Shuffle & Flow
Black was an unwanted dog abandoned in the forest who finds its way home by fording flooded rivers and hitchhiking in the beds of pickup trucks and arrives at its destination only to be taken for a car ride to the desert. Black was hating fried chicken even before I knew I was supposed to like it. Black was being a nigger who didn't know any other niggers. The only black folks whose names I knew were musicians and athletes: Jimi Hendrix, Slash from Guns n' Roses, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, the Beastie Boys, and melody the drummer from Josie and the Pussycats.On the other hand, equally as black:
Black was trying to figure out "how black" Tony Grimes, the local skate pro, was. Tony, a freestyle hero with a signature model Dogtown board, was a hellacious skater and somehow disembodied from blackness, even though he was darker than a lunar eclipse in the Congo. The interviews in Shredder, Rollerbladers Suck, and Stoked magazines never mentioned his color.Stoked: So, dude?Now and then we'd see Tony Grimes, our deracinated hero, in Coping 'n' Doping Skateshop on Ocean Street next to the Tommy Burger. "What's up Tony?" we'd all ask cooly, yet with genuine concern in our voices. We'd receive an over-the-shoulder "What's shakin', dude?" and fight over who he'd acknowledged. "He called me dude. Not you, you rimrod."
Stoked: Gnarly frontside ollie 180 fakie at the Laguna Pro-Am.
Tony: Nailed it, bro, want another hit?
Tony Grimes strolled around the shop, a baseball cap magnetically attached at some crazy angle to his unkempt thick clumpy Afro. His lean muscular legs loped from clothes rack to clothes rack as he eyed the free shit he would take home after he got through rapping to the manager's girlfriend.
Black was a suffocating bully that tied my mind behind my back and shoved me into a walk-in closet. Black was my father on a weekend custody drunken binge, pushing me around as if I were a twelve-year-old, seventy-five-pound bell clapper clanging hard against the door, the wall, the shoe tree. Black is a repressed memory of a sandpapery hand rubbing abrasive circles in the small of my back, my face rising and falling in time with the hairy heaving chest. Black is the sound of metal hangers sliding away in fear, my shirt halfway off, hula-hooping around my neck.
Paul Beatty, The White Boy Shuffle
"We live from the head down and not the feet up."