Inspired by this Tumblr post: knowaczerny.tumblr.com/post/15…
“Nursey, what the hell man, it’s like three am,” Dex whined as Nursey flipped on the light in the Haus livingroom (Dex had been crashing there to help Chowder study). It was a Saturday night, and Dex really did not want to deal with Nursey’s slam poetry angst, or whatever he was going to rant about today.
“First off, it’s eleven. Second, we’ve been putting off a talk we really need to have.”
Dex sat up at this, and rubbed the sleep from his eyes. His blue sweatshirt was wrinkled. “What’s up?”
“Look, this has been bothering me for months. Please do not get defensive, but I need to talk to you about your white privilege. Before you say anything, I understand that being poor is a sucky thing to go through. I know I have a monetary privilege over you, and I respect that. Trust me, I am not saying I have not had an easier life monetarily. But you always seem to forget that, unlike you, I am biracial. I am not white, and that’s a scary thing, Dex. It really is--”
“Please let me finish. I need to explain this so you can understand where I am coming from when I get frustrated okay?
“My mama checks the news every night to make sure my name is not listed as a hate crime victim. My father is a black man. He gets stares anytime he goes into a gas station for a candy bar. He can’t get a damn candy bar without people thinking he’s dangerous.
“As for me I was bullied a lot, Dex. For my skin, for my hair, for my accent and way of talking. Things I couldn’t control. That’s when I started writing poetry, when all the anger just couldn’t be sealed anymore. It helped, a little. But one day I was cornered after school. These big white boys beat me so bad I couldn’t move. My mama came to the school to pick me up and found me there. She found me covered in my own blood, Dex. I was helpless. I was, I was eight at the time. So she put me in hockey to help me get stronger.
“So I played, bulked up a bit, and could protect myself. Mostly, anyway. My mama was finally starting to feel like I could start to do things on my own again. Luckily nothing quite that bad has happened since then, but I am afraid it will. I am so, so afraid.
“I am scared whenever I see a cop. I have to put my head down and hope he doesn’t notice me. I am constantly afraid that one day I will be killed by a cop for doing nothing. Dex, you don’t have to deal with this. You don’t have to worry about the cops upholding your rights, or have to feel fear whenever anyone looks at you funny. You don’t have to live in the constant fear of death, and I do,” Nursey turned away and bit his lip harshly. He was not going to cry in front of Dex.
“That’s not even to mention that my mama’s muslim, and is constantly being turned away service. People think she’s a terrorist, and that’s scary, because I keep thinking that my mama’s going to get killed by some damn Trump supporter with one too many guns.
“But this in no way undermines the fact that you don’t come from a family of money. You’ve had your struggles, but I really hope you can see where I was coming from in the past now,” Nursey finishes and turns toward Dex, whose eyes are as wide as saucers.
“Nursey,” Dex began, “I really had no idea. I really hope you didn’t think that I was in anyway trying to be racist, it’s just,” Dex trailed off not knowing how to put how he was feeling into words.
“Growing up in a small suburban town filled with nothing but white people you don’t really think about race? Where I come from all that mattered was money, and I guess that I didn’t really think too much about race coming here either. Like now I see that your struggles were hard, but back then I just thought money equaled happiness and privilege. Nurse, I just, I’m sorry. I really am, for what I said. For, for being ignorant. For making you feel like you weren’t safe. We’re D-men, we have to have each other’s backs, and I hope you know if anyone ever makes a racist remark to you I will not hesitate to jump in and stop them.”
Nursey’s eyes let the unshed tears fall down his cheeks in slow rivers. No one had ever said that to him. No one had ever told him anything like that before. No one promised to protect him from other people, and it made Nursey’s heart flutter just a bit. Nursey let out a strangled sigh, and Dex pulled him into a hug.
“I know I can never understand what you’re going through, but by god Nursey I am going to try and help you. Let me into your head every now and then, okay? I like this better than fighting.”
“Me too, Dex. I really like this better than fighting.” They fell asleep like that, on the disgusting vomit-green couch, in each other’s arms.