Joel Kemegue is a freshman creative writing major from Bellevue, Washington. He enjoys reading, writing and procrastinating.
MARTHA JAENICKE | DAILY EVERGREEN ILLUSTRATION
SATIRE: Black History Month is a struggle
“Racist” gets tossed around so much it doesn’t even mean anything anymore
February 6, 2020
As an old white man (obviously) I’ve lived through more Black History Months than most people have. I can say, as the old white man that I clearly am, that I’ve usually opted out of the occasion because I don’t know a lot of black history.
My daughter challenged me to do it though, and so, for the past week I’ve
committed to talking to more black people, mending the bridge between us one person at a time.
But I don’t really think it’s worth it anymore.
Take this for instance: I was purchasing my vitamins at Safeway the other
day and there was a young black man in the check-out line in front of me. In honor of Black History Month, I thought it would be kind of me to tell this
young gent that I thought slavery was terrible.
Now I didn’t live through it — I’m not that old — but I knew it probably
wasn’t good. I told him how glad I was they ended it and that I thought Martin Luther King Jr. was a great man.
And would you believe he got annoyed with me? Honestly? Like it mattered that he was “Nigerian?” Does it change anything? Does that mean slavery was good?
Sad to say I’ve had too many interactions like this. Just last week my wife
and I were at Safeway, coincidentally to buy more vitamins, and my wife noticed a black woman with beautiful hair and went over to feel the curls.
The woman got mad and started jabbering about, “Don’t touch my hair without permission, I’m not an animal.” Did she say you were? I even told her she could feel my wife’s hair if it would calm her down and she just walked away.
Does effort mean nothing? I’ve listened to a rap song (didn’t enjoy it), I
didn’t call the cops on anyone, I told my grandson he’ll still get his
inheritance if he marries a black woman and he just looked confused. Not even a thank you.
What am I supposed to do when I go purchase my vitamins tomorrow? Because today, while I was buying my vitamins, I decided to give it one more shot.
I was talking to another black person in the doughnut section, getting to know him and I tell him that I don’t see color.
To really impress him, I let him know I voted for Obama.
He wasn’t impressed.
I feel dejected. Already this week I’ve talked to more black people than I
usually do in two months and this is what I get?
I’d love to see what they would do if we had a White History Month.