'Crack Babies' and Healing : A New Language of Mental Illness and Addiction in the United States
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This paper explores the true, native expression of suffering as experienced by the "crack baby" generation, or those born after 1980. It examines this generation's experience with clinical mental health and psychiatric treatment which has become the dominant, biomedical discourse of suffering in the U.S. today. I explore the cultural, psychological, and moral implications of restricting ourselves to this language of emotional suffering, and the limited potential for healing through this scientific knowledge and language. I use the words and lyrics of three hip-hop artists from this generation, my own experience, and various ethnographies to discuss questions of knowledge, suffering, and healing. These stories offer a genuine plea for an alternative understanding of my generation's suffering as an external phenomenon. Further, this paper will use these stories to put forth a drastic reconceptualization of suffering, illness, and addiction grounded in love, understanding, and most of all a life-giving force.