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and now another special documentary part of our series it's about race chicago matters if you look at the american economy all segments of the economy whether legal or illegal you'd probably find that the single biggest growth sector over the last ten years has been the drug trade drugs are everywhere in every city and suburb every racial and social group drugs can of course destroyed individual lives and in some places they've torn apart the fabric of community life as a war on drugs carried out by law enforcement agencies on the federal state and local levels but it's hardly made a dent in the drug business this war how it's carried out where and against whom is a reflection of the general racial attitudes of the society that's what you're really examines in this programme coloring the pipeline war on every day that you get to squeeze there's does this
was so lightly floured cast are back so then in the morning to a bar to and then i just thought that joseph greg is forty years old a former drug addict for nearly twenty years shooting heroin through his veins smoking as well selling flowers working to support his habit watching its customer after customers find the states to buy a ten dollar a bag of cocaine or heroin or you're a building on shore he's working now raising children alone a single father a few years ago graham junkie a push or an african american man spoke on drugs and a typical user because the typical user of illicit drugs looks altogether different white male high school graduate edwin burnett as a cook
county public defender who lives alone in the suburbs is not easily targeted there is it is an urban areas where conditions seem to make african american males more accessible to satisfy the feeding frenzy that society has for the war on drugs and society was to see arrests society was to seek prosecutions society was to see incarceration is the black male in inner city can give the map according to government figures blacks represent about fifteen percent of the illegal drug users latinos eight percent and white seventy seven percent federal figures also belied common and pervasive misconceptions about the use and abuse of drugs by teenagers the national high school senior survey for example shows that from nineteen eighty five to nineteen eighty nine white males were twice as likely to use cocaine as blacks in illinois marijuana as the most commonly used
illicit drug and white students again have the highest rates for using marijuana and for drinking latino students fall and african american students report the lowest rates of the political debate the surfer mcculloch sexual mr we arrested three thousand nine hundred and forty three people michael hall heads the chicago police department narcotics division as a magazine about vietnam and a dick tracy mugger neatly placed on his desk for the last twenty six years he's worked in various departments robbery homicide burglary device control and now here narcotics where we target here is mainly traffickers all blues they send all people every day and they purchase drugs from the dealers men we sometimes an arrest in the minute we have a kaiser before and raw come up with a way to take a
quest thursday without the ninety six people for solid reports the people who are arrested by hoax undercover officers are predominately black and the commander has no apologies he says cocaine heroine marijuana and other drugs are just as much a problem and white areas but the way the drug is sold in african american neighborhoods makes arresting people much easier in white neighborhoods drug sales or more clandestine i sold and homes bars and businesses in black neighborhoods a huge amount of drug sales a car on the street recovering addicts say sometimes you don't even have to ask for what you want it's just that simple major mostly so now i'm in the corner now you know is the i guess years ago yet and also one that it is now and it is mostly in the cornea x who get through as bette davies he does and how you
got yours yes so you just go to a corner and clay i'm reading that right there i guess what i can say that according to hours or maybe you know you just go to the corner any losses says he learned as a few how many new media million human beings the people who are often overlooked in the nation to war on drugs or women although drug addiction is colorblind kunstler bernardino da del who works with columbus hospitals project hope a treatment center for women and their children says african american women have a harder time getting rid of their drug problem though none black women have more support systems in place and that may be because the economic situation where historically we all know that there's more money in circulation among white families you know in ratio compared as
compared to blacks alive the black women that come into the program are kind of pretty much on their own they don't have any of the support they may have a public a check but they don't have a more stable family environment backing them and they certainly don't have one that has a type of finances it would take to give them that extra additional help because we all know that the public aid money that's given out is not enough for a person to provide one for months maya crack cocaine began flooding into african american neighborhoods in the nineteen eighties the biggest single group of crack users is inner city black women of childbearing age some experts say the crack epidemic has contributed to nearly three hundred seventy five thousand newborns a year being affected doctors and nurses at cook county hospital take care of sick infants in the neonatal intensive care unit and what's called a small baby room there are rows of sealed off glass
boxes fitted with lights aquariums of a sort was no water inside instead babies small enough to fit inside a shoe box and here in the small baby room the infants away as little as one town after they reach two pounds they graduate to neonatal room the navy stories about crack babies in their problems have been very visible reporter splashed all over newspapers and television those babies are generally born to black women there are fewer reports a bow the babies affected just a severely by excessive alcohol use and marijuana drugs used more
often by white women black women have also been the target of substance abuse laws and prosecutions even though statistics show a little difference between black and white pregnant women for substance abuse african american women generally have more contact with government agencies and public hospitals and are ten times more likely to be reported for substance abuse theodora begin taylor of the garfield counseling center says much of a drug problem is political she says many blacks lived and an environment where billboards promote drinking liquor stores abound and media images show young black men as the most persistent and prominent drug abusers and dealers we have struggled and there and the burden of these horrible stereo typical images of gong black people back on the lazy abusing
welfare cheating people and you know some of our peak all internalized that i mean that's that's their destiny all markets like what else is there to do it but that has to do where ron's coming out having the choices and i have an opportunity you know we can continue to get our youngsters to believe though why it keeps them powerless and feeling hopeless and helpless amanda mean hey and so he's a very cerebral outside the counseling center on madison street people say drug dealing is all around and gray who works at the
center says drug abuse came almost naturally what was he thought it was like he was it was oh i was it was oh what a scene was going on he wouldn't do we do you know this week further into the neighborhood there is a jumble of vacant apartment buildings litter lots to flats in single family hot sunday others we're and tatar the streets have been devastated in part by drugs even so the area is crammed with children playing games and teenagers
eager two hundred and nine no problem so why do it if you were the ballplayers want nothing to do with the conversation and bolt to the other side of the court when they hear the question about drugs others hear the word racism come to join the group and
confused begin talking about police brutality and why and how this theory by many blacks that it's white racist or the government bringing in drugs to dump in the black community is not just teenage speculation but a belief held by many adults as well let's listen to a song that really this is a different one is that you'll see the visible it's even worse than the
semi very first destroy families destroy heat livestrong and i hate to see a lot of talented young black mingled weighs seven was beaten in prison leaders use and enjoy that life away very frustrated very frustrated clarence hussein the author a pipe dream blues a book about racism and the drug war does not embrace the conspiracy theory would put myself a disservice if we travel look at it as a conspiracy assumption has been plotted by a few individuals any do we take out those individuals and will be really the problem or that this conspiracy is so large and so deep that we can deal with it i think if we address some of these are economic and social questions we will find that a great deal of the drug trafficking and drug abuse problems in our community are will be abated now they won't disappear
told me because our the ability to produce grows locally and people want to use drugs are has existed in in society from the beginning of time so it won't disappear with a candid devastation we're looking at are right not that his prison to be interim driven by economic and social factors if you didn't know there was a drought problem in north austin on the city's west side you wouldn't think of the homes are comfortable well groomed flowers and small gardens decorate backyards a warm breezy day the wind russell's countries where the postman delivers mail and chats with residents block club signs posted at the beginning of several streets are emphatic no drugs no loud music or ordering know gang activity know playing on the grass washing we're repairing of cars on the street it is just as suburban as neighboring oak park on the other side of the street but a
step just around the corner on division street is a jolt of urban reality been a fish market is right next door to the true love mission gospel church across the street there are close stores empty storefronts another church to young men hang out on the corner in front of the inn him auto parts you know that made a dame edna everage owned as with a good name i as unusual as well that's close
oh yeah there is a quiet and graham acknowledgment from just about everyone including cops that the drug culture as devastating as it is to communities is a last ditch effort by many gestures survive seemingly the only available way to make money despite the acknowledgement residents want the low level drug dealing biker gang bangers by addicts and the violence and crime which comes with them gone well yeah the north austin cb control is run by residents they ride to find trouble operators at a base station calling the details to police after they get radio reports from those on the street
they're usually to people per unit in different vehicles one to drive wonder radio back what's happening unit to thirty five drive slowly through heavily pockmarked streets they pull over to watch what's happening on a corner in front of a store there are five maybe six people standing there after a few moments a man speaks loudly y'all figure it out he says there's a price down here where we are he starts walking towards the car everyone else gathers drivers nervous and want to make sure my my tennis buddy cb radio or out of you know a lighter could go it is a tense moment although the driver and his companion both chuckle when talk about how they
need different disguises so they won't be recognized the man outside walks by takes a quick look and goes on and they are here initially were members of the north austin cd group say they recognize they may just be shifting drug dealers to other neighborhoods they say better pushers be run out then homeowners and other residents in the long run the drug dealers usually end up in one of two places if you are both the first is a hospital cook county hospital's trauma unit is on the third floor
gunshot wounds stabbings severe injuries are as common as the monitors and warring machines which help keep people alive there were nearly twenty one thousand drug mentions in chicago emergency rooms in nineteen eighty nine african americans accounted for fifty four percent of the emergency room mentions where race was noted and cocaine was a factor for whites it was thirty seven percent gloria hall is a shift nursed for the trauma unit of cook county what she sees is the aftermath the violence the end of battles over gang turf to sell drugs the fights over drug sales if they don't want to really felt long they would shoot him in the head or something now sitting in that i was terrified that one of their live they've know the human spine you get a like here's donna summer then be sent to rehab this perilous women that down for alice from the waist down and so it could be anything and that's the name
for a fool i mean since so you sing along to a lot like i think it's really good and i talked a lot because a lot of times and one thing about this new malls is there you got there you push the soundbite industry is down his wife to get paralyzed and we knew he you needed to deal with the big man as gavin orsay these caisson flowers they come by say hi could add anything if you have a towel today by your child nilly now nurse call gets interrupted a badly bruised man with pins in his legs wants to urinate standing up he is handcuffed to his hospital bed the sheriff's deputy who have been standing outside the hospital door comes in he talks to the nurses and denies the request nurse hall calls and in may the deputy will not save the man's injuries or drug related or not in the lobby of the cook county
court building at twenty six in california guards frisk visitors extensively after they go through a metal detector suspected drug dealers and gang bangers are part of the thousands who come into other doors the sport by sheriff's deputies and police into courtrooms night bond court and branch fifty seven is always busy relatives and visitors sit on wooden benches guard with initial scratched and pens and pencils to the left of the judge's bench as a door swings open you can see the crowd of people mostly black man waiting for their names to be called many are familiar with the drill others are reminded by sheriff's deputies and behind the back walk forward stop at the judge's bench bring your hands are becoming t shirts sweaters there are few women many face charges of possession not very much usually granted two police officers who made the rest sit injury boxes for them
it's a familiar procedure just like making the box office right atkinson has lived i don't condone what they do but i will run into until you from my point of view the nose hairs and stay awhile some people grew up we'll have new options does the muffled just useful for the community do that all the whites dominate the drug trafficking industry and are the majority of drug users as well it is blacks who are most often convicted off their clients to say the attitude towards young african americans to a great degree is that they cannot be rescued there are on their way to be alive time criminals and we need to punish them now and show them that you have a stirring up or they will get more punishment than two tours of our young whites is that well they really didn't mean this cause this is just an active you from
this and they can be forgiven and again studies have shown that for the exact same crime are young african americans are seven to ten times more likely to be convicted and to be sentenced the end that as a straight up a function of racial attitudes and not any other factors the focus on law in order arresting drug dealers and addicts who commit crimes to support their habit is one step in combating the drug problem say expert but the emphasis on law and order mandatory sentences for some drug offenses and the lack of legislation or tao or set asides for treatment is causing a crisis of its own prison overcrowding the inmate population in illinois far exceeds capacity and by the year two thousand officials believe twenty six new prisons will be necessary to meet the demand female inmate population has also grown there are attempts to make some changes an organization called task treatment alternatives for special client is part of the state's effort to place a non
violent drug offenders and programs outside of the jail system melody heaps is the president and founder of illinois task we try and end and relate to the lawn order in the law enforcement community but what we've seen over the last i think six years particularly is a real emphasis on get tough on drugs just say no i somehow thinking that if we can't criminalize the young addict put them in prison that that's going to make a difference in their life and all we've done is create a better criminal no involvement of substance abuse treatment no addressing of that person's addiction and they come out more addicted more aggressive less likely to be able to be rehabilitated than ever before and what we see is this is happening to our young people to young adults to young males in particular and unfortunately i think two young minority nails critics say much of the problem can be attributed to mandatory sentencing laws laws enacted by congress and many states in response to a
public outcry over street drug trafficking parole officials say about fifty of the nation's six hundred ad federal judges are refusing to hear drug cases as a result protesting the sentencing procedure and just recently the us attorney general janet reno said she would order a review of the federal sentencing guidelines clarence loose saying says this would probably be the most important step in revamping the war against drugs and making sure that drug laws are less discriminatory what that process is done is criminalized an entire generation sundby a generation in a pair of young african americans young hispanic americans are all around this drug trafficking and the way we see this manifested is in the kind of cultural arm our expressions their back then become our popular in on a lot of our communities are
we've seen a fusion to a great degree of street culture youth culture and joe carter awful example a lot of the ways in which young people are dressing now young black males with the cashier graduate the sagging pants is right out of the prisons in terms of how they dress and present and to see that kind of mix is a very poignant statement on what's happened to young people where you don't have now few people may know somebody that's in jail which omar young people who all their freezer until a and there is no problem with them going to see that i'm going to be there with that i'll wear to some degree in some communities has become a rite of passage to do some aren't jail time now as long as that's how our was a meeting called to rave didn't we cannot rescue our communities and part of being their back is to do with a mandatory minimums will we say no more young people are
caught caught in these situations we act on a case by case basis make a determination it was the best way to rescue this young person hussein says for some the answer may indeed be gao depending on how he missed their crime was for others it may be treatment alternatives advocates for change in the drug war say maybe the best way to get people and more importantly politicians who craft the laws to realize that there must be change is to talk about costs melody heaps of task if you're going to build a prison pro personnel per bed i believe you talking sixty seven thousand dollars that's an enormous cost for an individual if you wanna put that same individual in an outpatient setting we're talking twenty five hundred dollars if you want to put that person in a residential treatment program for a year you may be talking ten thousand dollars oh you figured the difference which is most likely to change that individuals behavior
spending sixty seven thousand dollars to build the self plus the sixteen to twenty five thousand dollars to incarcerate them or ten thousand dollars to treat them at the highest end of the treatment scale authorities are beginning to realize the implications they must also recognize what impact new programs and legislation would have on people of color people who are nationally have a relatively low level of substance abuse the answers are important to people like former heroin addict gray who still face temptation every day it is it is
Chicago Matters
Coloring the Pipeline: Race & Drugs
Producing Organization
WBEZ (Radio station : Chicago, Ill.)
Contributing Organization
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia)
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Episode Description
Includes interviews with Cooke County prosecutor Edwin Burnett; Theodore Binion Taylor of the Garfield Counseling Center; Michael Hoke, who heads the Chicago Police Department's Narcotics Division; shift nurse Gloria Hall; Officer Wade Davis; Melody Heaps, president and founder of Illinois TASK; author Clarence Lusane, Greg, a former addict; unidentified young people; and unidentified members of a Block Watch group in Chicago's North Austin neighborhood.
Series Description
"This documentary was part of WBEZ's 'Chicago Matters: It's About Race' series -- a [two-month] project that included documentaries, feature pieces and radio essays. We all know about the 'war on drugs''but we wanted to look at it in terms of 'black and white' -- how race plays a factor in the prosecution of drug dealers and addicts; how drugs affects certain neighborhoods because of their racial makeup; and why there is the perception that the drug problem largely involves only communities of color. I believe this documentary merits Peabody consideration because we presented the story that is often ignored when drugs are discussed'the role of race in the 'war on drugs.'"--1993 Peabody Awards entry form.
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: Corley, Cheryl
Producer: Corley, Cheryl
Producer: Moreno, Nora
Producing Organization: WBEZ (Radio station : Chicago, Ill.)
Writer: Corley, Cheryl
AAPB Contributor Holdings
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia
Identifier: cpb-aacip-cfce79cd957 (Filename)
Format: 1/4 inch audio cassette
Duration: 00:30:00
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Chicago: “Chicago Matters; Coloring the Pipeline: Race & Drugs,” 1993-04-28, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 28, 2022,
MLA: “Chicago Matters; Coloring the Pipeline: Race & Drugs.” 1993-04-28. The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 28, 2022. <>.
APA: Chicago Matters; Coloring the Pipeline: Race & Drugs. Boston, MA: The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from