DISCLAIMER: If you spent Sept. 11th hiding under the bed and jumping every time a car backfires, I apologize in advance. I mean no disrespect to the thousands of folks who were traumatized, lost a loved one or died seven years ago in the Twin Towers attack.
However. I mean every disrespect to the scheming, slimy bastards who cooked up the plot, blamed it on Muslims and have spent the last couple years terrorizing gullible white folks into trading away every civil liberty “we” think “they” hate us for.
I’ve never admitted this to anyone before, but I have a rather humorous 9/11 memory. I was working at the time at a terribly homogenous, but rather quirky academic journal. I had one colleague of color, we’ll call him Prakesh (name and nationality changed), who despite not being from the motherland was even more Afrocentric than me. Prakesh put me up on the hidden racism in Moulin Rouge, white rappers and the way company photographers always wanted us front and central. Needless to say, Prakesh and I were plotting uprising and rebellion daily, in that fresh-out-of-college kind of way.
When the first plane hit, around 9:30 or so, our reaction was absolutely nothing. We went on doing something close to nothing, no different than the day before.
The second plane hit, about 10 I think. Paul, second editor-in-command, ran into the room and shouted “Planes have hit the World Trade Center! It’s on the breakroom TV!”
We shrugged as all the white folks fled the room, and kept up our idle chat. I think they noticed we were missing, because Deaglan called into the main office, “The Pentagon has been attacked!”
That woke us up. Prakesh and I stared at each other, twin mirrors of shock–and anticipation.
Me: “Did you hear that?”
Me: “Is this the [whispered] Revolution?”
Him: “Should we kill the white people?”
Me: “I don’t know! I didn’t get an email!”
We knocked off the rest of the afternoon instead, took a 2 hour lunch break and tried not to roll our eyes as our coworkers buzzed around in a daze, or the drama queens with no personal ties to the tragedy openly wept.
9/11 was a day of tremendous satisfaction for me. Not because I want to see those people killed. That was horrible, a terrible accident of birth and circumstance. But the attack–let’s be honest, the routing–took away some of (white) America’s smug sense of safety, razed all false sense of impunity and killed utterly the idea that we are not held responsible for the actions of our government.
“The world is a different place now.” That phrase irked me to no end. The world is the exact same afterward as it was before. The only difference is, Americans now knew their real place in it, and had to deal with the knowledge that billions of people worldwide live with everyday: Anyone can be touched.