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The First Time I Was Called A 'Nigger'

Updated: Dec 7, 2019

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Owensboro Kentucky. 91'-92'. Me and my lil brother used to go to the boys club not that far from my house a lot. But this day it was just me. 

There was a short cut I used to take which guided me to the road that led straight to the club. Without this circumvention, I'd be forced to to walk another block or so in-order to get there. 


The bypass ran through a small grove of trees. It had big rocks and leaves and trash on the ground all year round. A place were people would come to drink a beer or shmoke shome pot.


To get To this grove, one had to walk up a small hill. At the top of this hill was a complex with a series of small apartments.


One day after coming home from school. I quickly realizes how dull the house was. In an attempt to relieve the boredom, I decided to give the boys club a visit. Take advantage of some of the activities it had to off. Play some ball, foos, basket, ping-pong or otherwise. Anything was better than sitting in my room at that point.


It was late autumn. chilly. I made my way through the ally behind peoples houses. Then made my way up the hill with the apartments at the top, Then on to the grove of trees which lead to the road that led straight to the boys club.

But once I reached the top of the hill. I saw a woman in the doorway of her apartment. 'What's that nigger doin up here'? She said before turning to go back inside. Slamming the door in the process. 


I was about 11 or 12 then. I had head the word used before by whites on tv or in movies. But I'd never hear it in person before. And I especially had never heard the word directed at me personally. 


One would think that made me angry. Or even sad. But in actuality I was terrified. And for a several seconds frozen in my tracks. While my brain struggled to figure out how and why that happened to me.


Still terrified. And without coming up with any answers to why she would say that to me. I resumed my journey to the boys and girls club. I was so scared I shook uncontrollably as I walked. I fast walked through the glove of trees. And didn't relax until I got on the road, leading to the club. 


I never told anyone what happened.

And I never took that shortcut again.



True story written by -jonathan 'deez nuts' riley

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