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Educating the Ignorant

By James Lewis


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Copyright James Lewis 2001


    Michael sat down on the small bench outside the glass doors of the business

school, relieved to be finished with all his miscellaneous schoolwork. He

did not want to be in school on a Saturday afternoon, but he knew it was the

only way to be ready for the next semester starting on Monday. He took a

sip from his Pepsi and looked out into the parking lot, seeing only his

Honda Civic and a few other cars. The shaded area where he sat shielded him

from the blaring afternoon sun. He looked down at his watch and saw it was


    "Shoot, it's time to go the beach. It's beautiful out here," he said to

himself, resting his back against the wall behind him. He'd been telling

himself to go the beach for months, but he'd always put it off.

As he took more sips from his soda, he could hear a group of guys conversing

about their schoolwork in the small courtyard behind the wall. He smiled

when he heard one of the guys talking about the Computer Networking class.

"Man, this is hard," he heard a man say. "You guys understand this crap

TCP/IP? I passed the final exam and still don't understand it."

    Michael chuckled as the guys babbled about how hard their classes were.

As Michael started to gather his things, a Mustang convertible drove up in

front the school with thumping bass blasting from its speakers. The Mustang

stopped in front of the school and Michael could see an attractive blonde

kissing a bald headed black man. Michael thought nothing of the interracial

pair, considering the number of interracial couples there in San Diego. The

Mustang then sped off as she got out.

    Michael stood up and threw the soda can in the aluminum trash can, smiling

back at the attractive woman as she walked into the school. Michael put on

his sunglasses and stared at the woman's swaying hips as she walked slowly

into the school.

    "Man," he said, gawking, "I know I got to go to the beach now. Wanna see

more of that."

    Michael didn't walk two feet before he stopped dead in his tracks, shocked

by what he thought he heard around the wall.

    "I hate those people, man," the voice said. "How come they always get the

best looking white women?"

    He sat back on the bench and listened in on the racist rhetoric, stunned by

what his ears confirmed to him. His eyes bulged and his jaws dropped at how

blatantly offensive the racist expletives were.

    "Did I just hear the 'N' word?" he said to himself. The same voices he

heard talking about schoolwork were now spitting out ugly racist remarks.

"They're all good for nothing," the voice continued. Michael realized it was

one person talking. "What the hell are they good for anyway? They're all

stupid and lazy. Besides that, they're stealing our women! Damn, I hate


    Michael had heard enough. He stood up, grabbed his book bag, and walked

through the entrance towards the shaded courtyard and saw the shocked looks

on the faces of three white males sitting on a wooden bench. Michael played

it cool, smiling as he walked up to the bench. There were two young men

sitting next to each other across from a third gentleman. The young men

were stunned to see the tall smiling black man with ringed glasses sit down

with them.

    "How ya doing, fellas?" he said graciously. "I couldn't help overhearing

your little conversation and decided to join you guys. Now, who was the one

talking about 'they're all good for nothing?'"

    No one said a word. Michael noticed the nervous gestures of the young men

as they eyed each other. "It was me," the man directly across from Michael

finally said, "what of it?"

    "I just wanted to know why you felt that way. By the way, my name is

Michael." He extended his hand to the young man, but the man refused to

shake it.

    "I'm Chris," he said dryly.

    "Alrighty, you don't have to shake my hand," Michael replied, pulling his

hand back. "What about you guys?"

    "Darren," the blond haired young man next to Chris said.

    "I'm Carter," said the young man with the NIKE cap sitting next to Michael.

    "How come you were spying on our conversation?"

    "I wasn't spying," Michael replied, "but once I heard the 'N' word, I had to

see what was going on."

    "Well, what do you want?" Chris said angrily, folding his arms. Michael

noticed the thickness of Chris's forearms and biceps as he tightly gripped a

cell phone in his hand. The humorous Big Johnson character on his shirt made

him grin slightly. He guessed Chris was about 27 years old.

    "Just wanted to know why you feel the way you do," Michael replied. "Think

we can have an intellectual discussion on this matter without throwing


    Chris looked at his friends. Both of them were nodding their heads.

"Alright," Chris said, smiling, "I got time. So, you want to know why I

don't you like guys?"

    Michael nodded his head. "Yup. You obviously didn't like that blond

kissing that black dude."

    "I just believe white should be with white, black should be with black.

Matter of fact, I believe all races people should be separated, especially

for the sake of the white race. With all this racial mixing, the white race

won't even exist in the next 50 years or so."

    Michael acted surprised. "Oh really? How should we separate?"

Chris's head flinched slightly. "Well," he replied, while clearing his

throat, "its simple. Since our white forefathers discovered this great

nation, all white people should stay here in America. Anyone of African

descent should go back to Africa and all the other races should go back to

where ever they originally came from. Simple as that."

    "Why do whites get to stay? How come you guys can't take your butts back to


    "Because America wouldn't be what it is today without white people!"

    "Really? Seems to me if there were any group of people who had rights to

America it would be the American Indian."

    "To hell with that! White people built this nation, so we stay here!"

    "On the backs of slaves and Indians," Michael replied sternly. "How do you

determine 'white', anyway? How far back in a person's family genetic

history should we go? If you discovered a white man had a great-grandfather

who was Indian ---or maybe, Hispanic--- is that man still considered white?"

Chris paused before answering. His friends stared at him, eagerly waiting

for a quick comeback. "Well, yes!" Chris replied.

    "Okay. What about a black great-great grandmother?"

    Chris looked away from Michael while rapidly scratching his head, unsure how

to respond. "If he looks white and acts white, he's white!" he finally


    "Italian? Romanian? Albino? Are they part of the 'promised people', too?"

Michael quickly replied. His rapid responses caught Chris off guard.

"What about Russian descent? Croatian?"

    Michael's sarcastic replies irritated Chris. Neither Darren nor Carter knew

how to answer Michael's questions, so they kept quiet. Michael could tell

Chris was getting irritated.

    "Don't get mad, homey," Michael replied, jokingly, "just trying to figure

this out. So, what do we do about biracial people? What about people like

Keanu Reeves or Halle Berry? Halle Berry is mixed with white and black;

Keanu Reeves looks white but isn't. Are they included?"

    "What the hell do you mean Keanu Reeves isn't white?" Carter exclaimed,

shocked. "He is so white!"

    "EEEAAHHHH! Wrong answer!" Michael replied loudly, trying to sound like a

game show buzzer. "That man is tri-racial. He's part Chinese, Hawaiian ---

and white. If you don't believe me, look it up for yourself."

    Michael could see the disgusted look on Chris's face. Chris shook his head,

also unaware the star from his favorite movie The Matrix was racially mixed.

"So what do you think should be done about these rainbow people?" Michael

continued. "Hell, what about those mixed with five different races or more

in one? I know what we can do to them. We can banish all people who are

'mixed up' to some remote island out in the Pacific Ocean somewhere. What

about that?"

    The annoyed look on Chris's face delighted Michael. Chris did not know how

to rebut the question.

    "I say again," Chris replied sternly, "whoever is white with Aryan blood

should be with white people in one place separated from everyone else.


    Michael nodded his head, dissatisfied but amused by Chris's short, hesitant

responses. He was a little surprised at how easy it was to rattle him.

Chris's friends seemed to be enjoying the debate, but still chose to let

Chris do the talking.

    "Alright, I'll leave it at that since you so eloquently explained your

position," Michael replied sarcastically. "Let's just say you have this

fantasy world of every race in America deciding to separate and 'go back' to

their supposed homeland. That would mean every minority group would have to

quit their professions ----doctors, lawyers, athletes, judges, police

officers, teachers, etc ---- somehow make arrangements to move to their new

lands; pray there's room in their new country to live; sell their houses or

break their leases; fly to where ever they supposedly originated from and

set up shop there, right? Oh yea, get a divorce or annulment if they're in

a interracial relationship with a white person."

    Chris began tapping on the table with his fingers and kept his eyes down so

not to look Michael in the eye. Chris's uncomfortable gestures amused

Michael. "I bet this man is beginning to hear what I'm talking about,"

Michael thought to himself.

    "Yup. Whatever you say," Chris replied, his voice trailing.

    Michael nodded his head again, pretending to agree with him. "Alrighty,

then. Let's just look at what would happen to America in the meantime:

considering a large number of Americans are minorities, don't you think that

would kill the American economy? All the 'great' white people would have to

pick up the workload left by their 'unworthy' minority counterparts and work

three times as hard, right? With this great shifting of people from this

country to another, the economy would plummet because of the buying and

labor power us minorities have. Don't you think?"

    "White people will survive. We always have."

    "Maybe, but most businesses would suffer greatly because of the immediate

loss of labor and profit. Shoot, California alone would be in some serious

turmoil because just recently whites here became a minority."

    Michael noticed each of their eyebrows rise on their foreheads. Chris tried

to look as stone-faced as he could, but Michael could tell he was

acknowledging the things he pointed out; things Chris probably did not think

hard about.

    "And what about the military?" Michael continued, "San Diego is a military

city with five naval bases. Think what would happen if minorities had to

pack and leave. The entire military is short of people as it is. I have a

friend in the Navy and he works as an Electrician's Mate. His work center

is undermanned as it is, but most of the people he works with are minority.

My friend is white and it doesn't seem to bother him, though."

Darren nodded his head. "Yea, my brother's in the Navy and he has a chief

that's Filipino and a supervisor who's black." Chris made an evil face at

Darren as he spoke.

    "Yep, I believe it," said Michael. "If things go down the way you want them

to, there wouldn't be a military or a healthy labor force in America. The

market would crash, there would be a recession, depression, and crime would

go up. But good ole' boy Chris here would be sipping on Jack Daniels and

dipping Redman with his dirty feet up on his bare kitchen table happy as

hell 'cause we got dem dere niggers and wetbacks outta here! Yee Haw!'"

Chris's friends chuckled at Michael's exaggerated southern accent.

    "I don't care what you say," Chris replied, "blacks have made no major

contributions at all. Whites have historically been the main innovators of

every major achievement in America. I don't know of any black inventors,

except that black dude who invented hair grease and Jerri curl juice. Got

to be proud of that, huh?"

    His friends laughed out loud. To their surprise, Michael laughed right along

with them. He clapped his hands loudly. .

    "Jerri curl juice, huh?" he replied, chuckling. "Back in the day I used to

sport one of those. I bet you had your bad hair days, too. You probably

sported one of those 'Flock of Seagulls' haircuts, huh?"

    Chris grinned. "Yea, well, hair is the only thing you guys are good at,

besides sports."

    "Well, tell me, how do you really know blacks have never made any

contributions? Where do you get your information?"

    Chris shrugged his shoulders. "Because," he replied, "it's a well known

fact. It ain't like blacks invented anything significant or made any

valuable contributions to this society."

    Michael looked down at Chris's hand gripping the cell phone and noticed a

Band-Aid on his right thumb.

    "Blacks never invented anything significant, huh?" he said with a grin.

    "It's ironic for you to say that because some of the things you have on you

remind me of black innovation."

    Chris frowned. "Yea, right?" he cried. "Like what?"

    "I notice you have a Band-Aid on your thumb. How'd you cut yourself?"

"Cut myself working on my car. Why?"

    "Well, the Band-Aid on your hand reminds me of a man named Charles Richard

Drew. Ever heard of him?"


    "Of course you haven't. He was the first director of the American Red Cross

blood bank and a pioneer in blood preservation. The model he established

for blood banks used by Red Cross back then are still being used today."

"Is that right?" Chris said, acting unimpressed.

    Michael continued. "He helped establish the concept of blood banks that

served American troops and its allies during World War II, saving thousands

of lives."

    Chris frowned. "I bet you're going to tell me he's black, right?"

    "Yes, sir."

    Michael pointed towards Chris's cell phone. "You got a nice lookin' cell

phone there. Reminds of a man named Henry T. Sampson. Ever heard of him?"

"Can't say that I have."

    "Of course you haven't. He was an engineer who's co-invention laid the

groundwork to the cellular phone. Another black man, I'm afraid."

Chris appeared agitated. His friends remained quiet, but showed interest.

"That is pure crap!" Chris exclaimed. "You can't pro…

    "Prove it?" Michael interrupted. "Yes, I can, but why don't you prove it to

yourself, 'Mr. Whitey Almighty?' Look it up on the Internet or something.

You're into computers, right?"

    "Yea, I am," Chris smirked. "I bet there weren't any black pioneers in

computer technology, were there?"

    "Phillip Emeagwali," Michael said quickly, "he designed a program and

formula for the fastest computer in the world. He won the Gordon Bell award

in the late 80's, which is like the Pulitzer prize for computer technology.

In fact, he was one of 20 people to win Pioneer of the Internet award in

1999. Sounds like a pioneer to me."

    Chris glared at Michael with evil eyes. Again, he was caught off guard.

"I like the shirt with the Ferrari and the Big Johnson character in it. I

especially like the way it shows him speeding past the streetlights and

stuff. The streetlights remind me of a man named Garret Morgan. Ever hear…

"NO!" Chris cried, irritated. "What, you're going to tell me he invented

the Ferrari?"

    "No, I'm not saying that," Michael said calmly, "but if it wasn't for him,

there probably would be a lot more car crashes going on right about now."

    "And what do you mean by that?"

    "Well, my man Garret was the inventor of America's first patented street

signal. His invention was used through out America until the red, yellow,

and green traffic lights used today superceded his invention. Know what

else he invented?"

    Chris shook his head "What?" Carter asked eagerly.

    "The gas mask. In the early 1900's, he made big news when he rescued

several men who were trapped in an underground tunnel from an explosion

because he used his gas mask. His gas mask received a lot attention after

that, from the fire department and even the military; matter of fact, the

military refined his masks for use in World War I to defend against

poisonous gases, like mustard gas."

    Chris could not believe what he was hearing, but he tried to remain calm.

He didn't want to look defeated, but he began to feel it.

    "Alright, man. There may have been a few intelligent black people over…"

    "A few?" Michael interrupted, "man, there were many more than a few. You

just said blacks never invented anything significant. I only mentioned four

individuals who helped save thousands of lives in World War I and II;

dramatically improved traffic safety; made major contributions to high speed

computer networking; and gave individuals the ability to make phone calls

when and where ever they choose. Don't get me started on Benjamin Banneker,

Lewis Latimer, Daniel H Williams, or George Washington Carver. One can only

imagine how many other great black men and women there would've been if it

weren't for racism and stupid Jim Crow laws. I can go on, though."

    "I bet you can," Chris said dryly.

    "And how can you say blacks haven't made any contributions to society?

Blacks have fought and died for this country in every American war, all the

while enduring the hatred and discrimination from their white counterparts.

It was like racists were saying 'yea, we need you to fight this war for us

and die for your country, but we're still going to treat you like crap in

the process.' The bravery of those American soldiers to fight for a country

that hated them boggles my mind. Blacks were called upon to fight for

freedoms they were not allowed to enjoy, and yet, they still fought. To

fight and die for your country under those conditions is the ultimate

contribution, don't you think?"

    Chris did not answer and neither did his friends. Michael saw Chris's eyes

look downward as if he was ashamed for asking the question. He shifted

around uncomfortably in his seat, unable to respond. He did not want Michael

to know he agreed with him because that would mean conceding defeat. He

preferred to stick to his guns.

    "Alright, man. Yea, there might have been some intelligent blacks over the

years and blacks did fight in wars, but I still think blacks are generally

not as smart as whites. You guys have consistently failed on standardized

tests, like the SAT and IQ tests. How come you people always get low IQ


    Michael smiled and shook his head. He knew that question was coming. "Man,

like clockwork. Racists can't get over that IQ thing, boy," he thought to


    "You know, I was reading an article on IQ tests and why blacks score lower

on them; it stated blacks traditionally score about 15 points lower on tests

than European-Americans. It talked about how conservatives say this proves

genetic inferiority while liberals were saying the results were the results

of 300 years of slavery and another 130 years of segregation and

institutionalized racism."

    "We're just smarter that's all," Chris said with a smirk.

    "An interesting point was made in the article, one I was not aware of. It

stated that the Korean minority in Japan scored lower than the Japanese

majority. Japanese perceived them as stupid and violent. Same thing happened

with the Polish Jews in America in the late 1800's. They were also

perceived as stupid and violent. As a result of wide-spread discrimination

and the lack of equal opportunity for these two groups of people, their IQ

scores were lower."

    Chris shook his head vigorously, annoyed by Michael's intellectual

rebuttals. "Where the hell do you get this crap? Discrimination had

nothing to do with it! Whites are just smarter!"

    "Is that so?" Michael replied. "That same report also stated east Asians

generally score higher on IQ scores than whites, sir. Does that mean whites

are genetically inferior to Asians?"

    Again, Chris did not answer. Carter smiled but looked away so his seething

friend wouldn't notice him. He could tell Chris was highly irritated by

Michael's responses. Carter secretly admired the way Michael was able to

rebut everything Chris dished out to him.

    "There is plausible evidence to suggest economic conditions and learning

environments greatly affect standardized test scores, not genetics. But,

you know what? High IQ scores does not guarantee success just as low IQ

scores does not guarantee failure. I believe highlighting the IQ gaps

between whites and blacks reinforces the negative stereotypes blacks deal

with on a daily basis. Blacks who struggle to make better lives for

themselves just like everybody else in this country are constantly reminded

of inferiority beliefs. You reminded me of it today."

    Darren spoke up. "Well, at least you guys are more athletic. Whites can

never compete with you guys."

    Michael shook his head to their surprise. "I don't think blacks are more

athletic. I believe that's a myth blown up by the media."

    "You don't think blacks are more athletic?" Carter said, aghast.

    "Nope. Tell me something though: how do you define 'more athletic',


    Carter shrugged his shoulders. Michael looked over at Darren and Chris, but

neither knew exactly how to answer.

    "Is it how high you jump?" Michael asked. "How fast you run? How well you

drive a sports car? How far you kick a ball? How can you measure

athleticism when there are so many sports that encompasses different ways to


    "Well," Darren said, "you guys dominate all sports that have anything to do

with jumping high or running fast. Blacks dominate sports like football,

basketball, and track & field."

    "Is that right? If you notice, you mentioned three sports that get a lot of

television coverage---reinforcing the myth that blacks are physically

advanced. Whites tend to dominate sports you hardly ever see on American

television like Greco-American wrestling, swimming, diving, or rugby. What

about tennis, hockey, golf, and extreme sports? Yes, you do see the

phenomenon of those sisters in tennis and Tiger in golf, but as a whole, you

guys still dominate those sports."

    "Yea, but who cares about those sports?" said Darren. "When we think of true

athleticism, I think people picture a gifted athlete who can do crazy things

with his body. I mean, look at Michael Jordan! The man can basically fly!"

    "Why, because he can jump high?"


    "Cuz he can run fast?"

    "Well, yea!"

    "Cuz he got mad skills, as they say?"


    "Then how do you explain the athletic feats of white gymnasts?"

    "Well, uh…." Darren could not respond to that. Chris remained quiet, still

seemingly unwilling to talk. Carter pondered the question.

    "In my opinion, gymnasts are the most gifted athletes in the world. What

about the stuff they can do with their bodies? I saw a guy do a double

layout back flip on the floor exercise one time. To do something like that,

you have to be very fast, pretty damn strong, and can jump to the ceiling

----and have mad skills. How come when people talk about the athletic feats

of blacks they fail to mention the athleticism of white gymnasts?"

    "Probably because we hardly see those sports, like you said," said Carter.

    "You only see them like every other Saturday or during the Olympics. You're

right, though, the stuff they can do is crazy."

    "Yup. What do you think, Chris? You haven't said anything in awhile. Chris

just shrugged his shoulders.

    "Why do you suppose blacks are so good at football and basketball, then?"

asked Darren.

    "Well," Michael explained, "I think a lot of blacks feel we're supposed to

be good at those sports. Growing up, I was a little black kid who believed

that same stereotype--- that black people were more athletic and no white

boy should ever be able to run faster or jump higher than me. Coaches,

teachers, older blacks, and whites, who also believed that stereotype, had

me believing it, too. Unfortunately, a lot of inner city black males feel

the same way. They feel the only way to be successful in life is to strive

to go pro. They don't see any other way, except to dedicate hours on honing

their athletic skills. A lot of whites see sports as a hobby; a lot of

blacks see sports as a way of survival."

    No one responded or commented on Michael's statements. Michael looked over

at each of their pensive faces. No one spoke up, so he decided to continue.

"You know, so many so-called scientific studies have been used to

distinguish the athletic abilities of blacks and whites. First, Hitler said

the Aryan race was supposedly far superior physically than any other race,

but Jesse Owens proved that wrong. Then, supposedly blacks didn't have the

lung capacity for long distance running; Kenyans destroyed that myth. Then

the stupidest myth of them all: blacks don't have the mental capacity to be

in a quick thinking position, such as the NFL quarterback. Do you know how

many starting black quarterbacks in the league now, Chris?"

    "Nope." Chris replied, still acting uninterested.

    "Seven, not to mention many talented reserve quarterbacks. Twenty-five

years ago that was unheard of. Now, ironically, black quarterbacks are

revolutionizing the role with their quickness and scrambling ability----and

they can throw, too. Know what else? The incredible thing is nobody's

making a big fuss about it. That myth is finally dead. Too bad that can't

be said for black coaches."

    Slowly Chris came back to life. The last remark seemed to really irritate

him. "You know you guys always got something to complain about. If it

ain't the quarterbacks, it's coaches. Soon you'll be talking about the lack

of black general managers. Get over it! Be happy with what you got!"

"Hell, no, I won't be happy!" Michael snapped, "the same crap happening with

black coaches happens all around American companies. It's sad to see

there's still a good ole' boy network out there. It's messed up when you

got dozens of blacks qualified for head coaching positions, but they

continually get passed over. There have been only four black coaches in the

NFL and each one of them had success. Damn, how much do we have to prove?"

"I know one thing you guys prove time and time again," Chris replied, "you

guys prove you can't be productive members of society. What is in your

people to act violently in every situation? What's the statistic? Isn't

there one in three black men in jail? Pretty messed up statistics!"

    "You're right," Michael replied, "those are messed up statistics. But guess

what? Two out of three black aren't in jail. I like those statistics


    "Whatever, man. Black men seem to have a need to create chaos. You guys

are always in trouble, whether it's rioting, killing each other, or raping

somebody. It's almost like it's in your DNA to be violent! Black males

created that stereotypical image all themselves because it's true!"

"Oh really?" Michael replied, acting surprised. "Well, is there anything in

the white male's DNA that makes them serial killers? Serial killers in

general are usually white males, ala Ted Bundy. And what about pedophiles?

I was reading an article regarding an FBI report on child porn trafficking,

and it stated the perpetuators are almost always white males --- between the

ages of 25 and 45. Do I need to mention school and post office shootings

and terrorist attacks on Federal buildings and abortion clinics?"

Chris grunted. He didn't expect Michael to respond so quickly as usual.

"What about the L.A. riots! There were blacks and Mexicans every where

acting like animals, looting and tearing the place up! You people riot

every time you get together! White people don't riot!"

    Michael laughed, irritating Chris even more. His two friends knew Michael

would have a quick comeback to Chris's remark. They were right.

"Can you say 'soccer games?'" Chris replied, chuckling, "what about the

riots that often occur at soccer games? You hear about soccer game violence

all the time. Fans at soccer games fight just for the hell of it in Europe!

There was a stampede in the late 80's that killed 90-plus people at a

soccer game in England. So, you can talk about this bad image black men

supposedly have in this society, but it seems to me white males created a

bad image for themselves, too! I'm scared of you guys!"

    Darren and Carter chuckled. Even Chris grinned a little, although he was

trying to hide by putting his head down. Darren and Carter no longer wanted

to debate with Michael because they couldn't help liking the guy. They

admired his wit and debating skills that continuously kept Chris frustrated.

Chris also had admiration for him and was actually thinking more about

what Michael was saying.

    Chris took a deep breath and sighed. "Alright, man, you made your point,"

he said calmly, his defiance waning, "but you gotta admit, you guys seem to

complain about everything. That's one of reasons why a lot of white people

are so angry. Every time I turn on the television I hear about some

so-called black leader calling for the government to apologize for crap that

happened a hundred years ago. Or I hear about some black dude claiming

racism for being fired from his job. You guys give the impression racism is

the cause for all your problems."

    Michael nodded his head, as did Carter and Darren. "I agree," Chris said

without hesitation. "Believe it or not, sometimes I wonder if some of my

black folks cry racism too much. I mean, when a black NBA player cries

racism for getting suspended after choking his coach, that's bull! Anyone

who cries racism when they know damn well they messed up is making excuses

for not taking responsibility for his actions. I hate hearing sorry excuses

from black folks as much as racist remarks from white folk."

    Chris was wide-eyed with surprise. "I'm a little surprised you're admitting

to that," he said. "Know what I really hate? When some black people blame

all their problems on the white man."

    Michael nodded. "I don't like lame excuses like that, either," he replied,

"but at the same time I understand why a lot of brothers have such a

negative outlook on life, especially inner city blacks. When you grow up in

an environment filled with crime, drugs, and murder, I can see how a person

can feel hopelessness. If you're poor and struggling to stay alive on a

daily basis, you gotta do what you gotta do. Unfortunately, a lot of

brothas can't see light at the end of the tunnel when there's nothing but

despair. Some inner city kids see more death than a lot of people see in a

lifetime. Can you even imagine being a kid knowing you may not live to see


    "Pretty messed up, man," said Carter.

    "Yeah. You see, there's a lot of crap you guys don't deal with purely

because of your skin color. A lot of stuff you'd expect to be automatic and

simple, like getting a taxi or driving on the highway in your car. That

stuff doesn't always comes so easily to blacks and other minorities, man.

One time in D.C, I came out of a nightclub at about two in the morning and

there were taxis every where. It still took me two hours to get a taxi! I

walked up to this one taxi and he actually locked the doors and drove off!

I was shocked!"

    "So, that happened to you too, huh? I always hear that stuff but never

believed it," Chris said, surprisingly calm.

    "It happens, man, whether you believe it or not. The stuff black people

been 'complaining' about, like police brutality and racial profiling, have

finally come to light. A lot of people are now seeing what we we've been

talking about all along. If you've forgotten, there was a black man shot 41

times, unarmed. The stereotype of us as criminals still exist, no matter

how educated or wealthy we may be. I got a job, go to school and never broke

the law, yet I'm still labeled as innately lazy, stupid, and criminal. It

gets frustrating, man."

    The three young man sat still and quiet, deep in their thoughts. Michael

looked down at his watch and was surprised to see that two hours had passed

while he spoke with the three gentlemen.

    "Oh, damn," he said, standing up, "I gotta go. Beach is calling."

    None of them said a word. Chris still seemed to be consumed in his thoughts

while his two friends also gathered their things. Michael looked down at

Chris and noticed the reflective gaze in his face.

    "Look, man," he said, "you can hate me and people who look like me all you

want, but that will only cause you stress and frustration because minorities

in general aren't going anywhere. I'm sorry to break the news to you.

People who believe in racial separation need to put the brakes on that pipe

dream and kick some reality in high gear. That crap just ain't gonna happen,

homie. Now we can argue about IQ tests and inferiority crap all night, but

what exactly will that prove? All white people aren't racist, just like all

blacks aren't criminals. We as American people need to work together and not

against each other because nine times out of ten, we'll be side by side with

someone of another race; whether it's on the job or on a team. What do you


    Michael extended his hand to Chris. Chris slowly lifted his hand and shook

it with a firm grip, his eyes looking into Michael's with respect.

"By the way," Michael said, "my name is Michael Lawrence. I'll see you in

my class next week."

    Chris looked stunned. "You're Michael Lawrence, the Networking Essentials



    "How did you know I'm in your class?"

    "Saw it on your semester schedule on your notebook. You just never know who

you're talking to, do you?"

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