Friday, February 21, 2014

"That N-gga"

I took a seat to wait for my lunch order...

I had 25 minutes until my next appointment

A group of young men (whom I presume were college students from the University next door)
walked in and sat at the table next to me

Man #1:  Did that n-gga say what he wanted? 
Man #2:  No, I forgot to ask him
Man #1:  Well I'll just get that n-gga the lunch special

I pulled out my phone and checked the time...

23 minutes

Man #2:  So how did you meet that n-gga?
Man #1:  Man, I've know that n-gga for years, since Jr. High
Man #3:  (laughing)
Man #1:  That n-gga hasn't changed either.  He's always been like that
Man #2:  That n-gga is cool though
Man #1:  Yeah, that's my n-gga!

I lifted my eyes from the phone screen and turned to look at the young men

Man #1 spoke again and I got a closer look at him

He was...

young
clean cut
nicely dressed

He was obviously...

somebody's
baby boy

22 minutes

The other two were also young
and I was shocked to realize that Man # 3

who sat

quietly
unassumingly
with his back turned to me

was actually white!

I looked down at my phone and sat thinking about how
they sat at lunch counters

black and white alike
together

and

endured
boycotted
marched

so that I could sit here today and not have to hear "that n-gger"

But we've become so desensitized that we make

excuses
provisions
explanations

for our "recreational use" of the word

we've changed the letters
adopted it as our own
and passed it along to our children

And as I sat
still
barely breathing

I wondered

if I should say something to the young men
and
how I should say it

There's a rich history here
and I only had

20 minutes and 17 seconds

so I sat...

But they sat at lunch counters to take a stand
I had only 19 minutes remaining until my next appointment

and my order was up

so I quickly grabbed my food and left
without saying a word

because

I did not know how to
speak up
make a difference
matter

I did not know how to
take a seat
or
take a stand

No comments:

Post a Comment