A Tale of Two Girls

Several years ago, I was on vacation in Phuket, Thailand with my husband. Through our hotel, we signed up for a day cruise on a Thai junk.  At one point we stopped at what the tour guide called a "Muslim Fishing Village."  We took a smaller boat to the place, which was a rickety series of piers supporting houses and common areas where a group of Muslims lived.  Their main sources of income were fishing and selling postcards and other goods to tourists on cruises like this one.  We were quickly surrounded by young people selling postcards.  Most, except for the very youngest, were girls. One in particular made an impression on me I will never forget.

The slender girl was fully covered; her hair and neck were wrapped in a light, colorful silky cloth exposing only her face.  She wore a loose tunic with long sleeves and long loose-fitting pants despite sweltering heat. She offered me her postcards, I smiled and said "no thank you."  This was a challenge to her -- she kept looking in my eyes and offering her wares and I kept saying "No thank you," always politely and always with a smile.  She kept on, trying to learn how to improve her selling skills. It was clear she was very bright, full of energy, and probably could sell her wares in 10 different languages. Some older women were silently keeping an eye on all the kids, including her. She had so much energy, intelligence, and initiative;  in another world she would have a future.

I looked around this dilapidated living space and again at her bright face and I could see her whole life.  She would be one of those sullen, overweight older women minding the young girls.  It broke my heart.  A very smart friend once told me "all social problems do not have a solution," nonetheless, this girl filled my heart with sadness.  I asked the tour guide where the boys were -- he pointed at an area on land nearby and there they all were.  It was recess at the madrassa and the boys were playing in crisp, spotless white jackets with colorful trim and matching hats.  This deepened my sadness for the little girl.  I wondered if she ever got to play.

I have thought of her at times and was recently reminded of her when I read about an American girl, a young woman who had been prevented from looting a cell phone store by the presence of some well-armed men.  She was so outraged, she made a video of herself screaming at these men, that were "Ayrabs", "whom she denounces as not real Africans because they are from Morocco (she says),"

The video has since been removed from YouTube, but can be found on Twitter.

Her repertoire of vulgarity is limited but heartfelt, and she yelled her outrage at the top of her lungs at this barrier to her desires.

Beth Baumann of Townhall transcribed parts of the rant, for instance:

"They let these people come outside with they AK-47s. AK-47s to protect they stuff from black people. They ready to kill black people, the Arabs, the fake-a-- Ramadan m------------. They got M-16s, AK with they people's out here. Everything y'all. Look at this s---," she said, flipping the camera to a nearby store. "They got m----------- AKs out here and I'm going to get my cousin that's a police officer right now and ask him are they legally able to carry these m------------ guns like this."

This comment suggests that this young woman is clearly uneducated. Frankly, she speaks what used to be called "pidgin English," and appears to be unfamiliar with grammar of any kind.  The only expertise she shows at all is an apparent familiarity with weaponry.

I didn't think she was funny, I just kept thinking of that young girl in Phuket.  As I had before, I could see this Chicago girl's non-future clearly.  Where is she going to get a job with a future? When is she going to be respected for anything other than her body? She is old enough to be a high-school graduate, but doesn't know how to put a sentence together and doesn't know that Morocco is part of Africa.  It's already over.  My heart breaks for her. One similarity between these two girls is that neither one of them know it's over.

The big difference between these two girls is that in America  there are solutions to the social problem of prematurely wasted lives.  In her rant, the Chicago girl refers to a cousin in the police force -- he figured out how to escape. Could her family not build upon his success?  I have worked with many accomplished black women in Chicago -- it is possible.  I know it is.  This makes it all the more heartbreaking.  

The country is being turned upside down by racial carpetbaggers raving over black people being shot by police.  Untold numbers more are being abandoned to a short and futile life, far more likely to die at the hand of fellow community members.  As deeply tragic as these deaths are, they pale next to watching the flower of black youth being left to rot on the vine.

Several years ago, I was on vacation in Phuket, Thailand with my husband. Through our hotel, we signed up for a day cruise on a Thai junk.  At one point we stopped at what the tour guide called a "Muslim Fishing Village."  We took a smaller boat to the place, which was a rickety series of piers supporting houses and common areas where a group of Muslims lived.  Their main sources of income were fishing and selling postcards and other goods to tourists on cruises like this one.  We were quickly surrounded by young people selling postcards.  Most, except for the very youngest, were girls. One in particular made an impression on me I will never forget.

The slender girl was fully covered; her hair and neck were wrapped in a light, colorful silky cloth exposing only her face.  She wore a loose tunic with long sleeves and long loose-fitting pants despite sweltering heat. She offered me her postcards, I smiled and said "no thank you."  This was a challenge to her -- she kept looking in my eyes and offering her wares and I kept saying "No thank you," always politely and always with a smile.  She kept on, trying to learn how to improve her selling skills. It was clear she was very bright, full of energy, and probably could sell her wares in 10 different languages. Some older women were silently keeping an eye on all the kids, including her. She had so much energy, intelligence, and initiative;  in another world she would have a future.

I looked around this dilapidated living space and again at her bright face and I could see her whole life.  She would be one of those sullen, overweight older women minding the young girls.  It broke my heart.  A very smart friend once told me "all social problems do not have a solution," nonetheless, this girl filled my heart with sadness.  I asked the tour guide where the boys were -- he pointed at an area on land nearby and there they all were.  It was recess at the madrassa and the boys were playing in crisp, spotless white jackets with colorful trim and matching hats.  This deepened my sadness for the little girl.  I wondered if she ever got to play.

I have thought of her at times and was recently reminded of her when I read about an American girl, a young woman who had been prevented from looting a cell phone store by the presence of some well-armed men.  She was so outraged, she made a video of herself screaming at these men, that were "Ayrabs", "whom she denounces as not real Africans because they are from Morocco (she says),"

The video has since been removed from YouTube, but can be found on Twitter.

Her repertoire of vulgarity is limited but heartfelt, and she yelled her outrage at the top of her lungs at this barrier to her desires.

Beth Baumann of Townhall transcribed parts of the rant, for instance:

"They let these people come outside with they AK-47s. AK-47s to protect they stuff from black people. They ready to kill black people, the Arabs, the fake-a-- Ramadan m------------. They got M-16s, AK with they people's out here. Everything y'all. Look at this s---," she said, flipping the camera to a nearby store. "They got m----------- AKs out here and I'm going to get my cousin that's a police officer right now and ask him are they legally able to carry these m------------ guns like this."

This comment suggests that this young woman is clearly uneducated. Frankly, she speaks what used to be called "pidgin English," and appears to be unfamiliar with grammar of any kind.  The only expertise she shows at all is an apparent familiarity with weaponry.

I didn't think she was funny, I just kept thinking of that young girl in Phuket.  As I had before, I could see this Chicago girl's non-future clearly.  Where is she going to get a job with a future? When is she going to be respected for anything other than her body? She is old enough to be a high-school graduate, but doesn't know how to put a sentence together and doesn't know that Morocco is part of Africa.  It's already over.  My heart breaks for her. One similarity between these two girls is that neither one of them know it's over.

The big difference between these two girls is that in America  there are solutions to the social problem of prematurely wasted lives.  In her rant, the Chicago girl refers to a cousin in the police force -- he figured out how to escape. Could her family not build upon his success?  I have worked with many accomplished black women in Chicago -- it is possible.  I know it is.  This makes it all the more heartbreaking.  

The country is being turned upside down by racial carpetbaggers raving over black people being shot by police.  Untold numbers more are being abandoned to a short and futile life, far more likely to die at the hand of fellow community members.  As deeply tragic as these deaths are, they pale next to watching the flower of black youth being left to rot on the vine.