Sense of Entitlement
Reflections of Ferguson, Missouri versus Kewadin, Michigan
Some of you may not appreciate my story, today especially. But, as usual, I feel the need to express myself and it will probably be akin to smacking the hornets’ nest.
The disruption over Ferguson, Missouri has forced long buried memories to surface. Go along with my tale and hopefully you will begin to see the relevance.
In my early twenties, I shared a big farm house in Kewadin, Michigan, with four other twenty something girls. It was big and white, and on the corner of Cairn Highway and Cherry Avenue. Just around the corner from The Red Bull Oasis.
Naturally, with that many young ladies living under one roof, there was a barrage of young men there also. None for me, of course. I was working three jobs and seldom even there. Just long enough to rest my head. Nearly all of us worked for Schuss Mountain in some capacity. Most were waitresses who worked evenings.
I was the breakfast supervisor at Schuss Mountain restaurant, early in the morning. Then I would spend a few hours in the afternoon working for Brian Cairns, the General Manager, as his administrative assistant. In the evenings I worked either as a bartender at the Manistee Lake Lounge, in Kalkaska, or as a waitress at the Town Club, downtown Elk Rapids.
While working at the Town Club one Friday night a young man stepping into the bar through the back door. The bartenders head swiveled, he picked up a twelve pack of beer and took it to the young man. I was curious and asked about the situation. I was told “Indians don’t belong in here, they can come to the back door and buy beer by the twelve pack and then they leave.” Not once, that whole summer, did I see any Native American step foot into that bar as a patron.
However, there were a couple of women, from the local Reservation, who worked the back kitchen. Their daughters and granddaughters often came in to lend a hand on the weekends. It was September, on a Friday night. The thirteen year old granddaughter of Rosie came in battered and crying. She had been walking home from school when a truck load of white boys swooped down on her. Beaten and raped, they left her lying in the field they had dragged her to. The grandmother wiped her eyes, and chided her to forget about it and get on with her life because nothing would or could be done. They were white boys.
Well, I got a bit angry with that attitude. I spouted off to my boss that it was just wrong that as a business he could charge them more money at the back door for a six pack of beer than he charged white people by the bottle sitting in his bar. There is a song that was fairly popular, I hated it and still do. “In the Summertime”. It is the epitome of entitlement. In The Summertime "If her daddy's rich than take her out for a meal, if he daddy's poor just do what you feel."
The next weekend, I wasn't on the roster to work. I was so happy to have a weekend off and to myself and be able to relax.
They guy broke into the house about 10:30 pm. He ripped the cream colored princess phone off the wall. As we struggled, I kept thinking it was like something out of a movie; knocking over lamps and furniture breaking. As he punched me and kicked me, he told me no one cared what happened to me. No one would come to help me or exact any punishment to him; not my family, not my friends, no one. He called me nasty, nasty names and then quite obviously to make certain I knew where this originated from, threw in “Indian lover”.
The events taking place in Ferguson, Missouri are not actually about young Mr. Michael Brown. They are about the sense of entitlement exhibited by a cocksure white skinned police officer. This young man’s death was tragic, it is especially tragic because it demonstrates how out of control the community has evolved. Feeling you can do or say anything to anybody, whether here in Michigan or there in Missouri, is not an execution of your first amendment, it is a demonstration in the sense of entitlement. Full blown demonstration by a lone police officer thinking he could “take on” several larger, younger, more physically fit, young men. Cocksure with his lineage of entitlement.
Fourteen other young black men had been shot by policemen in Ferguson, why this one? Because enough is enough.
Did I file a police report on that incident I lived through? No. Why would I? The police were many of the bars patrons. I donate money to causes that fight against this. I speak up when I can. If you need that sense of entitlement, if you need to hate black people or Native Americans, or Irish, or Jewish, or Spanish, or Mexican….whomever…if you need to put someone else down to feel better about yourself, we have a dysfunctional society.