The White House Is Building an Opioid Memorial to Memorialize Fallen Whiteness

Medical workers and police treat a woman who has overdosed on heroin on July 14, 2017, in Warren, Ohio.
Medical workers and police treat a woman who has overdosed on heroin on July 14, 2017, in Warren, Ohio.
Photo: Spencer Platt (Getty Images)

Can someone tell me where the crack memorial is in Washington, D.C.? Seriously, where is the wall with the list of names of all the people gone too soon to the drug that ravaged the black community? Or, even more so, where can I find the heroin memorial in Baltimore? Baltimore has been pegged the heroin capital of America, with as many as 1 out of 10 residents struggling with the highly addictive narcotic, so surely there is some kind of commemorative statue to honor the lives lost to this epidemic.


The whitest news to ever come out of the White House happened Tuesday as the president of little pickup trucks with fat tires announced how happy he was to announce the addition of an opioid memorial in President’s Park coming in April.

I’m baffled by the casual caucasity of this shit. You’d think they’d have enough awareness to note the racial disparity in sentencing during the crack epidemic vs. the opioid epidemic to say that a memorial for addicts lost to a drug that disproportionately affects white people might be a bridge too far.

I mean, they’ve already gone so far as to offer the death penalty for those who sell drugs that lead to a white user’s death. Let’s be abundantly clear about this: More than 80 percent of opioid-overdose victims are white. Which means that killing a white person is punishable by death. Not a person, mind you, a white person.

Here’s how The Atlantic’s Vann R. Newark II explains it:

Trump pushed strongly for capital punishment—a measure that is legal, but has rarely been used within a drug-trafficking context. On the whole, the new war on drugs endorses developments in drug policy that may only deepen the vast racial divides within the American criminal-justice system: sympathy for a mostly white base of users, and naked aggression toward people of color.


Clearly they’ve switched up the game to benefit addicts based on color—but a fucking memorial commemorating the lives lost? It’s bad enough that A&E has a docuseries trying to help get whole-ass communities off the drug. It’s not only hurtful to see the value placed on white bodies in comparison with that of people of color; now we get to be reminded in a memorial how precious those white lives were.

I’m also confused as to how this will all be memorialized and why there is a memorial in the first place.


Yes, it’s a horrible epidemic, and I totally get it, having grown up in Washington, D.C., during the 1980s, less than a mile from where Howard University Hospital delivered, and then declared, the term “crack baby.” So it isn’t like I don’t understand, firsthand, the devastation, but a memorial seems like the emperor of whiteness is memorializing said whiteness.

A cancer memorial would be more fitting here, but that would include people of color, about whom this administration clearly doesn’t care.


According to a Politico report, it looks as if the memorial will only be temporary, as White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders, aka Suckabee, noted during a White House press conference that the memorial will include 22,000 pills, “each with the face of a prescription-drug overdose victim carved into it,” and will be up April 12-18.

“The White House, along with the National Park Service, will host the National Safety Council’s opioid memorial on the Ellipse in President’s Park,” she said. “These stories are tough to hear, and this exhibit will be an intensely emotional and somber experience. But it’s also a reminder that lives are at stake, and we must take action to end the plague of addiction that is ravaging communities all across our nation.”


All of this would all be funny, and maybe I will find my way to the jokes in another piece, but for now, at least, the sting at the value of white life and the importance of whiteness feels raw and unjust and sadly appropriate for this administration, with its lone black Cabinet member who is the head of public housing and was most likely voted head of the aforementioned crack memorial.


Not Enough Day Drinking

The centerpiece of the exhibit is a wall of 22,000 engraved white pills – each representing the face of someone lost to a prescription opioid overdose in 2015

Are they still considered drug dealers when they donate to your inauguration fund?

Pfizer Inc. and Dow Chemical Co. both disclosed making $1 million contributions to Trump’s inaugural committee in December 2016.