ALVIN S. SIMPLETON ASKS WILL RACE PLAY A PART IN THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

We were sitting around talking about nothing in particular when our missing club member, Jabo, pimp-walked into the barbershop.

“We won, baby, we won,” he smilingly announced.

Alvin, slouching in his barber chair, sat up. “Okay, Jabo, cut the jive. We won what?”

“No, no, not you Alvin,” replied Jabo, “we Obamamanics.”

“Obama which,” asked Leroy.

“I think what Jabo is trying to say in his roundabout way is that Obama is the presumptive democratic presidential nominee. The we are those of us who were for him.” I looked at Alvin.

“Look, you jive-time loafers, youall got to lay off Hillary now that she lost. Man, the poor sister got enough troubles. Youall better think bout Obama being the first Black president.” Alvin pushed forward in his chair.

Leroy quickly leaped into the conversation again. “Hey, he ain’t the first Black president.” We looked at him like he was crazy.

“Leroy” Alvin turned to him, “as your grandma would say ‘have you done lost your senses?’ When did we have a Black president?”

“Clinton, Bill Clinton. Youall member when that writer called him our first Black president.” Leroy looked puzzle.

“Leroy,” I said, “he’s white.”

“Oh, I thought she meant he was a mulatto.” No body bothered to reply to that.

“Look, guys,” I tried to reason with them about the label ‘Black president,’ “how come he got to be the Black president, huh. How come he can’t be just plain the president.”

Jabo spoke this time. “man, what the H are you talkin bout? Last time I saw his picture he was Black, anyway, what the White folks call Black cause his skin dark. And he gonna be President of the United States of America.”

“How come youall all the time got to bring race into it. Man, we done got beyond that,” I said.

Alvin started making his hand gestures, and we knew he was about to say something he considered very profound or as he would say heavy. “Now he Black enough for all of you Black folks who thought he wasn’t ‘fore he beat Sister Clinton. Now the White folks think he ain’t white enough. Hey, his mama was white, and his daddy was black, so take your pick. Dude can’t win for losing.”

“I pity poor Obama and his pretty wife,” said Leroy.

“Leroy, there you go again coming from left field,” Alvin said, “man, what you talkin bout.”

“I’m talkin bout race. This is America, and you’ll know they ain’t no way race ain’t gon be in the election. No sir, no way, no how. You’ll know I’m right. That mean Obama and his wife in for a big disappointment cause they just might lose.” Self-satisfied he made his point, Leroy reared back in his chair with a smug look on his face.

We all looked at each other and with head shakes agreed he was probably right.

Alvin got the last word: “Now youall listen to what I’m bout to tell you. I’m bout to school you fools. Them folks who say they would vote for a Black man for president, they lyin’. When they in the votin’ booth, they vote against Black. You can deposit what I’m tellin’ you in the bank and get interest. Youall know I’m right. I’m with Leroy on this one. Obama just might lose cause he Black.”

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