“Where you from, shorty?”
I take a deep breath and try to conjure a sentence that will firmly, but politely inform this young man that I am not interested in having this or any other conversation with him.
“I’m from Kansas.”
I know my response is lackluster, but he caught me off guard, I’m just trying to finish this chapter before I get to my stop.
“For real? It’s black people in Kansas?”
I close my book and look up at this man. From his apparel, and baby face, I can tell he’s young, but he’s also old enough to know better.
“Sir, Many black people fled to Kansas, Nebraska and other free states to get away from the horror that was American Slavery. But more importantly sir, you should know that there are black people everywhere. We are not forced to live in ghettos, speak any one language, or even sit on the back of the bus. We are in Tokyo and Paris, London and Hong-Kong. Beijing to Brasilia, Boston and Beirut, we are everywhere. From the Big House to the White House, our presence is felt and seen. So to answer your question, sir, Yes there are black people in Kansas. Now from whence do you come?
Huh? Oh I’m from Queens.
Nope. Too easy. I’m not going to do it. I feign a smile and go back to my book. I think he got off at the next stop. I didn’t really notice. I was still trying to finish that chapter.