|From left to right: Cherish, Darius, Aja on the beach at|
Ocean City after The Incident.
My younger brother, sister, boyfriend, and I walk to the bus stop. We're just starting our vacation and it's been pretty good so far. I'm taking my younger siblings to walk the boardwalk and ride the roller coaster. We punch the button at the crosswalk and wait.
A small sedan comes through the intersection and a white boy sticks his head out of the backseat window. "Get a fucking green card!" he yells at us.
Before we can react, he and his buddies have sped away. The light turns red and we cross the street. I try to give him the benefit of the doubt: maybe he was yelling at someone else, maybe he was drunk. But we were the only ones out and really there is no excuse for racism.
We aren't immigrants! We aren't hispanic! Only my boyfriend is latino (technically), but he looks white as hell. Clearly the drunk kid was talking to my darker siblings and I. I want to turn around and chase him down. I want to beat his face in. Not for calling me out, but for saying it to my kin, the kids that I've protected since they were born. My little brother, who hasn't yet turned 13 but is somehow taller than me already, watches for my reaction silently.
I laugh it off. What else can you do?
We continue on to the boardwalk and pretend like it never happened except it still eats my brain. It's poisoned me and it burns. White people are twisting in front of me. They're all watching us, judging us, and suddenly I'm conscious of the fact that we're a group of minorities walking together instead of just a crowd of people.
Now I'm not even identifying myself as person. Poison.
On the bus to the boardwalk, my brother says something embarrassing and I jokingly tell him I'll slap the white off him. Just so the people around us know that he is like them. They look at me with queer eyes as if to ask if he is really white as...or perhaps it was about the familial violence (only now, I can't even think it's that.)
My brother looks at me, completely serious, and whispers: "I wish you could. I'd welcome it."