Educating the Ignorant | By: James Lewis | | Category: Short Story - Other Bookmark and Share

Educating the Ignorant

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 1:00p.m.
"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 that!"
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 blows?"
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 Europe?"
"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 said.
"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. Period."
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 laugh 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 scores?"
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 himself.
"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', anyway?"
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 perform?"
"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 better."
"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 21?"
"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 say?"
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 instructor?"
"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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