Amazon Key Is Some, Like, Extra-White Shit

Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

In the 16 years that I’ve lived in the Washington, D.C., area, I’ve witnessed it go from Chocolate City to Latte City. Sure, the blackness for which the city is known is still present symbolically, but ain’t nothin’ but white folks at the Brixton, living in the Ellington and hangin’ at Marvin on every other day but Monday and any day in which Rock Creek Social Club isn’t doing an event. It’s almost as if Oprah started handing out white people to neighborhoods in city wards that previously featured levels of blackness that only Bernie Mac as the officer in Don’t Be a Menace 2 South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood could be proud of.

Nowhere is this shit more apparent than in the number of curtainless homes running amok in in-town neighborhoods. These homes with big-ass bay windows, especially in the Eckington and Ledroit Park neighborhoods, have been led astray. I don’t know what it is that white people have against privacy, but one sure-as-shit tell that a white person or family has moved into a neighborhood is the lack of security measures or curtains.

There will be a house with burglar bars and a really design-happy security door and plantation blinds right next door to a home without curtains, bars or ADT signage out front. I’d imagine that even robbers and home invaders—while appreciating the “Come, rob me, stay awhile” invisible sign affixed to those homes—are still wondering if it’s all a big-ass elaborate sting operation. Obviously not enough to NOT rob the home, but at least they’re thinking about it.


This is what I thought when I read about’s latest attempt to, shit, I don’t know, put Circuit City more out of business with Amazon Key. Amazon Key is a new contraption that would utilize technology to reduce the number of packages that grow legs in cities by creating a mechanism, using both a Cloud Cam and a smart lock, to enable Amazon drivers (no UPS, FedEx, DHL, etc., as of yet) to place that shit you REALLY needed in two days INSIDE your home, all while you watch the entire transaction via your smartphone, tablet or whatever you have.

On its face, this isn’t a terrible idea. And anybody who lives in neighborhoods where you have to insure every package, like me—I’m currently waving my hands in the air like I just do not care—has thought about how awesome it would be if you didn’t have to try to time getting home to meet the delivery person JUST to make sure you didn’t stumble across an empty box with your name on it halfway down the block. This has happened to me. I really wanted those socks.

But wait, I’m supposed to let a motherfucker INSIDE my home? AND run a camera that can basically monitor my whole-ass shit 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year (366 on a leap year)? So not only can Big Brother watch me all the time—but he can also let his cousin Other Big Brother walk up into my house?

Also—and this is how I know white people are really trusting, like in general—what the fuck is watching a transaction from afar supposed to do for my sanity while I watch a bunch of motherfuckers who are quitting tomorrow steal all my shit because didn’t really do a good background check ANYWAY? Shit, back in the day, I got a T-Mobile Sidekick for 10 bucks because the dude I ran up on was quitting his job because he hated his boss that day. That dude? Gave no fucks. Who’s to say how many fucks all of the Amazon folks have?


I remember when my house hired a cleaning service, and the idea was floated to let them motherfuckers have a key so they could come when nobody was home. I heard, “Hey, let’s let people come rob us during the day without having to break and enter.” Clearly, that shit never happened. I absolutely will sit my ass silently on my couch and watch the cleaning happen. Give somebody a key who doesn’t pay no bills up in my house? Nigga, please. That’s that white shit.

That’s Amazon Key to me: letting people have access to your shit because “Hey, it’s Amazon! They get me my shit in under two hours if I’m really pressed!” And look, it’s not to say that black folks or other people of color WON’T utilize the service. I’m sure Ben Carson ordered that shit RIGHT away. He seems like the type. There’re always a few people who ... transcend? Girl, I guess.


But we people, the black people, tend not to like to air our dirty laundry. You think I’m about to let you walk up in my house? Shit, if you stop by my house uninvited, you ain’t getting in because I didn’t get a chance to throw all of my mess in the closet first. I’m just supposed to let you walk in and judge my house and PAY for you to do it? Again: Nigga, please.

And again with the monitoring. In order for THAT to be a thing, that means anybody who decides to hack your system can (and will) do that shit. Again with the white shit. I already cover my television with a sheet when I’m not watching it just in case somebody tries to get cute. Laptops? We put those under the bed and keep the cellphones in the cupboards when we’re not using them. All of those are lies, but how many black folks just said, “You know what? You really don’t know who is watching and when.”


Meanwhile, I think white people don’t care. Of course, I’m sure there’s no white version of COINTELPRO or anything, either, so I guess, ya know, no slavery problems there.

Just know that I’ll happily come home and wait for my package, Amazon. I’m cool on the Amazon Key. I don’t really know you like that, nigga.

Panama Jackson is the Senior Editor of Very Smart Brothas. He's pretty fly for a light guy. You can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking all her brown liquors.

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I’m not a Luddite - I worked in the Internet industry for over a decade. But I don’t even want a god-damn Amazon Echo in the house, because I don’t want Amazon listening in to my life. I know exactly what the hell people do with that data, and how poorly it’s protected. (Ditto for any “Internet of Things” appliance or the smart thermostats or whatever.) So to give Amazon not only a key to my door but a window into my life? This is the dumbest fucking idea, EVER.

This is one of those stupid techy groupthink things where a handful of people who like to minimize human contact got in a room and decided that this was the NEXT BEST THING. (Like this stupid-ass bodega machine idea.) This is one of those meetings where I - as a usability expert who would point out that many people value their privacy, the integrity of their homes, and don’t necessarily want to fork out the cash for Prime, a very fancy lock, AND a camera to accommodate this bullshit - would be derided as having a Lack of Vision.

Also $250, I could get a REALLY good fucking deadbolt and have some change. So, you know, I could get a more secure house, not a less secure one. (Good blinds are always gonna cost ya. But that’s an investment anyway.)