The Great American Negro – Short Story By: Eric Blair
The last time I was bullied was at the age of eight, I was in the third grade. I went to some all white, racist school in the Northeast section ofPhiladelphia. I was the only Black kid in my school and believe me, I felt and knew that I was the only Black kid in my school. Rose, I was called nigger so many times in my schooling days it felt like my precursor name to Poof. When one of those White kids dared to call me a nigger I’d fire a joke their way. Of course there was that one dick that didn’t know how to take a joke. Ricky Davis, some big Irish, mick; this kid was on steroids at eight. His face was a fucking muscle, true story; I witnessed him flexing a face muscles once. He was the jock of the school and a future homosexual if you ask me.
Stop laughing at me, I am serious, this is a true matter here. Really, listen to this, so we were in English class and Ms…Ms…? *Snap, snap* Fuck it! I forgot her name but anyway, she asked what does the word filiopietistic means to the class.
“Is that a rea—?”
Yes, Rose, that’s a real word but stop interrupting me. Like a screaming retard on a small yellow bus Ricky blurts out, “It means eye surgery with a laser pin!” That kid was a fucking monkey humanoid; I swear he should have been a fucking caveman. I could only imagine the look on my face while he was screaming out the wrong answer. That kid used to rub in the wrong way. He could’ve killed God in front of the principal and he’d get an MVP trophy for that, therefore I called him on his shit. So. I turned around toward him, he sat a few rows behind me, in a disgusted tone I said to him, “No it doesn’t.” I turned back to the front of the class where Ms. “whatever her name was” was standing by the board and with a snarky tone I replied, “Filiopietistic means, of or pertaining to reverence of forebears or tradition, especially if carried to excess.”
Wait, it gets better, I turned to Ricky and said to him in a condescending tone, “It’s an adjective by the way.” He yelled out, “Ha-ray, for the amazing coon!” I looked him right into his eyes to show him that I was not joking, or playing his games. I said to him, “Ya mom was yelling the same thing last night, I guess you must’ve over heard us.” I shouldn’t have taken my eyes off that doucher because as soon as I turned my head he hurled a fucking text book at my head. Yeah, that shit hurt like hell. I was escorted to the principal’s office while Ricky was welcomed by high fives from his idiot friends. I stopped asking why I am the only one who’s getting in trouble; I just took it on the chin like a champ. I didn’t get suspended because I was suspended two weeks prior for an incident instead I got detention. Yup, poor old me got a week of detention. After detention that’s when the real fireworks begun. Ricky met me out in the schoolyard and beat the mighty shit out of me. Busted my lips, nose, and blackened my eye. He chuckled as she stand over me victorious as he looked down at me and uttered, “You look like a real coon now, nigger.”
I rode home on the bus defeated, ashamed because my brother was such a tough guy in my neighborhood and I was a witty punching bag. Whenever I get home dinner was on the stove or in the oven because my mother workednine to fiveand then six to twelve at nights. She worked so hard to keep us comfortable and me going to that awful private school.
“What about your brother, C.J.?”
Well, he was in school at the time also a brilliant student but his passion was making money over anything. Alexander was a big time drug dealer in South Philly at seventeen. He kept it from our mom because she was always working but the backpacks of money he used to bring home and hide was insane. He never brought his work home and always turned off his phone once he stepped into the house. Every day he used to come by to check on me every hour, and helped me with my homework every night. The day I got beat up he was searching for me all over the house and he found me in our mom’s room. I was sitting on the floor in the corner of the room with my knees at my chest and my arms wrapped around my knees as I sobbed in the dark. Alex opens the door to our mother’s room; the light shines directly in onto me sitting in the corner. He yells at me and says, “You heard me callin’ you? Why the fuck didn’t you say somethi—?” The look on his face went from anger to concern, like a droopy dog. He stumbled over his words as he cautiously walks toward me, “Wh-What the fuck hap-happened, kid?” I replied to him, “Nothing, just got into another fight today.” Alex sat on our mother’s bed and smirks as he looks down at me. He says to me, “You sure you was fightin’ or just got your ass woop’d? What happened?” I kept my gaze low because I was ashamed to come home bloody and bruised. Honestly, I was ashamed to look Alex in the eyes because I felt as if I failed him. I whispered to him, “It was Ricky.” He replied, “What boy?! Speak up; put some bass in your voice. I can’t hear you.” I begun to speak but he interrupted me, “Look at me when you’re talkin’ to me. You always look a man in his eyes to show him you mean business, show there is no bitch in your heart.” I took a long pause and right before I begun to reply to Alex I inhaled deeply and took a big gulp. “I got into a fight with Ricky Davis.” My brother’s face frowned up and then he blurted out, “What the fuck did I teach you? I taught you how to fight, how the fuck are you still gettin’ beat up by some cracker?” My head was lowed in shame, but I slowly raised my gaze toward my brother. I replied back to him, “He’s bigger than me.” He rudely interrupted me with his deep voice with tones of anger behind it, “So the fuck what! You pick up something and knock his ass the fuck out. Do you wanna die on your knees or on your feet? If you fight this boy back one good time he will fuckin’ respect you!” I finally raised my head and stared him right and his eyes and break his heart by saying,
“I am not like you. I am just some geek that is lucky enough to go to a good school. At the end of the day, I am called nigger, coon, monkey, and everything else in the book by moronic White kids. When I come home I am forced to stay in the house because when I go outside I am picked with for being smart. So my own friends call me an Oreo, Uncle Tom, uppity nigger, etc. How do you think that makes me feel? I have no wins across the broad. I just want to be like you, feared, respected, and loved. Everyone in the neighborhood knows your name and is friendly toward you. The corner boys doesn’t pick with me because they know I am your brother but I hear the things they say about me when I walk away. I just want people to respect me as C.J. not because they fear your wrath. I just want to be like you, Alex.
The look in his eyes was disappointment, his eyes almost begun to water but he would never let me see him cry. There was a long, cold pause between the two of us. He cleared his throat and reached behind him and pulled out a gun and then placed it on our mother’s night table next to her bed. His face became enraged with fury and anger. He sternly said to me,
“Here is why niggas fear me ‘cause they don’t wanna feel this heat on their ass. People do not fear or respect me because of my line of work, fuck no! They fear me because I will kill ‘em, point blank. This gun doesn’t make me a man; honestly, I am more of a bitch with it. I carry it ‘cause I fear the worst happenin’ to me. To be real with you, I respect that you’re yourself; you do not try to be anything else but you. You’re a smart kid lookin’ to do big things with your life and that’s respectable. If people can’t respect you for you, fuck ‘em. Baggin’ up rock and standin’ on the corner rain, sleet, or snow isn’t fun but goin’ to college, gettin’ outta the hood to never look back at it in your rearview is everything. I do what I do so you and mom can have a little extra money to keep the lights on, to keep you in school, and so you can continue to be you, NOT ME! I never want you to be me ‘cause at the end of the day you’re the brave one between me and you. I am just another bitch ass nigga who likes to rampage through the streets demandin’ respect. Respect is earned, those niggas out there might not have my respect but you have all my respect, little man. The moment you dare to pick up a gun and use it, my respect is gone for you. You be another bitch nigga with a gun wantin’ respect. So I am going to leave you with this gun, if you wanna walk down my path, into my world feel free. Do know this, once you pull that trigger there is no turnin’ back. The choice is yours.”
He then got up off of our mother’s bed and walked out of the room, never looking back at me once. I continue to sit in the dark until I fell asleep. I awoke the next morning in my bedroom, dreading attending school because I knew Ricky was going to be there. I opened my bag just before I was ready to leave and my brother’s gun was in my bag. I took it out and hid it in my room. So I went to school as usual and I got off the bus and bam, Ricky and his crew were a few feet in front of me. Of course this a little miserable shit approached me like yesterday wasn’t enough of an ass kicking. Ricky jumped in my face with his funky ass breath and said,
“Hey, tar baby. I am surprised you showed your face around here.”
I replied to him, “I do have to go to school still, can’t let one gingered hair inbred stop the show.” He shoved me really hard, I fell to the ground. I had enough, so when I rise from the ground I rise with a might uppercut to his fat faced chin. He fell to the ground and I begun to pounce on him. I was hitting him so hard he begun to cry. His boys pulled me off of him as I begun to kick him as they dragged me away. A teacher came over to us in the schoolyard and asked if everything was okay. Ricky quietly sobbed and lowly uttered,
“Everything is fine, we were just playin’.
From that moment on I was never bullied again. After school I went home to do homework as usual and my brother came in the house. He looked me in my eyes and gave me a lite smirk and sighed, “Hm.” He then asked me, “You wanna go get something to eat, little man.” I looked up at him and replied, “Sure.” At that moment I knew I had gained Alex’s respect and no matter what he was doing in the street I knew my brother will always be the only man I will ever look up to…