Friday, January 11, 2019

Senator Barack Obama makes speech about immigration reform on Senate floor in 2006

April 3, 2006, Floor Statement of Senator Barack Obama

Senator Barack Obama

Mr. President, I come to the floor today to enter the debate on comprehensive immigration reform. It is a debate that will touch on the basic questions of morality, the law, and what it means to be an American I know that this debate evokes strong passions on all sides. The recent peaceful but passionate protests that we saw all across the country--500,000 in Los Angeles and 100,000 in my hometown of Chicago--are a testament to this fact, as are the concerns of millions of Americans about the security of our borders.
But I believe we can work together to pass immigration reform in a way that unites the people in this country, not in a way that divides us by playing on our worst instincts and fears. Like millions of Americans, the immigrant story is also my story. My father came here from Kenya, and I represent a State where vibrant immigrant communities ranging from Mexican to Polish to Irish enrich our cities and neighborhoods. So I understand the allure of freedom and opportunity that fuels the dream of a life in the United States. But I also understand the need to fix a broken system.
When Congress last addressed this issue comprehensively in 1986, there were approximately 4 million illegal immigrants living in the United States. That number had grown substantially when Congress again addressed the issue in 1996. Today, it is estimated that there are more than 11 million undocumented aliens living in our country. 
The American people are a welcoming and generous people. But those who enter our country illegally, and those who employ them, disrespect the rule of law. And because we live in an age where terrorists are challenging our borders, we simply cannot allow people to pour into the United States undetected, undocumented, and unchecked. Americans are right to demand better border security and better enforcement of the immigration laws. The bill the Judiciary Committee has passed would clearly strengthen enforcement. I will repeat that, because those arguing against the Judiciary Committee bill contrast that bill with a strong enforcement bill. The bill the Judiciary Committee passed clearly strengthens enforcement.
To begin with, the agencies charged with border security would receive new technology, new facilities, and more people to stop, process, and deport illegal immigrants. But while security might start at our borders, it doesn't end there. Millions of undocumented immigrants live and work here without our knowing their identity or their background. We need to strike a workable bargain with them. They have to acknowledge that breaking our immigration laws was wrong. They must pay a penalty, and abide by all of our laws going forward. They must earn the right to stay over a 6-year period, and then they must wait another 5 years as legal permanent residents before they become citizens.
But in exchange for accepting those penalties, we must allow undocumented immigrants to come out of the shadows and step on a path toward full participation in our society. In fact, I will not support any bill that does not provide this earned path to citizenship for the undocumented population--not just for humanitarian reasons; not just because these people, having broken the law, did so for the best of motives, to try and provide a better life for their children and their grandchildren; but also because this is the only practical way we can get a handle on the population that is within our borders right now.
To keep from having to go through this difficult process again in the future, we must also replace the flow of undocumented immigrants coming to work here with a new flow of guestworkers. Illegal immigration is bad for illegal immigrants and bad for the workers against whom they compete. Replacing the flood of illegals with a regulated stream of legal immigrants who enter the United States after background checks and who are provided labor rights would enhance our security, raise wages, and improve working conditions for all Americans. But I fully appreciate that we cannot create a new guestworker program without making it as close to impossible as we can for illegal workers to find employment. We do not need new guestworkers plus future undocumented immigrants. We need guestworkers instead of undocumented immigrants.
Toward that end, American employers need to take responsibility. Too often illegal immigrants are lured here with a promise of a job, only to receive unconscionably low wages. In the interest of cheap labor, unscrupulous employers look the other way when employees provide fraudulent U.S. citizenship documents. Some actually call and place orders for undocumented workers because they don't want to pay minimum wages to American workers in surrounding communities. These acts hurt both American workers and immigrants whose sole aim is to work hard and get ahead. That is why we need a simple, foolproof, and mandatory mechanism for all employers to check the legal status of new hires. Such a mechanism is in the Judiciary Committee bill.
And before any guestworker is hired, the job must be made available to Americans at a decent wage with benefits. Employers then need to show that there are no Americans to take these jobs. I am not willing to take it on faith that there are jobs that Americans will not take. There has to be a showing. If this guestworker program is to succeed, it must be properly calibrated to make certain that these are jobs that cannot be filled by Americans, or that the guestworkers provide particular skills we can't find in this country.
I know that dealing with the undocumented population is difficult, for practical and political reasons. But we simply cannot claim to have dealt with the problems of illegal immigration if we ignore the illegal resident population or pretend they will leave voluntarily. Some of the proposed ideas in Congress provide a temporary legal status and call for deportation, but fail to answer how the government would deport 11 million people. I don't know how it would be done. I don't know how we would line up all the buses and trains and airplanes and send 11 million people back to their countries of origin. I don't know why it is that we expect they would voluntarily leave after having taken the risk of coming to this country without proper documentation.
I don't know many police officers across the country who would go along with the bill that came out of the House, a bill that would, if enacted, charge undocumented immigrants with felonies, and arrest priests who are providing meals to hungry immigrants, or people who are running shelters for women who have been subject to domestic abuse. I cannot imagine that we would be serious about making illegal immigrants into felons, and going after those who would aid such persons.
That approach is not serious. That is symbolism that is demagoguery. It is important that if we are going to deal with this problem, we deal with it in a practical, commonsense way. If temporary legal status is granted but the policy says these immigrants are never good enough to become Americans, then the policy that makes little sense. I believe successful, comprehensive immigration reform can be achieved by building on the work of the Judiciary Committee. The Judiciary Committee bill combines some of the strongest elements of Senator Hagel's border security proposals with the realistic workplace and earned-citizenship program proposed by Senators McCain and Kennedy.
Mr. President, I will come to the floor over the next week to offer some amendments of my own, and to support amendments my colleagues will offer. I will also come to the floor to argue against amendments that contradict our tradition as a nation of immigrants and as a nation of laws. As FDR reminded the Nation at the 50th anniversary of the dedication of the Statue of Liberty, those who landed at Ellis Island "were the men and women who had the supreme courage to strike out for themselves, to abandon language and relatives, to start at the bottom without influence, without money, and without knowledge of life in a very young civilization.''
It behooves us to remember that not every single immigrant who came into the United States through Ellis Island had proper documentation. Not every one of our grandparents or great-grandparents would have necessarily qualified for legal immigration. But they came here in search of a dream, in search of hope. Americans understand that, and they are willing to give an opportunity to those who are already here, as long as we get serious about making sure that our borders actually mean something.
Today's immigrants seek to follow in the same tradition of immigration that has built this country. We do ourselves and them a disservice if we do not recognize the contributions of these individuals. And we fail to protect our Nation if we do not regain control over our immigration system immediately.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Laura Jean Ockletree Floyd, 10/6/1960-11/12/2018

Family Genealogy 

Her Hand
by Maggie Pittman

Her hands held me gently from the day I took my first breath,
Her hands help to guide me as I took my first step,
Her hands held me close when tears would start to fall,
Her hands were quick to show me that she would take care of all.
A Family Tribute to Laura Jean Ockletree Floyd

 by Dorothy Charles Banks

Laura Jean Ockletree Floyd
Laura Jean Ockletree was the first daughter born to Marie Ockletree. The special bond between mother and child commenced the day Laura came into the world one early morning October 6, 1960. Marie recalls her joy at becoming a mother. The tiny baby that she held in her arms was her precious pride and joy. 

Marie recalls that her baby girl taught her how to be a mother; how to be responsible at 18. She had the hands and love filled heart to guide and push her child through her teenage years, through womanhood; eventually watching her experience marriage and motherhood. 

When Laura and J.D. Floyd got married two children were born from that union: Jonathan and Whitney, her first born daughter.

It goes without saying that first born sons and daughters are stealers of their parents’ hearts. No other child in the world is cuter or smarter. Even though Laura gave birth to a daughter, when she adopted her six months old niece, it was like giving birth to another daughter. That’s how tightly she embraced the baby girl born to her sister Everea. 

Sharita Ockletree was born with multiple problems, but Laura did not see a baby that was less than a perfect. Love ruled. Laura’s love was not going to let this fragile baby girl get entangled in a state system that would have stifled her life, and her growth. The bond between these two was unbreakable. They were each other’s world.

The Bible tells us that our days are numbered. They are few and full of trouble. We enter the world like a flower and then fade away, says the Bible. Those numbered days begin at conception. Death is the dreaded enemy that stepped forward when Laura’s number was posted on God’s bulletin board. Death, despite being a part of life, has the power to snatch all joy and happiness in the blink of an eye. 

Just like Marie vividly remembers the day Laura was born, she remembers the day Laura was taken from her, a mere 37 days after her 58th birthday. Marie’s protecting hands could not grab Laura out of death’s jaws. Whether it was intuition or God preparing for a death in the family, Marie began having dreams about Laura. Her self-analysis of the dreams were troubling. She prayed and talked to God, asking him to take her, “not my child.” As a mother she was ready to exchange her number for Laura’s. Parents tend to reason that their children should bury them, not the other way around. After Laura’s death Marie’s dreams stopped.

“On the day I learned of her death, all I could say is, ‘No! No! No, not my baby!’ When I saw her lying on the floor, not moving and cold, I had a feeling of disbelief. When the coroner put her on the gurney, they let us say our last good-bye. I couldn’t accept her death. I still haven’t.”

Following the usual holiday routine, Laura planned on going to Marie’s house for Thanksgiving. Because Marie is the better cook everyone gathered to her house. Together,
mother and daughter were going to cook a Thanksgiving feast. Laura had already decided that she was going to make potato salad. 

Sadly, Laura had another unforeseen date that she had to keep; a date that was planned in advance long, long ago. On November 12, 2018 she departed this earth, sealing her predetermined destiny. 

Although Laura has traveled “up yonder” to meet her Lord, memories of her spirit will live on through family and friends, many of whom spoke glowingly of her at the funeral. Her sons recalled memories of their mother, paying emotional tributes; acquaintances recalled the friend who was always ready to help them when they needed it. Laura's former pastor recalled her determination and drive to increase the church’s membership, which she did. Her mother Marie is already missing the daily phone calls and conversations. Despite of her physical loss she still have years of memories to hang onto.

Whitney and Laura

Replica of funeral program

In Loving Memory of

Laura Jean Ockletree Floyd

Sunrise   October 6, 1960                  Sunset  November 12, 2018

For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. Sot then, whether 
we live or die, we are the Lord's. Romans 14:8

Saturday, November 17, 2018

12:00 PM

King Tears Mortuary Chapel

1300 East 12th Street    Austin, Texas 78702

Officiant             Rev. Robert Paul Jacks


Laura Jean Ockletree Floyd was born October 6, 1960 to Marie Ockletree and Dave Ockletree, Austin, Texas. Laura passed away on November 12, 2018. Laura had a heart 
of gold and was loved by everyone. Her grandsons adored their "Mamaw" immensely. 
She touched many lives  and will be sorely missed.

Laura leaves to cherish her memory three sons, Christopher Ockletree, Quincy Ockletree and Jonathan Floyd; two daughters, Whitney Floyd (Clinton Kerr) and Sharita Ockletree, 
all of whom resides in Austin, Texas; mother, Marie Ockletree of Austin, Texas; father 
Dave Ockletree, Jr. (Billie) of Temple, Texas; two sisters, Everea Wilkins of Temple, 
Texas and Sandra Elaine Ockletree of Round Rock, Texas; two brothers Dave A. 
Ockletree (Latoya) of Vidalia, Georgia and Erick Adams (Khasi) of Temple, Texas; grandsons, Caleb Kerr, Clinton Kerr, Jr., Aniyah Ockletree, Masiah Ockletree; nieces Shanna Castelan and Shametra Ockletree-Horton (Allen) and a host of nieces, nephews and friends.

Order of Service

Processional                                                                         Clergy, Casket, Bearers and Family
Scripture Reading                                                                              Rev. Robert Paul Jacks
Prayer                                                                                                  Rev. Robert Paul Jacks
A Family Tribute                                                                                        Quincy Ockletree
Remarks                                                                                            Please limit to 2 minutes
Musical Selection                                                                          "His Eye is on the Sparrow"
Eulogy                                                                                                   Rev. Robert Paul Jacks


"Goin' Up Yonder"

Casket Bearers

Christopher Ockletree                                                                  Quincy Ockletee
               Drailand Bell                                                                                  Jose Castelan
 A.G. Green                                                                                      Fontae Ockletree

Honorary Casket Bearers

Caleb Kerr                                                         Clinton "C.J." Kerr
Eric Moran                                                        Clinton Kerr

Family Acknowledge

Our family extends our sincere appreciation for the heartfelt condolences and prayers extended to us. Our hearts have been warmed by your expressions of love and concern.


Cooks-Walden Capital Parks
14501 N IH-35
  Pflugerville, Texas

Friday, November 2, 2018

Salute the flag, sing the national anthem, stop complaining, and appreciate our kindness

The American flag

The Star Spangled Banner

Oh, say, can you see by the dawns early light,
What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro' the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watch'd, were so gallantly streaming?

And the star spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

A path was chosen for White folks by White males who controlled all seats of power in the 
U. S. government. From the start, Africans did not choose their path in life. It was chosen for them by a White dominated government, and local KKK terrorists, especially in southern states. Blacks are expected to follow the rules, and not deviate from their designated path without permission from White people.

Whenever African Americans depart from their chosen path, rightfully protesting against injustices and discrimination piled on their backs like sacks of cotton 24/7, White folks tend to write them off as a societal nuance. Collectively. They have no reason to complain or be angry, they say. Black folks cannot conceal who they are. They have to prepare for whatever troubles that comes their way. They are easy targets. Their skin tones greatly depreciates their value, their right to respect, and their humanness.

Nat Turner, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Black Lives Matter, Congressman John Lewis, Medgar Evers, Rosa Parks, Rev. Al Sharpton, and thousands more civil rights activists carry on their backs cotton sacks filled with mistreatment of African Americans. The desire for basic human rights goes all the way back to slavery, a time when helpless Africans in a strange land could not protest the inhospitable environment they were thrown into.

Black insurrectionists like Nat Turner understood this unnatural ownership of another human being. Called the “Nat Turner Rebellion” by historians and writers, Nat Turner was a slave, who in 1831, led a short insurrection against slave owners in South Hampton County, Virginia. Supposedly he and a number of slaves killed over 50 Whites in the county. Turner’s co-conspirators were caught and hanged. Turner managed to escape, but was caught and hanged. Turner’s deadly rebellion began with him killing his slave master and his wife. Turner deviated from his assigned path in a society that did not want him; would not accept him.

Now is not the right time

White folks have always talked with twisted tongues in reference to African Americans. Politicians said of the civil rights movement, “Now is not the right time.” Civil right activists were told that Black folks need to wait. They need to be patient. They would get their freedom at the right time. Had King listened to this bullshit Black folks would still be patiently waiting for freedom to wander into their neighborhoods, inviting them to register and vote. Civil rights would have remained packaged, sealed, and undelivered.
Jesse Jackson was told when he decided to run for president, “Now is not the right time”. He asked: “If not now, when”? Jackson ran for president in 1984 and 1988.  White folks rejected Jackson because of his skin color; marching for civil rights. They called him a race baiter and a race hustler. They said even worse things about Al Sharpton when he ran for president.
Black and White politicians told Senator Barack Obama “now is not the right time” for a Black man to run for president of the United States. They felt he did not have a chance to win. It was best that he step aside and let one of his White opponents claim the prize. On the other hands, the time was certainly right for African Americans to get shot to death, harassed, stopped and frisked, and beat by White cops.
Martin Luther King said: “The daily life of the Negro is still lived in the basement of the Great Society. He is still at the bottom despite the few who have penetrated to slightly higher levels. Even where the door has been forced partially open, mobility for the Negro is still sharply restricted. There is often no bottom at which to start, and when there is, there is almost always no room at the top”.

Attempted banning of freed slaves

With the election of Donald Trump as president of the U.S., racism, and white supremacy have been repopularized. Calling cops on Black men, women and children is also common again, like during the era of “Black Codes”, created to keep newly emancipated slaves in their place.
Today, African Americans who have greatly veered from their designated path, can live in any section of town they can afford. But Whites cannot accept them invading “their” segregated, peaceful suburbs, no matter how famous or wealthy. Blacks moving into these upscale neighborhoods destroys all of those perpetrated myths. For instance: Black folks are on welfare, their children are fatherless, they are drug addicts and thieves, lazy, irresponsible, uneducated, and unemployed by choice.  They have no ambition to achieve.
Noted race baiter Republican Pat Buchanan says Black folks are not grateful enough to White folks. He wrote in 2008: “First, America has been the best country on earth for black folks. . . .600,000 black people brought here from Africa in slave ships, grew into a community of 10 million, were introduced to Christian salvation, and reached the greatest levels of freedom and prosperity blacks have ever known.
“Second, no people anywhere has done more to lift up blacks than white Americans. Untold millions have been spent since the ‘60s on welfare, food stamps, rent supplements, Section 8 housing, Pell grants, student loans, legal services, Medicaid, Earned Income Tax Credits, and poverty programs designed to bring the African American community into the mainstream. We hear the grievance. Where is the gratitude”?
Centuries earlier the newly elected governor of California, Peter Burnett, was more profound that Buchanan. The state’s first governor wanted California to be an all-White state. He did not want free Blacks coming to California, messing up his dream, colorizing his state. 
He said, addressing legislators: “It could be no favor and no kindness, to permit [free blacks] to settle in the state; while it would be a most serious injury to us. . . . Had they been born here, and had acquired rights in consequence, I should not recommend any measures to expel them . . . the object is to keep them out”.
According to the History Channel, Burnett was not alone in “his vision of a California that banned Black people. Throughout the 1840s and 1850s, California citizens and legislators fought to insure that free Black people would be prohibited from immigrating to or living in California. And though their efforts eventually failed, they reflected this fear and racism faced by Black people in the American West”.
Newly emancipated slaves had to carry on their backs the burdens of rejection and isolation. They had no other point of reference, or no instructional how-to-books.
Donald Trump wants to ban all immigrants that are not of European descent. “Others” are deemed life’s scum crawling out of Central America, the Middle East and African countries for the sole purpose of destroying America. He called African countries “shitholes”. Trump said he preferred that people from Norway immigrate to America.

Stand for the flag and national anthem 
and be grateful to White Americans

White folks want all Black folks to stand, look patriotic, salute the flag, sing or mumble the Star Spangled Banner, because they do not have the right not to. Blacks should be grateful, catapulting fear and bigotry to a respected place in society. African Americans should not complain if they do not get a clear shot at achieving the American Dream.  
And when they are shouted down and told by White folks: “America is ours! We built it! Go back where you belong!” Black folks should not get angry at these God loving, country loving, flag waving, anthem singing folks. Their Christianity may be temporary out of order. You know . . .  like toilets. They get a little cranky when God is slow answering their calls. They want Him to tell Black folks to stop protesting, taking a knee and disrespecting the flag and America. Bless their patriotic hearts.
Accused by Fox talking heads of not being grateful to America for allowing him to earn millions of dollars playing football, Colin Kaepernick explains his reason for taking a knee rather than salute the flag, or stand for the national anthem. He made the decision in 2016.  His knees and heart were weighed down by a cotton sack filled with inequality, police brutality and discrimination. He dared not follow the long ago designated path for Black folks.
Kaepernick said, “I’m not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color. To me this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street, and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder”.
Kaepernick related a story that tells of his a personal run-in with police. “One of my roommates was moving out of a house in college, and because we were the only Black people in the neighborhood, the cops got called, and all of us had guns drawn on us. I mean come in the house without knocking, guns drawn on one of my roommates. So I have experienced [mistreatment]. People close to me have experienced this”. (Slate magazine, 2016) 
The late 1960s civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer is noted for saying: “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired”. Hamer was burdened with carrying on her back the enslavement of Black slaves who never realized human or political power. They dreamed of freedom but had no way of acquiring it.
Ninety-nine years after Abe Lincoln’s signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, Hamer dug her fingernails into the flesh of a Texas President Lyndon Baines Johnson. He did not want Black folks to be seated as delegates alongside the segregated delegation at the Democratic National Convention in 1964. Johnson did not want to buck White southerners who could hurt him politically.
Hamer and the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee were in no mood for governmental rejection. A White flag saluting, national anthem mumbling president and a state of southern White folks were telling Black folks now is not your time to be recognized as citizens of the United States. We will give you permission when the time is right. Do not deviate from your designated path.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Nightmares Ain't Sweet Dreaming!

"Satan" photo by dorothy charles banks

this is a short story authored by dorothy charles banks, and written with a Southern sense of humor minus the names my grandparents used when describing White bigots and racists, who romped around in states and counties lynching, burning, castrating and mutilating Black folks, who didn’t have a chance against White folks who always managed to find unoccupied trees, ropes and “kindling” (firewood) to host BBQs, with Black folks being the cheap meat of choice. Nightmares Ain’t Sweet Dreaming is not a history class piece of fiction.

last week and a month before that i dreamed i departed this Earth and went to Heaven. nothing unusual about dreaming of dying and going to Heaven you are probably thinking to yourself. people dream about going to Heaven all time! unfortunately some of these folks go the other way. you know where I’m talking about. that scary hell fire and brimstone place where this ornery, Halloween looking dude with horns and a tail is the boss. nobody knows what the Devil looks like for sure, or where his resident is really located. all we know it’s called Hell, he's Satan and nobody wants to end up being his house guest.

New resident: Mr. Devil, can i get a cool glass of water, a cold soda or a bowl of ice cream?

Devil: do i look like a concession stand, or fast food drive-in? i don’t do cold stuff and water! 

Longtime resident: you’re new here. he’s not gonna make it easy for you. he lives up to everything you heard. this old asshole is meaner than a toothless bulldog trying to bite meat off a bone.

back to my nightmare , , , when i got to the Heavenly Gates--there were 2: Before and After--i was stopped at the Before Gate, and handed a sealed envelope like on the Academy Awards Show. i was told by a smart aleck angel to stand outside the gate and read the postcard twice: one time to myself and then out loud to her. this no personality nitwit was acting like i couldn’t read! 

you give some people a little authority, or a half-ass decent position, and they let it go to their head. in this case a bleached halo. i guess the halo meant she had some kind of authority. before this dreamish nightmare is over i’m going to tell her to put some decorations on that halo, some lipstick on her chapped lips, and get some braces for them buckteeth!

i read the note three /3/ times to make sure i got it right the first /2/ times. the note said very clearly! Skip Heaven, Hell and Purgatory! Go straight to a designated KKK headquarter in Alabama, or go directly to the nearest pecan tree, hang yourself, or let the Klan boys do it. The choice is yours!  

what the holy bullshit is she talking about!? this don’t even make common sense! i banged on Gate #2 in protest. the homely angel had disappeared. i know she heard me but she pretended like she didn’t. “Miss Angel! Miss Angel! Girl you hear me calling you! don’t make me call Jesus on you! i got a pocket full of quarters on my purse! i want to go to purgatory first like everybody else! i want to go to purgatory like everybody else. that’s my right!”

“carrie mae benjamin where did you get that old wives tale from?” the homely angel asked, calling me by my full name. “there are only one of two places you’re going. you can come up here, or go keep the Devil company. we got a long standing contract with him! i’m sure your mama told you a hard head makes a soft ass! your head is hard.” there it is! i knew this buckteeth cow was from the South the minute she started popping off. 

“you may be a halo wearing Southern Belle up here in Heaven, hanging out with the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, but girlfriend you don’t know who you messing with! you better wake up ask somebody!” 

“shut up and shove off!” the smart aleck told me, pointing a finger in my face. before i could tell her to get her anemic finger out of my face she zapped me to Alabama against my will and under strong protest.

“i’m going to have a talk with Jesus and his Daddy about your nasty attitude! i’m coming back up here and play the Jungle Boogie on your stretch marks!” the threats didn’t stop the zap. i whirled and twirled through the polluted air like a drunk crazy acrobat. “i’m going tattoo my sister’s married name on your flat chest! i’m going melt the fat off your thick ankles! i’m going to slap you so hard you’ll have to blow your nose from the back of your fat head! i’m going to . . . ” 

i landed in the Alabama KKK headquarter with a thud, knocking over a gray folding chair and two spit cans.

“what’s that?” a KKKer wondered out loud. 10 of them were sitting around in the wooden shack. they looked around to see who, or what had invaded their executive suite, uninvited. because i was invisible, courtesy of the smart aleck, buckteeth angel, they couldn’t see me.

besides, even i knew better than go in there like i was applying for a job! my mama called me crazy five times a day, but she never called me a fool! i wasn’t going stand in the middle of this shack pretending i’m James Brown singing I’m Black and I’m Proud!

a black man about 30 years old was standing in the middle of the room telling jokes. very, very bad jokes! he was carrying on like a minstrel show entertainer. brotherman was rolling his eyes, tap dancing, and singing for his life. “Mr Klan y’all! take my wife’s neck, please! she got two necks! i tell her all the time she can spare one!” brotherman didn’t get one laugh. a grunt. a groan. a giggle. “on the way over here to this neck tie party i fell down and broke my neck! ha-ha-ha-ha!” silence with a big fat Shut-the-Fuck-up! “come on y’all . . . that was funny!”

brotherman wasn’t ready to give up his neck that easy! he was determined to make the Kmales laugh, giggle, grunt or groan from boredom. he wasn’t ready for a neck tie party in his honor! laughing at his own joke before he told it, brotherman said, “the other day i saw a horse trying to hang a man! the farmer run up to the horse, telling the animal to back off. “hold it, Horse’s Ass.” that was the horse’s farm name. “you can’t go hang ol’ Jim-Jim! he the best employee I got!” 

the stone faced audience of 10 was unmoved. they were as unforgiving as Clint Eastwood. but brotherman was on a comedic roll. he told another pitiful joke. “a funny thing happen to me on the way to this . . . “ 

 plump, muscle-bound KKKer said to brotherman, “i’m gone break your face if you don’t make us laugh pretty soon, colored boy. i’m gone have your teeth looking for a new set of gums! you get that?” the KKKers bust out laughing. “we gone butter yo’ black ass and call you a biscuit, then we gone feed you to our pet dog Fluffy! he likes buttered biscuits and dark meat!”

brotherman looked at the group of half-hooded Klanners. he wished he was at home eating a hot supper and drinking a tall glass of strawberry Cool Aid. being that he was no slick headed, eye-rolling buffoon in real life, brotherman jump started an upbeat “I wish I was in the land of Dixie . . .”

“you in Dixieland, colored boy!” a Kmale said. “we gone lookaway whilst you take a look see at this rope we fixing to hang round your neck. if you don’t mind we fixin’ to stretch your neck inch or two.” the KKKers burst out laughing.

suddenly i was visible (courtesy of the halo wearing, smart aleck angel.) i didn’t know i was visible until a KKKer looked in my direction. i was getting used to being invisible. it was safer. 

“well, well look-a-here! it must be raining Alabama coons! here’s another one the good Lord done sent us! let’s hang’em both at the same time! get that extra rope, Jr.!’’ a scrawny, snaggletooth Klanner said to Jr, who was clapping his hands with too much joy. “get that fancy one we got from New York City the other day!” Jr. obeyed like a happy puppy fetching a rubber bone. he didn’t seem real bright. in other words, switching on Jr.’s brain wasn’t going to light up a room. 

sounding southern educated and properly raised, i asked the KKK gang: “does your moms and dads know you all are this shack talking about hanging innocent people? that’s not Christian! it’s not Godly!”

“it’s whatever we say it is, coon girl. you can bet your best gallon of moonshine our mama knows what we up to! me and Jr.’s mama is sitting right over there!” he pointed at a woman sitting in the corner, smoking a pipe, drinking moonshine and chewing on a wad of tobacco. “she used to be in a circus, along with our daddy. one day he got run over by a elephant. Kilt him dead.” his mama smiled open mouthed, showing all four of her teeth: three at the top and one at the bottom.

“does you yo’ mama know you fixing to get hung?” she asked. Miss Mama had a sinister smile on her lips. she delighted at the prospect of watching a double lynching. i didn’t find  any humor in her delight or her question.

not being of ignorant heritage, i knew i had to do something fast. i fell to my knees and sang the old southern spiritual “Mammy”. it’s not really a spiritual but southern white folks love it, just like they love “Suwannee River.”

“let’s get to hanging’em right now!” a KKKer yelled from the back of the shack. i got to take my family to church for a revival tomorrow. I want to get a good night’s sleep!”

“wait . . . let me tell y’all this joke i heard the other day,” i said, smiling at everybody. brotherman was deathly quiet. he was sweating like a summer-time cotton picker. “did y’all hear the one about the white dude who . . . “

“naw. and you ain’t gone hear it again neither,” said a Kmale, sitting on a red-white and blue folding chair.  

“well have y’all heard the old saying, “death be not proud?” i couldn’t think of a joke. and being dead damn sure wasn’t something to be proud of!

somebody in the shack said, “naw I ain’t heard it, but we gone be proud when we hang y’all from them trees in the back woods down yonder.”

just as they put the ropes around our necks i woke up, holding onto my neck for dear life, and a breath of fresh air. i jumped straight up, and sat on the side of my bed, my eyes wide open, searching the room for the KKK. i was alone. so i thought. sitting on my brand new Goodwill dresser was none other than the halo wearing, smart aleck angel. she wasn’t looking happy.

“what do you want now?” i asked. “you need to worry somebody else to bother and leave me and my dream alone!”

“you might well go back to sleep, honey. you’re going to hang tonight. i’m tired of fooling with you and this dream. i’ve got more important things to do.” ..

i was more than ready to knock out this halo dipshit. she was walking on my last nerve. “and i’m sick of you!” I told her. “get your Atlanta House Wives ass off my dresser before i knock you off!”

“whatever. i’m not going to follow you in this silly dream tomorrow night! I’ve got a special assignment, and it’s not you!”

“go suck on a lemon, or whatever you can wrap your chapped lips around!”

“and you can get ready to hang by your neck until you see Jesus’s face looking back at you!” she zapped me back to Alabama; same shack, same crowd. brotherman was telling very, very bad jokes again.  

“i’m going to haunt your schizophrenic grandmamma, and your crippled daddy if he’s alive! i hope your liver have a heart attack! i hope your first child is born with three legs and one eye!  Uh-oh! Here comes those KKKers with that fancy New York rope . . .”

The End!