It’s 3:30 in the morning and the rain has woke me. I can’t help, but hear it’s relentlessness, on my tin roof. The sound of the rain brings joy to my heart. It promotes contemplation. It heals me. It washes the earth.
When I was young, on a Saturday afternoon, in the middle of this neighborhood, looking to score, at the local tavern, The Island Bar, I found myself surrounded by police cars, I was shocked to be white. It was so obvious. They were there to break up a fight, I was really wishing I was a different color. They looked at me, cutting their eyes, saying, “what the hell are you doing here?”
I was in her apartment. It was a two bedroom, one bath, concrete hovel. It was navy housing. The war was going on and I loved to smoke pot and listen to Cat Stevens. I was in the company, of a stranger, strange neighbor.
She shared with me that her parents were in the KKK. She had been so proud, of her father in his robes. Attending rallies was the family pastime. She told me about the philosophies, of the KKK. They wanted to keep the white race white.
She boasted that her boyfriend, in 1964 was the National Leader of the KKK. She attended St. Augustine Rallies. She claimed they fed a black man, to the hogs. She laughed.
I was silent. I loved Cat Stevens. I was twelve.
I went to visit a relative, who worked in the Georgia education system. She was so proud of her job. She told me how stupid the black students were. The faculty just had to deal with them, but it was so difficult and a waste a time. My backbone straightened and I came down upon her with an intellectual vengeance. I showed her who was stupid.
I walked out, went home and rarely ever visited again. I was 36..
I had a friend that I admired. She was an artist and a middle school teacher. I went to her class, to see the students work. She let me know, which work was created by black children. She said they had zero creativity.
I could no longer be her friend. I was 40
I was close to an older woman, who told me her Daddy owned nigger town. She made the claim, that black people could only go so far in education. They couldn’t cut it. They would quit and give up. And she abhorred Venus Williams. She believed that Venus had destroyed women’s tennis. She was a highly respected and affluent member, of the Jacksonville community.
I stayed by her side, until her death. I was continually shocked at her class consciousness and racism. I am in my sixties.
I still like Cat Stevens
Racism, friends and family, and overgrown children who don’t know how to be civil.
Yes, for God’s sake, don’t ever speak up. Don’t loose it. Hold it inside. Sing a song. Look the other way. Take it on the chin. Pull yourselves up by the bootstraps. Dodge the bullet. Don’t throw water on the burning cross, that would be too uncivil.