Thereís No Me Without Hue
by Lawrence Christopher
Black women are greedy and needy. Black women believe in a give and take relationship; you give and they take. Black women are filled with attitude, with no gratitude . . . but you know what, I wouldnít want any other woman by my side.
I shot her my line; "My friends call me BLING. It means what I see I can afford to have." She was hooked. We started dating, which lasted for six months.
I told Deirdre of my dreams to become independently wealthy. She was feeling me as she road excitedly in my Mercedes E500 around the city of Atlanta. Any and everywhere we went in the ATL, I paid our way and I didnít mind at all, because my pockets are deep like that. Wherever we went to be seen, I wanted my lady to look her finest. I didnít mind splurging for a hairdo or two, manicure and pedicure. My 9 to 5 pays me six figures and I have minimum debt.
In the third month of our dating, Deirdre started slipping maintenance bills to me; cell phone, Direct TV and brake repairs for her car. As you can see it was a slow progression, with an increase on the size of the bills. It was when Deirdre called me at work with, "Bling, I need some money. Iím a little short on my house note this month."
"How much is short?"
"Four hundred dollars."
"Youíre more than short. Baby, where we are in this relationship, Iím not taking care of the roof over your head unless Iím under it with you."
"But you have been under it with me when you were in my bed."
"If itís going to be like that, we can have sex at my crib."
"You can handle it. What about your savings account?"
"How are you going to manage my money when you canít even manage your own?"
"So what, youíre not going to help me out?"
"That would be correct."Before she hung up the phone, Deirdre had a few choice words for me, spoken in ghettoi. The next two and half months, the relationship was on a fade to black. I maintained paying for clubbing, concerts, dinner and the movies. Because of Deirdreís pissed off attitude, I cut back on paying for her beauty care. Deirdre was drop dead beautiful when we met, which was what attracted me to her. She was just as attractive when some other guy stepped to her and offered to take care of her like no other man would. She took him up on his offer, is what she told me.
At first I was bummed. Deirdre would listen to me when I had a bad day at work, though she didnít have much to offer in the way of advice. She did know how to make a brother feel better with a good night of intense sex. That should have been my clue that the relationship didnít have much of a future. Oh well.
Despite the rumors, men do have feelings and sometimes we need to talk about stuff. I have two guys that I talk to about my personal issues. Marc is a part of my BLING entourage, my boy from Morehouse. Trevor is a white co-worker, whoís pretty cool.
"Forget that biatch. She wasnít nothiní but a gold-digger with a jackhammer body." Says Marc.
"Honestly, the relationship seemed to be superficially based. I think we both know what you saw in her, and now you know what she saw in you or rather your wallet. But think about it, thatís exactly what you both put out there as a means of getting the others attention." Advises Trevor.
Both of my opposing confidants had their points. To help me get over the breakup, Marc offered to pay for a booty shake lap dance at Jazzy Tís. I accepted. Trevor on the other hand, wanted to match me up with someone in his department. He told me that the black woman he had in mind was a good church going person. I accepted.
Before Trevor could make good on his offer, I stepped in Starbucks one day and met Vickie. She is a tall Vanilla Latte, Espresso, vanilla and steamed milk. Thatís not just what she ordered to drink, she is of the Caucasian persuasion. I was right behind her in line to order my usual Caramel Macchiato, foamed milk marked with espresso, vanilla and real caramel, which matches my complexion. It was Vickieís signature perfume that opened the door for conversation. She smelled nice.
"Excuse me, what is that youíre wearing?" I asked.
"Tender Poison. My name is Vickie," she offered.
"Nice to meet you Vickie. Iím Reginald."
~ Warning: Reading pass this point may cause open minded thinking. ~We went to share a table together. I was shocked at how easy it was to approach her. If it had of been a modern black woman, I would still be trying to get passed "hello." Getting to know Vickie was as easy as putting a warm spoon through a bowl of Cool Whip. Aside from being a blonde, 5í 10", and a 125-pounds, with an athletic build, of physical beauty, Vickie is an only child, single, no children and she just broke up with some guy. She works as a personal hair stylist, out of the homes of some of the Atlantaís elite. Though when necessary, she has a chair in a salon in Atlantaís Buckhead area. In her spare time, Vickie volunteers at the local public library, shelving books. She is beautiful and unselfish.
It was on a whim, a shot in the dark that I asked Vickie if she "would like to get together for lunch." She said, "sure." Not having any fixed hours, Vickie agreed to meet me for lunch that same week whenever I was available. It was set. Lunches together lasted about a week, before a dinner date. Dinner conversation was more of the same as lunch. It was more of getting to know Vickie. I kept the focus off me, allowing Vickie to do all the talking.
I learned about every close member in her family, even the family dog, an overweight chocolate Labrador named, get this, Oprah. It took me a minute to compose myself when I heard that. One other fascinating thing I learned about Vickie is that she has lived a lily white, pristine life. I donít mean that to sound harsh or judgmental. Itís just an observation.
After twenty-eight years of being alive, Vickie hadnít seemed to experience the least bit of hardship. She has not had a single death in her family or that of a close friend. As for me, Iíve been to at least a dozen funerals. Vickie breezed through college, getting a Liberal Arts degree. Then she decided she wanted to style hair. Vickieís mother, whoís Rolodex was filled with potential clients for her daughter used to be the managing editor for Jezebel Magazine. Right out of college, Vickie moves into an upscale condo community, earning good money.
During a dinner date, I mentioned that I had an important meeting the next day. I cursed because I had forgotten to get a haircut and beard trim. Vickie volunteered to give me cut and trim. We went to the plush salon where she works. It was late, but Vickie has keys to the salon. Once she had me in the chair, I was treated with the same pamper and skill I imagined her other clientele received.
After Vickie touched up my low cut hairstyle, she laid me back in the chair for my beard trim and as an added bonus, a facial. Quickly she trimmed and lined my beard. That is when the pampering began. She rubbed Noxema over my face and deeply massaged it into my mustache and beard. Vickie followed with a hot towel covering my total face. Five or ten minutes later she removed the towel and the cream. She repeated the treatment a couple of times with different types of creams and hotter towels.
All the while, sheís talking to me, explaining what she is doing and what she is applying to my face. To be honest, after the first towel I was feeling so relaxed that I was dozing in and out. I know by the time the third towel had come off, I was probably sound asleep. Otherwise I would have noticed Vickie straddling me in the chair. I felt her lips on mine and her tongue prying its way into my mouth. Without thinking, I willingly obliged. For a white girl, she did not taste differently.
Vickieís skin beneath her blouse was just as smooth as black women I have touched. Her perky breast were just as tasteful. There was no noticeable difference that I had detected to the point where we were semi-upright in the chair. But what about when I got her naked? I remember my uncle once telling me that Asian womenís vaginas were slanted like their eyes. He served in the Korean War and told me he saw plenty. Imagine my embarrassment in my elementary school sex education class, when I told the teacher and the rest of the class.
When I reached for Vickieís pants to remove them from her, she halted my hands. "Not here," she said. We closed up shop and headed to her gate guarded community to conclude what we had started. During the ride, Vickie kept explaining that she did not know what had come over her. She explained that she "didnít normally act this way." That made me wonder, why was this happening. Was I about to be the experimental sex with a black man? Of all that I had known and learned about Vickie, it never came up whether I was her first experience with a black man. True enough, this was my first time with a white girl. Why was I anxiously willing to have sex with Vickie? I did not know. So I did not.
Thatís right. I did not have sex with Vickie that night. By the time, I drove through the gate of her community; I had realized that I couldnít answer that question for myself, other than for the experience of doing it with a white girl. Vickie was too nice of a girl to just bone and leave. Plus, I didnít want to be her first bad experience in life.
Believe it or not, Vickie said she understood, when I told her that I thought we should wait. I emphasized the fact that I had an early morning meeting. The next morning, there was a message on my office voicemail from Vickie.
"Good morning Reginald. I wanted to let you know once again that I really enjoyed myself last night. (Snicker) I hope you have a great day and I wanted to know if you wanted to go to an art show with me tonight. A friend of mine is a photographer and sheís having a gallery showing. Give me a call later to let me know. Hope to talk to you soon. Bye," is how she ended the message.
Now I have to say this, the only time Deirdre or any black woman I dated ever called me at work, it was to ask for something. Admittedly, Vickieís message did put a smile on my face and gave me a positive perspective on the start of my day.
Later that day, I called my boy Marc and told him about the night out with Vickie.
"WHAT? You didnít hit it?" Marc yelled through the phone.
"Nah man. Something didnít feel right."
"What, you couldnít get it up for her or somethiní?"
"Hell nah, that wasnít it. The girl is nice, with a nice body."
"Then whatchu talkiní about didnít feel right?"
"Maybe Iím thinking down the road. Is it worth the hassle of being dissed by friends and family just for a piece of ass?"
"If you hit it and quit it, you wouldnít have to worry about it."
"See, thatís what Iím talking about. Iím not sure I want to just quit it. Sheís nice and so far, I havenít had a bit of conflict or drama with her. She doesnít have any baggage or hang ups that I have to fight through."
"Okay OJ, do what you want, but it's going to come a time when you will see just how much baggage ole girl has, even if itís not her own."
"What does that suppose to mean?"
"Have you met the family or any friends yet?"At the end of the call with Marc, I was still as unclear about pursuing the relationship. Because Vickie is an attractive white girl, I escaped one stereotype of black men picking up some easy to get white trash. Most of my friends and family would see Vickie as trophy material: my Barbie on parade. As Marc suggested to me, if I want to keep on seeing her, see her in the privacy of my bedroom. I went to see my co-worker friend Trevor. When I stepped in to his department, he sprung out of his chair to stop me from coming any further.
"Come with me." Trevor instructed.
"I want you to meet Samantha, the girl I told you about."Samantha was a very appealing looking black woman. As we approached her desk, Trevor reminded me that she was a Christian woman and for me to watch what I say. I assured him that I knew how to behave. "Samantha, this is Reggie." Trevor introduced me using the shortened version of my name, which I donít like. Samantha and I avoided looking at one another eye-to-eye, using Trevor to be our focus. Trevor was heaping all sorts of accolades about me to Samantha and vice versa with her. It was obvious that we were both uncomfortable. As a distraction, I looked around Samanthaís desk. I spotted a photo of her holding a little girl who looked just liked her. That meant she was with seed, meaning she has a child. That could possibly mean baggage. I managed to get a word in to end Trevorís rant.
"Itís nice meeting you Samantha. Trevor I need to talk to you," I urged.
"Sure. Are you guys going to set a lunch date?" Trevor asks us. Samantha and I look to one another to answer.
"Why donít you let us take it from here Trevor? Iíll call you Samantha. Now Trevor, can we talk."Trevor and I retreated to the break room. I made sure I was looking at him face-to-face when I would mention my news, to see his reaction. Trevor had been a cool white guy. We could talk about practically anything without fear of offending or repercussions. If this were to remain true, then my news will not make a difference.
"Trevor, Iíve met someone."
"What? When? Do I know her?"
"I donít think so. We met a week or so ago. "
"And, is she hot?"
"So where did you meet?"
"What about Samantha?"
"If I werenít married I would go out with her."
"Really!" His confession was a perfect lead in for my announcement. "So, you would date a black woman?"
"If sheís as nice looking as Samantha, sure."
"The woman I met is white." My keeping an eye lock on Trevorís face did not disappoint. His last expression froze on his face. It was his failed attempt not to show a reaction.
"Yeah, and I donít know if I should go any further with her."
"What do you mean, how far have you gone so far?" He sounded agitated.
"We just messed around a little after she gave me a facial."
"She did what!"
"She works in a salon."
"Oh, I see."
"I just wanted to ask you what you thought about me dating a white girl." Sitting back in his chair, I could see the deep thinking in his face.
"Iím going to be honest with you Reggie, and Iím saying this as a friend. While it might be nice to think that we live in a world of tolerance and compassion, the reality is that racial prejudice runs deep in America."
"Yeah, I know."
"Then you know it wouldnít work."
"Yeah, but just a moment ago you said you would date a black woman."
"I was just trying to make a point about how nice Samantha looked, that I would be willing to date her."
"So that was just hypothetically speaking. "
"Have you ever been with a black girl?" Trevor took too long to answer, so I knew he had. "When was it?"
"In college. At a frat party, we hired some hookers. I was drunk and horny and I had screwed the prettiest one in the bunch. It was the best sex I ever had. My wife hasnít even sexed me like I had it that night."
"So then itís okay to hit it and quit it, is what you are saying."
"I donít want to sound crass, but yeah. If you want to just have sex with this girl, then I understand."There didnít seem like much more to say after that. Trevor let me know in no uncertain terms, that he didnít condone interracial dating. Crossing the racial line was just to satisfy a curiosity or a sex crave. Marc pretty much felt the same way. Going against my better judgment, I decided to continue to see Vickie with the intention of committing to a long-term relationship with her, as long as it would last anyway.
"Hey, whatís up?" I asked when I called Vickie.
"Hey yourself. Did you get my message? Do you want to go to the showing?"
"Sure. Do I need to go home and change clothes? Iíve never been to an art show."
"Umm, the dress code is cosmopolitan. "
"What does that mean, do I have to wear red, brown and white?"
She laughs. "No silly. Thatís Neapolitan, as in ice cream. Youíre funny.""I knew that." I went home and changed into a pair of solid brown dress pants, a solid brown mock collar pullover and a sports jacket. Vickie was dressed in a pair of dress designer jeans, a white blouse and heels. Her hair was pinned up by a jeweled barrette. We maneuvered around the gallery arm-in-arm drinking Hogue White Riesling wine and eating off a fruit platter with Kahlua whipped cream. Vickieís friends smiled at us with remarks that we made a cute couple. This made Vickie squeeze tighter to me. I have to admit that it did feel good. The night out was all-good. The night in was even better.
At Vickieís condo, behind closed doors it was on. As soon as we broke the threshold of her condo we were at one another. We didnít make it up to the bedroom. Instead we made it in the living room, hallway and on the stairs leading to the upper floor of her condo. It was the craziest sex that I ever experienced in my life. Vickie was intense, which fed my actions. I wasnít thinking about what I was doing, I was just doing. Sometime early that Saturday morning, we took a shower, which led to another bout of unbridled sex. Eventually, we made it to bed to sleep.
My wake up call came accompanied by the sweet smell of Canadian bacon, eggs, raisin toast and orange juice served to me in bed. Iím thinking, "hell naw" this canít be real. Vickie was serving me breakfast in bed. Honestly, I felt uncomfortable with her gesture, but I didnít want to hurt her feelings.
"Morning sleepy head. How are you feeling?" She asked.
"Sore." She smiled at me. I smiled back, having a few flashbacks of the nightís events.
"Iím not complaining," another smile.
For a half a day after eating breakfast, I attempted to soothe Vickieís soreness that we caused the night before. By two oíclock in the afternoon we managed to get out of the apartment for a break, if you will; to run an errand to the pet store. There was a white guy in the checkout line, ahead of us. He had one of those Weiner dogs on a leash. From the checkout line next to ours, came a small black boy who looked to be six or seven years of age. He attempted to pet the dog. In return, the dog growled. The little boy looked at me and asked if the dog bites. I told him that it wasnít my dog.
The little boy attempted to play with the dog again. The result was the same. This time the little boy asks the man holding the dogís leash. The man, who was having trouble using his debit card, distractedly told the boy to "leave the dog alone, he doesnít like to be petted." The man continued to check out, and the boy continued to play at the dog. The dog then ran behind the checkout counter with the cashier. The man yells, "NO. NO. STOP THAT! COME BACK HERE!"
The little boy runs to his mother. She begins to speak aloud, "YOU DONíT NEED TO BE TALKING TO MY SON LIKE THAT." The man mumbles something in return. Thatís when Vickie interjects, "he told the little boy to leave the dog alone."
"Ainít nobody talking to you. He still doesnít need to be talkiní to nobody like that." Snaps back the defensive mother.
"My dog will eat yoí punk ass dog!" Boasts the little boyís father.
Those in close vicinity are astonished at the escalation of the events. The obviously intimidated dogís owner remains quiet and concludes his sales transaction and quickly leaves the store. The black family gathers their purchases and also leaves the store without further incident. The remaining patrons and the cashiersí replayed what had happen from their point of view. It was split. Some thought the dog owner was in the wrong for not paying attention to what was happening and that he should have had the dog on a tighter leash if it would possibly bite someone. Others thought the parents clearly over reacted. At the time, the latter group didnít know how right they were.
The Weiner dogís owner came rushing into the store screaming for help. In his arms he was holding the Weiner dog about his neck, which was bleeding profusely. "PLEASE HELP ME!" The man pleaded as he rushed toward the pet storeís health care area. We later learned that the little boyís father went out and let loose his Pit Bull from the back of his SUV, allowing it to attack the Weiner dog. The police were called and those of us who witnessed the verbal altercation had to give a statement. The Weiner dog died.
Vickie was visibly upset on the ride back to her condo. We didnít talk at all. The remainder of the day, I spent comforting by holding her in my arms. I didnít know what else to do. She cried herself to sleep. I laid next to her absorbing her shudders. She allowed me to comfort her, to be a man without contesting me. With nothing else to do but think, I replayed the store incident in my head. I realized something that was misinterpreted. The man was not talking to the little boy when he yelled "no, stop that. Come back here." He was speaking to his dog, who had ran behind the counter. When the little boy ran, the mother as everyone else assumed he was yelling at the boy. This revelation didnít make a difference in bringing the Weiner dog back.
That following Monday, I kept thinking about Vickie and how she made me feel and how I felt being around her. She was compassionate and non-threatening. It was the first time I was with a woman who made me feel appreciated and needed. Without a doubt, I can say that I have never been in a relationship so at ease and without drama, with a black woman. Just as I was reveling in the thoughts of my time with Vickie, my phone rang.
"Hello, this is Reginald."
"Hey. Itís me. I was just thinking about you."
"Yeah, me too. I mean, I was just thinking about you."
"Really! What about me?"
"Nothing specific, just thinking."
"Well, I donít mind telling you that I like you quite a bit."
"Same here. Listen, I have a marathon meeting starting in a few minutes. Do you want to do something tonight?"
"Okay, Iíll call you when Iím out of my meeting."
I muttered something in response and Vickie laughed, which made me laugh. The meeting attendees were slowly filing into the conference room. The guy leading the meeting was having difficulty setting up the audiovisual equipment.
"Does anyone know anything about this equipment?" He asks. A white guy in the office comes to his aid. "Great, someone with some technical know-how." Unfortunately, the guy was unsuccessful in getting the viewer to work. I decided to try my hand at it. When I approached the viewer, the white guy said to those in the room, "Okay, maybe Reggie can gerry-rig it."
"What did you say?" I asked with irritation.
"I said, maybe you can gerry-rig it."
"Right. Why canít I have technical know-how?"
"I donít know, whatís the difference?"
"Thereís a big difference."
Instead of trying to get the viewer to work, I returned to my seat. Let me explain. The term gerry-rig is a shortened revision of the term nigger rigged. During the times when slaves were working in the fields, they plowed the grounds with rigs pulled by a mule or ox. When the towing animals became overworked, the slave masters would hitch slaves to the plow or rig, calling it nigger rigging. Whether the guy knew the history of the term or not didnít matter to me. I was upset about the contrasting comparison he made between the white guy, who supposedly had the technical know-how and me. As soon as the meeting was over, I confronted the white guy who led the meeting.
"Ken, what was up with the comment?" I asked.
"I was just about to ask you the same thing."
"What does gerry-rig mean?"
"I donít know, make do, a temporary fix. Why?"
"So thatís all you know about it?"
"Yeah, what does it mean to you?"I gave Ken the undocumented definition that rumor through the black community. I tossed in the origin of the word picnic as a bonus. His response, "What! I think you people are over sensitive." It was the, you people comment that caused the first blow to his jaw. Any punches that followed were thrown for good measure. Okay, I snapped. By the time we finished tossing each other around the conference room, we had an audience of half the office staff standing at the doorway and window. Ken and I were sent home for the rest of the day. I called my boy Marc when I made it home.
"You shitiní me. You was scrappiní in the office. Do you need me to roll up on old boy and take him out?" Marc asked.
"Nah man. Iím good. I kicked that honkyís ass."
"Iím telling you man, all white people are prejudice. They just keep it under wraps."
"Nah Marc, not all!"
"You sayiní that because you boniní Barbie. See what happens when you tell her about what happened today."Right after hanging up with Marc, I called Vickie. Without giving her all the details, I told her that I injured myself at work and didnít feel up to going out. Vickie was very concerned and offered to come over and tend to my wounds. I had bruised my hipbone from hitting it against the side of the conference room table. I soaked in the tub before Vickie arrived. I was lying naked on the bed, covered with an oversized towel. In one hand I was holding a glass of wine and the other hand was resting comfortably on Vickieís thigh. She was straddling me, wearing just her matching bra and panty. Gently, she rubbed Shea Butter over my bruised hip. Already I was feeling better about my day and life. Despite what you might read in magazines, a black manís number one fantasy is not to have a sexual threesome, with him and two women. All a black man wants is to come home to a loving and supporting woman. That is what I want and that is what I was feeling with Vickie tending to my wound from a rough and tough day at work. It is a shame to say it, but no black woman had ever made me feel that way before. Looking at Vickie, I felt content and I wanted the feeling to last in a committed relationship. That is what I was thinking as I looked up into deep blue eyes. Vickie leaned forward, allowing her blonde hair to fall around my face, while her Tender Poison filled my nostrils, then she gave me a soft kiss on my mouth. Her tongue danced its way inside my mouth and I joined in the dance. Vickie relaxed her body to lie prone on me. Despite the overall pleasure, her full body weight caused me to wince when she balanced on my bruise.
"Sorry baby." She cooed.
"Exactly how did you get this bruise?"Right then, as I reflected on the dayís event, I questioned whether I could or should share with Vickie the details leading up to the fight. That was my second red flag, in regards to our relationship. I threw caution to the wind and told her everything, in reverse order. When I gave her the definition to gerry-rig, Vickie laughed. Do you read me? She laughed. I was stunned at first. My sound mind wanted to make sure that she was actually making light of what I had experienced, before I responded irrational ly and possibly violently. The chuckle continued, coming to an end with, "Youíre so funny."
"What do you mean, Iím so funny. This ainít no joke."
"Come on Reggie, gerry; what did you call it, gerry rig?"
"Yes, and I donít see what is so funny," I say sternly, pushing Vickie off of me. She then realizes that I donít find the humor she does.
"Youíre serious arenít you?"
"Yes I am. You probably never heard where the word picnic came from either."
"No, I never thought about it."
"When slave owners went out for a Sunday afternoon outing, for their entertainment, they would pick-a-nigger to hang from a tree, while they ate their food. Hence the shortened version, picnic." A smirk started to form on Vickieís face, but quickly retreated when there was no sign of a smile coming from me.
"And youíre not making this up?"
"Why would I make up such a thing?"
"Maybe you didnít make it up, but how do you know that someone else didnít?"
"Why does it have to made up because you never heard of it? American history has always been taught with the view of the white writers."
"Iím sorry for laughing, I just never heard of something so absurd."
"Youíre right, it is absurd. A lot of things that came out of slavery were absurd."
"Oh here we go, back to slavery. Reginald, that was so long ago. Black people need to let it go. Timeís have changed."
"Let it go . . . as if it never happened. No one is asking the Jews to forget about the Holocaust."
"That was different."
"Different, we are talking about the killing and oppression of a race of people."
"Reggie, I donít want to argue with you about this, but I donít think getting in a fight on your job is going to change anything."
"Well, I bet you heíll think twice before he uses that phrase again and refer to blacks as you people.Needless to say, the night ended early and without a kiss goodbye. Vickie and I spoke on the phone for about another week, but the feeling was gone. We mutually agreed to end our relationship by not calling one another anymore. I was disappointed. At work, I received a reprimand and a grievance write-up in my personnel file. Those who witnessed the fight were treating me as an outcast or with kid gloves. Trevor, my long time friend at work, distanced himself from me. He seemed to always have a conflict when I called him for lunch. That showed me his true color. My boy Marc hit me with the "I told you so" line about all white people being prejudice. I still told him he was wrong. Admittedly, I was feeling rather dejected as a black man in America. At the end of a long week back to work, I left the office contemplating quitting. It was an option that was weighing heavily on my mind, so much so that while crossing the driveway exit from the parking garage a car was driving up on me fast. I rushed to get out of the drivers way and was ready to verbally attack them. The car came to a stop and the driverís side window lowered. It was Samantha, the woman Trevor introduced me to.
"You didnít think I was going to run you over did you?" Samantha asked while flashing a beautiful smile.
"I wasnít sure."
"I wouldnít do that. We black women have to take care of our brothers."
"It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at oneís self through the eyes of others, of measuring oneís soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his twoness Ė an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts; two un-reconciled strivings; two warring ideas in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder." Ė W.E.B. Du Bois