How I got revenge on a plantation tour

How I got revenge on a plantation tour
Nygel Turner, 18 October 2019, The Guardian



August is my favorite month because every year my family goes on an African American themed Caribbean Island cruise – replace the shuffle board with a basketball court, switch out the chicken nuggets for southern fried chicken, and get rid of whatever weak a capella group is performing and insert Fantasia. But the summer before my senior year in high school, my family and I flew to New Orleans instead – my dad had a surprise specifically for me.

When he met me in our hotel lobby with my uncle Al, I thought to myself, “A little father and son and uncle bonding time. I’m with it.” But then a luxury tour bus pulled up to the curb, and suddenly all these people piled out of the hotel and started boarding. “Oh, a wine tour?” I thought. My dad, my uncle and I hopped on last. I saw a digital sign above the bus driver’s head that read: “PLANTATION TOURS.”

There was not a single black passenger on the bus besides the three of us. I turned to my dad and asked, “Are we really going to a plantation? Like – on purpose?”

The bus driver, an older black man, must have overheard what I said because he turned around and replied, “I was thinking the same thing. Y’all the first black people I’ve ever seen on this tour …”

To be honest, even though I believe it’s important to learn about your family’s past, slavery is something I’m comfortable only reading about. Although my family is from the south and always talked openly about slavery, I grew up in California where slavery wasn’t something I learned much about in school. So it feels more distant, not as present, with fewer reminders – the sugar cane fields, the old mansions – all around like I’d see in the south.

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