Posted by Dardi Norwood, ATLANTA, GA – Liquor stores can tell you a lot about the racial and socio-economic composition of a neighborhood. I live in a middle class suburb of Atlanta where the Eagles Landing Bottle Shop is located. The landscaping is immaculate and it’s in a new two story brick building. The inside is filled with a wide variety of alcoholic beverages including fine wines. The staff is friendly and courteous and the owner is frequently there. They sell chips, soda drinks, and snack type foods as well. The floors are clean and shiny and the aisles are large. There is only one other liquor store in the area.
The liquor stores on the southwest side of Atlanta tell a different story. They are almost on every corner. They are run down, dirty, small, cramped and some have drive-thru windows. The actual names have “liquor” or “package” in them unlike the Eagles Landing Bottle Shop. They have bullet proof glass dividers on the inside to separate the patron from the cashiers. They sell lottery tickets, blunt cigars, cigarettes, and rolling papers. They do not have a vast selection of wines but they do have an enormous selection of hard liquor.
One cannot help but think that this stark contrast has something to do with the racial and socioeconomic composition of these places – one more middle class and more white, the other more poor and mostly Black. Unfortunately, this is one aspect of race and ethnicity in our society that reveals the structural inequalities perpetuated by racism, greed and capitalism.
Dardi Norwood is an undergraduate student at Georgia State University who is majoring in Speech.