A Reflection on a Refraction

I put myself through college. Those were different times. I worked part time after my school day was over. It paid my tuition. 

One day while eating a traditional Berks County hoagie along with a bag of chips, I sat on my break with a woman with whom I worked. I liked her plenty, she was a friend and a great co worker.

She happened to be black.

While enjoying that delicious hoagie with the perfect crust hard roll, I pulled “ a single chip from the bag. Yes a single chip. It was burnt to a crisp.

I called it a Nigger Chip.

It was automatic without thinking. It was a learned behavior. I said it out loud.

It came out so easily it scared me.

It came out so easily it scarred me.

My friend and I talked. Well she talked and I listened.

It took awhile, yet it changed me, it shaped me to understand how that made her feel.

To have grown up in Berks County not knowing that much better.

That may have been one of the more life shaping sandwiches I have eaten in my life.

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