A crackhead called me beautiful

>> Monday, April 12, 2010

I've been on a month long blogging haitus. Mainly concentrating on school and contributing reports at TheBlackHour.com and its corresponding radio show, The Black Hour; Oakland news site Oakland Local and my college newspaper, the Laney Tower.



However, today I got some inspiration from an unlikely source; a crackhead.

Today, a crackhead told me I was "beautiful."

As I walked by her on 14th and Franklin Street, she stood near the AC Transit bus stop bench leaning. Y'all know that lean.

I said, "Hey, auntie!" as I walked by.

Raising her hand in the air, "Young man," she said, pausing as if she was swallowing a part of her tongue, "you beautiful."

I said, "Thank you" and kept it moving. As I reflected on this brief interaction, I wondered why it was so significant to me.

Crackheads are like the vampires of the hood.

Just say that word outloud: Crackhead.

Depending on how you cope with the biological warfare of cocaine against Black people, as sponsored by the U.S. government, that word is either scary, funny or a depressing reminder of how bad crack hit Black people.

Nowhere did crack hit harder than on the morality of the Black family. Families were obliterated. It is so bad, many Black folks now call the era prior to the epidemic "B.C.," short for "Before Crack."


Tyrone Biggums tribute
Yet, in popular culture, crackheads have become an object of comedy. Comedians like Chris Rock (Pookie from New Jack City) and Dave Chappelle (Tyrone Biggums), and the show, Are you smarter than a crackhead?.

Instead of seeing people as human beings with an addiction to a substance, they are simply seen as a joke, a scapegoat. Opposed to respecting their humanity, they are degraded to being rock sucking zombies.

As Sister Dereca Blackmon pointed out to me via Twitter:
"Correction: a person suffering from addiction to crack; underscore the person part"

People suffering from an addiction to crack (or any substance) are still people. That beautiful woman who complimented me today is someone's child. She is someone's daughter. She may also be someone's sister, wife or mother.

And although she was missing teeth and had overly yellow eyes, she had a beautiful smile that lit up those eyes when she looked at me.

If I am beautiful, it is only because I reflected her beauty.

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3 comments:

BROOKEY B April 16, 2010 at 9:02 AM  

I know how that is. I get compliments from "crack heads" all the time. Rather than feeling all proud and strutting my stuff it really makes me think. My dad is a crack head and I know he was once a handsome, responsible, talented man. His choosing crack over a stable healthy life just s hows how serious that addiction is. I can't bring myself to making crack head jokes. In my mind when they compliment me i always think "Damn... I wonder what He/She was like before the addiction."

Anonymous,  May 18, 2010 at 4:08 AM  

This is so true, thanks for giving your ideas on addiction. xo

Reginald James May 23, 2010 at 6:13 PM  

Brookey B,
My father also had an addiction to crack. Last weekend, while at an event with my mother, we ran into a woman who -- although an amazing jazz singer/poet in her own right -- was married to a man that played with my father. My father played eight instruments. Amazing.
But all that was lost in the biological war against African people in the U.S..

Fortunately for me, and my self-concept, I really only interacted with my father before the addiction. I did not have to witness the more negative experiences associated with having a family member with an addiction.

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About This Blog

Insight into my daily regimen. Obviously of a different specimen. Me, myself & I. So fly. Welcome to the Daily Regiment.

This blog is an outlet for me to write about my life experiences. While there will be consistent themes in my writing -- because I am what I project in written form -- the topics will vary from day to day, and post to post.

If you are interested in my formal news reporting, you can visit The Reginald James Report or The Black Hour.

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