Friday, October 17, 2008

I Paint A Picture With Broken Crayons

I wish to write about what is on my mind , but can't right now. So, I write about some instances where I encountered racism first hand. I should say bigotry toward mankind, and myself. When I was under two years old, I witnessed some neighbors yelling the N word. They were yelling at our neighbors to our left. I know people say you can't remember things that young , but I do! It is really hard to block out hate like that. I was playing with my brother outside in front of the green house, when a fight erupted. My father told us to go inside, and to go get a snack. I know you thinking is there more to this story, but at my age just that little bit was enough for me to be introduced to racism.

After all, Pekin, Illinois high school mascot used to be the "Pekin Chinks" I think until the late 60's. I won't judge the town today, but in recent years past, people who were different didn't stick around long enough to see the truth. I can recall another time when we got rained out from detasselling, and we sat at the park until our rides showed up. This nice car comes barreling through the parking lot, throwing gravel all over cars. We didn't think anything about it, and kept playing cards. About ten minutes later, a Police officer comes over to talk to my brother Don, Scott, and me.

I forgot to mention Scott was from Guam, and looked different! Any ways, the Cop says "You boys been throwing rocks at cars?"

We respond "No Sir"

"That ain't what I heard, I heard a gentleman saw you throw rocks at his car" My brother looks at me with his don't say a word face. Then the cop yells to Scott "Get up boy! Your coming to the station with me!" That was all I could take so I said "Look I know the law and we didn't do anything, and you can't do a thing to us!" My brother gave me a you should of shut up face.

The next thing you know "He's going to haul us all to the station". I couldn't resist the urge to make the point again, and to state that he was being a racist! He told me if I said another word, he'd put the cuffs on me, and I said a few more words. To make this long story short, I was handcuffed, I have always had trouble with racist people. Even if they wore a badge, it made no difference who you were. We ended up in the cell for a few hours, and was released without charges. My Older brother gave the face that said you should have listened to me. Maybe so, but I would do it the same way all over again!

Years later, when I was about 17 yrs. old, I was working on a job. We were doing all the work on top of grain bins, I was a millwright. It had rained one day, so we decided to go get an early lunch. We were in this tiny town I will call "Somewhere, Illinois" and we walk in this little restaurant. I sit down with the crew, and take my coat and hat off. Suddenly the whole place stopped eating, and the workers stopped working. They were staring at our table, they were staring at me. I didn't think anything about my long hair passed my waist, and waited for our table to be served.

Less than a minute later, a bunch of "Deliverance" looking men came over to me and surrounded me. I was working with my brother Don, who was about to get up from the table, and so was the rest of the crew. When Mike our boss said "Just sit down boy's, we are here to get some food!

When one of the men looked at me, and got in my face and said "Look at the faggot, an his pretty faggot hair!" I start to feel anger rising inside me, and I looked at my brother, and he's giving me the let's kick there ass face.

When a couple police officers walk in, and ask the owner if there is a problem? The owner shouts"NO, ain't no problem here, these boys were just leaving!" So, my boss Mike tells us all to get in the truck, and we went several miles away to eat lunch that day. This was in the late Nineties when this occurred. All I kept thinking was about that seen in "Easy Rider", and wanted to get the hell out of that town. I wished I could tell you the name, so you could avoid it, but I blocked it out.

I will be honest there are too many to mention, and will recall them some other time. I would like to bring up one last incident. I was working a Door to Door job selling floor cleaner, and we went up and down this country. It is a really long story, so I will get to the nitty gritty here.

Wait a minute, I can't forget to mention a little of the night before. We were staying in a Hotel near London, Ohio, and I was talking to my mom. I was using a phone card, and venting some complaints about the job. I was telling her it felt like they were brainwashing me , and wouldn't let us leave our group. Not even to eat a different joint. The card quit on the part about letting us leave.....

It was couple days later, and I'm eating potato soup, while hang out with a friend. After I was done eating, I made my way to the Hotel, when I noticed several cops there. One of my friends comes my way and says "Wes, they are looking for you! I don't know what they want, but they checked every room. Even the bosses suite, and he is mad!" My friend kept walking by me, when two cops come up to me, and say "Is your name Wes?" I shook my head yes, and asked what the problem was?

They filled me in on all the details, apparently my mom called my Uncle Paul telling him I was kidnapped, and held captive by a cult. They had been searching the whole state for me the last couple days. I guess I should have got another phone card! Ha Ha

Now back to the story I'm in Akron, Ohio, where I was waiting at the bus station. The company I was working for failed to tell me about the eight hour wait. It wouldn't have been as bad if I wasn't the only white guy there. I had three suit cases, and my stereo to carry around, I'm not saying I was worried about a theft, but mentioning for the sheer pain in the butt! I would have to say I sat there reading a book for a couple hours, and I noticed a kid messing with the video games. It had to of went on for about an hour, so I went over and put a couple bucks in change on the machine. I said "Hear you go kid, play a couple games to pass the time." The kid replied "Thank you"

I didn't think much about it, and tried to make my way back to my seat. That's when all hell broke loose! I'd say about twenty people got up, and started swinging and screaming! "How dare you give money to my kid, and what makes you think" When an elderly man pulls me out the door, and says "What were you thinking, and why did you do a stupid thing like that? You should know better than to do that!"

Meanwhile a couple good Samaritan's are holding people back. The man says "You'd best stay out here for a while , and let it settle down! I will watch your stuff." I had a some time to think about what had just happened. I couldn't believe that people that I have been standing up for my whole life, treated me like that. I was appalled that black people were just as racist as the white people who harassed my black friends. They were just as racist as the police who picked on me and my friends.

Ask me if I regret it, and will say no I don't! It showed me that all people are racist, but with every color there are other's like me. Believe me when I say there are too many stories to tell, and that I can't accept ignorance, and bigotry. It pains my heart and soul that RACISM is alive and well, in this world! That people won't vote for someone because of their color, or their sex. The poetic part to this election, is that we will have Black President, or a Woman for Vice President.

If only Erin Brockovich or Caroline Kennedy were running on a ticket. If only Bill Cosby or Danny Glover were a choice.

We have to look at it like this, we will be done with the Bush years, and the people who advised him on his mistakes.

I just pray that we get someone who actually cares about the environment, humanity, and our human rights!

Peace&Love to All



Lisa said...

I really enjoyed reading this entry - you have had your share of witnessing racism and experienced it yourself with your long hair (that blows my mind).

When I was 19 I briefly went to Cosmetology school. Yeah, I'm a beauty school drop out. LOL. I won a scholarship but didn't want that as a career - anyway, my best friend at school was Calvin. He was black and he was gay. My other best friend, Richard was a man but dressed like a woman all the time. They were a hoot & I loved them dearly.

We were at lunch one day and some guys were messing with them, name calling and being very ugly.

I had enough & ended up throwing my soda at one of the bullies. It was one of those I only realized I did it after it was done kind of moments. Me & the other girls stood up to them while Cal & Rich ran out. They most likey would have beat them within an inch of their lives and we didn't think they would actually hit a girl and they didn't. Calvin was tiny...he would have stood no chance against those men.

We are all here just trying to make the best of this life and we all deserve the opportunity to do it in peace without prejudice.

Kudos to you for standing up for others & yourself through the years. I doubt I will live long enough to see the end of racism but it would be nice.

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Thanks for your entry and showing that there are those of us that do not buy into this scare tactic that is going on. Being different is what has made this country what it is, for better and worse, and we need to keep tolerance in the forefront.

Beth said...

The story about you (and your long hair) in the restaurant made me think of Bob Seger's "Turn the Page." "All the same old cliches, is it woman, is it man."

You already know how I feel about it. I suppose we shouldn't be surprised to see this kind of stuff, because it goes on all the time. It sure doesn't make it right, though.

Great entry!