Smooth hip movements and laughter followed the clack of high heels that made their way to the empty D-Bus. We were having a good time. “We” being a group of diverse, curvaceous “colored” females. An uncommon sight in the county, city, town and campus of Oswego. No pancake butts here.
But the D-Bus wasn’t empty. After all, it was a little past 2 a.m. and all the college kids were making their way out of the bars. Two “white” males and their two female friends sat in the back.
With the bus making its way down Bridge Street, we decided it was time to sing (once again) happy birthday to our fabulous, African girl. Our serenade turned into a compilation of popular R&B, rap, hip-hop and even Caribbean reggae. The D-Bus was live.
“Sing white people music!”
Laughter. We looked back and “White boy No. 1” was staring straight ahead. “White boy No. 2” laughed with his head down.
We took it as a joke. We started singing Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe.” But the song was soon over and we went back to our “black” people music.
“Shut up, you n***ers suck.”
Heads turned. Emotions rose. “White boy No. 2” threw a water bottle at the birthday girl’s head.
What is happening?
The D-Bus driver gave us a warning: if we don’t shut up, we are all out on the rainy streets of Oswego. My girls sucked their teeth and laughed it all off. “It’s not worth it,” they said.
“White boy No. 1” and “No. 2” got off at Cayuga Hall.
Back in my small, dorm room bed I lay awake. Am I surprised? No. I know racism is still real. I’m furious. Furious at the ignorance of those two students. But more furious at how my friends dismissed the whole event.
I realize there are two things to blame for such events. Education and a lack of representation. So many of my peers, the “minorities,” sit in class and just take in information. And when the topic of race comes up and heads turn our way, we don’t represent. “But I’m not the national spokesperson for my people.” Reality check: yes, you are. Until we can say as a nation that there is no such thing as “black” and “white” people music, then it is your responsibility to make people see.
I sit in my feminist film class and I’m disgusted by the fact that we spent a week talking about necrophilia, and another week about cyborgs. What? One week will be devoted to African-American females in cinema. One week. And let’s just ignore the fastest growing population in the nation, Latinos.
From now on, I’m not waiting until people change their minds, until educators notice me or until legislators grow some balls. I’m representing myself.