🚨Real Talk Warning 🚨

It's late night, and after a day of shooting shots, maybe I should actually explain to all of you who I am. And why I battle so hard.

I'm a 35 year old cis black male. And I grew up in a few of the whitest suburbs in the Midwest.
I was in 3rd Grade the first time someone called me Nigger. It was also in 3rd grade that we had to read The Whipping Boy.

Guess who had to read the Whipping Boy parts?

I was nicknamed The Whipping Boy for the rest of the year.
That same 3rd teacher tried to have me pulled from her class as well. Because she was worried I wouldn't be able to "keep up with the other kids"

Of course, I had no idea this was going on. I just saw my mom HOT one day. And the next day Ms. Everett was REAL nice
In 5th grade after gym, in the locker room, a racist kid tried to jump me.

And the rest of my classmates did nothing.

I fended the dude off, but that was the first time I realized how alone you would be in the midst of pale faces. The kindness ends at taking action.
My high school Vice-Principal spent the last three years of my high school life, trying to get me expelled.

He acted like I was a predator. Why? Cause I was dating white girls.

He made sure to remind me he had daughters. And often thought about their health.
He almost got me my junior year.

A kid flipped a tray of food on me. I stood up and threatened to whoop his ass. But didn't. Didn't even touch him. Just gave him that side eye.

3 days suspension. With 3 days left in the school year...
When I was 16 my family found out my uncle had been killed.

By the police.

Shot 16 times.

They said he had a gun.

He didn't.

He was a Vietnam vet. But vet status only goes so far when you're black.
Also when I was 16, I got pulled over one time with my friends.

The cops pulled me aside and checked me vigorously for several minutes.

It was only afterward, when my white friend said, "Dude...I think they molested you..."

That I realized what that sick feeling was.
Maybe I was steeled by then. Because some kids tried to jump me when I was 15.

I had been doing martial arts by then. I was ready.

Pretty sure that kids nose is still crooked.

But you can't pull punches when three teenage kids surround you. It's life or death. Your death.
There's more. There's always more. Probably every PoC you know has stories like this. Some even worse.

In reality, I was lucky. Despite all those things, I can say I got the pleasant end of things.

I don't say these things for sympathy, no.
I want everyone to understand that when I write, it's not just for funsies. I've lived a life with experiences I don't want others to have to endure.

I'm building a world that will hopefully push ours toward one that doesn't have that shit. Fiction serves as the vessel.
And above else, I need you to know where my Fury and Drive comes from. I know what awaits black men who don't make it. There is no bottom to that barrel.

It's dark and full of terrors.

I HAVE to succeed. And work 3x harder to get it.
Which, I will. Swordsfall is proof of that. But I won't gloss over the things I've seen, and what I know of society.

I won't be a silent participant in anything that makes someone else's life a horror. Nor will I associate with anyone that does.
I didn't write an Afropunk world with badass women and inclusion because I'm apolitical.

I did it because THIS is how I know how to fight. Through words. Through the imagination.

And my experiences are what drives it.

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