The New York Times published a fascinating op-ed yesterday on the history of race, alcohol and drug prohibition, and soft drinks. The prohibitionist panics over heroin, opium, cocaine, marijuana, and alcohol of course all exploited racial and ethnic prejudice.
But given where the piece was published, I thought this line was kinda' amusing:
Middle-class whites worried that soft drinks were contributing to what they saw as exploding cocaine use among African-Americans. Southern newspapers reported that "negro cocaine fiends" were raping white women, the police powerless to stop them.
Southern papers, eh?
Okay so the author of the piece, Grace Elizabeth Hale, is an op-ed contributor, not a Times writer.
Still, the Paper of Record has a pretty spotty history of its own in this regard. From a quick search of the archives:
NEGRO COCAINE "FIENDS" ARE A NEW SOUTHERN MENACE -- February 8, 1914.
NEGRO COCAINE EVIL -- March, 20, 1905.
COCAINE EVIL AMONG NEGROES -- November 3, 1902.
Drug-Crazed Negroes Start a Reign of Terror and Defy Whole Mississippi Town. -- September 29, 1913.
PINING FOR THEIR POISON.; TWO CHINESE PRISONERS YEARNING FOR OPIUM. HOW A TIMES REPORTER GOT SOME FOR THEM AT AH QUE'S BAZAAR IN BAXTER-STREET--THE MERCHANT, HIS HOME, HIS WIFE, AND HIS PIPE. -- August 11, 1878. (Lede includes the phrase wretched and dirty Chinamen.)
NIP PLOT TO BRING STRONG OPIUM HERE -- March 4, 1914.
My, er, "research" also turned up this amazingly racist editorial the paper ran in 1885. It's headlined, "The Similarity of Chinamen."
I'll just say that the editorial delivers on the headline. And much, much more.
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