>> 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
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.