We know that all people are not treated equally: Some barely see the fluorescent light of an office, while others, like white people, barely see jail. Besides the fact that the whole white-people-are-the-best-behaved idea is kind of destroyed by basic statistics (they rob and kill each other more than any other race towards them) it isn’t to say that white people don’t have struggles, frustrations, or obstacles: That they don’t want to have a better job, or do better for their families: It is not to say that they don’t deal with depression after a friend is hurt by accident, or a death of old age in the family. It’s just that, well, compared to everyone else, they’re going through the hurdles on easy mode: The hurdles are, like, waist-height. Starting out as a black woman, for example, means hurdles are raised to shoulder height- a pretty intense challenge to handle for anyone, let alone when you’re being arrested for being black on the way to the race, or haven’t the money to buy good shoes, all because this system, created by white people, made it so that their friends and family had an edge, starting out in Monopoly with hotels on boardwalk- using, or creating, race as this biologically determining thing that justified the slight difference in the die. When whiteness is marketed to be normal, sexy, you feel normal and sexy if you are white.
One day, a black woman, somehow, leaps over the hurdle. Somehow (see: insane effort) she overcomes the slanted board, and lands a job in an marketing firm. Her dress clothes, purchased with a lifetime of underpay, and, well, outright assault from people in the boardgame (yes, that motherfucker with the moustache) are quietly criticized by her new colleagues, as though she was born with them on, and that they had popped out of these bleach-clean- uteri in tailored Armani suits, Park Place umbilicals. Being blamed for being attacked is confusing, and she does say things, but it is difficult to tell if people are listening, as the fans in the office are often loud.
Later in that honeymoon week, that first week boot-camp-week, where the least powerful person is told to train you, and is glad to exert power over someone, her brother is shot in a convenience store.
Returning to work, she is described as ‘less than chipper’ in a cigarette-conversation that she will unfortunately overhear. It is not anything new. She seems more disappointed than affected. The response, from the other person- Water Works owner, to the Electric Company- is, let’s not pretend it’s a surprise.
She is a good worker – a great worker. She is more apt than some who have been there for years: When she gets the new position, above the person who trained her, guess who calls out reverse discrimination, while picking his nose.
Sometimes, in the office kitchen, something on the fridge reminds her of her brother.
The supervisor does not hate her, or he might not, or he might hate himself, or he might have been trained to hate her, or he might just really listen to television, or he might just want to feel some privilege, god damnit, when, in reality, everyone in the office, whether silver boot or boat playing piece, are all oppressed, just to different degrees: They are not members of the family who owns the oil company that owns the company that that owns the company that owns their company and a few others, as well as a significant portion of the hydroelectric power in their province, political influence, a Marvin Gardens here, Atlantic Avenue there. Shit, they’re just glad to say that they took a trip to Reading Railroad, unlike, uh, all those others.
Upper management- drunk with her blackness- ask for her, by request. Twice, her former supervisor is caught not passing on the message. She has become a conversation piece, something useful to market the company, or, well, just to talk about, something exotic, like the dog playing piece, Mr. Bam Bam.
One day, her supervisor is sent home.
In a meeting, later that day, the CEO’s eyes remind her of her brother. It is essential to remain composed in a meeting if you want to be considered professional, or masculine.
The owner of Boardwalk makes a rare appearance to the Christmas party.
Mid-speech, she asks her to come to the front, don’t be shy.
It’s probably better to omit some of the sketchiness of the ensuing speech, ending with: if she can make it, just think what you can achieve.
One day, her former supervisor pays a visit to her office. It was easy for him to pass security.
She is surprised that he remembered the number of her office.
You know, he says, it wasn’t easy for me either, to get here.
I have a college loan – and my grandfather, guess what?
He was Irish: Think about that.
Walking home, later that day, she chances to walk by the player who killed her brother. She is working to forgive him, to blame his anger on the nature of his situation in the game, a system that relies on his violence, that he did not have some vicious vendetta against her brother, his colour. She remembers the eyes of her brother. The person stops and gets out of his car, upon seeing her, not because he recognizes who she is. The person watches her approach on the sidewalk. She is working to forgive him. The person has a question prepared, and is eager to ask that question, to start a certain line of questioning. She turns, toward this ornate doorframe, coloured pink. The person looks up to read the writing in the art when she turns the handle.
word by Liam Lachance
colour by xomatoc
These views are the opinion of the author, and do not reflect the ideas of xomatoc.
The author should not be considered an authority on blackness, or an expert in dealing with oppression, because he looks like one of the people who invented Monopoly.
He wrote this piece to bring some awareness to ideas like “reverse racism” or “white people have it just as tough, too,” because he finds it embarrassing, however justified by being placed in the game, and told that you should work harder for the factory owners.
He does not hate anyone, besides maybe the person who drank his last beer last Friday, and thinks we should give people more credit, in order to understand everyone, break down our training on boardwalk, and treat people better, instead of profit.
This piece of writing is in no way meant to exhonerate any actions of violence taken against any person.