Prelude to Racial Awareness
We have often been told by social scientists and other academic pundits that race is no more than a “social construct” or an attempt by the white majority to justify its intellectual and political superiority by “proving” that large groups of people, with different phenotype characteristics and darker skin colors, are inferior to others with European features and lighter skin tones. Far-left activists assure us that by rejecting the concept of “race,” informed citizens will create a more equitable society where group differences will be recognized but not codified as good or bad, just different. Proportional representation by “race” or ethnicity is a statistical measurement favored by leftist partisans to determine the existence of racial inequity. This assertion seems contradictory…race is an “illusion,” we are taught, but nonetheless serves a legal purpose to filter out the “haters” and reestablish long-delayed racial justice.
According to “woke” or “green” activists, social hierarchies will be based on the idea of equity or equal results for all in a given area of expertise. These proponents of racial parity firmly believe that there is no proof of innate or genetic qualities that distinguish one group from another.
In this view, “race” is a pejorative term invented by Anglo-Saxons and European powers to justify their incursions into Africa, Asia, and Third World countries during the colonial period that lasted from the late sixteenth to the mid-twentieth century. As Rudyard Kipling once said in defense of America’s pending conquest of the Philippine Islands (1899), it was the “white man’s burden” to introduce dark-skinned peoples from distant lands to the benefits of European culture and technical knowledge.
Here in America, so the progressive narrative informs us, slavery and the exploitation of Native Americans reflect this “false” concept of racial inferiority and white supremacy. Under the guise of “eugenics” and a moral necessity to upgrade a lesser civilization, the white man marched from the Atlantic to the Pacific, destroying all opposition in his path. In a sense, God’s work was being done since pagans and savages were converted to the Christian faith during this western expansion.
However, the enslavement of human beings is not a recent phenomenon: its roots can be traced back to the Greek and Roman empires and even beyond in Asian societies. African tribes practiced slavery for centuries before selling captured villagers and warriors to European traders who then transported them to South America (Brazil) and the United States in 1619.
Human beings were treated as chattel and economic assets in the New World. Enslaved blacks were considered to be only three-fifths of their white counterparts for the purpose of equitable representation in Congress (Article 2, Section 2 of the 1787 United States Constitution). Agriculture and foreign trade dictated the ongoing flow of free labor into countries and regions highly dependent on field hands to work the cotton and sugar plantations. Compassion or empathy for human suffering played no role in this vast industry of slave trading.
Ethnic or tribal discrimination had been practiced in many countries throughout the world before the founding of America by European immigrants. Various forms of slavery are still in existence world-wide even though its practice has been outlawed. Latin and Central American immigrants are, in many instances, enslaved by the “coyotes” that facilitate their illegal entry into the United States. Large numbers of these migrants enter prostitution or other forms of servitude to pay off their debts to the drug lords.
Many studies have proven (Richard Lynn, Arthur Jensen, Michael Levin, Philippe Rushton, Linda Gottfredson, et al.) that the elimination of race as a biological determinant by left-wing activists is based primarily on political or biased analyses. In Race, Evolution, and Behavior, 2000, Philippe Rushton introduced multi-faceted racial characteristics that showed race to be more than skin color, but closely related to other biological and emotional features. His taxonomy of racial traits has become a standard reference source for social anthropologists and research scholars.
Progressive advocates, nonetheless, reject forensic science evidence as well as historical/oral accounts that span centuries of data and scholarly research concerning sub-saharan Africans and their progeny. Anyone who tries to argue against this belief is a purveyor of “hate” speech and deserves to be punished.
We must sadly conclude that slavery has been and will continue to be an integral part of the human condition and societal inequities. Even in so-called modern or “enlightened” times, the strong will abuse the weak whenever conditions permit this criminal behavior.
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The following story is fictional but it illustrates how race or “ethnic” differences have produced two parallel societies that cannot peacefully co-exist on an equal footing in today’s “diverse” world. Coming from a dysfunctional and underprivileged background, our main character, Walter MacClain, will discover that “being white” will not be an asset in his quest for acceptance and a better existence. He will not benefit from some mythical “white privilege” in his struggle for survival.
At every turn, the aggressive nature and violent excesses of young blacks toward junior high faculty and fellow students will be minimized by woke-inspired administrators who try to excuse blacks’ disrespect for school regulations and long-term “white” traditions that seek to enforce positive behavior patterns.
“Progressive” pedagogues affirm that cultural or ethnic differences (which are somehow “not” related to social constructs) are profound and must be taken into consideration by teachers and administrators before condemning black conduct that is contrary to their own “privileged” life styles. In the words of the Democratic Party mantra, “diversity is our strength.” Those who reject this reality are the ones who pose a true threat to social harmony and effective learning.
In a new “woke” society, white-supremacists are the insurrectionists challenging our democracy and must be held in check, arrested, and cancelled by force if necessary. Black and minority cultures in turn must be accepted and not considered inappropriate in the eyes of society. Radical speech patterns, dialectical accents, elaborate body tattooing, “ghetto” clothing and hair styles are to be tolerated and not considered “wrong” or unacceptable in a social context.
In spite of white middle-class opposition, the New World Order dictates greater inclusion and racial diversity in our population. “Acting white” or “dressing white” is no longer a requirement for acceptance. The future will be plural and multi-colored according to the progressive mind-set. As activists say in their political demonstrations, there is no “going back” to the days of white dominance. On the other hand, white supporters of a more traditional way of life see these paradigm shifts as a form of cultural suicide. (See Jared Taylor and American Renaissance commentary).
As a working-class teenager, Walter MacClain is imprisoned between two divergent cultures: his parents’ lower middle-class existence where being white has little value in the eyes of “law and order” — and the necessity of being subservient to minority-centic laws that had been modified to offset “white” misdeeds and prejudices of almost sixty years ago when segregation officially ended on a national scale (1964, Civil Rights Act). As we shall see, the racial gap between white and black is not closing but expanding.
This will be an account of Walter’s going from youthful naiveté to mature acknowledgement of racial differences. His epiphany will be slow in developing but realistic in its final impressions.
Part I: Crawling out of the abyss
For young Walter MacClain it wasn’t a long way to school but he dreaded the four blocks he had to walk during week days. There were black or “African-American” students that heckled him as he neared the junior high school and called him names like “cracker,” “Whitie,” “blue-eyed devil,” and other hurtful epithets. Occasionally they would push him around and dared him to fight them. He knew they had weapons, especially knives, and could be very dangerous. His parents had complained to the school administration but nothing had come of their protests. Without adult support and some form of a defensive weapon, Walter felt helpless. His reluctance to fight branded him a coward in the eyes of his black tormentors.
He lived with his parents and three siblings (two step brothers and a step sister from previous marriages by his father; the ex-wife’s mother lived nearby and still kept in touch with her granddaughter) in a modest home located in a mixed-race neighborhood. His father had lost his job at a local steel mill a few years ago. He wasn’t able to find work nearby that paid well and, like so many unemployed workers under similar circumstances, he turned to alcohol and drugs to help him get through the day.
The father received financial compensation from unemployment and union subsidies, but this was barely enough to meet the needs of his family. After more than two futile years of looking for a job, Carleton MacClain — Walter’s father — began to do the unthinkable. He was enticed by a friend to be his “bagman” in dealing drugs in the community. There was a large market for these opiates in a medium-sized city where the unemployment rate was very high.
As a result of this “new” employment, his life changed dramatically. Money was suddenly plentiful. Walter’s mother (“Kate” or Katherine) stopped doing part-time work at the local pharmacy and the children wore more stylish clothing to school. Carleton made sure that Mary Jean, his daughter by a previous marriage, had what she needed. At school no one dared make fun of the way she dressed. Her classmates knew that her father was hanging out with some very bad people, but Mary Jean didn’t care. Life for her was good and she became a princess-like individual almost overnight. She was invited to “in-group” parties and young men were very attentive. She went from being ordinary to the height of popularity.
Although Walter’s mother knew what was happening, she had been reassured that her husband was only indirectly connected to the dealers. He was more of a bookkeeper who “washed” the money and not someone who ran the risk of violent encounters with addicts, other drug pushers, and the police.
Unfortunately one evening three men showed up at the front door of the house, claiming they were federal drug agents. In spite of his protests and his wife’s pleading, the husband was arrested and taken away. The children looked on in silence and cowering fear as he was handcuffed and shoved into a police car.
There was a trial several months later and their father and his associates were found guilty of illegal drug distribution among other charges. Their mother wept in court as the sentence was read. Walter remembered the look on his father’s face as he embraced his family. He lifted his manacled hands to wave goodbye when leaving the courtroom.
Almost eleven months thereafter, Kate suffered a nervous breakdown as her life unraveled and the children were sent to live with various relatives. Walter took up residence with his uncle Leopold and aunt, Harriet, his father’s sister. Their own children were older and away at school. At first Walter felt he was not really welcome; after all, his foster parents would have to explain to friends and neighbors that his father was a drug dealer and serving time in prison. It would be a stain on their reputations.
Leopold was a strict disciplinarian, much more so than his father had ever been. Although he had strong ideas about racial independence, he lived in a run-down area of the city where most of the residents were Central American immigrants and working-class blacks. The school system was worse than the one Walter and his siblings attended in his former neighborhood.
Leopold was a mechanic and had his own business repairing cars and all sorts of vehicles. On weekends and after school, Walter would work with his uncle to learn a trade. As a trainee or assistant, uncle Leopold didn’t have to pay Walter for his labor. He was given room and board as compensation. His “allowance” came from whatever money — very small amounts — his mother could provide from her earnings.
A lot of mechanics at the body shop were poorly educated, had tattoos all over their arms and chest area. Most of them had served in the military and displayed the American flag at the shop. They spoke a sort of dialect while working. At first, Walter had a hard time understanding them, but after a while he began to use their slang terms and vulgarities. Some of them chewed tobacco and spit on the floor where they worked. It was hard for Walter to get used to that habit he found disgusting.
His colleagues were patriotic and hated the “woke” politicians who were trying to get everyone to buy electric cars and not fossil fuel vehicles. They had all voted for Donald Trump because he was outspoken, tough, and he did everything …or nearly everything… that he had promised to do as president. He was rich but he gave the impression he understood working class people and their problems. A few had even attended some of his rallies and they boldly wore the Trump MAGA cap when they were at work.
Walter would occasionally write his father in prison. Sometimes, he would get a brief letter in response; however, many times his father didn’t answer. Before her breakdown, his mother kept him up to date with what was taking place in prison. She would occasionally go to visit her husband but it was a long and tiring trip. Afterwards it made her very depressed to see him in a prison uniform and his head shaved. Walter asked her if he could go with her and she said it wasn’t place for a young person to see.
After she had successfully finished her rehabilitation period and gotten back to normal, his mother began working as a waitress in a local restaurant. She could make decent wages with tips and the meager salary that she received from the restaurant owner. Walter learned that she was also dating men on the side although she and her father were still married.
He felt bad about her doing these things but there was nothing he could do about it. He didn’t say anything in his letters to his father about his mother’s playing around. He later found out from his aunt Harriet that his mother was known as a prostitute or “sex worker” and this was very painful for Walter to handle. He was ashamed of her behavior although he understood why she needed more money. He didn’t say anything to her because he truly loved her and didn’t want to drive his mother away.
He would rarely see his step brothers and sister except at Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings. His stepbrothers, Brad and Henley, were living out of state with relatives from his father’s side. They were children from their father’s first of three marriages. Their mother lived in Texas and stayed in touch with them by e-mail and Twitter. She wasn’t able to take them in because she had remarried and there wasn’t enough room in the house for four children. Walter was a child in a modern, blended family.
The brothers played sports and were stars of the basketball and football teams. Out of shame, they never visited their father in prison although they wrote from time to time. When they were asked what their father did for a living, they would answer he was a steel consultant for the firm where he had worked. If they had told the truth, things would have been very different in dealing with fellow students. Being pitied or looked at suspiciously was out of the question for the brothers. They were determined to craft a new life for themselves. They both planned to go into the military when they graduated from junior college.
Walter’s stepsister Mary Jean, who had been taken in by her maternal grandmother, would occasionally drop by to see her step-aunt Harriet, and chat with Walter. Contrary to his brothers, Walter himself had no idea about his future; he was caught up in his personal struggle to make it through the week and avoid his black classmates who delighted in bullying him.
He would sometimes go by the restaurant where his mother worked just to say hello. She would sneak him a piece of pie because she thought he was too skinny. Once his mother introduced him to a tall man with a moustache; she called him Jim Bob…which was his nickname. He had a habit of putting his arm around her waist and she smiled and did the same. Walter had the impression that he had met the person who was going to replace his father one day.
Even though Walter knew a lot of kids at school, he didn’t feel he was part of any school club that mattered. Since he had to work for his uncle, he couldn’t participate in after-school activities or sports. To have an identity, which in junior high school, was very important, he needed to belong to a known student group. In a strange way he imagined he was abandoned and had nowhere to turn.
There was of course his love for music and singing. He liked to sing during music class and the teacher would praise his talent in front of the other students. She even invited him to be a member of the school chorus. He asked his uncle if this would be possible but Leopold was short-handed at the shop and needed Walter’s help. Mrs. MacKenzie, the music teacher, was very disappointed when he told her he couldn’t accept her offer.
Walter had met a very pretty Latina girl in his music class. Alberta Juárez was part Mexican and part Cuban on her father’s side. She had darkish skin but Western-like features and long, silky brown hair. There were lots of boys who were trying to get a date with her but she was very selective.
She was particularly annoyed at the black students who tried to feel her butt and breasts in the hallway. One day a fight almost broke out when one of the black teenagers pulled a knife and threatened a Mexican student who was defending Alberta. Luckily, the gym teacher, Mr. Graffenreid, came by and broke up the ruckus before anyone was hurt. No complaint was filed; everyone knew that the superintendent and principal would let the black kid go with a warning and nothing more.
For some reason, maybe because Alberta had a very pretty voice, she and Walter would sing duets in their music class to everyone’s applause. When Walter told his uncle about his Latina friend, he warned Walter to be careful. Both Hispanics and blacks could be very protective of their girls. If a gringo or a cracker tried to make overtures, they ran the risk of being assaulted. Minority kids could be very jealous and hot-headed. Walter listened but he felt attracted to Alberta just the same.
It all came to a head one day when Walter and Alberta were having a soda together at the drugstore that was next to the junior high school. A black student approached Alberta and began to talk trash; at the same time, Geraldo, her cousin, pushed the black away and told him to get lost. When Walter tried to come to her defense, another black grabbed him from behind and threw him against a table where other blacks were seated.
Before he knew what was happening, he was on the floor being kicked by the black students. Geraldo summoned his friends and an all-out fracas broke out. The drugstore owner called the police and Walter realized that he had been slashed by one of the black students. He was taken to the hospital where emergency room personnel had to stitch up his arm. His mother showed up quickly and tried to help her son explain his behavior to the police. “He was a good boy,” she repeated.
The investigating officer determined that Walter had been provoked and he was let off with a misdemeanor charge that would be waived with good conduct.
Afterwards, his mother was very upset and she let Walter know that he couldn’t go on seeing a Latina. She warned Walter that nothing good could come out of this relationship. His uncle Leopold also showed up a few minutes later at the drugstore and he thanked the police officer for his understanding of reckless teenage behavior. Leopold said he would keep a close eye on his nephew from now on.
His mother and uncle were categorical: Walter was not to date or see Alberta outside class. It was too provocative and could lead to serious consequences. Walter had to learn that Alberta and her family had a different life style and were Catholics to boot. In the eyes of the “Anglo” adults, people who celebrated “el día de los muertos” (The Day of the Dead) instead of Halloween were strange. They even cheered for matadors who killed defenseless bulls or toros in an arena for public entertainment. On the other hand, most white Americans were pulling for the bull. They had no stomach for this type of animal abuse.
If he tried to befriend a black girl or boy, Walter would face even worse problems. They were mostly anti-white and could be violent if frustrated or didn’t get what they wanted. Many of them looked down on white girls and felt that white male teenagers were too soft and not manly enough. If the black teenagers were provoked, they wouldn’t hesitate to use the weapons they carried to defend themselves in a fight.
There were gangs that some blacks belonged to and they could be very dangerous. They proudly displayed their arm tattoos that were symbols of the gangs they were members of. Walter needed to be careful when he dealt with them, Leopold emphasized. There had been some black-on-black shootings in another part of town recently. Walter should take note and not get involved with black thugs who had funny, wild hairdos and baggy pants that drooped down over their buttocks. They swayed through the school halls showing off their ear and nose piercings, gold-plated teeth, and they said disrespectful things to students and even to teachers who were afraid of them.
After those warnings, it was a little awkward to see Alberta at school. She was obviously interested in talking with him but he explained that his mother and uncle had forbidden him to go out with her. Somewhat sheepishly, Alberta admitted that Geraldo and her parents wanted her to date Latino boys and no one else. She really liked Walter but her family didn’t want her seeing gringos. She had been taught to obey her parents, especially her father. Impulsively, she leaned forward and kissed Walter on the cheek, whispering “adiós” in his ear.
After that, Walter couldn’t stop thinking about her. His mother reassured him that at his age he would get over Alberta and he would meet a lot of other fine girls from his own background.
At work one afternoon, a young mechanic, Gregory, who had been a marine, came up to Walter during a break and asked him if he would like to meet some people who were patriots and didn’t agree with the way the country was going. They were good folks, just pissed off at the government.
Walter was very surprised that Gregory would invite him to a political meeting for grown-ups when he had just turned fifteen. Gregory answered that there would be other young people his age attending. There would also be wives, girlfriends, and children of some of the members. If the weather was nice, the get-together would be held outside. There would be a few political talks but afterwards people would socialize, dance, and enjoy some good music. Walter said he would check with his uncle but he was interested in meeting new people and that sounded like fun. Who knew? Maybe he could meet some “nice” girls that his mother had mentioned.
Aunt Harriet volunteered to drive Walter to Mr. Davidson’s farm outside the city. Gregory could bring him home because she had other things to do.
Uncle Leopold was, as he admitted, a “yellow-dog Democrat” but he was disappointed in Biden’s catering to radical left-wing ideologies. He thought Walter was a little too young for a political rally; however, he would probably meet a lot of young people his own age. What’s more, he could play the guitar and sing some country and western classics for the crowd. That would make him a popular member of the group.
Saturday afternoon, the weather was fine…sunny and warm. Walter had dressed in a reddish plaid shirt, boots, and blue jeans. Aunt Harriet drove him to the farm that was decorated in the backyard with colored bunting and several American flags.
People were gathering around a long table with food and all types of drinks. Harriet introduced Walter to the host and his wife. She mingled briefly with the guests and then excused herself after chatting with Gregory who was wearing a flamboyant Trump tee-shirt. Music was being piped from the kitchen area. Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson were belting out their most popular hits that couples were dancing to.
Gregory reminded Walter that he would be driving him home. Walter nodded in thanks and followed Gregory to the food and refreshments table. He was introduced to many guests who were cordial and asked if he was related to Leopold. They seemed to be nice people who were solid citizens, religious-minded, and very patriotic.
Walter found it hard to imagine that the media had accused them of being “seditious” or insurrectionists who were trying to overthrow the government because they were Trump supporters. Walter’s grand-father used to say that farmers and small town residents were the “salt of the earth” who fed America and the world. They made sure their children learned civic and Christian values in school and not the nonsense that many students were learning from far-left teachers.
A strong voice blared out over the microphone and invited everyone to help themselves to the food and drink. In the background, young children were shouting and playing under their parents’ watchful eyes. For the older adults it seemed like a scene from a Norman Rockwell painting.
Walter filled up his plate and went over to sit with Gregory and two other mechanics from the shop. A short while later, there was a change of music and the “Star-Spangled Banner” brought everyone to their feet. Veterans saluted and others placed their right hand over their heart. When it ended, everyone applauded and Mr. Davidson grabbed the microphone to remind the guests that this was the last call for refreshments. “Let’s clear off the table,” he emphasized. “We’ve got some special folks here this evening and we need to listen real good.”
Walter noticed some high school students sitting on the grass near the podium. He picked up a Coca Cola and headed their way. He was surprised to see his sister Mary Jean in the group surrounded by young people he didn’t recognize. She too looked surprised and motioned for Walter to sit with her. She introduced Walter to her friends who were dressed, like Walter, in plaid shirts and blue jeans.
“What on earth brings you here, little brother?” she inquired. “I heard about the fight at the soda fountain. I hope you’re okay.”
“I’m all right. They stitched me up pretty good. Mama and uncle Leopold were pretty upset.”
“Well, you be careful, you hear! Those Hispanics can really get jealous if you date one of their girls.”
Walter intervened: “No, it was a black guy who started everything.”
“Well, them too,” Mary Jean added. “You’re a little young to be at a political rally. Who asked you to come?”
“Gregory at the shop,” Walter replied. Mary Jean hesitated and said, “He’s a nice guy, but be careful. He’s into some far right-wing stuff. A lot of them train on weekends in paramilitary units.”
Walter looked puzzled. All he knew how to do well was sing. He didn’t have any military experience at all. He ought to be a little suspicious of Gregory and his friends. Mary Jean was probably right.
Once again, Mr. Davidson took the microphone and began to introduce the first speaker, Herbert Winslow, who talked at length about how corrupt the Biden family was. He was a Methodist minister who believed that God would punish their wicked ways. The next president, he predicted, would be Donald Trump and he would fix a lot of things but he needed all their prayers.
Walter applauded with the crowd although he got a little bored about half-way through the talk. He didn’t know very much at all about politics. He had found out, at the dinner table that Uncle Leopold regretted, as a Democrat, having voted for Biden although he didn’t really trust Trump and his America First politics. Farmers depended on selling their crops to folks overseas, especially in Europe, Japan, Latin America, and other foreign countries. One of his wealthy neighbors was planning to sell his farm land to a Chinese conglomerate for more than market value. Trump would be opposed to that for sure. But he was appalled that Biden and his corrupt son were selling political access to foreigners for lots of money. That wasn’t the American way of doing business.
The following speakers were all bombastic and screamed into the microphone about dirty politicians who looked down on the good people of the Mid-West. They were just “fly over” voters who were taken for granted by national and some local politicians. The last speaker ended up with an extended prayer for America and its future:
The good citizens of our country, he warned, were falling into an abyss of corruption and sin. They all needed to avoid this dark pit of the devil. To save their souls, they had to crawl up into the sunlight and take Jesus Christ as their savior. Walter had a funny feeling run down his back when he heard these words. Everyone shouted “Amen” “Praise the Lord!” There was extensive applause for everyone who spoke.
Around him Walter could see a few of the young people snickering and even laughing. Mr. Davidson was glaring at them with a wrathful look. Walter found himself shouting out “Praise the Lord,” and “Amen.” He wanted no part of rebels; he needed honest people who had values and compassion. If the Good Lord could show him the Way, then he would give himself to His commandments. He wondered if his father in prison would one day see the light and come back to his Christian way of life. He had heard of many prisoners who had experienced a spiritual awakening, something that was called an “epiphany.”
Mr. Davidson took the microphone again and looked at Walter who was sitting close to the podium. Davidson walked over and put his arm around Walter’s shoulders in a friendly gesture. Walter hoped he wasn’t going have to say something political. “This here,” Davidson cried out, “is Walter MacClain. A lot of you folks know his uncle Leopold…even if he is a renegade Democrat!” There was a wave of laughter that greeted this comment. “Walter’s a first-timer so let’s give him a big hand.” A long round of applause rang out. “He’s still in junior high school, but he works for his uncle part-time. I’ve heard from folks at the junior high that he sings like an angel. So, let’s encourage him to sing a few songs for us tonight.”
Walter didn’t know what to say when a young woman brought him a guitar. He strummed a few chords and cleared his throat. “Hey, I wasn’t expecting to sing tonight, but I do know a few Willie Nelson songs. I hope I can do them justice.”
Walter displayed a rich, high-pitched baritone voice that carried well across the spacious backyard area. There were surprised looks on the adults’ faces and they began to applaud his efforts. After three songs, the guests hooted their appreciation and gave him a standing ovation. Mary Jane and her friends were clapping wildly. Walter was aware that he had been blessed with a unique talent. He could make people like him through his music. He was glad he had decided to attend the rally. Walter felt he finally belonged somewhere. Afterwards, a lot of people came up to congratulate him. Mary Jean gave him a big hug and said he should try to sing at church sometime.
When Gregory dropped him off at home, he told Walter he had a really good voice. In his room, he felt like a new person. Maybe, he thought, he could start his own band with some friends when he got to high school. He wished his mother had been there tonight but she had to work at the restaurant. He would mention his performance to his father the next time he wrote him. It took him a long time to fall asleep.
As Walter came out of his history class on Monday morning, he saw a group of black students who were talking about “victimhood.” Mrs. Grandfield, who was black and wore a brightly colored African outfit with a tribal headdress, had lectured them about white privilege in modern society. She also told them about “Critical Race Theory” that Walter only vaguely understood. One of the black students, who recognized Walter from the soda fountain incident, called out: “Hey there, cracker. You’re the reason we ain’t going nowhere. You’re privileged and your ancestors put us in chains. We got black skin and white folks don’t give us no respect. We’re victims. You owe us reparations. You heard the teacher.”
Walter knew he had to be careful about what he said. If he got into another fight, he might be expelled. If he didn’t say anything, word would get out he was cowardly and blacks would start to hassle him everywhere he went. As though being protected by a guardian angel, Walter sighed with relief when he saw Mr. Graffenreid, the gym teacher, come down the hallway in his sweat clothes and the black students dispersed right away.
“Watch yourself with these kids,” Graffenreid told Walter. “The slightest little thing will set them off. Look, I come from New York City. I know how to deal with these hard-nosed types.” He patted Walter on the shoulder and continued down the hall.
Mrs. Grandfield, the history teacher, poked her head out the door, stared at Walter and went back into her classroom without saying a word. Walter wanted to ask her why she always said bad things about white civilization and didn’t praise the good things they had done. General Washington was a slave owner but he had led a weak and budding nation to victory over the British army. He and many others created a country where blacks were enslaved but would eventually thrive. The founding fathers were, for the most part slave owners, but they weren’t horrible people. None of the blacks he knew would go back to Africa to seek a better life if they had the chance. Thousands of black Africans had immigrated to America to have the opportunity and freedoms they didn’t enjoy in their home countries.
Walter knew, however, if he ever tried to argue with his teacher, she would report him to the principal and he would be punished. He couldn’t get his mother in trouble again at her restaurant. Still, how could he deal with these assholes who weren’t going to leave him alone?
The good feeling he had after the political rally at Mr. Davidson’s farm had disappeared. He needed someone he could turn to for advice. Uncle Leopold was a good person but he would tell Walter to mind his own business and stay out of trouble.
Gregory was a racist militant; his answer would be to get a paramilitary unit together and challenge the black militants in open conflict…which would certainly wind up with people getting seriously hurt or even killed. He could end up in a juvenile detention center or worse. He was not going to be the “black sheep” of the family who would be shuttered away in an alternative school for misfits. The rest of his day was depressing as he struggled to find a solution to his dilemma.
He hardly knew his older brothers so they wouldn’t be much help as advisors; however, he looked up to Mary Jean who was a very practical person. Maybe she could help if he asked.
To be honest, he didn’t know what her attitude was towards black people. Maybe she had dated a black guy and he had taken advantage of her? Did she have any black female friends? It could be that she knew of a white organization where teenagers with racial problems could be advised…however, his advisor would probably suggest he go to a sensitivity training session where blacks would tell white kids how bad their parents were and how ashamed they should be for slavery and segregation. Whites needed to do “atonement.” If you were white, you were implicitly racist according to “Critical Race Theory” advocates; Walter had heard of these meetings where, after attending, most of the white teenagers felt pretty awful. It was nothing more than a collective guilt trip and social propaganda.
Even worse, he would have to pay for this advice and he didn’t have enough money to participate. Walter knew what happened a long time ago and why the Civil War was fought. No matter, he didn’t feel responsible for what people had done in the past. It wasn’t his problem because he hadn’t been a part of the forced separation of the races. Neither had his parents nor any of his friends been involved in “hateful” acts.
He didn’t particularly like some of the blacks he knew but he didn’t go around calling them names. He certainly didn’t carry a knife and try to cut someone who disagreed with him. He intended to crawl out of the Devil’s abyss and live in the sunlight of goodliness. He just had to find a way to do this.
That evening he tried to give Mary Jean a call where she was living with her grandmother in Paytonville, which was about thirty miles away in a nice suburb of the main city. Mary Jean wasn’t in but Walter talked for a good while with her grandmother whom he hadn’t seen for a long time. She asked about his father, her former son-in-law, but Walter hadn’t kept in touch recently and he couldn’t freely answer. She had blamed his mother and her shameful ways for breaking up her daughter’s marriage. In her eyes, Walter’s mother was a lost soul, a real Jezebel; she disapproved of how she was living now. She prayed for her every night. She needed, the grandmother said referring to his mother, all the help and good love she could get. Walter asked “Nana” to tell Mary Jean to call him whenever she could.
Aunt Harriet was very religious and she wouldn’t be able to give Walter any useful advice. She believed that both black and white boys who misbehaved could save themselves if they repented of their sins in church before God.
Walter realized that no black teenager was going to forgive his enemies and put away his knife or gun. They needed protection in the ‘Hood. Black ministers had tried for years to control teenage violence in African-American communities but to no avail. Walter, as a last resort, might ask Mr. Graffenreid what to do — if Mary Jean didn’t have any good ideas. He needed to keep a cool head and avoid the worst of the black students as best he could. He even thought of calling Alberta but knew that wouldn’t work. It would embarrass her and make things a lot worse. He was at his wits end and felt that something bad was going to happen if he didn’t get someone to help him.