Button, Button, Who's Got the Button?

That's a line from the fake yet terrifying diary, Go Ask Alice; a book I read when I was about 13 that kept me away from drugs for pretty much the rest of my life (notice the conditional). The diary is about a young innocent girl who falls in with the wrong crowd, becomes a drug addict pretty much overnight, and then ODs on something dumb like pot. The first time she takes acid, it's accidental--someone puts it in her Coca Cola bottle during a game called Button Button Who's Got the Button (as in, which bottles of Coke have drugs in them)? 

Buttons are on my mind in general because I just got one last weekend in Princeton for a mere $4 in support of Obama (actually, it says, "Canine-Americans for Obama" and has a beagle and a German Shepherd mix on it). I pinned it to my bag and the instantly became aware of it as I was walking around the city. I didn't realize that having a political button would do that, but I honestly feel like people are noticing it and making assumptions about me (good and bad) based on my having my political affiliation visible.

But I also realized that I'm making assumptions about how people are reacting to it based on my own bias. Like, standing next to a couple of black kids on the subway (who probably didn't even notice thee button), I'm thinking that they must like me more b/c I'm wearing the button (assumption: all black people like Obama). And then I'm also aware of this kind of undercurrent of a darker stereotype that goes something like, Maybe they won't bother me/mug me/try to take my phone because I'm wearing this button (assumption: all young black kids are thugs). But my prejudices extend generously to white people too--white men in particular, the ones who wear suits and look as though they're on their way to a $50,000 a plate luncheon perhaps and I worry that one of them will stop me and say something obnoxious like, Do you support that socialist? And then I would say something like, "Yes, he's the only president I've ever know who actually changed my life" and I would launch into a description of how the Obama incentive to buy houses allowed me to get a house without very much money down and a really low fixed interest rate and then how I got a check in the mail for $8,000--more money than I've ever received at one time in my life, and how that money allowed me to feel safer because I have more than $53 in my savings account, and how I used some of that money to renovate the kitchen and how that will increase the value of my house, etc. , etc. But it's not likely that anyone is going to stop me or say anything, although the manager at Hummus did look at the button and ask me, "Oh, are you on his campaign team?" And I said, "Not really, I just love him." He didn't say anything else.


Can you even see the button amid all of these patterns and the giant chipmunk in the background?

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