I looked over at the table that my manager told me I needed to clean and saw an obnoxious amount of food and beers that were left from the couple before. This is not in my job description, I am a bartender, not a server. After putting on some gloves and removing the crap off of the table, I met up with my coworker who had an intense look of disgust on his face.
” I am starting to hate white people, and it hurts my soul. I am a damn Buddhist for peeds sake, hatred is like completely opposite of my teachings.”
This guy isn’t just my coworker, he is my 16-year-old Black brother who is working his first job alongside of me, serving middle class people over-priced barbecue and getting paid minimum wage to do so. “Those people didn’t even tip. Their bill came to above fifty dollars and they didn’t even tip. I feel like a slave.” he said as he filled up the sweet tea container.
I know how he feels. I worked here a few weeks before he did, during the time period when a White guy walked into a historical Black church, sat with them while they prayed for love and guidance, and when he was done…killed 9 people. Not only did he kill 9 people, he left a little girl to live so that she could tell the story. Essentially this White man ruined at a minimum ten lives, that is not even including the families and friends of these people. I followed the story all morning on CNN, waiting for them to capture him, secretly hoping that they would kill him in cold blood and leave his body to sit in the street for four hours, or put him in a chokehold so that he could not breathe. I hoped that maybe they would have a chance to feel an emotion that does not have a word. As I looked into the White guys in their ties and slacks, sitting back drinking a beer on their break because they need to get away for a little, I wondered….do you want to shoot me? Do you want to kill the young black man in front of you, whose pants are not all the way on his hips, whose nappy hair is something that peeks your curiosity, whose caramel skin is a little darker than their wives after a long tanning session? Would your gran pappy have hung me, not because I was a thief or a murder but because I was a….Negro?
I felt the hatred growing in my heart, like the way food coloring spreads throughout a clear glass of water, eventually the entire container is tainted with some of the added color. It doesn’t change the water from being water, but it doesn’t look like the water that it was prior to the food coloring being added. That is how my heart feels. Hatred and confusion because I know what it right and wrong. I know that the only way to peace is through love. I am starting to hate white people, and the more that I look into my brothers’ eyes, I see the hatred grow.
I looked between my brother dumping water on the concrete after a White man spilled barbecue sauce on the ground, and the gray clouds darkening above us. My brother was doing pointless work, something that nature could do, because he must listen to authority or risk losing his job. And yet the coward who ruined ten lives only risk losing his freedom for not listening. Welcome to my world…except I listen. There is no positivity or love that could reasonably be found in this situation, making it a breeding ground for the hatred in our hearts.