You’re still white, Darryl said.
And you’re still Black, William said.
Me, too, Chanise said.
The three friends laughed nervously.
All three wore masks. All three kept a safe distance. All three agreed Black lives mattered and weren’t sure what to say to each other.
Darryl sat in the park down the street from the WILT radio station drinking a small paper cup of Japanese green tea William packed for the flag burning that never happened. Darryl got real direct real fast.
You think your bird meant to kill JayJay Bone?
Maybe. He’s got a mind of his own. Dillon hated whenever I turned on WILT.
I’d hate it too, Chanise said.
Darryl got agitated.
They’re a two-bit, small minded local yokel media platform that brainwashes their dumb-ass listeners. The white bosses are petrified of their advertisers and play the white card ever second of every day they’re on the air. The conservative hosts are bigots. The one or two so-called liberals live in fear.
Bet they don’t have a Black employee, Chanise said..
Nobody on the air, at least, William said.
Bet nobody even cleaning the offices, Darryl said.
White men rule, Chanise said.
All white all the time, Darryl said.
William grew concerned.
Inequality really bothers you both, he said.
Racism should bother you, too, Darryl said.
Time to wake up, my white brother, Chanise said.
Like in get woke?
Chanise and Darryl laughed.
Awakening is a lot deeper than getting woke, Chanise said.
Slavery started all this shit, Darryl said.
William got defensive.
My family never owned slaves, he said.
But the work of Black slaves built your society, your so-called democracy, your country, Darryl said.
Black people still feel the whip, Chanise said.
Nobody owns slaves, anymore, William said.
Spoken like a true white man, Darryl said.
Chanise spoke louder.
Look around you. Look at the lives of otherwise invisible Black men, women and children who live and die unnoticed, unfed, uninsured and unloved by the white people in power.
Some Black people have power, William said.
Tokens, Darryl said..
At least we’re getting some younger women of color in Washington, Chanise said.
William perked up.
Like that AOC from New York?
AOC is the future, Chanise said.
Not here, though, Darryl said.
Maybe never, Chanise said.
Darryl stood and faced his friends.
Philly’s a wreck, so is Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, too. Forget about Scranton and Wilkes-Barre coal crackers, he said.
Coal cracker crackers are the worst, Chanise said.
William spoke too fast.
Are you two racist?
Would we trust you if we were?
That’s why we might never get along.
So what do we do to make life better?
Work to get along better, Darryl said.
Fight to get along better, Chanise said.
Then one day we might really get along, William said.
Together, they grew silent.
Together they drank their tea.
Together they persevered.