Saturday, March 11, 2006

Grocery Store

In the supermarket checkout line today I went to pull out my debit card, and as I did the KKK card that was hidden in my wallet slid out an inch or so, just far enough for black checkout lady to see the bold, red "KKK" printed across the top. I wasn't sure what to do.

I'd been carrying the card in my wallet for the last month or so, ever since I was at the Johnson County Library and I opened up a book called Profiles in Black Power and the card tumbled out in my lap. This was a disconcerting experience. I kept the card. I showed it to the kids at Central and told them the story and we were all suitably appalled. I'm not sure why I kept the card. I guess as a reminder of having found it in a book about Black Power, as a testament to how chicken shit and sleezy KKK types are.

A few weeks ago the card fell out of my wallet and I told Allie that I should get rid of it lest it fall out at a moment when it would not be welcome, like when I'm around black folks, which I often am.

So it came out today in the checkout line. I don't know if the woman saw it. She works there a lot and I shop there a lot. I don't want her to think that I'm with the KKK.

Right before the card fell out, the checkout lady had to call a manager over to her register to deal with someone's check. The woman had a gaunt face that looked like a skull. Her teeth appeared as though they are rotting. I immediately assumed that she is on meth.

I've been making this assumption a lot lately, ever since I saw a special about meth on Frontline. The show reported on the physical effects of meth. One of the cops interviewed for the show said he can spot a meth addict from a mile away. After seeing the show I now think I can too.

I live in a relatively poor area of town. It's racially diverse. Often when I see whites walking down the main drag in my part of town I take a good long look to see if they have sunken cheekbones and eyes. When they do I say to myself, "I bet they're on meth." There are a lot of white people with this look.

The woman had the look. It was interesting because she's obviously gainfully employed. As she dealt with the check I conjured a story about her. I imagined that she was high on meth at that very moment. It seemed plausible because she seemed to have a lot of energy. I thought that maybe this woman thought the drug actually helps her, that it gives her the energy she needs to survive in the 21st century marketplace. But then I also thought about how tenuous this would be if it were true. My hunch is that a meth addict would eventually run into big problems down the road and their success would disappear along with their cheeks and teeth.

Then I wondered, why don't blacks do meth? Do they?

What am I going to do about this woman who thinks I'm a Klansman? I hope she never covers the express lane while I'm there.


Tony said...

Hah! LOL. Good to have you back man.

And I'm not sure why more Black people don't do Meth but somehwere I'm afraid there is a marketing person working on this problem right now. Hell, if Jay-Z can wear open-toe sandals than anything is possible.

Anonymous said...

Wow Joe I am happy your back I being miss your blog it's like my news paper this is aaron a KCC debate I guess I'm the future of the debate team

trAcy said...

whoo hoo! (yer back). i'm pleased.

better English: I've heard police and others in the criminal justice system say that 95% of the time (or so, this is from memory, not a study), they can look at a report and know with certainty the race of the suspect, based only on whether or not their crime involved meth or crack.

I can only theorize about why whites prefer to mix up their own speed, a process which seems overly complicated to me when the goal is just to get high. (You run the risk of blowing up your house, too. And when you get busted, HazMat has be called in to deal with your nasty lab.)

Of course, coke has to be imported, and from what I was told once by a hippe Catholic nun with short hair, it's fairly easy to make crack, something about baking soda and a microwave. She was my high school chemistry teacher.

I do know a number of white people (four men and one woman) who do or have done crack, one to the point of deterioration.

And don't people always say "crack whores" about the white prostitutes out on The Avenue?

But, yeah, do any black people do meth and why not?

Crack and meth both wreck your body eventually, it seems, though I don't know how long it takes to get skeletal and crusty.

As for your Klan faux pas, people, as you noted of yourself, make a lot of assumptions about strangers all the time. Maybe just wear a Dr. King button the next time you go shopping. : )

Sorry to spam out here and take up all this space.

Thanks again for writing.

joe said...

Not spam at all. Interesting stuff. Since watching the Frontline episode, I've switched from think "crack whore" when I see gaunt-faced women on Independence and I now think "meth." Ah, prejudice and stereotypes. Is there no escape?

nadia said...

Whoa! Welcome back!!
Funny, I was just thinking about meth and black people too. I even asked the Boss Bitch about it. She agreed, meth is for white folks.

It's nice with a bit of nutmeg sprinkled on top...

Just kidding. Glad you're back!

dallas said...

great post. Tony sent me here. fantastic introspection. you sound like a people person and I bet you keep that KKK card so that you can return it to its rightful owner.

you want to meet the owner to see if he has a mullet hairdo and he talks with a backwoods twang. guess what... he doesn't. he's a well adjusted 40 year old that manages a JoCo Home Depot. he has two kids and he busts his ass for them.

its not as though he hates Blacks in as much as he wishes they would just go back to Africa. they've done as much as they can do over here and the crime and blight that follow them he finds threatening to his children.

If you would be kind enough ro scan the card I would be happy to use it for a post on my website. Full credit for the card is yours.

joe said...

Ok. I'll try and get that done tomorrow. It's pretty creepy.