I read my book on the bus today
I usually read when I take the bus to class.
Nine months before Rosa Parks, 15-year-old Claudette Colvin was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on the bus, “because history had glued her to her seat.”
Admittedly, when I read on the bus, I usually am finishing up the assigned reading for the class that I’m headed to. Last night I couldn’t finish reading because I spent hours crying about #TerenceCrutcher and #KeithScott instead of doing my homework.
One time, after going to an organizing meeting, my car broke down and I had to catch a ride from a member of my cohort. I was embarrassed because I didn’t know if I would have the money to get that freedom back, the freedom to drive, the freedom to be black and be in my own car.
In my classes I’ve been talking and learning a lot about theorizing gender and race, specifically in relation to the black (female) body. To some, these discussions are removed, not only because of their content, but because of the nature of their language. As I annotate bunches of 30 page academic articles about psychoanalytical theory in relation to black female subjectivity etcetera, I am reminded of how much time I spend thinking about what I will do if I am stranded, or robbed, or sexually assaulted or raped.
Terence Crutcher was seeking help for his broken down car, independent of the police. He wasn’t even pulled over like Sandra Bland was. The police were en route to another call when they saw this #BlackMan in need of assistance with his car.
Today, I am reading Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. I never stop being struck by how much of the literature I read from the Antebellum Era of the American [South] is applicable today. Remember when Douglass taught himself to read while he was still enslaved. How this awakened his consciousness and drove him to physically fight his overseer, to resist — to free himself.
Keith Scott was waiting to pick his son up from the bus stop, he was reading, in his car. He was a black man with a disability, picking his black son up from school, armed with a book. Imagine getting off the bus after school to a murdered father. Being told that his book was a gun.
I read my book on the bus today, but it didn’t feel like I was going anywhere.
“There was nothing done, and probably nothing would have been done if I had been killed. Such was, and such remains, the state of things in the Christian city of Baltimore” — Frederick Douglass, 1845.