Category Archives: racism

Happy Excerpt #2

My book, Happy, was published in late July.  The subject matter is racism in America.  Two kids, a twelve year old African-American boy with Autism and a five year old white girl get lost in the riots after another unarmed black youth was shot by a policeman.  Deshawn Smith is a civil rights organizer who lost his way until he heard about the two lost children. These are the words he spoke to the crowd.

 

Deshawn Smith walked on the stage.  The crowd grew quiet.  He looked out over the people standing in front of him.  They were waiting for his words.  No one was on their cell phones.  No one was talking.  They wanted guidance.  They wanted a leader that spoke for all of them.  And he felt humbled.

“The statue behind me is of John Patrick.  A man who fought for freedom and equality all his life.  He did not spew hate or preach violence.  He led by example.  He showed that each of us, white or black, man, woman, and child has value.  That is what my movement is all about.

But somewhere along the way I was turned from that idea.  I forgot my original purpose because it is easy to see the hate of other people and give back nothing but hate in return.  Too many people have died because of racial inequality in this land founded on freedom.  Too many people are kept in poverty because we fear others, we fear the stranger.

But there are two children, one black and one white, who did not fear each other but trusted each other and cared for each other.  They know nothing about racism, or poverty, or injustice.  They know trust, and friendship, and love.  They are lost somewhere in this city.  They are hiding because they cannot abide the hatred that they see all around them.  They are frightened by the burned out buildings, the looted shops, and the body bags lying on the sidewalks.

And why shouldn’t they be?  None of us want this kind of world for our children. The question I ask you is why aren’t we afraid of that?  How did we come to accept hatred as a part of our society?  How can we live in a world where this kind of violence is accepted?

Let us join together today to fight the hatred, not by throwing rocks, not by screaming slogans, not by intimidation, but by looking for two kids who have shown us how to love.   Get with a group and take responsibility for a street or two.  Go through every building, every alley; let’s find these kids.  But I ask you one thing.  Welcome a stranger into your group.  If you’re black invite a white person in.  If you are white do the same for your black neighbor.  If you’re Christian, Muslim, Hindu, or Jew, find a stranger to work with.  Because the way to fight hatred is to see the other not as a stranger to be feared, but as a person who has the same hopes and dreams as yourself.”

 

The book is available at:    https://www.createspace.com/6305829

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Happy Excerpt #1

My book, Happy, was published in late July.  The subject matter is racism in America.  Here is an excerpt from the story.

 

Derrick Taylor was a punk, the kind of kid who felt entitled to everything and anything he wanted just because he was breathing.  He was going to be a truck driver and so he didn’t feel the need to do anything in school because, why does a truck driver need to know Social Studies?  Plus, why bother learning anything if you were just going to be passed to the next grade anyway?   So he pushed back against everything whether it was good for him or not.  This led to a life of crime. He had been arrested in a string of small time robberies and vandalism over the last few years.

We could look at the poor neighborhood in the small town of Brantley, where he grew up, and make all sorts of excuses for his behavior: the high crime rate, the high unemployment, the high drug use.  We could look at his family life and make excuses as well; his alcoholic father beat his mother to death one rainy night because she asked him to take off his shoes as he entered the house.  She had just been on her hands and knees cleaning the floor.  He took off his steel-tipped boot and beat her with it.  And when she was on the ground bleeding and begging for mercy he hit her with a dining room chair until it broke.  She was dead long before he stopped beating her.  Her bright red blood slowly oozed over the clean kitchen floor.

Derrick was home at the time.  He hid in the closet until he heard the front door slam before venturing out.  He was the one who found his broken mother.  He was the one who called the police.

Since that time, he was passed from one relative to the next.  Relatives who neither cared for him or gave him emotional support.  They offered him meaningless platitudes. “God loves you, if you love him,” or “Your life is a test and the bad events build character”, or “God only gives us what we are capable of handling.”  What twelve year old is capable of handling the death of his mother at the hands of his father?

Whatever the reasons that brought the sixteen year old to that confrontation with that police officer on that street in the suburb of that big city was immaterial.  He was there with a knife in his hand staring down the barrel of a gun.

 

The book is available at:    https://www.createspace.com/6305829


Happy – Just Published Today

 

Happy

And other writings on Racism and Prejudice in America.

By A.F. WinterHappy Book Cover

List Price: $8.99

6″ x 9″      98 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1533490704
ISBN-10: 1533490708
BISAC: Fiction / Cultural Heritage

This book of poetry, stories, and thoughts is my response to the murder of nine innocent, African American churchgoers in Charleston SC. It is an attempt to get people thinking and to start a dialogue before another tragedy takes place. Because it is only through dialogue and understanding that we will be able to find peace.

To purchase a copy, please go to:

https://www.createspace.com/6305829

Or visit my website:

http://www.afwinter.com


The Soldier Memorial Day 2016

As he lay dying,

He didn’t think of his country.

He thought of his mother

And the tears she would shed

As she buried her only son.

She always told him

Take care of yourself, Albert.

And come home

To people that love you.

 

He did not think of the country he was giving his life for.

He did not think of the rhetoric of politicians.

He did not think that God wanted this war.

 

He thought of his girlfriend

The girl he loved since sixth grade

But only got up the nerve

To ask her out a year ago.

He thought of her smile

That was often followed by giddy laughter

In response to something silly he did.

He thought of her deep brown eyes

That would make the rest of the world melt away

And made his heart both weak and strong.

 

He did not think of the country he was giving his life for.

He did not think of the minimum wage.

He did not think of bathrooms or wedding cakes.

 

He thought of his kid brother

Barely in his teens and

Already getting into trouble.

Who will teach him life’s lessons,

While playing basketball

On the court set up in their driveway?

Who will keep him in line,

While giving him space to grow?

 

He did not think of the country he was giving his life for.

He did not think of the racism or the crime in the streets.

He did not think of the hatred of the stranger in the land of liberty.

 

He thought of many things.

He thought of the people he loved,

Their words, their smiles, their laughter.

And then he thought no more.

 

And we, whom he died for,

Think of bathrooms and wedding cakes.

And listen to the venomous rhetoric of our politicians.

And moan that the weather did not cooperate for our barbecue.

And haggle at car dealerships with salesman

Who are looking to their next customer.

 

We, whom he died for, hardly ever

Think of the soldiers

Whose last moments

Were alone

But filled with memories

Of meaning.

 


Three Six Word Poems on Race

One

Shot dead
Lying there
Six hours

 

Two

I forgot how many died,
Unforgivable

 

 

Three

I
So strong
Refuse to help