Illustration by Erich Fey
by Folashade Alford
I finally got a story. Thanks to James Kislingbury, former Entertainment Editor. No thanks to the rest of you keeping all your feelings bottled up inside. One more thing, last time the column ran, it had an awesome illustration of me by my friend Erich Frey but he got no credit. So here’s your credit man! Don’t beat me up, please (he’s really buff). I got a new email address:
. Use it! James writes:
Parking on CSULB is strictly for the birds. It’s a great way to get tickets, drive around like a jerk for an hour, or walk to class like a schmuck. The alternative I chose was to take the bus. I didn’t have to drive and, other than the odd bag of chicken feet on my walk to the bus stop, it was a hassle free way to get to campus. But this story is about the only time I’ve ever encountered the n-word in the wild.
I was picked up by the 91 in front of a bad Mexican restaurant and a carniceria that I accidentally bought horse meat from (by the way, if you’re going to sell “caballo” in your store, don’t misspell the word, alright?). Travelling towards campus, I was probably listening to either Joy Division or Mark Kermode, when I was interrupted by a Vietnam veteran who asked me if I wanted to hear a story.
Of course I did. I’m sure most know that the Veteran’s Affair’s Hospital is a neighbor of CSULB and many veterans take that bus to the hospital (Hey, fun fact, it’s actually where my uncle died). There’s a heraldry of US NAVY and US AIRBORNE and VIETNAM VET hats and patches on the bus almost every single day of the week. I never spoke to any of them, but I wish I had. Instead I listened to my iPod like a jackass.
Fate decided to shake me up on that day. After I said yes, he told me to take off my head phones, don’t be rude. I did. Then he told me that all of the most chickenshit guys in the ‘Nam were n-words. Fact. All of the guys who raped women and in the brig were all n-words like that guy who just walked off the bus that called him a cracker. Then he gave me a primer course that if you wanted to cut a guy with a knife, you need to lead with your shoulder and not your wrist.
Then, as though he felt the demiurge of liberal progressivism, he started talking about how when the Red Tails in WWII (better known as the Tuskegee Airmen), were spotted by the Germans, the Krauts would fuck right off because they knew better than to try to attack those particular African Americans.
Towards the end of my bus ride, he told me that he was Mexican, which really confused where I needed to aim my White Guilt at. I thought of saying that he shouldn’t use those words, but for whatever reason, I didn’t feel up to lecturing a Hispanic ‘Nam vet on the language he uses. After that, I got off and headed towards my European Cinemas of Fascism, Communism and Resistance class.
Anyways, there’s a quote I heard from an airman in a PBS documentary about the Red Tails, which was “Black ace to black base, find me some black landing space.” Lord knows we all need some place to land. I doubt you’re going to find it by busting out the n-word, though.