Fleeing the Burning House of Diversity

Why it’s time to redirect our energy in the pursuit of racial equity.

Louis Byrd
Published in
17 min readMar 1, 2023


Illustration by Valery licensed in Adobe Stock

When I was a kid, I loved martial arts. Growing up during the age of Power Rangers, Ninja Turtles, and X-Men — It was inevitable for me to beg my mom to put me in a dojo. And she did.

I was nine, pursuing my blue belt in Tae Kwon Do. After class, the students went to change and waited for our parents to pick us up. There was a boy, Tyler, no older than thirteen, who would always prank and joke around.

Tyler was known for teasing the younger students, but for me, usually, his jabs didn’t faze me — considering I grew up in a household and neighborhood where “Yo Mama” jokes were part of the native tongue.

However, on this particular day, Tyler’s jokes were relentless. Nevertheless, I held my ground and held my own against the older boy. Tyler was used to clowning many other kids, but not this kid.

As the saying goes, Tyler shouldn't have allowed his mouth to write a check his ass couldn’t cash. Tyler couldn’t break me, and I had the entire locker room roaring with laughter and balling in tears.

It was clear that he had underestimated me. His once pale cheeks turned a bright shade of red, and he looked visibly shaken by my quick wit. After a few minutes of banter, I completely dismantled Tyler’s confidence, leaving him embarrassed.

“You think you’re so funny? You’re nothing but a BLACK NIGGER!”

Most of the laughter settled down, with a few lingering chuckles from Tyler's friends.

Tyler, with a smirk on his face. ”Now you are quiet? Nigg…”


Coming At You Muhammad Ali GIF

Before he could get the ‘er’ sound out, my fist met his lips. We were fighting. No Tae Kwon Do, just two kids scrappin’ like they were in the schoolyard.

Not only did Tyler underestimate my wit, but he also underestimated getting his ass handed to him by a kid several years younger than him.



Louis Byrd
Writer for

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