the Change I Wish to See

...and whatever else it takes to find my pants

I pick up the pace.

I'm curious, because it sounds like he's having a conversation he shouldn't be having.

He's in his early 30s, at the most. He's got a familiar swagger (I match it with my own). Rocking timbs and dark jeans that sag on purpose, he's a young black man strutting down a DC street. He's dressed like the very kind of man Bill Cosby says is debilitating black growth. So in that sense, he's a one man civil war. He's been known to say "nigga" like it's a term of endearment, recited rhymes reducing women to chattel, and he's often adopted the militia-view of the 2nd Amendment.

But tonight, tonight he's a dad. Not a father. A dad.

He's walking with his son, who's maybe 9; maybe. The kid is his dad's miniature: boots, jeans, igloo coat (though the shortness of his stride hampers his swag). And they're talking. The kid had some sort of conflict with another kid at school. His dad is asking him if it's wrapped up now, how it got fixed... The boy tells his dad his friends were pushing him to fight, to fix it with his fists.

"You don't have to fight to be right," the dad says. "You don't have to use your hands to be strong."

They get to the end of the block and go their separate ways. It's then I realize: they're probably not related. What I'm watching is, if possible, even better. I'm not watching a father be a dad. I'm watching a man who isn't a father be a dad. And it's really, really great. And it's really, really sad. Because this is how we'll overcome, from the ground up. But Leon Harris and Eyewitness News are nowhere to be seen.

This is the kind of thousand words I want on my TV screen.

2 comments:

Nina said...

ok, i feel like a stalker commenting on every post.

i can't help it.

f.B said...

stalkers welcome, : )