City of Brotherly Love

Below is an excerpt from a response paper I wrote for a class. I am submitting it as one of my responses to yesterday’s double dog dare.

“You have spent the better half of the day in silence with no contact from the outside world. You’re in need of a friendly conversation to you get you through the rest of the night. You wait on the corner of the street searching your purse for your phone. When the crosswalk signal changes a group of men approach from the other side lined up like a Parcheesi blockade. You continue to advance amongst a sea of people, as you pass though the Parcheesi blockade your arm brushes up against another man’s arm. As you continue to walk you hear, “You fucking white bitch. Who the fuck do you think you are? BITCH!” The words spat from behind causing the hairs on the back of your neck to rise.

As you continue to walk up the block, you rethink the scenario in your head. This is a city after all, many times you have rubbed up against strangers, in the subway, on crowded sidewalks, at the grocery store, and you’re baffled at how irate this man got. Then in the window you catch a glimpse of yourself in your new checkered coat with the tie waist, frilly white scarf and red wool cap everybody seems to like. It dawns on you that this image is the problem. You realize the man saw you as an over-privileged, self- indulgent, rich white bitch on the phone who thinks she can just walk wherever she wants. As you come to this realization you are forcefully poked from behind.

You turn around and there he is. He followed you halfway up the street to poke his long, dark finger in your arm and openly share his contempt for you and everything you represent.  “Who the fuck do you think you are white bitch? Where the fuck do you think you are?”

You steady your gaze and look directly in his eyes to see the undeniable hatred of thirty angry men. He is a one-man-mob and you dare to stare back. The truth is, he doesn’t know anything about you, about what you have gone through in life and you’ll be damned if some angry, black man is going to reduce you to a childlike state of fear. As your heart palpates, you meet his hatred with indifference and this maddens him. He continues, “This ain’t no Yankee section of town, Bitch, this is West Philly. You hear me bitch. You hear what I am saying, you white bitch. You ain’t protected here, this be the ghetto.”

You look back at the man, eyes interlocked as others pass by on the street. You wait for him to turn around, to watch him go away. The irony of the situation hits you; you are headed to a class entitled English 135: Perspectives on Race, Class & Gender in which you will be asked to put yourself in your offender’s shoes and sympathize with his situation in life. And then you think of the man walking to wherever it is he his headed with all that hatred in his heart, knowing this story about you will be shared amongst his friends, adding fuel to the fire. You feel bad that you brushed up against this man, not for your sake or his, but because of the ever present cycle of the ways things are.

Just another day in the city of brotherly love.”

Scary Encounters,

A Warrior Princess

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4 comments on “City of Brotherly Love

  1. Anonymous says:

    Did this really happen? If it happened to me, I would have shit myself.

  2. Patrick says:

    Feel free to shorten this or take parts out. Observations From the Deep South I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to study as a foreign exchange student in Chile this summer. The program is true my high school, and we traveled to Chile as a group of ten. At first, I was skeptical about trading my days down the Jersey Shore for seven hour school days in a country whose language I barely understand. Now in the middle of my stay, I’m so happy that I came. On the plane to Chile, I made a promise to myself that I would be completely open to everything that this culture has to offer through observation and participation. That includes trying Chilean Sea Urchins. These are spiky purple balls that are alive and you have to pry them open and then slurp the little critter as it moves around in your mouth. In short, I was terrified, but I did it. What´s really interesting about Chile though is that even though I don’t speak Spanish, I can manage to get around in the country because so many of its signs are in English. This shocks be since only 3% of the country is fluent in English (http://santiagotimes.cl/only-3-percent-of-chileans-speak-fluent-english/). When you turn on the TV, the majority shows that my family watch are all made in some English speaking country and the video games that they play all are in English with Spanish subtitles. When I’m in the car with the radio on, I can close my eyes and actually feel like I’m in the States listening to 96.5 or Q102. This may be a blessing for a traveling gringo, but its a double bladed knife. The things that some Chileans hear or see through these different sources of media may be their only exposure to American culture. Not good. Take a minute and listen to our songs on the radio. You may hear a couple of bleeps where inappropriate words are supposed to be. Chilean radios don’t censor American songs because not enough people here speak English to understand what the lyrics mean. This isn’t ideal since many American songs may contain some pretty loaded words. These are words that have history behind them that you can only understand if you are familiar with the history of our country. Yes I´m talking about the word forbidden N-Word. That word that may cause some awkward tension in conversation because we as a nation have yet to openly discuss race in a productive manner. But this isn’t just a Black-White thing. Songs that objectify women are not only detrimental to the millions young boys and girls growing up in the States, but this is what other countries may assume as a normal practice in the states. Basically, we are stabbing ourselves with the knife that we created. When we arrived the first day at the school we are studying at, the Chilean students were totally pumped. They screamed out that the ¨Gringos and the Nigger are here,¨ directed at one of the black students traveling with us. We stood there shocked. That`s not a cool thing to say. But as I looked at these happy students, I genuinely believe that they said this without malice. They just didn’t understand the history of this word. So we covered our initial reactions with tentative smiles and plowed through that awkward initial encounter. As the students showed off their language skills with us, we were also called ¨faggots, and queers.¨ One student asked me if ¨I had my girl wipped at home.¨ At first I was upset with these students and would explain to them the implications of these words, but I’ve progressively gotten more a more appalled by our own culture. We’ve created these words and are promoting them through our own popular culture at home, and subconsciously abroad. When we allow words filled with hate into our lives and our daily vocabulary, it opens the doors to prejudice and racism. America, we need to take a look into our soul and address these issues with race and prejudice in our country.Someone Please Change the Radio Station,Student Abroad

    PAT Urbine

    Date: Wed, 2 Jul 2014 15:02:46 +0000 To: paturbine@hotmail.com

  3. Patrick says:

    Found a few errors. Observations From the Deep South I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to study as a foreign exchange student in Chile this summer. The program is through my high school, and we traveled to Chile as a group of ten. At first, I was skeptical about trading my days down the Jersey Shore for seven hour school days in a country whose language I barely understand. Now in the middle of my stay, I’m so happy that I came. On the plane to Chile, I made a promise to myself that I would be completely open to everything that this culture has to offer by observing and participating. That includes trying Chilean Sea Urchins. These are spiky purple balls that are alive and you have to pry them open and then slurp the little critter as it moves around in your mouth. In short, I was terrified, but I did it. What´s really interesting about being in Chile is that even though I don’t speak Spanish, I can manage to get around in the country with ease because so many of its signs are in English. This shocks me since only 3% of the country is fluent in English (http://santiagotimes.cl/only-3-percent-of-chileans-speak-fluent-english/). When you turn on the TV, the majority shows that my Chilean host family watch are made in some English speaking country and the video games that they play all are in English with Spanish subtitles. When I’m in the car with the radio on, I can close my eyes and actually feel like I’m in the States listening to 96.5 or Q102. This may be a blessing for a traveling gringo, but its a double bladed knife. The things that some Chileans hear or see through these different sources of media may be their only exposure to American culture. Not good. Take a minute and listen to our songs on the radio. You may hear a couple of bleeps where inappropriate words are supposed to be. Chilean radios don’t censor American songs because not enough people here speak English to understand what the lyrics mean. This isn’t ideal since many American songs may contain some pretty loaded words. These are words that come with some baggage and that you can only understand if you are familiar with the history of our country. Yes I´m talking about the word forbidden N-Word. That word that may cause some awkward tension in conversation because we as a nation have yet to openly discuss race in a productive manner. But this isn’t just a Black-White thing. Songs that objectify women are not only detrimental to the millions young boys and girls growing up in the States, but this is what other countries may assume as a normal practice in the states. Basically, we are stabbing ourselves with the knife that we created. When we arrived the first day at the school we are studying at, the Chilean students were totally pumped. They screamed out that the ¨Gringos and the Nigger are here,¨ directed at one of the black students traveling with us. We stood there shocked. That`s not a cool thing to say. But as I looked at these happy students, I genuinely believe that they said this without malice. They just didn’t understand the history of this word. So we covered our initial reactions with tentative smiles and plowed through that awkward initial encounter. As the students showed off their language skills with us, we were also called ¨faggots, and queers.¨ One student asked me if ¨I had my girl wipped at home.¨ At first I was upset with these students and I continue to explain to them the implications of these words, but I’ve progressively gotten more a more appalled by our own country. We’ve created these words and are promoting them through our own popular culture at home, and subconsciously abroad. When we allow words filled with hate into our lives and our daily vocabulary, it opens the doors to prejudice and racism. America, we need to take a look into our soul and address the issues of race and prejudice in our country.Someone Please Change the Radio Station,Student Abroad

    PAT Urbine

    From: paturbine@hotmail.com To: comment+pyqat1m75u_3vg_7tx4-5lm@comment.wordpress.com Subject: RE: [New post] City of Brotherly Love Date: Thu, 3 Jul 2014 09:50:34 -0400

    Feel free to shorten this or take parts out. Observations From the Deep South I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to study as a foreign exchange student in Chile this summer. The program is true my high school, and we traveled to Chile as a group of ten. At first, I was skeptical about trading my days down the Jersey Shore for seven hour school days in a country whose language I barely understand. Now in the middle of my stay, I’m so happy that I came. On the plane to Chile, I made a promise to myself that I would be completely open to everything that this culture has to offer through observation and participation. That includes trying Chilean Sea Urchins. These are spiky purple balls that are alive and you have to pry them open and then slurp the little critter as it moves around in your mouth. In short, I was terrified, but I did it. What´s really interesting about Chile though is that even though I don’t speak Spanish, I can manage to get around in the country because so many of its signs are in English. This shocks be since only 3% of the country is fluent in English (http://santiagotimes.cl/only-3-percent-of-chileans-speak-fluent-english/). When you turn on the TV, the majority shows that my family watch are all made in some English speaking country and the video games that they play all are in English with Spanish subtitles. When I’m in the car with the radio on, I can close my eyes and actually feel like I’m in the States listening to 96.5 or Q102. This may be a blessing for a traveling gringo, but its a double bladed knife. The things that some Chileans hear or see through these different sources of media may be their only exposure to American culture. Not good. Take a minute and listen to our songs on the radio. You may hear a couple of bleeps where inappropriate words are supposed to be. Chilean radios don’t censor American songs because not enough people here speak English to understand what the lyrics mean. This isn’t ideal since many American songs may contain some pretty loaded words. These are words that have history behind them that you can only understand if you are familiar with the history of our country. Yes I´m talking about the word forbidden N-Word. That word that may cause some awkward tension in conversation because we as a nation have yet to openly discuss race in a productive manner. But this isn’t just a Black-White thing. Songs that objectify women are not only detrimental to the millions young boys and girls growing up in the States, but this is what other countries may assume as a normal practice in the states. Basically, we are stabbing ourselves with the knife that we created. When we arrived the first day at the school we are studying at, the Chilean students were totally pumped. They screamed out that the ¨Gringos and the Nigger are here,¨ directed at one of the black students traveling with us. We stood there shocked. That`s not a cool thing to say. But as I looked at these happy students, I genuinely believe that they said this without malice. They just didn’t understand the history of this word. So we covered our initial reactions with tentative smiles and plowed through that awkward initial encounter. As the students showed off their language skills with us, we were also called ¨faggots, and queers.¨ One student asked me if ¨I had my girl wipped at home.¨ At first I was upset with these students and would explain to them the implications of these words, but I’ve progressively gotten more a more appalled by our own culture. We’ve created these words and are promoting them through our own popular culture at home, and subconsciously abroad. When we allow words filled with hate into our lives and our daily vocabulary, it opens the doors to prejudice and racism. America, we need to take a look into our soul and address these issues with race and prejudice in our country.Someone Please Change the Radio Station,Student Abroad

    PAT Urbine

    Date: Wed, 2 Jul 2014 15:02:46 +0000 To: paturbine@hotmail.com

  4. […] joys. When I crossed over 24th street I got tapped from behind by a gentleman who was panting.  Wide-eyed, I turned removing my […]

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