Crackhead: (n) a habitual user of cocaine in the form of crack.
Let me start off by saying that what I’m about to write on is not like I’ve invented the wheel. It has been a topic of conversation for some time.
But I do feel it is my duty to roll that wheel along.
We are a society that despises outward evidence of bigotry while encouraging—and even in many cases, promoting—internal methods. We mainly propagate these misrepresentations through our art.
The Law & Order series on television will happily and continually distinguish between its affluent and impoverished characters by assessing wealth and position to the use of cocaine, and denigration and crime to the crackhead. But as the definition has already told you, both substances are derivations of the same poison.
But cocaine is a “phase” that rich people go through, while crack is evidence of urban blight and proof that the inner city is perniciously flawed—and therefore continually dangerous.
It is a racism that continues because we feel that if we don’t have some release for our fears of color and culture, we might just go back to wanting to lynch again. So we become party to socially acceptable principles that have no basis in anything but bigotry.
If you take crack, it affects your head. That’s why we insist you’re a “crackhead.” But there is no such thing as a “cocaine head,” or a cocaine user who is going to break into your house and steal your television to support his or her habit.
You fight racism by noticing the little places it crops up, and confronting them as simply as possible. If you wait until racism is actually in your presence, it’s too late.
I remember when I was renting my first apartment and I discovered cockroaches, I hired an exterminator, and when some of the cockroaches were still hanging around two weeks later, I angrily called and asked him to come back and “do his extermination right.”
After spraying one more time, he patiently turned to me and said, “I am more than happy to spray your place, but I must ask you to do something on your part.”
He walked over and pointed out dirt on the counter and food that was laying out. He looked me in the eyes and said, “If you want the cockroaches to go, you’ve got to stop feeding them.”
I will tell you—likewise, if you want the cockroaches of racism to go, you’ve got to stop feeding them with your quick smirk, your nervous titter or your frightened silence.