A Very Racist Friday

Its days like the one I am about to tell you about that really make me go crazy. Now, I know that sounds crazy in itself because I am in prison and everyday should make me go crazy. But years of this have made me immune to much of what goes on around here. So I am able to tolerate quite a bit.

But its days like the one in question that prove to be too much. Pushing me to the very verge of my breaking point and really testing my limits in terms of patience.

You know days like this, right? Those days in your life that sort of proves to be like the worst days in your life.

Then again, it’s days like this that provide the ammunition for great stories  of mental anguish, hell filled conditions and adventures that accompany me throughout this journey of incarceration.

All that I’m faced with.

All that I see and hear daily, and must put up with…all that I must turn the other cheek too…be the bigger man…all that I must deal with and process while trying to keep in mind that somehow all of this might make me stronger. Better.

Every day in prison is a battle on many different fronts. The biggest one seems to be a mental one. Sort of a proverbial one if you will.

Every day I struggle to stay afloat like a man lost at sea, battling hurricane type conditions.

Mountainous seas.

Gail force wind and rains.

All that I clutch to is a tattered life ring.

My sanity.

My dignity.

These seas that I battle, the current that tears at my being, trying mightily to pull me under; that is all that I face as a white-non-racist-prisoner trapped inside a despicable world of hatred and devils between the razor wire fences. This is a world of hatred and ignorance. Every color divided almost completely at the seam. Few bridge the divide, but many others invoke the separation further.

This is not just caused by prisoners either as you will soon learn.

I fear that if I am pulled under the proverbial current, I won’t emerge from this storm better.

I’ll come out of this worse.

More vindictive. More Bitter.

Every day is a constant battle to not let that come reality. But its days like the one I am about to tell you about that really test my strength, and here is why…

This day was a Friday, and all that I had hoped for was a decent send off to the weekend. I had a pretty laid back day as far as work goes (or at least I thought). I was to paint “chemical signs” on the cleaning supply closet doors in all the housing units. So it was my hope to have an easy day knocking out all of these doors.

Well half of that went according to plan. I did get all the doors done but it certainly wasn’t easy. My nerves and patience were completely shot in the process.

Each housing unit has its own set of C.O’s working in it. So with each housing unit I had to go to, came a whole different set of personalities, bullshit and aggravations I had to deal with.

By the time I went back to my housing unit for the pre-lunch count, I had gotten 3 of the 6 cleaning supply closet doors completed. And though my nerves and patience were already frayed by this point, the REAL kicker came as I walked back to my building. It was then that I passed a female officer who was being approached by a male counselor. Both of which were African-American. 

The counselor must have said something to the officer because the next thing I hear was the officer respond, or almost announce, “OH…YOU KNOW. THIS IS AN ARYAN NATION. THEY DON’T LIKE US ANYWAYS.”

This absolutely shocked me. I mean, I felt like this was almost directed at me. I was the only white guy around. And what’s this “THEY” shit! I’m pretty much a “Yo-Boy.”

I’m a rapper for God’s sake! (Another blog for another day…)

I’m like the most culturally diverse dude could ever meet!

Don’t ever try to make me feel like I might have a problem with someone just because of their race. And that’s exactly what it felt like with “THEY” don’t like us anyways.

What was I to do hearing this?

I mean, what COULD I do?

This chick was a C.O. I certainly had no win in this. So, needless to say, I just had to try my best to brush this little incident off.

This was the first of a few things that totally FUCKED my Friday.

After lunch, I went back to work with a sense of dread. I knew this day was going to turn out horrible. And God, sometimes I hate when I am right.

The first of the final three buildings I had left to complete was going to be a madhouse. I just knew it was. I’ll be damned if I wasn’t RIGHT again!

Out of all 6 housing units I had to paint chemical signs in, this one particular building had 2 of the most unprofessional c.o.’s I’ve ever had to deal with working in it.

I went in and said “hey, I’m a mural painter…here to paint the cleaning supply closet door.”

The response I got, verbatim, “DON’T TALK TO ME! DON’T SAY ANYTHING TO ME!! DON’T ASK ME FOR ANYTHING!”

“Oh, this is nice” I thought. “What a fun little adventure I’m going to have in here.”

It took me 20 minutes just to get through the door where the closet was at. Thanks to this miserable c.o. bitch that controlled the opening of these doors. The way I figure it though, that is their power in life. To feel like maybe for once they control something in their pitiful little lives. It’s not much. It’s just a door. But damn it, it’s their door!

So they take EMMENSE pleasure in that power.

As I worked in this building, I noticed that it wasn’t just the prisoners who were burdened by the lack of job performance, or “button-pushing” professionalism this officer displayed.

Staff was too.

The entire time I worked, I couldn’t help but think “how does someone like this even HAVE a job… Let alone KEEP a job?”

This was baffling to me!

I mean, when your job is simply to press a button to open a door and you can’t even do THAT right, or in a timely manner, you should be fired.

Point blank. That’s it.

Somehow, I maintained my grip to the proverbial “Life-ring” of sanity I spoke on earlier through this building and finally, eventually, I was done in there.

It only took another 20 minutes so I could be let out so that I could move on to the next building.

The rest of the work day went on pretty much uneventful. I finished the signs and thought that would be it.

With my day pretty much already in shambles, I didn’t think it could get much worse.

But, I guess that’s what I get for thinkin’.

The last thing that really sealed the deal for this day didn’t happen until evening count. And boy, was it a real doozy.

This was BY-FAR the REAL kicker.

During count, things were quiet. That was until this out-spoken piece-of-shit officer who is always LOUD and obnoxious blurts out “something” about a white prisoner who allegedly “burped” in his face. Now, I say allegedly only because I did not witness the “burping” first hand and I know that this piece-of-shit fat-fuck officer has a tendency of blowing shit WAY out of proportion almost to the point of making shit up… Sorry if I sound a little biased here, but I’m at my wits end with this racist shit, and this officer was dead wrong in this case.

 So… back to this burping incident. First, if a prisoner did burp in his face, I’m pretty sure there could have been a better way to handle the situation instead of the way fat fuck piece of shit decided to handle it.

How did he handle it? You might wonder.

He went on this INDIRECT rant about “whiteboys” and he said some pretty bad stuff about “all you white boys.”

At that moment, the housing unit reached defcom 4. Shit got real crazy, real fast. A black officer has just over reached to say the least. Which, you can imagine if a white officer had done the same… I hate to even use that type of reverse logic, but I feel I must to prove a point.

Instantly, the housing unit began to divide by who was right… who was wrong… or, most apparent, by color.

Shit got so hectic so quick that the officer realized immediately the error his judgment had caused. He ran out and not even two minutes later a higher up came in and said that he’s not going to tolerate any racism directed at his officers.

At first everyone was like “What the hell…?”” But then it clearly became evident.

The officer had ran out and told a lie in an effort to save himself and minimize the damage this was sure to cause.

This was unbelievable! It was obvious this officer realized the severity of his stupid comment and in an effort to save himself he ran out and told a lie.

Damage control…cowering…same difference, right?

The housing unit was still in an uproar during this time. But like the realization I had earlier in the day with what the equally racist female officer had said, it now seemed the entire housing unit was having the same realization…

What the hell could we do?

The officer had obviously told a lie to save his own ass. Fuck the fact that an inmate race war almost broke out behind that. Do you think that fat fuck officer cared?

Luckily, and thankfully the prisoners had more responsibility about themselves than this officer did.

More dignity and respect about themselves to let the ignorance of what this officer said “die-down.” At least, in a sense of violence that is.

About 10 prisoners wrote this officer up. So who knows. Maybe he’ll get fired.

But I doubt it.

Race has no place in the workplace. Isn’t that how the saying goes? Especially in an environment, such as this where race is such a touchy subject.

Here are (2) things I learned from this seriously jacked-up racist Friday.

1.) Prisoners get way too bad of a rap. I mean, I get it. We fucked up and we deserve to be here. But some of the officers here…They’re some real pieces of shit, too.

2.) I can think of two instances where people are most likely to tell the truth… When they’re drunk and when they’re mad.

In both instances, the truth tends to come out because people tend to speak how they truly feel.

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4 thoughts on “A Very Racist Friday

  1. Wow, Joe…I can’t even imagine. Well, I can slightly imagine. I work in an environment where there is a lot of subtle racism, from all sides of the color field. As a white, non-racist, pretty socially progressive man, I’ve been shocked an appalled both by the remarks and behavior of those of my same gender and color and those of the opposite. I have no idea where any of these people think that this is acceptable behavior.

    As for CO’s, my brother is a cop. He once told me that two types of people become cops – those who legitimately want to help people, and those who want to have a license to bully. The other thing he told me? Those who can’t make it as cops, often become prison guards, but there, the ratio of “helper” to “bully” weighs heavier on the bully side.

    I actually applied to be a CO once. Passed their entrance exam with flying colors. My test scores were so high, the warden called me privately to discuss the position, because “we don’t normally get folk like you applyin’ for jobs like this.” He offered to let me spend a day or two with some of the CO’s, and get to know them.

    In the end, I turned it down. Some of those guys weren’t bad people, but the experience of being put in command of offenders had changed them. Bittered them. Made them into worse people. I didn’t want that to happen to me.

    Hang in there, Joe.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Hang in there, man. You seem like a good person, despite your wrongs. And thank you for sharing them, letting those of us here see and feel with your eyes, your heart. Don’t let the bastards grind you down.

        Like

  2. Keep pushing through Joe!
    It’s disappointing that professionalism is lacking by some members of the staff you need to interact with everyday.
    This is an issue in many workplaces, though so much more obvious when you are stuck in a situation 24/7 every single day of the year!
    The power plays (irrespective of race) are also something us non incarcerated citizens deal with too, and it continues alot of the time because they hold people hostage with different types of power – financial security (i.e say anything and you will get fired!), Demotion, unfair working conditions… the list goes on.
    You are going to have one heck of a book to release when you come out the other side of this!

    Like

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