Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream

By H. G. Bissinger | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 5
Black and
White

I

NIGGER.

The word poured out in Odessa as easily as the torrents of rain that ran down the streets after an occasional storm, as common a part of the vernacular as "ol' boy" or "bless his 'ittl' biddy heart" or "awl bidness" or "I sure did enjoy visitin' with you" or "God dang."

Dumb ol' nigger. Cocky nigger. New Jersey nigger. Smartaleck nigger. Talk nigger. Blame it on the niggers. Afraid of the niggers. Nigger lady. Let the nigger girl do it. Nigger ball. Run, you nigger.

Like household cleanser, the term had a dozen different uses in Odessa. People said it in casual conversation. They also said it publicly, as just another descriptive adjective. Some people looked tall, some looked short, and some looked nigger.

An elderly man making a complaint to the city council one day in September said he had given documents to a city employee to copy for presentation to the council. He didn't remember the name of the person. But he did recall what she looked like. "The nigger lady," he said at the podium. That's who he had given the papers to. The Nigger Lady.

Certain members of the council raised their eyebrows. Some looked to the side a little as if embarrassed. But that was the extent of the protest. The man continued prattling on, and

-89-

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Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Nationwide Acclaim for Friday Night Lights *
  • Title Page ii
  • Contents ix
  • Preface xi
  • Prologue 1
  • Pre- Season 21
  • Chapter 1 - Odessa 23
  • Chapter 2 - The Watermelon Feed 38
  • Chapter 3 - Boobie 53
  • The Season 71
  • Chapter 4 - Dreaming of Heroes 73
  • Chapter 5 - Black and White 89
  • Chapter 6 - The Ambivalence of Ivory 111
  • Chapter 7 - School Days 128
  • Chapter 8 - East versus West 153
  • Chapter 9 - Friday Night Politics 173
  • Chapter 10 - Boobie Who? 194
  • Push for the Playoffs 209
  • Chapter 11 - Sisters 211
  • Chapter 12 - Civil War 233
  • Chapter 13 - Heads or Tails 251
  • Post- Season 265
  • Chapter 15 - The Algebraic Equation 291
  • Chapter 16 - Field of Dreams 313
  • Epilogue 339
  • Afterword 357
  • Acknowledgments 367
  • Contents *
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