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Because You’re a Nigger

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Back when I was in the sixth grade there was gonna be a party. It was 1962, and integration had just hit Texas. Now, for the grown ups this was a very big deal, but for us kids it didn’t amount to much. First off, in Killeen we Little Boydidn’t have enough schools to segregate much anyway, unless you counted half days. Half days was where half the kids would go to school in the morning, and the other half in the afternoon. I guess that counted as segregation, though they really didn’t separate us along racial lines, with only about twenty or so black kids being all we had.

But, there was this party. I don’t remember what the party was all about. It wasn’t gonna be at school. Hell, I was too poor white trash so I wasn’t going anyway. School lunch was the high point of my day, and this was long before Michelle Obama came along and screwed it up. Why we’d have chicken fried steak on Thursday, and SECONDS!

So, I was coming down the hall when I heard a teacher talking to another student around the corner. The teacher was talking in a muffled tone, the little girl repeating, “Yes ma’am, yes ma’am.” This was old time Texas when kids said things like, “Yes ma’am.” They were discussing the upcoming party, and I couldn’t make most of the conversation out, but one part came through loud and clear. “So, you understand you can’t come because you’re a nigger.”

“Yes ma’am.”

That kinda stuck in my mind . . . for the last fifty-five years. You see, we were kids. Me and the little girl were roughly about the same age and height. She liked chicken fried steak, too, and her name was Becky. This was back before black folk started naming their kids all them African names. And she was cute. But, the teacher had made it clear that even though Becky could eat in the lunch room there were still social lines drawn when it came to certain functions.

There was this librarian. Down in Houston. Now Houston is a little like putting L. A. in a sewer if you wanna know the truth. God knows why anybody would want to live down there, but folks do, and it’s a free country. Well, as things would have it this here librarian takes it upon herself to have a party. Transgender reading time. She

Houston librarian
The librarian who had Doc Greene arrested

set up a special room. Then she put out word that on a certain Saturday a sexually confused person would come and sit in that room to read to kids that weren’t quite sure if they should stand or squat when they pee. I guess they’d read Jack and Jill, but with special attention to the fact that the guest reader was a hairy legged man in a dress. Guess he/she would be reading Jack and Jack.

Setting this apart from the rest of the library would segregate, and protect the little kids who had leanings they didn’t understand, and protect them from other little kids who didn’t understand either. You really have to get into the eight year old mind set. I was ten before I realized that Donald Duck didn’t wear any pants, and most likely was shacking up with Daisy Duck. I WAS strangely attracted to Tinker Bell, though I really couldn’t understand why. One thing I didn’t need was a man dressed as a woman reading to me and telling me this was an alternative lifestyle I could embrace should I choose. And I didn’t need to be put off in a special room because I was different from all the other kids. I couldn’t be with them in the main part of the library because in my own way I was a nigger!

The Butcher Shop

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