Writers Corner

    “Disguised As God” - Am I Next?


    "Can we all agree that the relationships between slaves were complicated ones? In many cases, husbands and wives lived on separate plantations, unable to build a bond that promoted love and security. But they still "jumped the broom", as the West Africans of Ghana taught them to. Marriage between slaves was real. You had to respect them for even considering the institution under such adverse circumstances. Yet, I believe separation gives way to deception and deceit. As they say, "an idol mind is the devil's workshop". What can a slave husband do for a slave wife? Intimacy between people in bondage was exploited. Black sisters became adversaries with Black sisters. Brown cousins became rivals with Brown cousins and the loyalty amongst women disintegrated with lost hopes of experiencing real love by someone. The rise of "colorism" and the "color-line" that W.E.B. Du Bois so eloquently coined, explained why "she" was "pretty" and "I" was ugly. Light skin, dark skin, and the absence of African consciousness, became the toxic trend. In stating this we cannot ignore the vile acts perpetuated on the Black man, who sometimes became the predator of the Black woman. She was one of the few people he thought he could control. But this control was limited being that the Black woman in many cases sustained the household and dominated respect in that role. Manhood was destroyed in bondage and the miscegenation, abandonment, brutal rapes, and attacks sustained by African American women became a common fabric of this era. Judgement, biblical, societal, and communal became her biggest adversary. Are we over it? I hope to answer that question in some form. Thank you for gathering and let's have chapters 14-30 completed by next lecture."

    I ended each class giving thanks to my students. These young adults wanted to know. They wanted the truth and I was going to give it to them. They asked questions and cared about the world. The recent death of Sandra Bland had me on watch for every young person. Sandra was from Chicago just like me and she looked like many of the students that I taught. For her to be arrested for a routine traffic stop to dying in jail was devastation. Looking back at her social media pages, you could see that she was crying out for someone. But those cries don't justify her death. Somebody's daughter, niece, cousin, "baby-girl", dying in jail; really? As a mother, it felt like no one cared. I don't mean "no one" cared for Sandra. I mean no one cared for who was next. I was exhausted with the police brutality and so many police getting off. I was afraid, as I often drove down dark roads to get to my destination. Protests seemed to be irrelevant because the killing continued to happen. Her protesters seemed small in comparison to others. I wondered if it was because Sandra was a woman. I was tired of being a woman. I was tired of unappreciative men. I was tired of the mandate on my skin. I was tired of hearing about death.

    At any rate, this was only a part-time job, that I worked Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, at the local community college. Luckily, I minored in African American studies in college or I'd still be unemployed. There weren't many jobs here in Reese. I had tried to find decent employment after moving here from Chicago. Yet, it had almost been a year since I had a full-time job. I had been fired from ministry for much less than what these police officers get away with. I didn't think I knew how to do anything but preach but teaching was close enough.I loved giving young people a history of the past. But now it was time for me to rush home and pour some love into my three angels. God blessed me with sunshine and two "suns". My daughter Faith was my sunshine. She was 16; beauty in movement.And my two little orange flames, Truth and Loyal, were my sons. Truth was 9 and Loyal was 8.

    I trusted Faith to watch the boys on Saturdays, while I was being a wife. She was so good at caring for her brothers, but I hated being apart from them. I stopped having the kids come with me. Their father, who lived in Cleveland, did not like it either. The long rides, the checks, the bad food and the insensitive guards also kept me from bringing them. So, they only saw him once or twice a year, if that; developing their bond through letters and e-mails. But they loved him all the same. He wasn't their biological dad. He was their Pete; that's what they called him.

    I needed to make a stop at Food Lion to get them some snacks and easy meals for while I was gone. I had $51 on my EBT card, which would usually get us through the weekend. They decreased my card from $548 to $212 because I made an extra $1400 per month at this college.Now this and a sporadic $715 in child support should care for 3 kids and a husband, right? I've never struggled this much. I've never needed public assistance. I also ran a non-profit in which I host a dinner each month for the homeless. I must think I'm Robin Hood using my food stamps toward that.I have a degree, I work, I serve at a local church and I have a side hustle, but it doesn't seem to help much.

    I made my way to the counter with the items that I believed I needed.

    "Do you have your MVP Card Ma'am?"

    I swiped the discount card hoping it would take a couple of dollars off my balance.

    "$48.73, please."

    I was relieved that it was under $50. The plastic debit card with the big American flag on it made it obvious that this was nothing but Food Stamps but at this point I didn't care. I was doing a drop every weekend for Pent with hopes of getting my finances together.

    "$12.28 please."

    "Why is it $12.28?"

    I couldn't cut into the money that I needed to go see my husband.

    "The rotisserie chicken and the potato salad is not covered", she stated kind of flip it.

    "Well just take it off", I snapped back.

    I was frustrated but not really. I got everything the kids needed and they were going to get what they needed, even if I had to steal it. The chicken and potato salad was actually for me. 

    “Disguised as God” - Visitation
    Black Line

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    Friday, 15 November 2019
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