That Time I Almost Stabbed A Couple Rednecks Who Saw My Headwrap And Assumed I Was Muslim » VSB

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That Time I Almost Stabbed A Couple Rednecks Who Saw My Headwrap And Assumed I Was Muslim

Samantha Black

 

It came as a surprise to everyone when I graduated from one of the top private schools in the country and, instead of attending college like most of my classmates did, joined the military.

I was an immigrant — my family came to America from Jamaica when I was 10 — and female children of immigrants are often taught by their parents that your life path is limited to three options:

1. Have a business that makes a lot of money
2. Go to college for a job that makes a lot of money
3. Marry someone who makes a lot of money

Simple right? The army fit none of those criteria. But I disliked everything about schools. I hated the pretentious kids at my school, I hated the cardboard cutout curriculum, and I especially hated the canned food they reheated and sold for five to ten dollars per day.

My decision was especially was off putting to my family because of the type of people and situations they thought I would be around. I wasn’t the most sheltered person, but I was a bit more privileged than the typical 18-year-old who chooses to join the army. Going from nuns and affluent stay at home moms to drill sergeants not-all-that-much-different than the drill sergeant in Full Metal Jacket was a bit of a culture shock. But I handled it

I am now going on my 6th year in the military. When I left my first duty station in Alaska, I changed from active duty to reserves. After my active duty discharge, I started wearing headwraps. Whether it was the bright and beautiful colors of the different cloths, or the fact that my ears were never again cold, I loved them. I wear them everywhere. (Also, I have to say that the headwrap changes the way men approach me on the street. Instead of “hey redbone” or “hey bitch” its “hey beautiful nubian sista.” Which I know is super, duper problematic, but that’s another topic for another day.)

The only time I can’t and don’t wear them is with military uniforms. Not that I would want to in my new unit, which is located in backwoods West Virginia. I’m not going to say they fit every single stereotype up there but holy hell they sure do come pretty close. And something happened to me recently that exemplifies that. And the fallacy of us existing in a “post-racial’ America.

I was there for a weekend for drill. Once a month, we show up in uniform for a weekend and do a month’s work of work in two days. It was after hours so I was off duty and going to eat dinner at one of the local eateries. I was sitting down minding my business — literally not doing anything but staring at my phone rereading Fifty Shades of Grey because I’m a lonely woman — when I hear several grossly uncomfortable comments that made my skin literally crawl and urged my legs to move me to the exit.

“Why the fuck would she come around here knowing there are soldiers that frequent this area?”

“Check if she has a bag”

“I wonder if she would cry if I ripped it off her head?”

“Her father probably raped her, that’s why she’s shy”

I am by no means a passive, let people roll over me, let it slide, turn the cheek type of person. But ignorance is always palpable and around every corner in this area so I let it slide. I let it slide… until…. this slender “I would date a sixteen year old if she looked right” man and his “I am the sixteen year old that looks right” girl approach my table visibly intoxicated. They actually thought it was a good idea to speak. They either thought about this scenario a little too much or not enough because they strolled up to my table too jolly for my liking.

The skeleton man, with his potentially underage partner in slime in tow, came to me and spoke. What he said was laden with swear words, slurs, words that I can only guess about, and spittle. Lots and lots of spittle. Here’s my kosher and SFW translation:

It’s really disrespectful of you to wear that (points at my head wrap) around here. The troops are honorable and they don’t need constant reminders of why all their friends are dying. You need to take that off.

Now, the military has taught me several things that I value. Because of those harsh lessons, I carry a knife. More precisely, I carry a tactical knife. A benchmade 556 Griptillian. It’s sharp. It’s always concealed on my hip. By the time I heard their giggles and saw them swaying towards me, I had already grabbed Bessie (my knife) and had her in an ice pick grip with the edge out and the tip aggressively carving into the wood of table. It took them too long to notice, but I noticed when they had just begun to notice. The misguided young lady flexed her arm to reach towards me — not sure what the she was intending to do without getting her fingers sliced off — but I pulled the knife out of the table and flipped it around in my palm and pointed it at her. She was not as stupid as I thought because she stopped her advance.

What came next is the best and most accidentally craziest — and probably sexiest (to the right person) — thing I’ve ever said. To this day, I can still hear how low and scary it sounded to my own ears.

“If you, or your cousin-husband ever reach to grab my head wrap again, I’ll castrate him up to his neck and filet the skin off your thighs.

They blinked. I didn’t blink. They blinked again. I must have been a good liar. I can’t even cut a steak without crying about the dead cows and their families that wonder why they never came home that day.

I watched their retreat. Either deciding I was an actual threat or I wasn’t worth the trouble, they went outside to smoke. I tried to calm my shaking hands down. I paid my bill to an oblivious waitress who either didn’t care what was happening or just honestly didn’t see anything. (I’m going to keep my faith in humanity and say she didn’t see.)

As I’m leaving, I see them in the parking lot. I keep my head leveled to watch and make sure they don’t try anything dumb. But, alas, drunk people are dumb. They didn’t physically assault me. But verbally, they were adamant with their prejudice. I heard several things, including “troops” and “Muslim bitch.” I needed to put them out of their misery. I needed the satisfaction that came with my next move.

From the safety of the driver’s side of my car, I pulled my military ID out of my pocket and flashed it at Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.

“BITCH I AM THE TROOPS”

Samantha Black

Samantha moonlights as a feminist pterodactyl whose only pickup line is "you like bread, or nah?"

  • Diego Duarte

    Really tired of the intolerant christian BS. This is why you never, ever do things halfway. If Emperor Nero had taken the time to keep his lions properly fed we wouldn’t be having these problems.

  • grownandsexy2

    Yaaaaaas!!! Represent. “BEOTCH, I AM THE TROOPS”

  • Nathaly

    You’re my new favorite person.

    • Samantha Kellie-Ann Black

      Thank you! lol

  • Junegirl627

    I’m so angry, that i’m tearing up and I don’t want anyone to notice because I am not able to be a tolerable negro yet.

    I’m too busy feeling angry that this happened to you, but relieved that this happened to someone like you with your training and not somebody else. Because you can hurt them more than they can harm you. Then I remember this is inbred backwoods confederate flag land and if it had escalated they could kill you and we would read about the muslim ex military woman that died after joining IS IS because she hated america and tried to kill 2 innocent wy children before cops came and put 2,334,499,990,033 bullets in you.

    None of the racist garbage or the threats to your safety would be know. You would be a hashtag. Thank god your safe and survived.

    Thank you for your service to a place where the people hate you more than the place and people you were fighting.

    This reminds me of the stories of how blacks were forced to give up their seats to Na Zi P.O.W’s and stand in the transport vehicles.

    SMMFH.

    • grownandsexy2

      Or the black soldiers who were hung while still in uniform.

    • Diego Duarte

      “I am not able to be a tolerable negro yet.”

      You don’t need to be. Western society places an undue burden of compliance and restraint upon the backs of victims. And our eurocentric, judeo-christian values and principles try to force us to shun “negative” feelings such as anger and hatred.

      Anger is okay. Hatred is okay. They’re nothing more than your mind’s own natural and logical response to injustice. If you ever find yourself growing comfortable or accustomed to injustice then that’s when you know there’s something wrong with you, not otherwise.

      Stay angry, until this world decides that you matter, stay angry and rub its face in that mess.

      • Junegirl627

        When I use the term “tolerable negro” in reference to my demeanor in the workplace, I refer to the business profession behavior we are all (regardless of race and personal feeling about anything outside of work) Because as a 5 foot 8 size 14 Black woman who works in a department full of 5 foot 2 size 4 white women my anger is considered intimidating.

        • RaeRae

          I’m 5’3″ size 4 and my anger is still intimidating. A coworker must have bumped her head really hard one morning because she reached out to touch my natural (she said she wanted to see what it felt like). Soooooo after her hand was met with a hard grip, she had the nerve to act like her feelings were hurt. **womp womp**

          • Mochasister

            I hoped you squeezed her wrist. Hard. I am beyond tired of them thinking that ish is ok. It is 2016 not 1816. We are not slaves on the auction block. Our bodies are private and our own.

            • RaeRae

              Real hard!!

              • Mochasister

                Atta girl! Maybe she’ll think twice before touching another Black woman’s hair.

          • Blueberry01

            So no one actually waits for an affirmative response before actually doing something?

        • badphairy

          I’m 4’10” size 8 and they all scairt of me. They should be.

          • Blueberry01

            Rep yo sizes, VSSs!

        • Blueberry01

          They may be lowkey jealous of your curves..

        • Diego Duarte

          My condolences. I gave up trying to be tolerable long ago. Ever since I turned 22 I’ve been pushing it and talking about whooping jerks with a belt, throwing intolerant christians to the lions (Nero style), rolling out guillotines into the street, and every single crazy nonsense that comes into my head.

          Back when I was doing my internship in my first firm I would loudly start my sentences with “when the revolution comes” (and my boss’s office was right next door to the kitchenette). When my superiors would ask for my opinion on any economic matter, or gripe about people wanting higher wages I’d answer with “consider minimum wage as some sort of guillotine-insurance”. After I left for greener pastures they explicitly implemented psychological tests for new applicants.

          Of course, this is a luxury I can afford because I’m a man. And when a man talks of revolution and clapbacks or sasses his boss with that kind of talk, he’s just assumed to be the “funny guy”. I can’t imagine having to keep all that pent up anger and still be “tolerable”. Don’t know if this will work, but maybe try saying insane, aggressive sht with a friendly smile. If anything, the “she’s crazy” vibe will keep them from messing with you.

          It’s like I always tell people when they ask why I’m so “crazy”:

          Sometimes insanity is the only thing keeping you sane.

        • grownandsexy2

          They’re intimidated when you’re not angry. Even some of the men as I found out in the not too long ago.

      • Blueberry01

        “If you ever find yourself growing comfortable or accustomed to injustice then that’s when you know there’s something wrong with you, not otherwise.”

        #Verdad

        “Stay angry, until this world decides that you matter”

        #MasVerdad

      • mahajohn

        I can intellectually grasp what you’re talking about, that the Dominator culture expects the sorrows of the subaltern be expressed in only benign ways, which is entirely unreasonable. I used to feel that way, growing up in the Dominator culture, probably until I had my mind opened ever so slightly by the artistry of John Trudell.
        I openly concede that the anger/hatred you or anyone else experiences is natural and reasonable.

        However, there is a related fact that I hope people recognize: the people who comprise the Dominator culture are completely indifferent to your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, or desires, and there’s no reason that any person should expect anything other than their complete and utter indifference. There is no motivation for the Dominators to feel anything BUT indifference, unless it’s practically expedient to see it. You will *never* get the Dominators to see your point of view, to care about your plight, never ever ever. Maybe this angers you even more. It doesn’t matter. Not until the Dominated take actions that gain them real and increased political and financial power will the status quo be fundamentally altered, and even then, mental attitudes won’t shift, only the balance of power. Folks just need to be in a position akin to that of the Dominators, where what the Other thinks, feels, or desires is no longer a practical concern.

        Remember, ethics are worthless. Might = Right.

        • grownandsexy2

          So much truth here. And trust and believe most of us know the dominant culture is indifferent to our pain. White attorney in office asked how he could “help” to end racism. But I knew in my heart it was just bluster. He just hunkered down and did what a lot of whites do. He denied, dismissed and deflected. He wanted me to listen and commiserate with him when his son was robbed by some black guys near campus. If you can’t feel my pain, then I can’t feel yours.

          • mahajohn

            It’s also not a matter of feeling others pain. We need to know how to see through the eyes of our enemies, whomever they may be. You don’t have to feel their feelings, but to know their feelings is important, or you’ll never understand what you’re up against. For instance, you need to intellectually know what’s like for a White person who doesn’t know many Black people well as friends, to have had every single violent incident in their lives be at the hands of a Black male, or because they’ve been programmed by media/entertainment, to understand why the bias exists in your enemies’ minds.

            • grownandsexy2

              I understand what you’re saying, but even if they’ve never had a single violent incident happen to them in their lives at the hands of a black man, the media does a pretty stellar job of denigrating black men and women. Much of what we learn is passed down around the breakfast table, friends, family, and the media. Even whites who know black people well are at risk.

              When Ferguson was going down, this same attorney said he didn’t understand people burning down their neighborhood. As if Ferguson was one single incident in the lives of these people. I gave him a lesson that day.

          • Mochasister

            I hate that I am becoming more indifferent to them, their problems, and their pain. I am polite almost to the point of being rude. If one of them says something to me in public, I answer the person and then make it painfully obvious that I don’t want to talk to him or her. I feel like this is the wrong attitude as a Christian for me to have.

            • grownandsexy2

              “I hate that I am becoming more indifferent to them, their problems, and their pain.”

              I’m sorry I don’t share your sentiments. I’m petty like that. Glad I’m not a Christian so I don’t have to grapple with those feelings.

          • Mochasister

            And we all know damn well he was not really interested in “ending” racism. I don’t know why wypipo keep trying to get everyone to believe that they really want everyone to be on the same playing ground. They can miss me with that “colorblind” crap and “there’s only one race the human race” business too. Wypipo want everyone to shut up about racism, sit down, sing a little song for them, dance a little jig, and stop reminding them of the past so that they don’t have to consider that maybe they have a history of receiving unmerited benefits at the expense of others.

            • grownandsexy2

              I already knew what he was going to say before he said it cause they all talk the same ish. After I introduced him to one of the quotes of James Baldwin, he mumbled under his breath, barely audible, something about having babies out of wedlock, Chicago crime and how I (the only black face at the table) shouldn’t have been offended when one of the partners said, “Imagine those students at Mizzou, making the President step down.” What? Is it too much to ask that students of color attending PWIs not be racially harassed? That the President has an obligation to all the tuition paying students and not just the ones that share his skin color. If he’s not doing his job, then he should step down. I shouldn’t have been offended because this partner offends everyone is what he said. He totally dismissed my feelings, but he wants to help and wants me to feel sorry for his son who was robbed. When hayle freezes over!

              He doesn’t stop by when black men are slaughtered. So predictable. If he really wants to help, sometimes just listen. Next time he stops by my office with his crap, I’m going to tell him it’s not a good idea to have these conversations cause I hold onto stuff longer than I should and some days I’m a heartbeat away from exploding.

            • Kim Kacer

              He probably wanted ‘validation’ for having feelings adverse to the alleged attackers… if he could get a p.o.c. to agree his feelings were ‘ok’ then he wasn’t really a bigot… he’s a bigot, just bigot light… maybe…

    • Kim Kacer

      Please do not ever become a … as you put it. “tolerable Negro”. Not that it matters, but I am white. I have dumbassed ‘kin’ in WV…(and, frankly, in Ohio and VA… so :/… ) and I agree w/ everything you said in your post above except… I’m just fine w/ your not being tolerant of stupid, rude, racist, ignorant wastes of air like the 2 pitiful f*ckwad drunkards in the story. Just sayin’.

  • Karine1976

    The urban meets backwoods sequel to Deliverance :D

  • Dougie

    First off – Thank you for your service

    Secondly – I have these fears all the time irrationally. I live in the most liberal and diverse place in the country, but I still cant even imagine. You’re a brave soul who handled it well.

  • Rastaman

    She forgot to include the “Bombo ras claat”!!

    • Samantha Kellie-Ann Black

      Chuh man, a chu yuh nuh kno man!

  • Damon Banner

    “”If you, or your cousin-husband ever reach to grab my head wrap again, I’ll castrate him up to his neck and filet the skin off your thighs.”

    that was sexy.

    • It was tho.

    • Darkrose

      It totally was.

    • Samantha Kellie-Ann Black

      I’ve been known to be accidentally sexy.

  • Brooklyn_Bruin

    Family, please re-read this post from the eyes of the oppressor.

    And make the appropriate edits as this went to press way too soon

  • TJ

    I hate that you experienced this. I’ve only been to WV once to go whitewater rafting, but I totally see this as norm.

    The sad thing is, you could’ve worn a “BITCH I AM THE TROOPS” t-shirt, and it probably wouldn’t alter your experience much. It would now be, “They letting the Blacks and the Muslims in our military now?”

    I HATE when wypipo claim that acts of resistance is disrespectful to our military, but treat our brown, queer, female and non-Christian military members like crap. You’re a selective patriot and should get stabbed.

    I’ve been wearing head wraps more that I’ve big chopped and returned natural, I already know folks is uncomfortable. I know they shook in Trader Joes when I’m feeling on avocados.

    Anywho, thank you for your service!

    • Yaz

      Sidenote..

      I just wanna note that I appreciate your use of the phrase “returned natural” as opposed to “went” natural

    • Blueberry01

      “I know they shook in Trader Joes when I’m feeling on avocados.”

      Girl, anytime black people are in TJ, they get shook.

      • Gibbous

        Nobody in my TJs gets shook. I feel like I want to go to somebody elses just because “shook” sounds like it’d be fun to see.

        • Blueberry01

          LOL!

        • Blueberry01

          Come up further north.

          They’re too nice down there in NC…lol.

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