Roll Tide Roll

An 8th grade teacher in Alabama was recently suspending for asking students to answer some rather unorthodox word problems on a math quiz.  Among them:

“Leroy has 2 ounces of cocaine.  If he sells an eight ball to Antonio for $320 and 2 grams to Juan for $85 per gram, what is the street value of the rest of his hold?”

As far as I’m concerned, any teacher who asks this question OUGHT to be suspended … until s/he completes some remedial education in the field of applied economics.  That’s because besides being racist and overly-simplistic, this particular formulation reflects a grossly incorrect understanding of market realities in the recreational drug industry of Gulf Coast Alabama.  It assumes a market structure in which African-American mid-level dealers (“Leroy“) are supplying retail customer Latinos (“Antonio” and “Juan“) with what is basically a South American agricultural product.  Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Who’s really furnishing the cocaine supply in Alabama?  Enterprising free-market Mexican entrepreneurs operating as logistics specialists on behalf of Colombian manufacturers.  And who’s buying?  As usual, the 18-to-34-year-old demographic:  white, black, brown and yellow.  In pretty much that order.  So here’s a more realistic phrasing of the math quiz question:


“Tyler scored 2 oz of coke from Bubba the shrimper, who brought in a load from the Gulf for Don Arturo. If Tyler sells an eight ball to Bryce for $320 and 2 grams to Muffy for $85 per gram, what is the street value of  everything left besides his head stash?”

And some follow-up questions:

  • How much cash did Tyler have to front Bubba for the 2 oz?
  • Why does Muffy get a better unit price than Bryce? (As if you didn’t know.)
  • Will Tyler, Bryce and Muffy graduate from high school this year?



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