The following conversation took place between me and my Tejano outside of his wine bar.
Tejano: That couple across the street are Koreans. I think I am beginning to get good at noticing.
Me: Really? why? (making a note of the baggy pants on the man who is standing with his upper torso slouching toward the woman in pony tail)
Tejano: See look at the jaw line on the woman, for sure, they are Koreans.
-- a moment later..
Tejano: Nah, they’re Cantonese.
Me: Yeah and, there are not that many Korean crackheads.
That made my Tejano laugh out loud, but it made me wonder about what I had just said and why it was true. Compared to other demographics, there are not really any Asian drug addicts in the tenderloin of San Francisco, and I have never seen a Korean one.
I am not claiming that there are no Korean drug users or Koreans who are addicted to substances, but I have personally never seen a single cracked addicted Korean street person.
No one knows the exact reasons why there are homeless drug addicts that overrun parts of San Francisco. The drug programs in existence seem to enable addicts by giving them a home and allowance, but not therapy of any kind. I have spoken with a woman who runs one of the programs and she told me that the resources of these programs are not sufficient to run them properly.
We Americans live in a culture of quick fixes. Our media is bombarded with messages to take pills and rid of symptoms without any attempt to find the cause of our ailments. If students misbehave, we give them ritalin and quiet them down. In Europe, during the Romantic era and perhaps even before, the poor families gave their kids opiates to put them to sleep while they were away at work, and at times to make them sit still so they would not act up. I am often appalled to see the drugs that therapists and the media push on people who are having emotional problems.
My curiosity for today, however, is about my own race, Koreans. I have met a few drug abusing Koreans and I am sure there are many more than that. I have been googling all afternoon to read about existence of Korean American drug problems in America, but there is no abundance of information. There is an article written in Korean newspaper about parents of Korean kids worrying that drug use is on the rise for the Korean youths. And some Korean students do find themselves relying on adderall in school. So far, though, there seem to be no Korean crackheads to be found, not in San Francisco anyways.
I would love to hear from all of you, your thoughts on why there are no Korean crackheads.