I want to be free. – Random draft.

Mother and Son, 1985, from Eli Reed: Black in America. Tunica, Mississippi.

SON: I’m tired, ma.

MOM: What you tired about?

SON: This. This life. This place. This world.

MOM: I hear you.

SON: I don’t want it, ma.

MOM: I know.

SON: I didn’t ask for it.

MOM: And you think I did? You think I sat down on a wishing well and asked for this life? Ain’t nobody wish for this life.

SON: It's just that –

MOM: What is it?

SON: Carlos, Vinny and Kim keep talking about getting out of here. Keep wanting to leave and I don’t want to stay here forever and I don’t want to be like -

MOM: What you want?

SON: I want -

MOM: What do you want?

SON: I want to be free. Like really free. Ain’t having to worry where the next money gon come from or what you gon have to do if that money don’t come thru. I want to live like the white man upstairs. Ain’t have to live for tomorrow. I want to be free, ma. Like really really free. Get out here. Buy you and me a big house and I’ll get a car. I want to work for me. Be my own boss. I want to be free, ma.

MOM: Ah, son.

SON: That’s what I want.

MOM: I’m sorry.

SON: What you sorry about? It ain’t your fault.

MOM: I’m gonna tell you the truth cause I love you and that’s the least I gotta do for you.

SON: Ok.

(MOM hesitates.)

SON: No, go on.

MOM: This world ain’t ever gon give you your freedom and you ain’t ever gon get it.

SON: What you mean? If I work hard if I do my best then sure hell I’m getting out of here.

MOM: Yeah you can get out of here. You can leave but you still won’t get your freedom. Ain’t no country gon give you what is yours. Not even your own.

SON: Stop talking like that.

MOM: I mean it, son. This world. This world don’t love you. They ain’t gon love you enough to give you what you want. What is yours.

SON: How comes Vinny and Carlos are leaving?!

MOM: You see the white man? (He nods) He walk around where he wants. He goes as far as he wants. Eats as much as he wants. Sleeps with who he wants. Talks loud cause he can. There is no limit for him. You ain’t him. You ain't a man. Not like him. And you can walk around this place acting like you him talking about freedom. Talking about you being free and what you gon do when you become like him but you ain’t him. He using you. He making you work hard thinking you gon become like him, like you and him will be on level one day. Equals. He says. So you work and you work and you work. You break yourself because he said you gon be free, boy. You do the best job cause he said you gon be free, boy. “You gon be free one day, boy.” He keeps telling you. “One day you gon be like me, boy.” So you work more but you have no idea that one day ain’t gon come.

SON: I hate when you speak like this.

MOM: He dangling it in your face like you his dog. / Boy, look at me. Look how old I am. Look where I is standing. You think I want to stand here. Be here. Live here. Sleep here. Wear these clothes. You think I ever dreamed of this life? / Shit. I’ve been wanting what you want for years. It took me this long to understand that it gon happen. Not like that. Not how I wanted it.

SON: So you just gonna stop me from dreaming?

MOM: That ain’t what I’m saying. I just don’t want you to be like me. I just don’t want you to live you whole life wanting something that ain’t gon happen. Living your life for something that ain’t gon happen. I want you to know the reality. I want you to know where you can and can’t go. I want you to know how loud you can speak. I want you to know how fast you can go. I want you to know who you can be with. I want you to know this world, baby, cause it never gon love you like the way I love you.