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Digital Subscriptions > Boston Review > Racist Logic > From Absolution to Accountability

From Absolution to Accountability

FROM OUR VANTAGE POINT, lying on the floor, watching the protest unfold was almost hypnotic. Thousands of white paper slips — representing OxyContin scripts—floated slowly down through the grand white atrium of the Guggenheim Museum, while a small group of us stretched out on the ground, representing a tiny fraction of those who have died from the drug.

To my right lay Nan Goldin, the celebrated artist who launched our activist group, Prescription Addiction Intervention Now (P.A.I.N.), after struggling with opioid addiction for years and nearly losing her life to an overdose. Next to her was Robert Suarez, a leading harm reduction advocate with the group Voices of Community Activists and Leaders (VOCAL-NY), whose mother died in his arms as a consequence of her opioid dependency. White-coated medical students from New York University lay off to the side, along with people living in recovery from substance-use disorders. Above us, holding bright red banners along the white spiral ramps of the Frank Lloyd Wright building, were others who have experienced the crisis up close: a group of mothers whose children died from overdose, friends and family of people struggling with addiction, organizers who have been fighting to establish the country’s first legal safe injection facilities.

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About Boston Review

Paperback, 130 pages Racist Logic tackles how racist thinking can be found in surprising—and often overlooked—places. In the forum's lead essay, historian Donna Murch traces the origins of the opioid epidemic to Big Pharma's aggressive marketing to white suburbanites. The result, Murch shows, has been to construct a legal world of white drug addiction alongside an illicit drug war that has disproportionately targeted people of color. Other essays examine how the global surrogacy industry incentivizes the reproduction of whiteness while relying on the exploited labor of women of color, how black masculinity is commodified in racial capitalism, and how Wall Street exploited Caribbean populations to bankroll U.S. imperialism. Racist logic, this issue shows, continues to pervade our society, including its nominally colorblind business practices. Contributors not only explore the institutional structures that profit from black suffering, but also point the way to racial justice. Forum Lead essay by Donna Murch. Responses by Max Mishler, Britt Rusert, Julie Netherland, Helena Hansen, David Herzberg, Michael Collins, Julilly Kohler-Hausmann, Jonathan Kahn, L.A. Kauffman, and Donna Murch. Essays Peter Hudson, Jordanna Matlon, Alys Weinbaum, and Richard Ford.