Archive for August, 2016

‘When you look at me I see what you want, you don’t hide it in sweet nothings. You want to be with me, you want to get to know me. You saw something in me the first time we met and since then you just want to see me.’     

                                                                                                                                               – Awinja

I was too lost in my blissful thoughts to hear the first shot but the second one broke through. I felt something, a pang of pain then something warm trickled down my side. The panic climbed up from my toes yet my eyes remained fixed on the road. ‘What you don’t know won’t kill you right?’ I thought to myself. ‘Well except if it just happens to be a bullet’. I can’t believe I found that funny at the time. He was panicked, covering me from all sides like he had eight arms or something. I didn’t want to tell him what I suspected, I hadn’t even told myself either, I hadn’t looked. There were people running all over the place like headless chicken, I couldn’t hear their screams, but I could see their mouths moving. It was strange; it was all in slow motion.

“Dee!!!” he shouted while shaking me to reality. I heard him, though his face had become blurry.

“Don’t panic,” I told him as I slowly went to touch my side, his eyes followed my hand and it was  the look on his face that made me realize what I already knew; ‘I was in trouble’.

The vendor we had just bought gum from was hiding behind his stand, it was made of mesh. He looked so afraid. There was a woman on the pavement; she was dragging herself forward toward the pillar. She left a lot of blood on her trail. ‘Should I go help her?’ I thought.

A Black Toyota VX with tinted windows was driving on the wrong side of the road, slowing down. There was a man running ahead of it. He was limping; there was blood on his cream khaki pants. He was crying out ‘Don’t kill me! Please! I have a family! I’ll do anything!”

A masked man on the passenger side of the Toyota poked his head out of the window, a big gun followed…

“Dee!!” he shouted again calling my attention from the man on the street and back to him as he pushed me to the ground. Everything was blurry now. “Hold on please, please hold on,” he said over and over. He lay on top of me, his hand firmly pressing down on my side. It hurt worse than anything I have ever felt but it felt like I was feeling someone else’s pain, like I was looking at me from afar yet I felt the same measure of pain. ‘I was dying wasn’t I?’ I hoped I hadn’t said that aloud. I didn’t want to tempt the universe or to add to his panic.

Two other gun shots rang out. (more…)

You’d think we somehow copy paste these race-related stories off of each other as foreigners who’ve been to China but you would be wrong.

Every foreigner interacted closely with in China with an exception of none and more so black people have at least one of these stories. This is the second post on my ‘The China Experience’ series. Look back with me through 2011-2014 when I was studying in China. Enjoy….

Do you remember the first time you discovered you were black? I do. I was teaching at a kindergarten in Beijing for a few months in 2012. Yes, I have imparted knowledge in young minds and influenced the great minds of tomorrow. You may be inclined to applaud me right about now, go on, I would applaud me too.  So I walk into my first class and the kids’ eyes couldn’t be any more widely open in shock. One kid was totally freaked out and wouldn’t sit anywhere near me. My glass ego decided to try to convince me that they were reacting that way because I was new; a stranger. That argument flew out of the window when during the break and many breaks there after I would be bombarded with questions about my skin color from both the kids and the Chinese teachers alike.

“Why are you so black?”

“Were you born like this?”

“Why am I white and you are black?”

”Why is your hair weird?”

When the questions were from the kids, it was ok, they were young, not much exposure; it was forgivable that they asked me the same thing every single day. I decided to have a little fun with my answers; (more…)