Today I had one of those personal teachable moments about race relations here in A-merry-ca.
I won't front. When the weather breaks, I usually play tennis with a group of guys on weekends in a club here in Northeast Philly. One of the regulars in the group is a very fine Italian- American fellow who made a shit load of money in construction. (At least I thought he did)
I hadn't seen the guy since last November, so in between games we are shooting the breeze about whatever. We finally get around to the economy, and, to my surprise, the guy is telling me about his three kids in college and how their tuition is killing him. He is going on and on about his youngest daughter whose tuition is going up 11% this year, and how tough it is going to be to come up out of his pocket to pay it. Not really caring, but just to make conversation; I ask him where she is in school. Now I am expecting to hear Rutgers, Temple, Penn, Vanilla-nova, or some large out of state land grant university. What I sure as hell didn't expect to hear is what he told me next: "Howard University." I tried to be cool and act like I wasn't phased by what he said; just like he was. My man might as well been talking about working on his back hand or his second serve. He was that matter of fact with his statement. He didn't even give me a second look when he said it. "Yeah, 11%, you believe that? All in one year. "
Now I am thinking: Howard? Hell isn't that an HBCU? And I know that a lot of those schools are becoming more integrated, and many of the grad programs in these schools are loaded with folks from the majority population. But, given the age of his daughter, I knew that she was still in undergrad. And , since pops lives in Philly, she obviously lives on campus or is on her own down in D.C.
Field, I am thinking, you really have to start giving folks in the majority more credit with this race stuff. You have got to make stories like the latest one from Arizona stop getting to you. Maybe some white folks in A-merry-ca really do see everything in non -racial terms. Maybe, just maybe, we are living in post racial A-merry-ca.....maybe.
"Hey man, good luck with the tuition." I tell him. "Yeah right, and you know the worst part?" "No, what?"" She wants to be a doctor."
*Pic courtesy of gerrymay.com