Book Review: Dorm Room Dealers: Drugs and the Privileges of Race and Class

When considering the phrase “drug dealer,” what image pops into mind? A person of color peddling product on the street corners of an impoverished community? Or a Caucasian college student from an affluent background selling pot, party drugs, and pills from campus housing? Rafik Mohamed and Erik Fritsvold challenge those who accept as accurate only the former, stereotypical image of a drug dealer as often appears in popular media. They do so by showing that the latter version of a drug dealer is just as much a reality in the United States as the stereotype. Dorm Room Dealers is the result of a six-year study in which the authors used trust-building actions, fly-on-the-wall observations, and extensive interviews with 50 individual drug dealers — all of whom were college students in Southern California, all of whom were from middle- or upper-class backgrounds, and most of whom were Caucasian.