Yesterday, I was leaving a restaurant in Dallas, Texas with a takeout box of pork ribs and mac & cheese when a man -- spit flying -- repeatedly screamed
Fuck you, bitch!
at me. This man was my father. Though, ask me today if I have a dad. I don’t.
Today, I was on a plane from DFW to LAX when the Young White Mother next to me asked if I was from Texas. I said,
Prompted by the apparent need in her gaze to tell me where she was from, I asked,
What about you?
YWM: Central California, but in a month we’re moving to Texas.
She looked happy, so I was relieved that she didn’t ask my thoughts. In the kitchen with my mother just that morning, I’d said,
The people that choose to leave California to move here are people I’m not likely to get along with.
Not long after our brief exchange, YWM’s child pierced the cabin air with a scream that went through my head like a needle. And then a second. She calmed him down (no judgment -- been there) and the final passengers boarded the plane.
They were a group of three -- I’ll guess mother, father, and child. I’d seen them paying for extra carry-ons during boarding. The mother didn’t seem to speak English, and the father only some, so it came as no surprise that they appeared more than a little confused and annoyed.
As they got settled in, the mom was letting the dad have it. I only speak English and Spanish, so I didn’t understand the denotative meaning of what seemed to be Middle Eastern words, but I certainly got the tone, so when the dad responded by mocking the mother’s rant, I couldn’t help but chuckle.
A few minutes later YWM spoke to me again. Something to the tune of:
Gna be a long flight.
My response was to look at her child, who had exploded the cabin’s collective eardrum earlier, and reply,
I have a seven-year-old, it doesn’t bother me.
Imagine my surprise when she looked at her child with surprise.
I don’t mean him. I mean the three behind us.
I made what I thought was a benign remark about being amused with their shit-talk, and, though I didn’t hear the words come out of YWM mouth, (just like the fighting couple behind us,) I’d heard the tone of the laugh that succeeded them and immediately realized I’d been included in the type of xenophobic joke that, although I’d come to expect them from random white strangers, still make me feel like taking a shower lest the vitriol oozing from between their lips contaminate me too.
It may seem like these anecdotes have nothing to do with web3 or SheFi, but a tiny scratch of the surface reveals the festering dysfunction corroding our society all the way down to the unique metabolisms of individuals.
This is to say that the corruption apparent in a society that would deny the humanity of another because the syllables they utter are represented by different arrangements of shapes on paper is also visible in the metabolism of the individual who, with teeth bared and foamed lips, would wish his daughter dead in front of her child and a group of gathering strangers.
This arrangement gets a no from me.
The social, political, and economic structures that traumatized my father so completely that he will die autotoxic and alone are the same that continue to fabricate the lie that fueled YWM’s derision of our cabinmates.
YWM’s attitude toward the non-English speaking passengers is just one link in a long ruinous chain.
When I turn my mind’s eye toward the young man behind us -- the child of these passengers playing peek-a-boo with YWM’s son during deplaning -- I see my father’s face. The trauma of not speaking English in a country that would rather see him in a cage than in Kindergarten, that would so utterly fear and loathe him that he would turn it on himself, let them lock him in a cage, divorce himself by force from the last living human who could give a shit if he lived or died -- has all been perpetrated by the same noxious establishments.
And I’m over it.
It’s time to deconstruct.
Joining the SheFi Scholars program is the first step in a journey of a thousand miles.