I was riding the bus to the Red & Black Cafe when I suddenly felt a swell of anger rising in my chest as I realized that it is only, just now, that I am learning about the real history of the United States. And alternative models to the politics and economic system that we've been practicing in this country. I felt angry at what is considered "alternative" in this society, and the misplacement of values, and the way our children are undereducated - the fact that in parts of this country the question of whether or not to teach evolution is even STILL A QUESTION - it just pisses me off.

I am not sending my hypothetical future children to public school, and maybe not even to private school unless it is some type of free school operated by people who truly have a clearer, more truthful vision of what this world is and can be. I don't want my children to be raised up on a foundation of lies, and then have to spend the first 10 years of their adulthoods trying to undo the massive racist, sexist, homophobic, nationalistic, capitalist trauma that has been done to them. While I can't insulate them from it entirely, I can at least give my kids something precious: Time.

I feel robbed of so many years of my life. Even though my parents offered alternative ways of looking at things (e.g. religion, diet, black history), there are so many things they didn't know, so much history they could not pass on to me because they, too, were products of this culture.

The word radical is really starting to make sense to me.

I need to be very conscious and willful about the choices I make now. The type of future I want to live is taking shape in my mind. I have a purpose. I don't know exactly what it is, but I know in which direction to seek it.

I love my friends; they have opened my eyes to so much.
Today a co-worker leaned towards me as we sat at our desks. "Did you hear about the coach in Salem [Oregon] who was arrested on sex charges?" I said I hadn't, but what a shame - there seemed to be a new case like this every month or so in our area. "And he's a brutha'," she whispered to me, clearly scandalized. I was surprised - Salem doesn't have a lot of black people. She nodded, "I'm so embarrassed."

I said, "Well, I'm not."

She laughed. "What? Oh, you always say that!"

I shrugged. "Why should I be embarrassed? I didn't molest anybody. He's the one who should be embarrassed. Maybe his parents want to be embarrassed. But it doesn't have nothing to do with me." I made a "pshaw" kind of sound.

My co-worker said, "I know, I know. You're right. But still ...." She shook her head in disbelief, "A brutha?"

I love my coworker, but she has some funny ideas about criminal behaviors being associated with particular races. So far as I know, only serial killers are overwhelmingly white males. Other than that, I think perversion and immorality are pretty non-race-specific. Reading Red Sorghum at the age of 14 was the beginning of that realization.



December 2013



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