Not too recently, I watched a video where Donald Trump's then campaign chair spoke up about how she feels the election of President Obama is the cause for racism. She then adds further insult by arguing that if you're black and haven't been successful, "it's your own fault." True, that every person has to face their own accountability, but she is overstepping in a huge way. She claimed that black people have three generations of unwed babies. Well to that I say, "Thank you, Kathy Miller. I didn't know that was a black thing." The truth is, there is a long dirty laundry list of why things are the way they are, and I'm not going to pretend to be the one who has all the answers. One thing for sure is that President Obama isn't the one perpetuating anything, it's the people who believe that race-neutral politics exist, and in doing so, find they're the main ones talking about it. To the Kathy Miller's of the world, I would just like to ask you to please not speak on which you know nothing of.
This interview did spark me to share something personal. It's short, but it explains what happens when you stick children in a school where they haven't quite grasped the intense feelings from the ideology of "the haves, and the have-nots" that social economics create. Even more, how racism and hundreds of years of slavery have, even to children, produced a confusion of cultural identity. And while some of us grew up in homes with both parents, or in the suburbs of the middle class, some of us did not. As kids, while we might not have understood it, anger bubbled and we instead channeled it inward, fighting each other. This is a story I wrote, I'll let you you decide how much of it is non-fiction.
Behind clenched teeth, I asked again because frankly, she really didn’t get the severity of the situation. “What. Did. You. Say?” White-hot rage that my little body had never felt flamed to the surface, overwhelming and pulsing hot. I balled my small fists tightly leaving tiny crescent marks on both palms. This was survival; there was never a choice, and there would never be any backing down. I waited, but I saw the moment her face changed, a rare certainty of determination. It was survival for her, too.
“I said…” she announced way too loudly. All for performance purposes, I supposed. I heard the ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ from the crowd that had gathered. A huddled mass of bodies circled, vibrating, percolating with a violent surge of energy, urged us on. I shifted from one foot to the next, nodding my head like a super-charged bobble head doll. I was pumped. It’s like my senses zoned in and focused only on her while she continued with swelled smug undeserved confidence. “I said yo mama…”
I didn’t even let her finish before I started swinging. In my mind, I was a well-trained boxer, when really I channeled the windmill effect. Arms failing about, spastic with seizure-like momentum, but I connected once, or twice at least. Small fists, connected with a small face forcing her to the cracked pavement, eyes crying with lids overflowing, bleeding split lip, backpack upside down and class papers thrown about. I puffed up like a male peacock in a nine year old girl’s body and laid down the law.
“Don’t talk about my Mama again.” I walked away, leaving her, that crowd, and my shame behind. Magnet School. This is where they bused us, somewhere between the Washington, D.C-Maryland line. They overlooked the gangs, homeless, hopelessness, crackheads, and hookers, but we didn’t. This is where we went to school, where we breathed, where we fought, where we tried to survive.