When I was in grad school, I delivered pizzas nights and on weekends to make ends meet. I recall once a customer offered me a three dollar tip upon my arrival but I refused it. I arrived after the promised delivery time and thus I felt it was wrong for me to take the money. The customer insisted but I said no. I’ve always been a nice guy. Further, I was always the guy that turned the other cheek. I’ve never been in a real fistfight. I don’t even like to hear people argue. In a word: non-confrontational.
When I was a teenager, my mother once asked me what I wanted to eat, to which I truthfully answered, “I don’t know”. Immediately she snapped back that women don’t like an indecisive man. While it’s debatable whether not knowing what I’d like to eat made me indecisive, the larger point she was trying to teach is that a man is expected to have it all together and be a rock. By implication and observation, I also learned that admitting uncertainty, doubt or weakness was unacceptable for men. Yet I somehow received the lesson that women could- and indeed were expected to- do all the above, with the support of a man.
I almost didn’t graduate from college. I was accused of academic misconduct for turning in a paper that I actually wrote; the problem being I had written it a semester in advance. I did not know at the time this would be a problem. Yet there I was, having to appeal to a group of strangers to decide my fate. If the ruling stood I wouldn’t graduate. If they had a change of heart, I would. In this situation I was powerless, dependent on the benevolence of others to ensure a positive outcome for my life. I would submit that black people live very much in the same condition universally, every day.
I posted Tuesday rather than the normal Monday due to the “holiday” but Hopewell Thought is back, one day late.
Yesterday was Columbus Day. Of course, as a kid no one gives a second thought to the narrative that Columbus discovered America and certainly no one challenges the legitimacy of the holiday. As we age, however, we become aware of dissent and the complexities of history. It leaves one to wonder, “What’s so bad about Columbus Day?”
Why vote? Does it really matter? As a rule, when a young black person raises these questions they are quickly dismissed and rebuked sharply. “People died so you can vote!” is the response. That response is the normal trump card, automatically ending any intelligent discussion on the matter. Well, perhaps we shouldn’t dismiss those who raise questions so easily. Just maybe they are on to something when they ask whether their votes count.