The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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Diana was working at a Naval installation and  she was chosen to be one of 2 dozen people to undertake racial awareness training. She was supposed to learn how to administer it, and return to her installation to train the rest of the place. She never got to do that, but she learned a great deal.

“Teach me something, get me outta here!” Diana cries out in the elevator as she rides up to start her workday booking flights for Naval personnel. Her jurisdiction is confined to those stationed in the Mid-Atlantics. Diana sees a telegram on her desk as she approaches her spot. She is going to Dayton, Ohio for racial awareness training. Out of 4,000 employees at her installation, the Department of the Navy chose her to learn the program, and administer it upon return. Having been in the workforce for 2, 3 years now, she was ready to get out of the windowless office she worked at and learn.

"You've been here for a couple of days now" Dr. King looks at the 22 students of his, chosen from 22 military installations all over the country. "Tell me, what's wrong with us, why are we here?"

Diana's hands shoots in the air "I think people have been conditioned to be ignorant about the differences among people, reacting to them, and failing to see the similarities we all share with each other" Nods and scattered "mhmm" ripples the room. 

"That's a very insightful answer!" Dr. King grins with 8 teeth showing "For a girl." the grin falls off his face and splats on the ground. The only thing audible in the room was a ticking clock. Diana feels her jaw locking shut.

"That was a good response coming from anyone. More and more people are understanding that and things are getting better all the time for people of color!" A French man with a beautiful name comes to her defense.

Dr. Charles King is 6’4” tall, and has been doing this for so long that he knows exactly what kinds of responses will be provoked from his chosen words. He is like a conductor working 22 musicians having a call-and-response. The 22 students are living the inter-racial relations he has orchestrated.

"Getting better!" Dr. King looks at the French man, slowly raises his right fist and puts it in front of his left chest as if he's holding a dagger.

"I got a knife in my heart" his teeth are clenched and the words are pushed through them. "Now pull it out a little bit.” His eyes grow wider, fist wraps around the invisible dagger tighter “ Pull it out a little bit!” Dr. King’s lips crumble into his teeth, voice hoarse and painfully breathy. “I'm still dying. I'm still dying!" 

The room falls into silence once more.

Teach Me Something

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mid-1970s

Diana was working at a Naval installation and she was chosen to be one of 2 dozen people to undertake racial awareness training. She was supposed to learn how to administer it, and return to her installation to train the rest of the place. She never got to do that, but she learned a great deal.

Decade: 1970s
Rating:
Recorded by Justin Ryan on December 9, 2019
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