I spent a weekend in hotlanta a few weekends back, and I took both my brother and my good friend’s lil sis out for dinner and a movie. Well, one of the ads shown prior to the movie started juxtaposed different coca-cola bottles with statements concerning black history month. And the last statement was one from MLK Jr. My brother remarked, “and that’s where black history ends” and both of us ladies burst out laughing. Why? Because that IS where black history ends. Nobody ever remarks on the continued evolution of the political struggle in this community. It would appear that after MLK, NOTHING has been done that is of any import. The Civil Rights Movement may be “over” but the struggle continues!
Case in point, I went to a local salon to get my twists redone and was exposed to a barrage of verbal defecation from another one of the clients. This man spewed forth on the white man forced blacks to do this; the niggas still believing in Jesus and they don’t know nothing; my daughter is stupid, she had a Latin man who was taking care of her and now she with a po black nigga…
Can you imagine my continued rage as I sat there? The stylist doing my hair didn’t make much comment, the other two clients ignored him but as I sat there, listening to this I saw in my mind’s eye how this would appear on the big screen. And I thought of two things:
1) outraged audience members angrily lashing out at the other clients silence
2) “In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” (MLK)
I had to speak. I asked him what was his problem with white people, declaring that this was the same mentality that racist “white people” used against blacks. I reminded him that the color of a man’s skin had very little to do in shaping the content of his character. I stated, passionately, that he could not lump together white people as if they were one entity whose sole purpose was to cause the downfall of “the black man”. And I didn’t even start to question him about his statement that “we were all once kings and queens in africa”. And when he brought up Jesus, I said to him, and what’s wrong with Jesus? He asked me if I believed I was going to be with Jesus when I died and I stated, rather emphatically, YES! At this point, the stylist started talking to me and saying that she wished I spoke Swahili so that she could tell me about the madness of this man.
She told me that she had been married and subsequently divorced a Swede w/ whom she had children and who helped to raise her children from a relationship with a Trinidadian man AFTER her divorce from him! She told me he was just crazy. And I said, yes, I understand but I couldn’t just let him continue to spew. While he spouted many other horrible things, I won’t demean you nor will I abuse myself by attempting to note them all down.
The man demanded to know if I was angry and I said, no. He said he was going to tell me about the Bible and that I would see his face in my mirror b/c I didn’t know what kind of what he had. And at that point I rebuked whatever plans he may have been thinking of, whatever jujuhe may have had in mind, for my life. His wife was apparently a pyschic (a good one acc to her) so I was like, dang–what mess is this?
In any case, he calmed down a bit; I just ended the conversation when I realized that I couldn’t actually have a conversation with this man and tuned him out. Granted, I don’t know what, if any impact my words had on him but I do know that I could not sit idly by and be “silent”–that was my morality, my conscious, my testimony on the line.
Later on he kept saying that I was angry with him and oddly enough, I wasn’t. I was not angry with him after I realized that he was an example of Psalm 53:1
“The fool says in his heart,
“There is no God.”
They are corrupt, and their ways are vile;
there is no one who does good.”
He tried to smooth things over by asking me if I was angry with him. I told him I wasn’t–though he didn’t believe me and he tried to get me to kiss his cheek as a sign of peace. Can you believe the nerve of this guy? Well, actually–I can.