But I can't say the "R" word. I'm "one of the good ones."
I pretend to agree when you say, "I don't see color." Somehow, though, you manage to ask ME why all those black kids are acting that way. Did you ask your white friend that?
What's wrong with seeing color anyway? No one picks a daisy thinking that it is a rose because "I just don't see color." What you mean when you say that is "I don't see you like I see those other black people.
"You're 'one of the good ones'."
When that girl at Europa books helped everyone in front of me then, dismissed me with half a glance, I walked across the campus giving her every excuse in the book. She thought I was a kid (So I was a customer). Her shift was over (no, she went to the end of the counter and started talking to her friend who seemed uncomfortable that she was ignoring me). She was having a bad day (Dang, I went there?) It was not until I got to my apartment that I accepted that I had experienced a moment with her. I wouldn't let myself admit that all the people in front of my had one thing in common. Because contrary to what a lot of people believe, most people don't like to find that they have been in the presence of a racist.
Most people want simple answers...especially if they are "one of the good ones."
There are many of us out there. I noticed them throughout this non-revelationary moment in history where we are finding that blacks in America may experience the world differently than non-blacks when it comes to treatment by authority figures. We are the wait and see ones. The ones who don't re-post video footage until we have all the facts. And when we do repost, we don't call it racism. We say, "Judge for yourself." We let our friends...the non-black ones, especially...use the word. I can't speak for others, but I sigh with relief that someone else said it first...someone acceptable.
Because I can maintain my status as "one of the good ones."
I fear loss of friendships the most. I imagine some reading this post and thinking, "I didn't know SHE was that way.
Why would you? When I told you about a kid stealing stuff from my classroom and you said, "I'm glad that I work with the good, white kids," I only said, "Actually, the thief was white." I didn't ask why you assumed otherwise.
When you said that the kids who cry racism drop out of school and those who don't will go on to graduate, I didn't correct you by telling you that I know a PhD, a poet, and people who will let you know, in eloquent terms, why saying, "At least that kid doesn't have one of those ridiculous names like LaShawn or Raekwon," is a racist statement. I know a woman who told me that she named her children plain names so that they would be treated better.
She is "one of the good ones" too.
When I told you that a group of boys in a car in my neighborhood yelled, "White Power!" at me, and you turned it into a joke (maybe they said white powder, haha), I let it go. You don't know that I was gripped with fear. I was alone out there.
When you told me that a kid complained that someone called him a nigger and you replied, "Well, are you one?" Because words will never hurt... I got it. If you don't have a nigger mentality, then you shouldn't be upset that you were called one. Except, I can still hear the boys who yelled nigger cunt at me on West Campus, and how those two words smashed everything I thought about myself as a student at The University of Texas. My g.p.a. stellar, my future bright...my heart in my shoes. Two words. How could they?
I'm "one of the good ones."
When I drove up to my school for the last three weeks and saw the Confederate flag proudly displayed on the back of a student's truck (kids will be kids, slavery is over, Obama is president, get over it already), I told a few people who would understand. My friends, the not so "good ones", would have marched to the office and complained. They may have been told "kids will be kids," but they would have left with the knowledge that they spoke up.
When I responded to the video from Mckinney and spoke my mind, my REAL mind, I didn't sleep well. I did it again today, and I nervously waited on a response. When I didn't get one, I felt dismayed that I might have lost a friend. Someone I knew from years ago who probably didn't give me a second thought.
I wonder if birds feel uncomfortable breaking out of their eggs? Is it painful coming out of the cocoon?
"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." -- Anais Nin
I've always been a late bloomer...except for my boobs.
So, my friends, how would you know how I really felt? I've have been so skillfully lying to you all these years.
I'm done with being "one of the good ones." This blog is my rehab. Join me on my journey from sobriety to indulgence and excess.
49 is a good age to kick an addiction.