Another Day of being Black in the White Public World

So, here I am again…asking anyone who wants to hear, do you want to know what it is like to be black in the public white world? I say public white world because the experiences I have had in this world are not the experiences that I had in the military world growing up as a military brat. In the military, there was one common goal…to secure the safety of America and everyone who lives here. Rank also mattered more than color…at times….But any way, that’s another blog for another time… Right now, I want to share with you what happened to ME last night…

It was a beautiful day and night and as I left my friend’s house in the early evening, she yelled to me, “try not to stay inside”! I yelled back, “I won’t”! And I meant it…It was such a beautiful night that I knew I was going to try to get back outside after doing some homework.

Finishing up the last paper, I called my friend who lives up the street and asked her if she wanted to perhaps go for a walk uptown? “Sure,” she said. “I’ll be right over.” Fast forward…we went uptown, sat on a bench, talked about life, our plans for the future and how cars were driving too fast on the square and how we hoped no one would get hurt one day…

Now, it’s time to eat…although a little late in the evening, she and I were both a little hungry…so, I thought, why not head to one of my favorite watering holes that was still serving food—and we did. We walked in and sat at the bar, ordered a couple of things and continued our conversation. I said hello to one of my favorite bartenders and a few other familiar faces and just kind of relaxed. Of course we noticed that we were the only African Americans in the entire place except for two employees…one eventually left so that just left the 3 of us. It is the silence of bonding that fills the room every time this happens. We glance at each other connecting on a level of awkwardness but comfort, simultaneously, because we know and we FEEL that we’re the only ones. Are we safe? Is everything ok? Do they even notice us? How could they NOT notice us? Hhmm..

Any way, the bar became packed almost instantly and the noise began to rise as well. All of a sudden, there was a hush in the entire place like the calm before a tornado…and BAM! We heard it! “Don’t you ever step to me like that again mother fucker!” We turned and saw a white guy (a guy I was somewhat familiar with and shared shots and stories with on a few occasions…he always seemed really nice, I will not use any names to protect their identity)…confronting this one male, African American employee. “Did you hear me mother fucker? Don’t you ever come up to me like that again in your fucking life! I will kick your fuckin ass! Do you hear me mother fucker”!!! I watched the situation and the employee. The African American who was twice the size of the white guy,  simply looked at the guy and smiled while another employee, a white guy, was standing in between the two intensely masculine forces of energy…

The bartender yelled at the white guy’s friend…”Hey! Get him outta here, Now! The short white guy, still holding and drinking a beer in his hand replied, “I am, ok.” But he didn’t move. The bartender yells at him again…”NOW!” she shouted. He went to grab his friend. His friend pushed him down to the ground, refusing to be moved by anyone and went back to yelling at the African American employee while  pushing his body towards him (like he wanted to walk right through the middle guy to get to the African American).The short white guy made another attempt to pull his friend away…the African American employee then turned around slowly and walked to the back of the restaurant/bar heading to the exit door that led to the back of the establishment.

By this time, the short white guy had a firm grip on his taller friend and as the white guy who was the agitator turned to walk out the front door, just at the precise moment he walked passed me,  he yelled at the employee, “You fucking Nigger!” I immediately looked him dead in his eyes to make sure it was him who said it, to make sure it was the same guy who shared drinks with me, stories about his family with me, the same guy I had laughed with time and time again, the same guy that I had hugged good-bye on more than one occasion. I wanted him to see me…see him. So if he was drunk or high, once he sobered up,  he would remember my brown eyes looking at him…wondering what happened, did he say what he thought he said? Remember my eyes…remember that at that moment when you called this tall, handsome, light-skinned African-American a Nigger, I became a Nigger too. Immediately, just like Trayvon Martin, I became whatever your perception is and was of Nigger, Thug, lazy, sloppy, dirty, smelly, violent, angry, dumb, no good Nigger who helped build the country you call America. The same Nigger who continues to fight for freedoms and liberation that made this country what it is because we could do the work, the labor, had the know-how on a number of different levels as good as any John Deere good ole American  idolized in country music today. And  still…without any one ever telling me what black people did so bad to white people for some of them to hate us soooo much that they can STILL come out of their mouths with the word Nigger. And do you know what the African-American employee who was not on duty at the time did to deserve this attack? He stepped in to protect the white female bartender who was being attacked by her ex boyfriend, yes, the white nigger calling guy. He was her ex boyfriend. From speaking with the bartender, I learned that all night, at the end of the bar, he was threatening her, calling her derogatory names and the African-American guy stepped in to tell him to calm down. That was all.

This white guy is and was a regular. I am somewhat what you would call a “regular” as well. Although I don’t frequent the establishment as much as the “regulars” do, I have been invited in and welcomed into a group of diverse voices and occupations, all of them are white but, still, I am “one of them” and receive special treatment when I stop in for a chat or two. But, again, I’m usually the only African-American and so I only know what I am allowed to see and know.  As an “outsider” of sorts, I have decided to treat people as I want to be treated until they show me something different…like the rigid silence of racist thoughts, ideologies and feelings that are kept hidden until it explodes in some kind of way…or until it slowly trickles out of their mouths, like the slow pour of venom that has the texture of honey, but poisons everything it touches…even the insides of the holders soul.

So imagine how it feels to know that some of the people who smile in your face, pat you on the back, who may even work with you, really think you’re nothing but a Nigger. Their buttons just haven’t been pushed hard enough yet for it to come out in public…but I’ve seen it time and time again. I’ve seen it when my “friends” talk about Obama and call him a Nigger. It happened when the hurricane took the levees down and a “friend” said that that’s what we get for letting Niggers do the work. It happens every time I see and hear someone treat the President of the United States like a down right Nigger boy who somehow scooted passed them and got into the white house with his Nigger ass. It happens every time I hear a news reporter or anchor or read a newspaper article that tries to point to every reason under the sun why the President is receiving no help at all but the real reason which is deep- rooted, American born and bred racism. It happens every time when we see the President as a black man is only given one chance to be perfect and if he’s not perfect then he’s a fuck up. An incompetent Nigger…We  see it because this is the pressure that is placed on ALLL blacks in America. That’s why we try to work so hard because we know that if we mess up one time…we’re immediately a no good Nigger in the eyes of the white racist. And not just us, but also the poor unsuspecting Nigger who is coming behind us. It happens when I see white teachers and professors dismiss black students who are not up to standards for the Niggers they are instead of doing their job and TEACH the students how to learn so that they  can reach the standard set. It happens when a white professor who has every black student thinking that he’s cool calls them nigger behind their backs and sabotages their educational careers by writing negative letters of recommendation without the student’s knowing. It happens when the white woman who he’s also having an affair with, who is also a guidance counselor, does the same. It happens when you find out that the white professor at an HBCU gives black students A’s and B’s because they will never be as intelligent as a white student so why waste time with them…just treat them like the niggers they are…and then to find out that  instead of him being exposed for the low-life professor that he is, he continues to “fool” people and lands another teaching job at…wait for it…ANOTHER HBCU! It happens every time I see and hear a white person pontificate about racism when they have no idea what they’re talking about. Riddle me this…how is it that a recovering alcoholic can be a sponsor, a surviving victim of domestic abuse can be a counselor, a recovering drug addict can be a counselor, a female feminist can talk about hegemonic issues with authority, victims and survivors of the Holocaust can be the authority…you get the idea, but black people cannot be the authority or counselor or leader on the issues of racial discrimination? How is it that every other victim is given the right, the privilege, the authority and yes, the credibility about what they know from experience except when it comes to racism? If you don’t believe me, ask Tim Wise, or Sean Hannity, or Rush Limbaugh, or Glenn Beck, who somehow has, sickenly so, designated themselves as a voice of authority on racism. On Racism???? And think that we don’t understand the code words that they use to calm their brethern.

When a black person/scholar/intellect  writes or talks about what they know and have learned from experiencing victimization of racism for over hundreds of years, they are labeled racists, practitioners of reverse racism or discrimination, or just angry, whiney, complainer, ungrateful, and an outlier…and wait…you can only find their words, their literary work,  in the African American section of the library, online database or some other black group collective in which they have found safety. Safety for the black author or safety from the eyes of white people who don’t really want to know the truth? The truth about white guilt, the truth that while you want to forget everything and move on, while we would LOVE to forget everything and move on…we cannot because racism is still alive and getting stronger and bolder every day. You will NOT find their work in the section of American (white supported) section of the library where one can learn from another by reading the truth about what racism means and how it has affected and still affects an entire aggregate. Perhaps that is why we are where we are when it comes to race relations. White students are not reading nor learning about race relations unless they take a specific class. We, blacks, already know how it works, so jailing the books into one black section is like preaching to the choir. And by chance if you ever have the courage to finally speak up and out as a black person who is sick of the discimination and you finally respond to the hate and tell the truth about how it makes you feel, how it hurts you, makes you angry, they want to debate you about it…I know it’s hard. It’s like an alchoholic who doesn’t want to stop drinking…the hardest part is to admit you have a problem, to look at yourself in the mirror and say, yes, I’m an alcoholic…now let the recovery and healing begin. But this will not happen in America. Why? Because NO ONE, outside of the racist factions, wants to admit that someone hates another person simply because of the color of their skin. Not because their bad people, not because this group of people did something terrible to them or this country…they are hated simply for being black. It is quite hard to comprehend isn’t it? I know. It is hard to admit that  hatred really exists, intentional or not. But the truth of the matter is, it does exist and black people are still not free…and cannot pursue happiness easily…and are dying without receiving the promise of the American dream.

It is truly an amazing phenomenon to watch. Even today, at this present time, white people are LEADING the way to solving the race problem. Does anyone see the fundamental flaw in this approach? Does any other researcher, other than myself, view this form of methodology as being problematic therefore polluting the results of such an approach?

Here’s some truth…In America, a black person is never truly safe. Because you never know who is viewing you or seeing you as a Nigger out loud and/or in silence. But it usually always shows itself eventually.

Can you tell me what a racist looks like? Can you tell me what they wear-a suit or a hood? I can’t. But after spending countless years using your intuition and skill of reading body language and even seeing the spirit behind a person’s eyes, African-Americans, as a people sure can. It is a highly developed sensory program that has been passed on to them through the generations and has been used to save lives, jobs, families…etc… If your life depended on having to watch every thing you said and did and everything they said and did, you would have the same skill as well.

Another truth…because this has been the case in most African American’s lives, we can read PEOPLE…ALL PEOPLE very well. We know when we’re being lied to, we know when people are fake, we know when we are unsafe, we know when we’re being used and yes, we know when people are being authentic and sincere. We cannot teach you this skill. You would have to be born in it and with it. And it’s a good thing. Why? Because you, YOU, cannot tell me what a racist looks like. But I, like most blacks, can point them out every time. (I will add that some of my white brothers and sisters who come from racist backgrounds have a similar skill as well).

So, back to the conclusion of my story, my friend and I decided to pay the tab and leave…knowing and feeling that at one time, all eyes were on us…awkward eyes from the patrons of the establishment. And while the music was turned up and people began to chatter and laugh like nothing had ever happened, my friend and I no longer wanted to be there. It HAD happened and we walked away knowing that this incident and many like it is truly OUR American dream/nightmare. We walked out knowing that some of the white patrons agreed with the guy…perhaps that’s why no one really stepped in….we walked away knowing that in this land of freedom that has denied us so much will be slow to change, if significant change happens at all. And when we are given what is ours, our inalienable rights, it is given to us with a hitch, or with a feeling like someone is doing US a favor… we walk away knowing that we will probably never EVER see another black president, not because of incompetence, but because of racism…we are still enslaved and we are still slaves to the system and to an aggregate that still doesn’t understand the roles that they play and how it feels to be a MINORITY. Gone are the days when individuals would humble themselves and say, you know what, I’m not black so I won’t dare say how it feels to be black, no…no more…now, individuals are being bold in their rhetoric and say, that while I may not be black, I do know what they’re feeling and I can relate because we’re all human beings….I say no, no my brother, we’re not…some of us are only 1/4ths human, remember?…it’s just that some days when I look at society, how we kill each other, hate each other and treat each other, I’m just not really sure which group we’re talking about…

Written in the name of peace and love between the races, Red, Yellow, Black and White…God bless everyone.

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