDS’ ARE A NEW SOUTHERN MENACE”

    Old news is old. This story was well-known among the anti-drug prohibition crowd for years.

    Next thing you know, Balko will be “finding” that the Progressive plantation overseers known as the “black leaders” called for the sentencing disparity between cocaine possession and crack possession.

    1. I’ve read plenty of descriptions of this kind of coverage over the years, but that doesn’t mean I’m not grateful for his blog post. It’s a nice little list of some especially egregious articles, with links so we can read the original texts. Seems to me that that’s a useful service, no matter how well-known the story is among opponents of drug prohibition.

      1. Ask Balko to post some material from Harold Anslinger’s “gore files.” Some of the most sensationalist bullshit ever peddled as an excuse to “regulate” marijuana, with generous smatterings of racism against Mexicans and Blacks.

    2. I like this stuff, and I hadn’t heard of it before.

    3. The post was a response to a current NYT editorial that claimed that “southern newspapers” of the past printed racist anti-drug articles.

      This “those crazy, racist southerners” attitude is a recurrent theme in northeastern thought. Just look at any of Balko’s articles at Huffpo regarding the Mississippi forensics scandals. They are rife with “look how racist the south is” posts. It appears to be a psychological technique used to absolve themselves of association with racist thought.

      Never mind those police abuses happening in their home turf… they don’t exist… ’cause only southerners are racist. And only racism causes police abuse. We New Yorkers are much more enlightened…. Oh, look! They caught that young black drug user on a stop-and-frisk! Good job protecting us NYPD!

      1. New Yorkers are much more enlightened…. Oh, look! They caught that young black drug user on a stop-and-frisk! Good job protecting us NYPD!

        Of course it’s totally different. When the NYPD harrasses young black men, it’s because the NYPD has studies and statistics and experts that show that such harrassment is a crime-preventative measure.

        When Southerners do it, it’s because they’re a bunch of redneck racists who hate black people and want to put ya’ll back in chains.

        Different like apples and apples.

  9. Southern newspapers reported that “negro cocaine fiends” were raping white women, the police powerless to stop them.

    Hilarious. Radley calling out the op-ed contributor.

    1. This is what is actually noteworthy. It’s not surprising to find old newspaper articles that are racist; what’s worth pointing out is that, in typical northern liberal fashion, they want to pretend that all the nasty racism was/is a southern thing.

  10. It is evident that the malignity of these Chinamen in looking so much like each other is likely to baffle the good intentions of Congress. No Occidental can tell Chinamen apart even when they are together, much less identify a Chinaman “surprised by himself.” Chinese names do not afford much more clue than Chinese faces.

    ma?lig?ni?ty: 1. An act of great malice 2. The condition or quality of being highly dangerous or injurious; deadliness.

    Get that? Looking alike is part of their evil plot to take over the world.

    1. Beware the clones of the inscrutable DR. FU MANCHU!!!!!!

      1. “Not ‘Craw’! CRAW!!”

    2. If they aren’t plotting something, why do they look so much like each other? Huh?


        1. Wu…Sweargen…hang dai!

      2. Fair enough, the article does mention the fact that we all look alike to the China-man, as well. My wife agrees, and adds that White people smell like spoiled milk to Asians.

        1. Spoiled milk? I thought we smelled like wet dog?

          1. Speak for yourself. I smell like Vaseline and gin.

          2. I thought we smelled like wet dog?

            That’s how you smell like to me.

            1. So what do you smell like to your wife?

        2. I’ve had vegetarian Indian friends remark that we smell like meat. I found it complimentary.

          1. Did they smell like curry?

            1. Did they smell like curry?

              If you have to ask, you’ve never flown Air India.

              1. Anything like being on a Xiamen Airlines flight when 200 people all open their complimentary packets of dried squid at the same time?

          2. I’ve talked before with some friends about how some (white) guys smell like meat. Some of us were into that, others not.

            1. saying, “meat” is like saying “Asian” = IT DONNA MEAN A NOTHING!!

              Do you go to a deli and order a ‘meat sandwich’?
              Do you buy plane tickets to ‘Asia’?

              so – *what kind* of meat? frozen chicken breast? ground beef? aged prosciutto? hot dogs? (a magical animal!)

              speaking of women sniffing men… pbs did some doco on genetic influences on preferences…and one test was a group of women sniffing bags with undershirts anonymous men had worn for a week. fucking hilarious. they showed that women were naturally attracted to men that had roughly similar genetic make-up. when showed photos of their personal favorite odor-source, they also were like, ‘Mmmm, yeah’

              My favorite was one women who sniffed… sniffed again… smiled a little… then stuck the bag on her face and started huffing like a teenager trying to get fucked up on the cheap. priceless.

              1. this thing


                they dont show my fave bit

                also – apparently the attraction is to *different* immune-systems. i mucked it up

      3. “If they aren’t plotting somthing”…they always were/are:


    3. is likely to baffle the good intentions of Congress

      Even back then they had a statist bias.

      1. True. It’s probably more accurate to say that the NYT migrated from one statist group to another than that transitioned from being conservative to being liberal.

    4. I liked this bit: “…to amass, by washing the clothes of Americans, fortunes which shall be spent in riotous luxury…”

      Riotous luxury from their laundry fortunes! No wonder all those Chinese families started dry cleaning establishments…them Chinamen are smart.

  11. Pretty racist, it turns out

    So not much has changed in the intervening century, then.

    1. I was thinking the same reading the cocaine fiend article. The good Dr was presenting opinion as indisputable fact throughout the entire article. At first I was astounded that he could get away with such obvious bullshit…

      …until I compared it with modern “journalists.”

      Different issues, same tactics.

      1. Same exact formula, you only need 3 ingredients.

        1. Boogeymen(can be inaminate object as well as persons)

        2. Hysterical level hyperbole.

        3. Potential victims.

        1+2+3 = News

      2. Doctors were fucking crazy back then. One of the things I got to read in my history class last semester was the writing of a doctor that explained why blacks were only fit to be slaves and HAD to be worked as hard as possible to keep them from dying.

        1. And the sheep will believe anything put in front of them. I mean, god forbid I question a doctor, lawyer, the NYT, a polotician my betters.

        2. WHY ARE YOU ANTI-SCIENCE?!?!?!

          1. It clashes with my drapes.

  12. You have to wonder what actually happened to trigger this bloodbath.

  13. This is how much we’ve progressed a society – from blind, irrational, racist fear of negro cocaine fiends, to electing one to the White House. Huzzah!

    1. “So come on you old son of gun, and let Barry do a line off your boner!”

      1. Nobody parties like a jockey.

  14. Last November’s NYT headline: “Negro Cocaine Fiend Wins Second Term, America Saved”

  15. Wow. It’s nice to see that our pathetic media haven’t changed much over the years. Only the boogeymen have changed, not the scare mongering hyperbole.

    1. “Drug-crazed Libertarians terrorize New York, defy Mayor Bloomberg

      Police powerless to stop them”

      1. Bitter clingers with their bullet spraying death machines!

      2. “They Danced With Our Dates!”

  16. Hey you know who still talks like that? The Redneck, Beckerhead Christfag fans of BOOOOSH.

  17. Gun Crazed GOP Fiends Defy An Entire Nation.

    1. Media mobilized, activists rushed to the scene.

      1. Do we really need a sockpuppet of a sockpuppet?

        1. It’s sockpuppets all the way down. Whose sockpuppet are you, anyway?

  18. I mean really, the New York Times is like 200 years old! Only right wing extremists would take it seriously.

  19. Dude seems to be talking a whole lot of smack man. Wow.


  20. Ay, yea, yea, yea….smoke weed every 86400 seconds.

  21. Speaking of the racists over at the NYT, what the fuck was the point of that thing about Coca-Cola and the Negro Race the other day?

    I’d link, if I felt like it.

  22. the war on drugs and the war on guns, both with roots in racism.

  23. If liberal institutions didn’t possess modern sensibilities for their entire centuries-long existence, then current slack-jawed racists don’t have to answer for anything. QED.

    1. ….TOP….MEN this time.

      Herp Derp Derp Derp

    2. The South still gets attacked by liberals over fucking slavery, Tony. It’s okay when you guys do it, right?

      1. The South is still full of racists.

        1. And the North is still full of racists who when seeing a black with a job think we aren’t spending enough on welfare.

  24. I believe the commentariat spotted the whole “grip” issue way back when this was just a press release.

    You’re welcome.

    1. Fuck. Wrong thread.

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