You brought this to my attention. And, I can only imagine that you MUST’VE known there was something here I needed to read because there’s something BIG that took place recently. I’d been sitting on it, you laid this out. You got me here. So, I feel like I can express this in the confines of a widely visited site dubbed Medium without any fear. For what is about to follow, if you are offended, any of you, I am not sure how to help you with that…
It is 2016!
2016, and two weeks ago, my mother called me up, crying, stating that her “new" neighbor knocked on her door and asked her to turn her “NIGGER MUSIC" down. I am a reasonable person, the logical one in my family. I feel it best to sit with reason before responding, even to these things. I live in the South. I am from the South. My Mom has a divine temper on her that she has gifted me, but I have a better handle on mine. I know when to release it.
“NIGGER MUSIC,” I never knew there was such a thing. And, her neighbor is VERY white and VERY entitled, and had 0 fear knocking on a woman’s door who keeps a small handgun at the ready, just because…
From my mother’s telling of it, he wasn’t loud, he wasn’t even angry, he calmly made the request. This made it harder for her to digest. Had he been rude, had he been filled with angst, she would’ve recognized where we are a bit more. Again,
“Tremaine, why would he say this to me? Why? Tell me what to do. What should I do?”
I did not know. I apologized for her experiencing something so vile, so crass during a time where hate is sashaying as calmly as she pleases, sits down amongst minorities, laughs with them, yet breaks them down behind their backs.
I didn’t know what to say.
I felt an anger rise up in me that I’ve had to subdue for years and I didn’t want my Mom going all Mother Bear on me, so I told her this:
“Unfortunately Mom, there’s nothing you can do. You know WHO he is. You are aware. He let it be known in BROAD daylight that you and your very blackness and love of music is not welcome. You do not have to do a thing. Make your property manager aware, calm down, and keep me updated. If I have to take a trip out there, I will.”
Please keep in mind, I was talking to a woman who was still sobbing who couldn’t believe she was transported back to a time in her childhood where THIS was common.
But, this ain’t her childhood. And, this ain’t Kansas either. This is North Carolina. Racism is alive, breathing its funky breath all over US. There is no escaping it.
To tighten this up. My Mom is happy that she called me. She doesn’t speak to her neighbor, she is prepared just in case, she needs to be prepared. Dig what I’m saying? She has not let the event prevent her from enjoying the beauty that is MUSIC.
I read this… I read this and I couldn’t shake the feeling that the 60s haven’t really left.
You did an amazing thing, here. You moved me in a way that I was not trying to be moved.
Greg is absolutely right! You’re our Homer.