Listen! I was born into the world, the product of 500 years of oppression. Born into the struggle. Getting use to living, in the dust and dirt. Crawling on my belly, like a snake in the grass. The government showing up in big trucks, every week. Throwing government cheese, and crackers at us. Treating us like, wild animals in a cage. The driver, always kept the engine running,  as if scared of something.

Momma and Daddy, looked inside the truck, expecting more. They asked “The Man”, “Is that it?”, “are you sure, there is not another truck coming?”. Mommy and daddy asked. “What were you expecting?” the driver asked. Mommy and Daddy said, “40 Acres and Mule?”. “That’s it!”, the driver said, as he drove away.

I heard those two words, all of my life.”That’s it!”, “That’s it!”, are the words that mommy and daddy used. When they had to use evaporated milk, instead of real milk for my cereal. “That’s it!”, were the words used, when I had to learn how to stir, my powdered milk just right. But I never could tell, if I had gotten it right. Not knowing what real milk, tasted like.

It seemed like poverty, was mommy and daddy’s Kryptonite. Whenever poverty was around, it could take mommy and daddy’s, “Black Power” away. But Santa Claus was different. He had, that magical Christmas dust. That gave reindeers, the ability to fly.  And helped him to deliver, presents to kids, all over the world. Santa even let the kids, from the ghetto, make Christmas lists. Poverty, the streets, and drive by shootings, had no power to stop, Santa and Rudolph the Red- Nose Reindeer.

It was Christmas Eve, and I did not want to fall  asleep. I tried to stay awake, to catch a glimpse of Santa Clause. I had left the cookies out, to slow him down. But Santa must have sprinkled, sleeping dust in my eyes. My eyelids, just got heavier and heavier. But before I dozed off, I could have sworn, I saw the black Santa talking to mommy. I hoped that mommy, did not snitch on me. 

The next thing I knew, it was Christmas morning. I jumped out of bed, to see if I could catch Santa before he took off. But he was gone. I ran to the Christmas tree, to search for the presents that Santa had left for me. I  was still young enough to believe, that Santa was real. My Christmas list was long.  I believed that poverty, drive by shootings, the crack epidemic,  poverty, could stop “Black Power”. But not Santa Clause. “Where’s the Hot Wheel Set, The Black Ken Doll, GI Joe, Silly String, my Dominos, Slinky, and Mr. Potato Head?”. I had been nice, and not naughty all year. I searched, and searched. 

Finally, I was able to find one present, under the Christmas tree.  I looked at mommy and daddy, confused. Then they both looked at me, and said in unison,”That’s It!” That was the day, that Santa died. That day I came to realize, that Santa was not real. Because if Santa was real, then the poverty of the ghetto, would not have stopped him.

Then who were, those Black Santa’s? The one, talking to mom on Christmas Eve, before I fell asleep. And who was the Black Santa, who’s listened to my Christmas wishes, as I sat on his lap at the mall? Oh… they were just Black Men in costumes, and white beards.  It was just Daddy, talking to mom on Christmas Eve. Daddy, who got on the top of the house,  to make hoof sounds. To make me think, that it was Santa and Rudolph, taking off from the house. Leaving my presents behind. And the the guy at the mall, was just a guy.

Black men!, who let poverty!, become their Kryptonite! A poverty! That could take their “Black Power!” away.



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