Sunday, December 4, 2011
moments of casual hate.
there are moments where, as a Black man in New York
City, you might as well be living back in the days
of Howard Beach and Bernie Goetz. today, was one of
those moments for me.
in the midst of the throng of tourists craning their
necks, families from the Island enjoying a day in the
big and broad city and other folks, here i was out and
about after a harried morning. as i got past West 46th
street, i found myself behind one guy and his girlfriend
who were taking their sweet time strolling in the middle
of the crosswalk. like any other New Yorker, i chose to
move quickly around them to get away from their absolutely
maddening pace. in the process, i wound up brushing past
the guy slightly. he was a white guy, older. possibly late
40's, with the look of an investment analyst trying to get
his groove back. his..*ahem* girlfriend was on the other
side, clutching a couple of small bags that probably cost
big bucks. i had my earphones on, but i did hear him say
"New York used to be a great place before the uppity
Negroes spoke up."
i stopped short, quickly turned around with my ears
burning hot and stared directly at the jerk. 'what
the FUCK did you just say?!!' i yelled. he sneered
slightly but was still somewhat shocked i heard him.
'go on, you heard what i said, fu-' he said before
i cut him off by taking two steps towards him. 'you
better walk off. i WILL lay you the fuck out!!!!"
i sized him up. i had him by a few pounds. but me
getting into a fight meant cops. and jail. not how
i want to end the year off. he's still snarling and
cursing at me. i hold my ground, trembling 'cause i
WANT to annihilate him. his girlfriend starts to
drag him away. 'i'm sorry!!', she says, yelling at
him to move. i turn and walk away, off to Penn
Station and home. but not far enough away from these
moments. not far away enough to wipe away the pain
and the absolute anger.
i realize that these moments, the moments of casual
hate are this country's gift to all people of color.
and all i can do is face them head on..and survive.
that's what we've always done. and hopefully one day
my children won't have these moments. and the world
will be better for it.