Lunch With a Black Man


I don’t really understand why people outside of Nebraska always make the worst assumptions about the state of Nebraska. I kind of understand it, being away from this state for fifteen years and then coming back has made me understand how sucky this state is.

So while I understand it, the negative stereotypes about this state just make the people whom believe them to look really stupid. I’ve heard people say some weird shit like, “Do Native Americans attack your cars with bows and arrows as you’re driving down the street.” First of all, what the fuck? How dumb are you? And am I supposed to be offended by that question? It was a little insensitive to those of another race. I’ve heard some other outlandish shit to.

“Do you guys have pet cows that just hang out in your front yard?” I can kind of buy that if you live on a farm in the middle of nowhere, which is not that hard to find in all reality. But even then, those cows are livestock, not pets, and they don’t chill in the front yard helping us to not mow grass.

Being in Lincoln, the second largest city in Nebraska, that’s just fucking stupid to think that.

“Do you guys even drive cars?” No, no we don’t. We all ride around in horse-drawn carriages. What the fuck are these things called cars anyways?

Around the year of 2009, maybe even 2010, I worked at a machine shop in the city of Auburn, Washington. If you know anything about Western Washington all the cities are jam-packed next to one another, like that of a suitcase that will not close because you packed too much shit in it. For awhile there I worked in Seattle and had a daily commute from Puyallup and Seattle, those of you who live in Nebraska or any other Midwest state with towns that are separated by nothing it was like I drove for two maybe even four hours in approximately the same distance from Lincoln to Omaha and it felt like I was in one city the entire time.

I worked with this guy, his name was Ken, he was a black dude with short hair and a fairly long goatee. I sat next to him at lunch on a daily basis and from talking to him for so long he came to find out that I was born in Nebraska. He has never been to the Midwest other than when he was a small kid and went to Colorado Springs for vacation.

He is into football, he can sit there for hours and spit out stats and predictions all day, which to be honest is kind of annoying. But whatever floats his boat is okay with me, I just wish he had more to talk about sometimes.

One day he was talking about this player in the NFL who graduated from the University of Nebraska. In the bio it gave his home town, so I had Ken put up a map of that town on his phone, it was some small ass town up on the northern section of the panhandle. This whole incident brought up a series of weird questions.

“Are there any tress in Nebraska?” I smiled when he asked me this, I was even trying to be nice, “Yea man, we got trees, a lot of them.” But after living here for awhile and then going back to visit for Christmas I can understand why he would ask that. Yes, we have a shit ton of trees, even more so in the towns and cities; but damn man, I never thought I’d miss evergreen tress so much. Evergreen trees as far as the eye could see like a giants lawn, really huge blades of grass running up the side of mountains and littering both sides of the freeway. A large city connected to many other cities with a sprawling population that was constructed in the middle of a forest.

While that was a weird question I guess I can understand it from a different perspective.

“Do black people live in Nebraska?” This was by far my favorite, and to top it off it was a black man who asked it. For awhile I didn’t know what to say, I just sat there and stared at him with a dumbfounded look on my face. I didn’t want to be mean, but damn, that was a stupid question. I remembered that he loved football so as I look at him words come out of my mouth forming a thought, “When is the last time you watched the Huskers play football?” This just happened to be during football season as he said, “Last Saturday.” While waiting for him to form an idea that never came to fruition I ended by asking, “Were all the players white?”

I think that made him feel stupid, that was the end of that question, however he did have another one. At this point of questioning, even though I was still trying to be nice, I was ready to throw out some sarcastic responses.

“Do you guys listen to anything besides country music?” I sat there and stared at him once again digging in my head for a smart response. I started to think of stereotypes, I can understand why he asked me that based upon the negative stereotype that he believed. This made me think of stereotypes about him and where he lives. All of a sudden I got a smile on my face as I polity looked at him and said, “I don’t know man, do you guys listen to anything besides Nirvana?” That was the end of that, I made my point.


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