Let me try to do justice to this little morality play in three parts:
First, we went to a breakfast at the community college celebrating Martin Luther King Day. Teenage students were in charge of the program. We were not prepared for stunning ferocity or the fierce beauty of the original poems presented by 16-year-old Shanita Ariona Monique Jackson. She spoke of poverty, of culture, of sickness and of family love. Powerful emotions. We were all in tears and honored her with a spontaneous standing ovation that lasted several minutes. She was crying, too. It was remarkable.
A week later, we went to see “Lincoln.” Since we are of a certain age, we favor the matinee showings. Sometimes, we are the only people in the theater. Not this time. More people turned out to watch Daniel Day-Lewis than any other movie we’ve seen here. Just white people. No black people. All the more amazing, since this is the Deep South where to this day the Civil War has different meaning.
Later, around dusk I pulled in to a convenience store to get gasoline. This particular store had been robbed the week before. A big, rough-looking black guy came out of the store and shot me a look. It made me uneasy so I waited to get out of the van until I saw him ride away – on his little Vespa. No real badass rides a Vespa.
Dumb ass. I’ve still got a ways to go. I suppose we all do.