Today’s lesson is simple.
Nani: If we were on a plantation and someone said nigga get me a glass of water, I’m going to turn around you’re not.
Why did my 8th grade social studies teacher Allegra, have all those black garbage bags?
She made us pick cotton for the duration of an hour. Robbie, Wesley and Malcolm were in the same class, so they allied threatening to tell on her. I was on my own, the only black person in the room. Every time we complained that our fingers hurt she replied “well now you know how the slaves felt.” How do you argue with a quip like that? I did say something when she made me, of all people, collect the cotton though.
The tips of my fingers burned and numbed, my knuckles ached from constant crooking. Pulling the thinnest layer of cotton off those big ass seeds, all that work for barely anything…I picked in a comfortable classroom on 76th and York Avenue. My ancestors picked in fields under the sweltering sun, until they could no longer stand, passing out, sans sustenance, for the duration of their life.
If earning the word means so much to you, I would be overjoyed to help. We can get a plantation, you can pick the cotton, do all the manual work, build a country on blood, sweat and tears, by force (not choice) and when the mood strikes I’ll strike you. As to ensure the full experience, until the skin on your back leathers and scars. And that would be going easy on you, as that’s only a fraction of the cruelty in the black experience. Do you want to earn the word? Didn’t think so. Special dedication to Ed Westwick and his girlfriend, she’s quicker to use the word than say sorry. Artist: Shaylin Wallace