Friday, January 09, 2009

You know better....

Butterfly's note: This was actually written on my beloved Treo on Dec. 30 with all intent to be posted before the end of the year. Somehow in my mind, I didn't want to post it this year since it was a "last year" issue but on the flip side I didn't want my last post of the year to be about this either. However, ever since the incident its still taking up residence in my brain and I find myself re-writing without pen, paper, or Treo handy. Thus leading me to spill it. Proceed.


"I DON'T GIVE A FUCK!"

"FUCK THAT NIGGA, YO! THAT MUTHA FUCKA'S DEAD ASS WRONG"

"YO WHY THE FUCK YOU YELLIN', YO?! WE RIGHT HERE!"

"YEAH I'M GETTING LOUD SO FUCKING WHAT. YOU AIN'T HEARING ME! WHAT THE FUCK YO"



This was the conversation I walked into on the D train. From the magnitude of the volume emanating from behind the closed doors as the train pulled into the station, one would think the entire car was embroiled in a bitter battle. But no such luck. As I entered the train I realized it was 3 girls apparently arguing over the nuances of their friendship.



"I'M SAYIN'. YOU GIGGLIN' AND SHIT ON THE PHONE WITH THIS FUCKING BITCH BUT YOU MY FUCKIN' FRIEND. THAT SHIT AIN'T RIGHT, YO!"



There's no telling how long this discourse was taking place since I'd just got on the train but if I had to guess from all the eyes rolled to the top of the train car it had gone on for quite some time.

The passengers were just trying to ignore them and get to their destination. So I joined them and rolled my eyes upward and shook my head at the audacity of hood. But it's really hard to ignore the shrill yells of teenage girls.



"OKAY. ENOUGH. YOU NEED TO STOP FUCKING CURSING LIKE THAT IN FRONT OF MY GRANDBABIES.



Now its quite ironical (yes I know ironical is not a real word but I like it, okay...hahahaha) that Grandma used the same language in front of her grandbabies to get her point across but judging from the THUNDEROUS applause resonating through the subway car, she wasn't the only one who felt the same way.

Now what happened next I want to say shocked me but more so I felt shamed.

"WHO THE FUCK YOU THINK YOU TALKING TO??"
"LITTLE GIRL YOU HEARD ME. STOP USING THAT LANGUAGE IN FRONT OF MY GRANDBABIES. THEY DON'T HEAR THAT SHIT AT HOME AND WE'RE RAISING THEM RIGHT."
"LADY YOU DON'T FUCKING KNOW ME. FUCK YOU! FUCK YOU! FUCK YOU!" (okay she said it like 20 times in a row...I wonder if she set a world record)
(Grandma is standing up at this point) "LITTLE GIRL, I TOLD YOU. YOU MAY NOT HAVE NO RESPECT FOR YOURSELF BUT YOU NEED TO CUT IT OUT AND STOP CURSING IN FRONT OF MY GRANDBABIES. "
"BITCH, WHO YOU STEPPING TO. FUCK YOU. DON'T COME AT ME LIKE THAT. SUCK MY DICK."
"YO, CHILLLLL. HER GRANDKIDS ARE HERE. JUST TAKE AN EL AND BE QUIET" (this was "little girl's" friend she was arguing with; at least one of them seemed to have some common sense)
"NO FUCK THAT I'MA KEEP FUCKING TALKING. FUCK HER. SUCK MY DICK, BITCH. SUCK MY DICK."


"Mommy can we go to another train? I don't wanna be on the cursing train no mo'." said the little one seated next to me. (sidebar: how in the midst of all this foolish I got a seat is beyond me). As the little one put her tiny fingers in her tiny ears, her mother also fed up, tapped "little girl" on the shoulder. When "little girl" spun around, the woman whispered to her "Look, my kids are here too. You need to cut it out." Her response gave a peek into her rationale. "I'm sorry but she ain't have to fucking step to me like that, you know what I'm saying. She all cursing at me and shit!"

So let me get this straight, the ONLY reason she proceeded to behave like a wild banshee spewing four letter words like dollar bills in a strip club was because the older woman cursed at her???? After she was dropping F-bombs like it was the Gaza Strip on the D train???? The fact that this was an elder, somebody's grandmother didn't strike a chord?? The fact that she had white folks looking at the rest of us like "sucks to be you right now, buddy. don't you wish you were white?"had no bearing on her adolescent judgment.

While I understand that she is young (and therefore dumb), she should "know better." How many times growing up did you hear that phrase "Girl/boy, you know better" as a way to cut the foolishness before it got a chance to take root. Did anyone stop her with that admonition in her young life?? Maybe its my naivete, but I refuse to believe that we have gotten to a point where this behavior is deemed appropriate. Somewhere deep inside I want to believe that "little girl" knew better but let her swagger get the best of her, her teenage bravado overwhelmed and embarrassed by the situation. I want to believe that doing "hoodrat things my friends" will cease in the *09.

As some of you know, every other Saturday I teach for a program sponsored by the girls organization famous for their cookies (don't need my students or their parents finding my blog and reading my adventures....hahahahahaaa). Of the three classes I teach one of them is Etiquette. And this year is by far the worse to date - the attitudes, the disrespect, the bragging about fighting, etc. Most days I feel like I'm teaching The Bad Girls Club. And more disappointing, this is the first year where my class is all black. I've had to close the door and say some things I wouldn't dare repeat just to get their attention and stress how important these social skills of etiquette are in the way they present themselves to the world. Some of them just don't get it. Its so disheartening to see them wanting to be "ghetto" and not wanting better. They know that better exists, they just have no desire for it. I almost wish they didn't know of better's existence because how could you know if you want it if you never knew about it. Fortunately, I see some of them seeing the possibilities of better (honestly, if I didn't, I don't know if I could go back). I pray something I say or do sticks with them. I want to save them from the cruelty of not knowing better. That's the reason I got out of teaching. There were too many to "save" and I couldn't handle not succeeding in my efforts. In this situation, there aren't that many students but every time I walk in that classroom, I aim to show them better. I wish "little girl" was in my class and maybe I could knock some sense into her by the end of the program. I also wish that during that encounter, I had the strength to deal with her and her foolishness. But a) I wasn't trying to get into a shouting match with a teenager and b) just how many am I supposed to save??

By the end of the month, the Commander in Chief will look more like us than ever before. If only for his sake, we not only need to know better but we need to do better. The foolishness of the past can no longer get a pass. We can't lay our excuses in the hands of "the man". I'm not saying that racism, classism, will miraculously disappear when he takes the Oath of Office. But don't you think that everything "we" do in the streets will have an a trickle up effect to the White house. The roads leading there are paved black. We have to walk better, talk better, treat each other better, perform better, work better. With the cesspool that the economy finds itself in, he has more important things to worry about than someone saying "how can you expect us to do blah blah when you're own people can't get it together??". No its not fair because damnit we didn't hold every white person accountable for Dubya but we already know the double standard. That's why our parents made sure we knew better.

(PS I hate that this post sounds like one of those "back in my day, blah blah blah...........unfortunately, its the truth)

3 comments:

rashad said...

I know this may be immature of me, but the REAL crime here is that a woman is using the phrase "suck my dick". that's problematic to me as a man, and very confusing to the kids who were around.

Chubbs said...

Lol Rashad. I think the real crime is the parents. Who are these kids' parents? People should have to get some sort of license before they're allowed to have children.

Were these girls teenagers? I'm terrified of teens. sad.

lilone said...

What's sad... is that this is so prevalent now. I see people less than two years younger than me and some my age that make me want to have a "back in my day" moment and I'm only 21. What has happened to us? Why are we so nasty and disrespectful. To ourselves. To others. It has gotten to the point where kids are so out of control people are AFRAID to even attempt to help them. I catch this kind of crap on the DC metro alllll the time and it is downright embarrassing to those kids and everyone in their presence. I applaud you for still trying. I really do. We can try to lead by example and dig individually into what is in these kids' heads but, though you may not be superwoman, Please don't ever doubt for a minute that you have an effect and it just as significant. Give yourself a pat on the back.