Learning to Own My Blackness

It’s not funny, politicized, or insignificant—it’s mine

Assad Abderemane
Human Parts

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Illustration: Richard A Chance

OOut of my first day of middle school, I thought for certain I’d killed a man. I’d kicked a rider off his bike into moving traffic after he rolled by and called me “sale nègre”—“dirty n*gger” in French. I’d been waiting for the little green man to light up so I could cross the street when I noticed the biker coming from my left looking daggers at me. When he crossed my path and insulted me, my foot plunged into his liver as if it were muscle memory and sent him straight down to the ground.

Panting and clutching at the straps of my heavy backpack, I dashed across the street with a total disregard for the oncoming traffic and angry car honks. I looked back only once to check that I hadn’t really become a murderer at age 11. He was still alive, thankfully, and cursing loudly. I ran for dear life the rest of the way home. I wobbled up the stairs of my worn-down apartment building and gasped for breath until I reached my doorstep.

I needed a minute to calm down and collect my thoughts, and in that minute, I made the executive decision to not tell my mom about what happened. I feared she would get angry if she knew I’d reacted with no regard for another person’s life. I took a deep breath, smiled, knocked five times, and was greeted with the hustle and bustle…

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Assad Abderemane
Human Parts

Writer based in France. Words at Level, Elemental, Gen, Human Parts, etc. Email: abderemane.m.assad@gmail.com