I worked. I studied. And I didn't listen to assholes.
I ran away from the Indian school when I was 13. After working like crazy for pennies, I figured out I needed to get educated. So I hit the public library. I got put down and beat up by county sheriff's deputies and by Indians threatened by the fact that I wasn't fitting their profile of what a skinny little rez kid should be. I got a GED (that's a certificate of equivalency to completing high school). I joined the Air Force, not the Army or Navy, because it was high-tech, and the recruiter focussed on the educational benefits, not what a badass I could be. He also told me the secret: with a GED I'd have a hard time getting into college, but the University of Maryland had a contract with the armed forces, and they would have to admit me. So I went, and I worked, and I fought. Texas. Japan. West Berlin. Iceland. England. Turkey. Central America. Australia. Always with a couple of textbooks in my pack. It took me seven years to get a four-year degree. Then I got a nice, stable HQ assignment, so I applied to law schools. University of Maryland. University of Baltimore. Catholic University of America. George Washington University. American University. And Georgetown, the elite one. Every swinging dick around told me I was wasting my application fee. And I got accepted. To all of them. It took me four years to finish a three-year law degree. Shoulda been three and a half, but there was this war I had to attend to. Then they told me I should go JAG because even with a degree from an elite law school, I had no chance of getting into a top-drawer firm. So I got out and got into a top-drawer firm. Then I did some government work. Along the way I picked up a Master of Laws and a Ph.D. because I was so used to spending my evenings in classrooms, I didn't know what else to do with my time and money.
And money? Son, you have no idea. I found the money hydrant. In six months I made more than I made in 12 years in the Air Force. I bought a condo in the burbs, a house on the rez (my brother lives there), and most of the rest of it I give away to fund Shawnee programmes. I found a money guy like me (only Haudenosaunee), and he has provided me an average annual return on investment of 22% over the last decade. He's the Money Whisperer.
And I still get called "chief" by white assholes, and "apple" by lazy, jealous Indians. And get pulled over by cops asking for my papers because apparently at 60, I now look Hispanic. To white morons, anyhow.
And you know what? I still don't care. I sympathise with the black and brown, but I tell them every chance I get that there's only one way out: get educated, work hard, make money. You get jacked by some dull-normal, melanin-deficient knuckledragger who was too stupid for college, too gutless for the Army, and too lazy to work, you know what? You file a complaint nobody will do anything about, and you press on.
But I know, boy. I know what it's like to get put down for the colour of your skin. I know what it's like to get jacked by the cops for being "suspicious," which means having melanin. I've been super-careful, because I sent in my passport for renewal a couple of months ago, and now I don't have an easy way to prove I'm a citizen until the lazy f*cks at the State Department get my new one to me. Which means I'm vulnerable to any mouth-breathing white asshole who decides I look Mexican.
So f*ck you, boy.