Growing Up a Nigger

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: House of Ghosts
A simple trip to the local market teaches a life lesson

Submitted: April 19, 2017

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Submitted: April 19, 2017

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Growing up a Nigger

 

 

I can remember one summer day as a young boy of about 12 or 13 years old; my brother and I, (he being 3 years younger) were passing through a neighborhood of predominantly white home owners. We were minding our business laughing and talking on our way to the local market, when I noticed a group of 5 or 6 older white boys sitting on one of the porches at a house. One of the bigger boys of the group hopped down from the porch and began walking in the direction of me and my brother. I noticed the other boys on the porch looking in our direction as if they were anticipating a good show or joke. “Hey nigger” the boy said as he approached within speaking distance. “Hey boy, I got a dollar bet that I can kick your ass” he said, this time standing so close I could smell the beer on his breath. I glanced over again and noticed his friends were inching closer to where we were standing, ready to pounce.

At this point I was beginning to feel the rush of adrenaline, my vision getting clearer and senses became sharper. I could feel the breeze on my skin, hear a piece of paper skittering in a nearby driveway, and smell the stench of teen age sweat and hormones encapsulating my adversary. All I could think of at that moment was punch this guy in the space just above his stomach to bring his head within striking distance and smash his nose with my knee. Just as I was about to put this plan into action, my brother moved into my peripheral vision. That immediately changed my plans. I knew if I were to strike and get the better of this guy, his buddies were sure to come to his aid and I would have to fight them all. I never feared anyone or anything but on this occasion I had to think of not my own pride but of the safety of my little brother. I knew he would fight by my side because we have done it before, but this was different. We would be fighting in someone else’s ‘hood. This fight would likely have gotten the both of us killed.

“Did you hear me, nigger? I said I got me a dollar bet that I can kick your ass.” Ol’ beer breath taunted.

I swallowed my pride and looked at him, forcing a smile. “I bet you can, too” was my reply.

“What…” the bully said, standing with a look of astonishment and defeat.

“I said I bet you can too” I reiterated “come on bro” I told my little brother as we walked around the bully and continued on our way to the store. I kept glancing over my shoulder to make sure that the posse was not following us. They apparently had given up on the idea of beating a nigger for entertainment and went back to whatever it was they were doing before my brother and I had dared traverse their neighborhood.

“I thought you were gonna kick his butt” my brother said later after we were a block away from the threat. “Why didn’t you fight him?’

“I knew that if I would have beaten him up the rest of his friends would have jumped us and you might have been hurt” I told my brother.

“Man I would of…” my brother began as he demonstrated what he would have done if the boys had attacked us, swinging and kicking in all directions.

I just laughed and continued walking. On our departure from the store I suggested that we take a different route home, and my brother quickly agreed.


© Copyright 2020 Q.B. McKinney. All rights reserved.

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