Racism No Longer Exists? Incarcerated Writers Series

This series features writing from inmates at the El Paso County Jail. The articles stem from weekly programming facilitated by the Colorado College Prison Project. Through contact between the CC community and Colorado Springs, this series aims to simultaneously broaden the CC perception of incarceration issues and provide a platform for incarcerated writers. The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office requires approval of written material prior to publication and the removal of authors’ last names.

By DAVINCIREAL

As I sit on my bunk, incarcerated for the third time of my life, I’m saddened by not only the segregation of our country but the segregation behind the walls.

Early on in life I was taught that I would have a rough life for two reasons that thus far have rung true, though at the time I did not understand why. These two reasons were that I was a male and that I was black.

Racism no longer exists.

I was 10 years old in Mr. Ralston’s honors math class in middle school. I had an A+. Math had never been my best class, but I enjoy numbers and I’d discovered that if I focused and gave my all, I would do well. Two weeks into the class, I was removed to a regular math class. I was frustrated, so my mother inquired why I was moved. Mr. Ralston told my mother I only had an A+ because the class had just gotten started and that the curriculum would get significantly more difficult. I was the only African American in the class, and I was the only one who was moved. Whether I would have maintained an A+ or not, we will never know, but this was a taste, but a taste nonetheless, of what was yet to come.

Racism no longer exists.

I was 24. I was not a bad man, nor was I a good man, but a man seeking his place in the world, still searching for who I was and wondering who I would become. My sister and I had not seen each other in two and a half years through unfortunate events. It was May 22, her 21st birthday, and she had just had my nephew. We decided to get a drink at a local bar, but I placed my I.D. at the bar to start a tab and went to play pool as my sister took a smoke break. After she started the jukebox, 50 Cent was playing. The bartender, who I found out owned the bar, was a middle-aged Caucasian woman. She walked up to me and said, “I bet you put this on,” speaking about the music. I of course did not, but I was interested to see where this was going. I responded, “Yes, why?” She then went into a rant about how her mother had fought for African American rights and how she would turn in her grave if she saw what we had become. She said that we didn’t deserve the rights we were given. What I failed to mention was that I had just gotten out of prison. I was about six feet tall, 200 pounds, and the only I.D. I had at the time with my birthday on it was my prison I.D. Because I was a big, tattooed African American just out of prison, I was verbally attacked and, in her eyes, unworthy of the same amenities she herself enjoyed.

Racism no longer exists.

I’m 28 sitting on my bunk in county jail after making the same mistake I made in 2009, contemplating wise words spoken by a wise woman, Viola Davis. She is a prominent African American actress, who, as she accepted an award that was well deserved, said that although African Americans have come a long way, the fact that we are still having the first black anything is a testament to how far we still need to go. Treyvon Martin, Mike Brown, and the events of Ferguson should be the best example of how segregation destroys. Unity is the only remedy in a society that shuns anything on anyone different. We are not defined by our past but by our current actions.

Racism no longer exists.

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