“A Reeking Response”
By Geraldine “The Jet” Denson (Ron’s Mom)
I was born and reared in a small town in lower Alabama, way back when! So, “I’ve lived the life and wore the t-shirt”, as some people may say. I was born into this world with the “smell” permeating the air.
As a very small child, I had no recognition of the odor that penetrated my nostrils. My life consisted only of love from my devoted parents and acceptance from my siblings, as we played and grew up together.
One facet of my life—of interest to some and well known others—played an important part in how the “smell” directly affected me and that was my father’s heritage! The “odor” of what we now know as “racial injustice” did not penetrate my nostrils because my father did not represent the stereotypical image of being “dirty and lazy”. Therefore, he was judged slightly differently.
However, as I began to get a bit older, the odor began, ever so slightly, to penetrate my nostrils, as my parents whispered their concerns and disgruntlement about several instances of prejudicial treatment my mom had been subjected to, for instance; I once heard my mom speak of the mean spirited treatment she would endure whenever she went to the grocery store with my father.
As I grew even older, and began my life as a little black school girl, my nostrils were overcome with this smell. I became more aware of the inequalities in my life.
It was compulsory that I engage in an inadequate education by sitting at, and writing on; broken down and carved upon, desks and chairs; studying from “hand-me-down” books, and having none of the essential learning equipment normally associated with a proper education.
Segregated schools were the norm, unqualified teachers, and a hosts of other inadequacies haunted us. I was not allowed to drink from certain water fountains, and I had to sit in seats designated “for Colored”, at the movie theater.
Similar conditions plagued me throughout my childhood and continued into my adulthood. So, to answer Ron’s question, “What’s that smell? It’s the reeking rancor of the racial injustices and inequalities that have plagued our race forever. I could go on and on about the unjust treatments that we have endured, but we all know the story. It’s all over every form of media, every day!
After reflecting on life and all of the racial unrest and injustices of today, I thought about it for a while. It’s been 75 years that I can speak of and things haven’t changed one iota. In fact, it has gotten worse, much worse. Perhaps singer, Al Green, was wrong when he said “a change’s gonna come!”
After reading some of the comments in the Comments Section of “What’s That Smell”, I noted that many commenters spoke of how we are judged and how we judge others. Malcolm Forbes once said, “One can easily judge the character of others by how well they treat those who can do nothing to them or for them”.
When one group of people, or even one-person, judges another. It’s because they’re insecure or they’re afraid. Ladies and Gentlemen, we are judged and labeled because we are intimidating! We have the knowledge, the know-how. We are feared because we have the ability to be as great as the next group! We have proved it!
However, we do have weaknesses that we need to work on, weaknesses that are causing us to be judged and labeled. One of our weaknesses is judging each other. “Judge not least ye be judged.” Another is “Black-on-Black” Crime! We have to stop!! Then maybe, just maybe that change will come!