Why Are You Obsessed with My Race? Chapter 21

TWENTY-ONE

It seems like my days repeat themselves. I can’t believe the weekend is over. I am grateful that moody Monday has passed. Tuesday is here, and, well, I wonder if it will be a terrible or triumphal Tuesday. We shall see.

Today, we had an assembly because parents of the students have been complaining about the things being taught in our classes. Something about parents of all races think our county and state schools are teaching students to hate America.

I walked into the gym, and it looked like a homecoming. It was filled with parents, students, teachers, police officers — and the list goes on. My phone was vibrating in my pocket. I answered it, and it was my mother asking me if I was okay. I was confused. I told her I am fine and asked her what is going on. She said there is a riot at our state capitol and chaos everywhere.

“Your father and I are walking into the gym. Come meet us at the door,” said my mother in a panic. As I walked towards the door, I saw Olivia, who rolled her eyes. I didn’t feed into that. Montana waved. I didn’t wave back, and Brooklyn spoke. I ignored her ass too.

“Things are getting real,” said my father, holding my mother’s hand, and then he reached for mine.

Our school principal took the podium. “Hello, everyone. I am happy that you all were able to join us today. We know there is a lot of conversation going on, and we would like to address it at our school the best way we know how.”

A light blonde hair lady with red streaks in her hair was sitting on the bleachers. She yelled, “You are brainwashing our children! You are in the business of teaching our children to hate themselves! To hate their race! And to hate America!”

Another lady clapped her hands and yelled. “You want our babies to hate their white skin! You are teaching our children to hate being an American!” Her voice was deeper, “What did our children ever do to you!”

“What is your fucking problem?” scolded a man who I couldn’t see.

The principal tried to calm the crowd. She lowered her hand, “Please let me talk. This is getting out of hand. If you do not calm down, you will be forced to leave.”

Once again, someone’s parent yelled, “I pay your salary!”

A guy joined in, “I pay taxes, and it pays your damn rent!”

A slim lady with a shirt on that said, Fuck off! piggybacked off both the lady and the guy, “You can’t kick us out! Everything in this school is ours! We own it! Our taxpayers’ dollars pay your salary and your dumb-ass teacher’s salary too!”

A heavyset white lady ran down the bleachers. Her face was beyond the color of fireball red. She pounded her chest, “I am a citizen of the United States of America! You cannot deny my right! I have a right to speak!” She pointed at the principal, “What are you going to do, lock us all up?” She pumped her fist in the air, “We have freedom of speech!”

The crowd went wild as if our basketball team just scored and won the game.

A black bald-headed slim guy jumped out of his seat and yelled, “Stop brainwashing our children!”

Another black guy with long dreads walked towards the bald slim guy forcefully and said with so much anger, “You are a sell-out! You are whitewashed! What is the problem with bringing up the ‘real’ history!”

The slim guy raised his voice, “No, the real problem is you! You are the fucking problem! You will not let what happened be. It is time to move on! Quit blaming whites for your setbacks!”

“Move on? You sound like a fool for the white man! You are a fool for a fool. They got your black ass tangled in their white history!”

An officer jumped in front of both the slim man and the man with the dreads. The man with the dreads tried to punch the slim guy in the face. “Are you mad because the truth is finally coming out? Our children do not know anything about Black History, but they know about the white lies of the white history.” Once again, the guy with the dreads tried to swing at the bald slim guy, “Our children think George Washington Carver invented peanuts!” He yelled, “Fucking peanuts! That is what they teach our children for 28 days of February. George Washington Carver invented many things; for one, he invented crop rotation! He developed it for the use of peanuts — not invented peanuts! He didn’t create damn peanuts!”

While the officer escorted the man with the dreads out, the man yelled, “Do these children know that George Washington Carver was born in slavery?” He continued to yell, “His mother’s name was Mary, and both of them were kidnapped, taken away, and sold into slavery! Don’t hide the truth! What about the blacks who made this country? Blacks worked their asses off for the white man to steal and lie their way into power! Do not sugarcoat the truth!” He pumped his fist, “The time has come to see racism for what it is! White people created and started racism, and now they are mad because the tables are finally turning!!”

“Go to hell!” yelled a white man covered in tattoos. He yelled louder, “Go to hell and burn! We are seeking justice for our kids!”

I can’t believe what I am seeing and most definitely can’t believe what I am hearing.

“You go to hell, you white shitless piece of trash! History needs to be taught entirely. You can’t half-ass or pick and choose what you want our children to know,” screamed a white lady sitting in the corner with her homemade flag that says Call It For What It Is. She pursed her mouth, “Racism starts at home. You taught your kids these lies! Your children are a replica of you! Whites need to see the role they really played in America. You treat minorities like pure low-down dirty shit, but now you can’t take it when it’s done to you!”

The tattooed man balled his fist, “You are a disgusting white American. You’re supposed to stand up for your race. You have turned your back on your history. You are a wigger!”

My heart was racing! People were turning on each other left and right.

A mixed lady screamed, “Are you mad that everyone sees it for what it is? You do not want the teachers to teach the truth! It is not a white man’s world. It is a black man’s world! The red line has been painted over! Blacks couldn’t live in your white neighborhoods. Now, the truth is crystal clear! Come on, let’s have the debate!”

Everyone and everything was out of control. Finally, the principal yelled through the mic, “Please! Please! Everyone listen!” She held up her hand, “I will let people come down one by one to express their opinion in a respectful way. However, we cannot bash each other. We all have to be willing to listen and respect one another.”

The crowd voices cease.

My parents and I finally took a seat near the door.

The principal called on a lady with dark orange-red hair. She walked down the bleachers pulling down her shirt. The lady was breathing hard and fast. She reached for the mic, “I am not happy with what is going on. Why do you all want to teach our children to hate themselves? This is getting out of hand! What is the matter with you people? You all are teaching our children to hate cops, themselves, America, all races, and the list goes on. Think about what you all are doing.” She started to cry, “You are teaching our children that being white is a sin. What in the world? What are you all trying to accomplish here? Why are you all doing this?”

The principal took the stand, “We are not teaching students to hate white people.”

“Bullshit!” a man hiding in the crowd yelled. He was spotted by the officers and escorted out.

The principal continued, “We are not teaching hate. The board feels like it is in each student’s best interest to know the history of America — its entire history and the truth.”

“The truth! What is the truth?” yelled a white lady waving a United States flag. She, too, was taken out.

Another white lady with a short haircut took the stand. “Hello. I am Abby’s mother. I do not agree with teaching our children to hate their race. What is the purpose of it all? The school system is failing our children. We need to teach our children to love, not to hate themselves or any other race. The board is out of line, and it needs to be corrected. If it is not broken, then why try to fix it? Stop destroying America with hate.”

A black couple walked to the podium and adjusted the mic. I took a closer look; they were Justice and Justin’s parents. Their father spoke first, “Hi everyone. I understand that we all have a different aspect of what is going on. Yes, we all are entitled to freedom of speech. I think we all should respect each other opinions. I speak on behalf of my family. I do not see a problem with our children learning the roots of America. We have to be honest with our children and teach them truthfully about the United States of America. There shouldn’t be any shame, harm, or guilt. Everyone has played a role in some way or another — for the good and bad. No, we shouldn’t teach our children to hate America or each other. However, we should gracefully, with mercy, teach our children the facts of our country. It all started somewhere. Why not teach them the roots, foundation, and the structure of America?”

A couple of white people and a few blacks were yelling on the far left. Some of them were saying America is fine the way it is! There were a couple of them telling Justice and Justin’s parents to shut up and sit down. They were being so disrespectful.

Justin’s father kept his cool, “Hear me out … hear me out … What is the problem with ….”

He was cut off by a lady running towards him, screaming and yelling, “You black fool! Stay in your place! Blacks should know their place in America by now!” Before the officer put cuffs on the lady, she screamed so loud and pulled her hair. “Leave us alone!” She had a handful of blonde hair in her hand. The officer escorted her out too.

A deep voice yelled in the crowd, “If it is not broken, then why try to fix it? It is broken! That is why we are fixing it! It has been broken for over 400 years now. Slaves created wealth for their owners for a little over 246 years! Hell, blacks are still bringing billion dollars of wealth by working our asses off in this broke-ass system! We most definitely bring in billions of dollars because y’all are so damn quick to lock us up! Hell, when we pay our debts for being black and for things we didn’t do, we still are not free. We can’t vote, get a library card, a job, find a place to lay our heads, proper healthcare, nor can we get any assistance! Y’all white folks always set black people back on purpose! Y’all always have your targets on our backs! The reason why y’all are always on our backs is because we are self-made! We teach ourselves everything — and y’all steal it from us! You stole from us then, and damn it; you steal from us now! Y’all are imitated by us! Y’all white asses wouldn’t feel safe if it wasn’t for Marie Van Brittan Brown. She was an African American who helped built this country. She was the inventor of home security. She and her husband Albert Brown were granted a patent in 1969 for their invention.”

The police walked towards him. He continued and yelled, “How about Frederick McKinley Jones. He was an African American who helped built this country as well! He was a black inventor who helped revolutionize both the cinema and refrigeration industries. I guarantee y’all white asses wouldn’t be going to the movies or have a refrigerator in your home if it wasn’t for his brilliance!”

He continued, “Let’s talk about Granville Tailer Woods, an African American who helped built this country as well. He held more than 60 patents in the US! He was a self-taught mechanical and electrical engineer!”

While officers were trying to get him off the bleachers, he yelled, “Did you know that?”

The officers put up a struggle because he most certainly didn’t make it easy for them. He continued to state facts, “How about Thomas Jennings? He was an African American who helped build this country by removing dirt and grease from clothes. That lead to today’s dry cleaning. Most African Americans invented and earned their patent in the 1700 and 1800 hundred! Do you all teach that in your 1800s history classes to our children?” He yelled, “Hell no! You all teach that blacks were stupid, poor, and only slaves to the white man! And you praise the devils who stole the black man’s ideas and made millions of dollars off things that weren’t even yours to have!”

He raised his voice, “You white people stole everything from us! Now, y’all white people are mad! Y’all mad because you are finally being called out!” He tried to break free from the officers when he yelled, “How does it feel? You cannot live on lies forever! We blacks have built America!! We, as blacks, established ourselves! We, as blacks, are the soil, the roots, the structure, and the foundation of America! And you’d better not ever forget it!”

A heavyset lady stood up, “Lyda D. Newman was an African American who helped build this country through her inventions. She was famous for the durable hairbrush.” She forced a smile and took a seat.

A white lady holding her baby yelled. “We do not want to hear this shit! We do not care who invented what or who did it!”

A slim, angry woman stood up. She was very emotional, “You do not care! Well, you should. This nation is not built around freedom. All of a sudden, there is white fear in America! Well, gotdamn it, it is about time! I bet you all do not like the feeling — now you see how blacks always felt and how we feel now! Suddenly, you white supremacists are white-backlashing because you do not want us to tell and speak the truth! Wow, doesn’t that sound familiar? When blacks had rights, white supremacists wanted to white backlash and asked, what about your rights? What about the black’s rights then and now? White supremacist selfishness is so damn contagious. Food for thought! Samuel Raymond Scottron was an African American who helped built this country. He allows you to have privacy to wash your ass! He created the curtain rod!”

If the cops never worked a day in their life — they put in the hours today. Once again, an officer started to walk near the dark slim emotional lady. She continued to speak her piece, “Mary Kenner, an African American who helped built this country through her inventions as well. Because of her, you can shit in comfort because she invented the holder for the roll of toilet paper. She made sure the holder was reachable for you to wipe your ass! Not only that!” She put up a finger, “Because of her, you can use the shower to clean your filthy ass because she invented the back washer that could be mounted on a shower wall.” When they escorted her out of the door, she pumped her fist and yelled, “Quoting Martin Luther King Jr, ‘I am tired of living every day under the threat of death.’”

The white lady yelled, almost dropping her baby, “Officers, you need to hurry up! Move fast! Run up the bleachers and get her ass out of here! Right now!”

The slim lady didn’t show any fear, “Ellen F. Eglin, an African American who helped built this country through inventions. She invented a clothes wringer for washing machines!” She pointed her finger on the floor and yelled, “If it weren’t for her, you wouldn’t be able to wash your dirty clothes!”

The officer walked her out, and just like everyone else — she spoke her last piece, “You talking about you do not want to hear it, because you do not want to hear the facts … and the truth! You are selfish and a thief! You should want your children to know about African Americans who built and are the backbone in this country!”

I thought to myself, Wow, today is a movement!

A black lady with long hair stood up, “Patricia Bath was an African American who helped built this country through eye care. She was an Ophthalmologist and laser scientist. She was the first female doctor to patent a medical device, and she was the first person to invent a laser phaco cataract surgery. She paved the way for the advanced treatment of cataracts.” Afterward, the lady peacefully took her seat.

Next, a guy with a mini afro stood up, “Lewis Howard Latimer, an African American who help built this country through inventions of the electric light bulb, the telephone, evaporative air conditioner, improved toilet system for railroad cars.” He calmly sat down.

My father stood up, “Percy Lavon Julian, an African American who helped built this country through research. Julian was a pioneer in the world of chemistry — the chemical synthesis of medicinal drugs that we use today, such as steroids, cortisone, birth control, and medicinal drugs from plants. Benjamin Banneker, an African American who helped build this country with one of the most famous inventions ever — a wooden clock. Garrett Morgan, an African American who helped build this country through his inventions. He was famous for patenting the first traffic signal in the USA. In addition, he improved sewing machines, hair strengthening products, and a respiratory device that provided the blueprint for WWI gas masks. Philip Downing, an African American who helped built this country by being the inventor of the mailbox. It was called a ‘street letterbox.’”

My daddy smiled, “Our children love ice cream. Alfred L. Cralle was an African American who help build this country. He was famous for inventing the ice cream scooper. Alice H. Parker, an African American, helped build this country through inventions. She was famous for her patented system of central heating using natural gas. Basically, she is known for the heating furnace we have in our homes.”

He paused for a second and got a little excited, “Oh, David N. Crosthwait Jr, an African American, helped build this country. He was a mechanical and electrical engineer, inventor, and writer. He was famously the authority on heat transfer, ventilation, and air conditioning in our homes.” My father waved his hand, nodded his head, and took a seat.

I was shocked to see my mother stand. She put her hand on her heart, “Otis Boykin’s invention saved my father’s life. Otis was an African American who helped build this country. He was famous for inventing the pacemaker. Because of him, he saved many lives in the USA today.” My father slowly stood up and hugged my mother.

The principal walked to the podium, “These are the things we want to teach our children. We want them to know the true and real American history. We want everyone to come together for good. Everyone in our history needs to be given credit for helping building America.” Then, she cleared her throat, “Leonard C. Bailey, an African American inventor, entrepreneur, and I might add, a banker who helped build this country by being one of the first founders to open an African American bank in the US.”

A man yelled, “Why won’t you teach our children how to write in cursive? That way, they will know how to sign the back of a damn check!”

Need I say, the white man was taken out, and the lady with the baby was escorted out right behind him.

The assistant principal took a stand, “Did you all know that Bessie Blount, an African American helped build this country by inventing a feeding device and taught veterans who served our country to write with their teeth and feet?”

This time around, it was a student that yelled, “We do not care!”

I couldn’t see who it was. However, it shows a lack of respect.

The assistant principal struggled but continued, “We are just trying to help…” She started to cry and stepped a couple of steps back to catch her breath.

Mr. Smith, the basketball coach, stood in the middle of the floor, “Sarah Boone, an African American who helped build this country through her inventions by making improvements to the ironing board.”

People of all races started to walk out of the gym while Coach Smith was talking.

Ms. Baker walked towards the floor. She had her keys wrapped around her wrist with a blue keyholder band. She was nervous. She tucked her brunette hair behind her ears. I liked her highlights; they were kind of a maroon color. “Alexander Miles, an African American inventor, entrepreneur, and I might add banker, who helped build this country by improving the automatically opening and closing elevator doors.”

As some people continued to walk out of the gym, they threw paper and poured bottles of water on the floor. Some were yelling, “This is bullshit!” Some spat on the floor as they exited the gym. All I heard was, “We are taking our kids out of the school system! You all are poisoning our children’s minds!” And the yelling and complaining were never-ending. My parents and I sat in the gym until the crowd left. They basically destroyed the gym. It looked like an after-party that you see after homecoming.

When we walked out of the school building, news stations were everywhere. You had people protesting and holding signs that said, Stop Brainwashing Our Children to Hate Themselves and America. Some held up their signs saying, It is Time for Our Children to Know the True History of America.

I walked by a man who was yelling, “I bet you all are not comfortable now! How does it feel to be the bad guys! How does it feel to be a target! You are scared! You feel attacked because the truth has finally slapped you in the face! I bet it doesn’t feel good! What the blacks have been through and experienced in this country is a terrible disgrace and, needless to say, shameful to the core of America.”

My daddy held my mom and me close. As we walked through more people, it was unbelievable and surreal! So, I guess today was some of both; a terrible Tuesday for some and a triumph for others.