Is there a need for me to justify my existence to those of you who see me and think, “Who is he, and what is he trying to do?” I’m just living. I just want to live my life and be peaceful. But maybe that’s oversimplifying. I don’t want to be a stereotype. I don’t want people, when they see me, to think typical in any of the ways that someone may view a person who is my race, age and gender. I’m a Black man, and proud to be. I view myself as normal, but I sometimes wonder what other people see. If we met, and it came up in conversation, you would find out that I absolutely love fried chicken, when I was in high school I had two dreams: to go to the NBA and to record a Rap album, oh, and I was raised by my mom. I wouldn’t refer to myself as a thug or any synonym thereof, but I don’t smile much. That’s not because I’m angry at the world, either. I just don’t feel like smiling much. So, after finding out this information—knowing that I’m a fried chicken eating, wannabe Rapper, basketball playing, non-smiling, Black man—what do you think? I would love to say I don’t care, but I do. I’m not exactly bothered by it, because there is nothing wrong with liking what you like. Maybe I’m bothered more at the thought that I would be aiming for typical. I pride myself on the exact opposite, actually. Clearly these aren’t the only things that make up a person. I have other hopes and dreams. I do many things that are atypical of a person “like” me, regardless of age, gender or race, but these seem to be the things that I tend to have to justify to people—the things I’m made to feel are strange. Being an avid reader, loving to write, Jazz music, watching Jeopardy are all normal things as well. I guess my question is: Since when did liking to do normal things constitute being abnormal? I guess I will include the facts that I am gainfully employed in a career that I love, and hope to marry and be faithful to my wife as well, but should I have to? Maybe I’m hanging out in the wrong places. Can anybody tell me where the normal people are?

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A.D. Carson


I'm just a little south of the Windy City...