Excerpt from THE HUNGRY I – Chapter 11 page 267 (part 1 of 2)Published February 26, 2017
When the group wasn’t talking about sex, cars, or sports, the subject returned to race. Naturally, I endeavored to elevate the conversation. I believed that I had a lot to contribute, because I was an expert on the subject. After all, I grew up among all types of people and was an insider and outsider in both white and black groups. More importantly, though, I had an objective insight I loved to share.
The dispute erupted after three days of rain kept us inside. The chemistry among incarcerated youths is always fluid and can easily turn incendiary with the right provocation.
“Hey ya’ll,” Leon shouted during a quiet moment in the dorm. “No white boys on any teams, starting tomorrow!” he finished with an arrogant gesture. Most of us looked up from what we were doing and laughed nervously. Leon’s taunting statement was made to get a reaction, but we did not take it seriously.
“Nah, nah, nah, ya’ll, I’m not jokin’. If I see a white boy playin’ basketball when we’re on the court, I’m gonna kick his ass!” Leon threatened slowly, so there would be no misunderstanding. With Ted on my team, this was a direct shot at me. I decided to make it a teaching episode and be philosophical regarding the racial topic that we were repeatedly drawn to.