Educated Escort

Educated Escort? Yes, that’s what I became. No one expects someone with my skin color
who works in my profession to begin an encounter discussing the three main ideas of The Art of
War, by Lao Tzu. Sure I it is pompous to discuss ancient Chinese philosophy. Nevertheless, I
like to introduce myself by going a little over the top in my emphasis on my academic
background because I like to see the look of surprise on the face of a person who had me
pigeonholed into one category, only to find out I was nothing like stereotypes suggest. I’m a
contrary individual in that I like being defiant. I’m not what you think I am! But the truth is, prior
to my own involvement in this off track way of life, I had the same stereotypes about people I
read of in the paper, or viewed in PBS documentaries. Twenty years ago I never would have
met the me I am now, or if I did meet her I would want to help, since I was a service provider
clearly separate from “them.”
When I first tried narcotics and faced the seemingly daunting task of purchasing drugs by
myself, I thought I would have to find young black men grouped in surly clusters on the corners
of streets named after MLK. I was sure they’d , all have guns at the ready. I imagined having to
learn how to pass money in exchange for dope through complicated handshakes that
incorporated palm slapping, finger snapping, and ghetto slang (what the press called “Ebonics”
in the 1990’s). I was enormously surprised to find that drugs were not just a black thing but
people of all races and ages did drugs- and sold drugs. I began my addiction career at age 23
and it was then that I had proof positive that media portrayals were…not entirely accurate.
Nevertheless I still felt shame that in a way I became what everyone expected of students who
were admitted to elite colleges bc of affirmative action. So when a white man does a double
take upon hearing me say “media portrayal” I smile to myself because I know what he would
never want to think is true- that I am more like him than not. And if I’m being really honest I will
admit I am trying to prove this commonality to myself.

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