Hannah speaks to students about racism

Hannah speaks ro students about racism

Quay Hannah addresses a ninth grade class on January 28. Hannah is a racial relations speaker, author, and nine-week bus stip traveller across the country. Photo by Andrae’ Holsey

Hannah speaks ro students about racism
Quay Hannah addresses a ninth grade class on Jan. 28. Hannah is a racial relations speaker, author and nine-week bus trip traveller across the country.
Photo by Andrae’ Holsey

“My name is Quay Hannah and some people might call me a redneck, some might even call me a hick,” racial relations speaker and author, Quay Hannah, said to a ninth grade class on Jan. 28.

Hannah began his speech on a note that brought curiosity and perhaps excitement (as in commotion) to the student population he was addressing. Hannah proceeded to tell a story of his childhood.

“I was a racist. I grew up around Lancaster, PA, on a farm away from the city. Across the street was an Amish family, and when I was in school there was not much diversity. There were maybe 10 blacks or hispanics. It wasn’t that I didn’t have black or hispanic friends, it was that I made fun of them behind their backs. Malcolm X was a very influential leader of the Civil Rights movement and a lot of people got mad at him because he said, ‘I respect the KKK.’ A lot of people asked him why. He said, ‘I respect them because they can be racist to my face. It’s not the open racists that are dangerous, it’s the racist that keeps it hidden’,” Hannah said.

Hannah proceeded to say that he was one of the more dangerous kinds of racists and that it isn’t the KKK that are the dangerous racists. He said that it was all the little people all over the country. Throughout the day Hannah spoke to various grades and gave various speeches and stories. Such stories included jokes to amuse the student population.

“Like, when my wife and I got married, we didn’t say ‘I do,’ we said ‘Git ‘er done’,” Hannah said.

He proceeded in telling that there are different kinds of racism and explained all the causes: home, family, peer pressure, etc.

“You see, I don’t want to blame everything on me being an alcoholic, but it did influence lot of things I did. When I did something I wanted to be the best I could be at what I did. In that case, I wanted to be the best racist I could be,” Hannah said.

He explained the way he changed himself to be more like the people he was with. He explained that he changed eating habits, clothing and music preference to be like the “redneck” kind of people that he was hanging around with.

“I was always trying to be the best I could be. Sadly that mentality also went into me being an alcoholic, too. I wanted to be the best alcoholic I could be. (relating to his alcoholic influence) I point to the fact that it was what I thought the cool kids were doing. (relating to important people in his life) My parents, I rebelled against them, but a lot of good things were built on a foundation they had. You can teach a kid to work hard but you can’t control the ability,” Hannah said.

On Jan. 29, Hannah spoke to even more students, such as the In-School Suspension class and various teachers and counselors. Later that day, he made appearances in both seventh and eighth grade lunches. Starting with the casual “Hi, how’s it goin. What’s your name,” Hannah talked to a growing crowd of students with plenty of “thank you(’s)” questions and stories of all kinds.

“I enjoyed this,” Hannah said eighth period, Jan. 28, about his two day visit to the school. In the same day, in the auditorium and cafeteria, Hannah shared stories not told in the assemblies.

One of these stories involved a trip to Dallas, TX when the Dallas Cowboys were going to the Super Bowl, one of the three times they did in the ‘90’s.

“I had planned everything to go with that parade in Dallas,” Hannah said.

Hannah proceeded to tell of his arrival into the “Lone-Star State,” and the massive number of people at the planned parade.

“It was like in the movies, where you can’t see over the heads of all the people. There were so many that they began crowding into the streets. All of a sudden, the whole line of people in front of me dropped to the ground. The police were ‘macing’’ people!” Hannah said.
He proceeded with a tale of leaving the dangerous parade and heading toward the McDonald’s near his next stop, to reach family. In front of this McDonald’s was approximately 100 African-Americans with two men in the front, head-to-head.

“I walked quickly. I mean, a white guy in a flannel shirt and boots with a duffel bag. I was just walking by, not really looking at them, and I heard two shots. I turn around, quickly, and this guy is on the ground and all these people were scattering. A police helicopter flew over and they closed down all the doors to the bus stop. Well, there was also a Burger King, with a door to the bus stop, but they had it barricaded, too. I explained that I needed to get on a bus and they let me through right before the bus left. I arrived at my relatives’ house and they were watching the news. I pointed at the video of the people scattering and said ‘Hey, that’s me’,” Hannah said.

“To this day my family makes jokes everytime I call them, about a parade in Dallas,” Hannah said.

Such stories and more were told in various places all around the school, on the last day of Hannah’s visit.

If anybody has any questions, requests, stories, or “thank you(’s)” left for Hannah, contact Andrae’ Holsey at [email protected], or send them to Pletcher, room 234, Newspaper.