There's a great new academic book out by A. Rafik Mohamed and Erik D. Fritsvold: Dorm Room Dealers: Drugs and the privileges of race and class.
Too many books (my own included) treat drug crimes like it's some black thing that whites wouldn't understand unless some kind-hearted interpreters explain to "us" those strange things "they" do.
Well it ain't like that. Most drug dealers are white. Most drug users are white. It just doesn't make the news (or get police attention).
And yet, you may be thinking... if most drug crimes are committed by white people, and whites are just as if not more likely than blacks to take and sell drugs, then why do I think of drug criminals as black and why are most people in prison for drug crimes black?
As they say: Ah-hxaaaaaa!
We don't fight the war on drugs against rich college-educated white folks.
Most prohibition violence in the drug trade happens in non-white neighborhoods. So there's a reason we focus on crime more on drug crimes in some neighborhoods than others. To me it's the public drug trade that is so brutal.
But what about all those college drug dealers? Why do we never hear about them? Well this book answers that. I might write a proper book review later, but for now let me say this: I mean, I went to college. Anybody who has gone to college knows you can buy drugs in college. It's like these college drug dealers have no fear of ever getting caught.
These dorm-room dealers sell drugs like they're dorm-room posters. Everybody can see them. They have no fear. You see, the rules are different for them. College drug dealers get in the game, make some cash (or support their habit), and then graduate and get a job, maybe in daddy's firm.
Am I oversimplifying? Of course. You should buy the book. If for no other reason than it makes a great ethnographic counterpart to Cop in the Hood. Here's how the other half deals drugs. There's a good lesson there for all us all.