“The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity.”
I didn’t spend much time in South Carolina. Didn’t need to. Quite frankly, it’s the drive-through state. Other than cheap gas and working freeways, there’s not much there for a brother like me.
In the late 90’s, I worked for IBM in North Carolina and had my share of being stopped while driving through The Palmetto State. It was probably my fault. I was young. I was a green, yet anxious driver. And I’m pretty sure I was speeding.
But the attitudes and the way the state troopers pulled you over were different. They were more intense. Calculating. Those experiences made me hyper-aware whenever driving through South Carolina and perhaps that was the lesson I needed at such a young age.
Another golden nugget I remember about South Carolina was the sound of the drawls. We’re talking crazy, unintelligible accents comparable to Jamaicans, Scots and Irish folks. One of my buddies, Ren, who worked with me at IBM, was a South Carolinian. Sometimes, it was like talking to a hardcore, patois-spewing, native Jamaican. You couldn’t understand diddly squat. And there was no app to help you with that.
One time… in band camp… sorry I couldn’t help myself.
But seriously, one time I found myself in a Wendy’s drive-thru in South Carolina and couldn’t understand one word from the female attendant. I think my order ended up being something completely different but I didn’t dare go through that drive-thru again or ask for clarification. I ended up eating what I was given. And then went on my merry way.