Dimensions of oppression in the lives of impoverished black women who use drugs

  • Windsor L
  • Benoit E
  • Dunlap E
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Abstract

Oppression against Black women continues to be a significant problem in the United States. The purpose of this study is to use grounded theory to identify multiple dimensions of oppression experienced by impoverished Black women who use drugs by examining several settings in which participants experience oppression. Three case studies of drug using, impoverished Black women were randomly selected from two large scale consecutive ethnographic studies conducted in New York City from 1998 to 2005. Analysis revealed five dimensions of oppression occurring within eight distinct settings. While dimensions constitute different manifestations of oppression, settings represented areas within participants' lives or institutions with which participants interact. Dimensions of oppression included classism, sexism, familism, racism, and drugism. Settings included the school system, correction system, welfare system, housing and neighborhood, relationship with men, family, experiences with drug use, and employment. Findings have important implications for social justice, welfare, drug, and justice system policy.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Black women
  • classism
  • oppression
  • poverty
  • racism
  • sexism
  • substance abuse
  • violence

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