"These goddamn kids cain't control their fucking mouths!"
A hush blanketed the restaurant. I slowly turned around.
Directly behind me, 30-or-so Black teenage girls at tables: some with spiral curls, others with swoops, others with wraps, but all with blank faces, staring across the generational gap at the slim Black man with scowling eyes and bared fangs. His flattened hair and red eyes looked like he'd had a rough
Outside the window, a bus: Boys & Girls Club of Southeastern Michigan.
Detroit. It figures, I thought.
Apparently, he was one of their chaperones. And so, the middle-aged man had succeeded in getting the future to shut its f*cking mouth, but he had also unwittingly succeeded in making himself the evening's featured act.
Suddenly, I felt my skin glowing. A spotlight?
Seated next to them, now, we were all on stage. As hundreds of eyes focused on our area, I felt like we were the only Black people in the entire restaurant, and it occurred to me that my party of six might be associated with the larger travelling group.
Now that your a$$ is out, what now? I thought.
But the man lowered back into his seat without incident, still scowling. That would be, unapologetic. The buzz of the Saturday evening crowd resumed. I turned back to my table and returned to hotsaucing my fish and to our conversation.
Ironically, our conversation was about the disproportionate numbers of Blacks serving on the front-lines in Iraq and what we can do, as a race, to create other opportunities for ourselves.
"Well," I said, "that's one example of what not to do," as I stirred my rice.