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J. PHAROAH DOSS

 


Saturday, August 16, 2014.


 

He announced what?  When?  Before the draft!  What round is he going in?  He’s projected to go in the second or third…

            Oh my God!  How bold!  How brave!

Sport reporters had to confirm the accuracy of the report.  Bloggers didn’t care.  They were off and typing.

Headlines read:

 

HIGHLY TALENTED NFL PROSPECT ANNOUNCES THAT HE’S GAY

The NFL had no comment.

            But a spokes person for The President, the one that stated at a press conference that if he had a son he wouldn’t want him to play football, believed that if drafted this prospect would be treated like Jackie Robinson.

            Colin Williams, 30, unpublished novelist, blogger, and black conservative turned on his computer hoping to find a serious topic to write about under his pseudonym¾Bucky Wheat¾for his blog:  Uncle Tom’s great grand child.  He checked the news categories:  US…Crime & Justice…World…nothing…nothing …nothing.  Then Sports, the headline that caught his attention stated:

 

            COURAGEOUS ANNOUNCMENT BY THE NFL’S FIRST POSSIBLE GAY PLAYER

Colin read the post of other bloggers that commented on the story, most gave praise, many wondered if the NFL was ready for an openly gay player, some wondered if his draft status would fall, but all agreed that it was an act of bravery.

            Colin noticed the Jackie Robinson reference from the White House.  He loathed comparisons between the gay rights movement and the historical civil rights movement.  He mumbled, “Yeah right, as if Jackie Robinson had to announce he was black.”

            Julie Jones, 32, graduate from Morgan State University, barged in, noisy and nosy, she ate potato chips and smacked her lips.  She stood behind her boyfriend to see what he was he was writing, if anything.  The interruption was routine, expect for the potato chips, normally it was microwave popcorn.

            Julie and Colin loved each other.  They lived together.  They didn’t like to be apart.  They didn’t even like to be in different rooms in the same apartment, but their departure was politics.  Neither were ideologues but Colin was right of center and Julie was left.

            Julie wiped her mouth and read the computer screen.  “Oh!  I was talking to my brother about that earlier.  You know he--”

            “Would have gone pro if he didn’t tear his knee.”

            “His Achilles.”  She corrected.

            “What did he say?”

            “Your blog is disgraceful and embarrassing.”

            Colin laughed, “He’s never read Richard Wright.” 

            “He doesn’t read fiction.   But I told you.”

            “You told me what?”

            “People were going to be offended.”

            “What did he say about the announcement?”

            “Rumors probably spread, and the league does their own background checks.”

            “That’s it?”  Colin was disappointed.  He hoped her opinionated brother had a perspective he could borrow and turn into a blog post.

            “Does the league actually do that?”

            “What do you think, Julie?”

            “I don’t know what the league does.”

            “About the announcement?”

            “Oh…sorry…I said ‘Good for him’.”

            “Why?”

            “He shouldn’t have to hide who he is.”

            “But is that who he is?”

            “I didn’t make the announcement.”

            “So you agree with the bloggers?”

            “What did they say?”

            “That it’s brave.”

            “To be yourself without compromise?  Of course.”

            “What about this Jackie Robinson comparison?”

            “I understand the similarities.”

            “What similarities?”

            “Discrimination is discrimination.”  Julie stated like Colin needed to be reminded of a forgotten fact.

            “There were never heterosexual and homosexual water fountains.”

            “I understand that--”

            “So what are the similarities?”

            “That they are being discriminated against.  I hope you’re not making a childish comparison--”

            “A what?”

            “It sounds like your saying we’ve been treated worse than you so there’s no similarities.  Let me ask you this.   Whose death was worse the people in Auschwitz or people in Hiroshima?”

            Colin raised his index finger to respond.

            “Don’t answer that.  It’s a dumb comparison.  They’re both crimes against humanity.”

            “So was slavery and Jim Crow.  It’s deeper than discrimination, Julie.  Civil rights demonstrators wore signs that said ‘I AM A MAN’.  Why did they do that?”

            “Because all men are created equal and they demanded equality.”

            Colin laughed, “You miss the point.  Segregation wasn’t about discrimination.  It was dehumanizing process, and they wore those signs to affirm their humanity.  This guy isn’t announcing he’s a man.  He’s announcing he’s gay.  There’s a big difference.”

            “But that doesn’t dismiss the bravery of the announcement.”

            “We live in a society that has gay marriage and gay pride parades.  It’s accepted.  What’s brave about it?”

            “But is it accepted in that elite macho fraternity called the NFL?  Think about that before you write anything, Bucky Wheat.”

            Julie started to walk out.  Colin stopped her.  He handed her a stack of old newspapers to throw away.  Julie set the newspapers by the wastebasket in the kitchen.  The newspaper on top of the stack was The New York Times.  On the bottom of the front page was a headline:

 

            NIGERIA TRIES TO SANITIZE ITSELF OF GAYS

            The article began:

                                   Since Nigeria’s president signed a harsh

                                   law criminalizing homosexuals throughout

                                   the county last month, arrest of gay people

                                   have multiplied, advocates have been forced

                                   underground, some people fearful of the law

                                   have sought asylum overseas…

 

J. Pharoah Doss was born in Pittsburgh in 1975. He attended Geneva College. His writing has appeared in The New Pittsburgh Courier, The Shepherd, and Commonline/The E Journal.
   

           

                       

He is Gay: Fiction by J. Pharoah Doss

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