Queering the Sex and Racial Dynamics of Drugs: A Critical Race and Queer analysis of drugs, law, and addiction
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This project was in part inspired by my own life, that of my family's, and of my friends. I would like to thank them for all the inspiration they have given me. I begin with my own story. I grew up in East Los Angeles among a predominately Mexican immigrant neighborhood. My life has always been entrenched with politics. It was typical in the sense that there was a low graduation rate and the crime rate was not that bad. I would later come to realize how much my growing up actually influences me today. Coming from a low-income Latino community meant that when I arrived at Kalamazoo College, I was thirsty for the kind of literature I was reading in classes. I was better able to understand my own experiences and that of my friends'. I came to understand my own struggles with alcohol, domestic violence, and rape as systemic issues and began to see them within a larger context. I began to have a language to talk about the struggles of a dear friend and mentor who is HIV-positive and a recovering addict and another friend who still uses. I began to understand why my parents had to leave their home in Nicaragua and I began to understand the poverty there. For so many reasons, Anthropology, Sociology, and Political Science gave me a breath of fresh air in a time in my life that felt so suffocating. This project was an amalgam of all that and more. It was a way for me to understand me and my friends' struggles with substance; ever reminding me that I am not talking about. nebulous agents or subjects but that I am referring to myself or my friends. The issues that I talk about have a certain kind of urgency, one that is anxiety-inducing, when we fathom the lives that are lost every year. It is with this sense of urgency that I pursued this project and many more.