So to be honest, it can at times be a little terrifying…
“What?” you say,
A classmate of mine once remarked snidely, “Give the black man a book and you’ve either incapacitated him, or made him the singularly most dangerous force on earth.”
While a bit dramatic, his words came to mind tonight, while studying at Panera. (I left after spilling a box of cereal in my room) I was tapping my pen to the sounds of Phineas Newborn Jr.’s A Night in Tunisia and snickering about Hephaestin, an enzyme that transports iron…(clear reference to Hephaestus ).
when 6’4″ hulk of human being (in papery-thin vanderbilt scrubs) walks up and escorts his (presumed) girlfriend from the counter and out the door. As he left we shared that o-so-special nod.
“Nod?” you say,
Yes. That fleeting moment where you see someone defying the stereotype. Someone wearing a suit, scrubs, or Judge’s gown. Heck – anyone not dressed like BET/MTV/VH1/FOX/CNN/MSNBC and clearly in pursuit of something better. The moment comes when they recognize you…and is usually followed by a curt nod of the head.
It’s kinda like the look two bald eagles would share while flying past each other en route to the eagletown apple store.
The look says – you’re one of the last of our breed aren’t you? The nod says…yes, as are you.
“Ok, now you’re just being dramatic” – you say.
You’re probably right…but in the ever ongoing battle between Republicans and Democrats, the issue of Black voting has resurfaced. Despite the passage of the 15th Ammendment in 1970, we’re apparently still the group at risk if picture IDs are required at the polls.
Wait – you mean after 142 years and 3 generations of iPads minorities could be exiled by a vote that requires a picture ID?
So I bring you back to Panera, back to my thoughts. A black kid listening to jazz, studying pathology, and giggling over pharmocology references to
roman greek gods. I could not be more grateful for my education and opportunities…or more crushed by the paucity of them elsewhere.
Chris Rock, the (hilarious/notorious) comedian was featured on NPR last week, and speaks of his million dollar mansion…a mansion in a neighborhood of 100 million dollar mansions. Among those 100 Owners he says, are 4 Black people. They are:
He then proceeds to note that while each of them can lay claim to the term “greatest” (comic/rapper/R&B artist etc.)
…His next door neighbor is a dentist.
I can’t wait until the nod means nothing more than…”nice shoes.”
and to whom it may concern….thanks for the education.