I wanted to label each incident so that I can later refer to them as incidents one, two, so on and so forth. As a rule of thumb I had limited friendships with individuals that had deep southern drawls. In my youth I associated that with racism.
I was pretty cool with most of the players on the soccer team. I was not a starter so I suppose I was somewhat insignificant to some people. I was cool with that, at least they knew that I was from South Rome and could easily use my “hood card” if need be. “Hood Card” means I have gained acceptance by my peers in the neighborhood-enough to fight on my behalf in certain situations. Again, I did not want the image of the stereotypical hood dude (sagging pants, black hoodies, black starter jackets, etc) but I did need the security of the tough guys in my neighborhood. One day I approached the soccer field, walking beside a set of bleachers. There was a popular player standing on the bleachers, along with another gentleman, both white. Someone was in the parking lot playing their music loudly-Miami bass! One of the gentleman said,” I don’t want to hear no nigger music!” I kept walking but drug my feet so they would know that I heard him. I remember having conversations before about what we would do if we were called the “N word,” but when hearing it, because I am not an aggressive person, the incident brought me to a crossroad of sorts-let it go or fight. Ignoring it felt like letting all black people down. If I attack him then I risk taking a loss and letting all black people down.
So I chose the peaceful route. I went on the rest of practice mumbling some horrible things about the guy. I couldn’t wait to get back to South Rome to rally the goons and get him touched. Instead I just avoided him. I could say the name but the individual would never remember the event. He wouldn’t not remember the event. It destroyed my perception of him, but the fact that I didn’t retaliate probably cleared him of any guilt.
Incident number one was just the start. As we go along, keep in mind that during this time in the world of hip hop, groups like X-Clan and Public Enemy are on the scene. We were rocking medallions with Nefertiti and Africa on them. The KKK had visited the school to pass out flyers. So the divide was real.