"I'M NOT A RACIST/I HAS BLACK FRIENDS/MY ONE BLACK FRIEND TOLD ME/YOU'RE DIFFERENT THAN OTHER BLACK PEOPLE"
Okay, super um, what's one more than a trifecta?
That's where I left off. If you will please reopen your bingo card and play along.
Now more true stories.
I can't tell you how many times I have asked someone who is not black a question, doesn't matter what question, and if I've raised an eyebrow at the answer or questioned the answer I have heard the instant, "I'm not a racist"
Another flavor of this is as follows:
Girl: I guess he's ok for a Black guy.
Girl: *Fluster, stammer then BINGO* But I'm not a racist or anything.
I have two responses for this sort of thing. If I'm annoyed enough, the first response is the stare of doom as in I will make you feel like it's that movie Scanners and your head is straight up about to blow right the fuck up. Or I will ask a seemingly innocent question which can lead to the person I'm talking to making an ass of him/herself.
The best one is (and you have to have the innocent confused look or it doesn't work) "what do you mean for a black guy". So yeah. There's that and often the responses that follow are along the lines of, "but I has black friends really, REALLY" or "well I didn't mean you, you're not like other black people" etc.
Yes that is racist. Is it on the same level as someone showing up at my door in their Angry Ghost outfit no, but that doesn't make it ok.
I'm not tackling all of the spaces I am too tired and my head hurts too much.
However I will tackle one last one that seems to be the theme of my dealings with people lately.
"Uses popular hip hop songs to relate to the culture"
Now I've said it before and I will say it again. And this goes for people of any color because it pisses me the fuck off.
Here is what happens, and it's usually from men trying to pick me up. Example:
A few weeks ago I was standing at my usual bus stop on my way home, two youngish white men both fairly tipsy come up the sidewalk. One says "hi" the other one drops this um...well I guess he was trying to sound like 50 Cent, at least that's the impression I got.
He said yo a few times, holla another few times, and I stopped listening to the actual words. When he was done I smiled and said, "fuck off."
Why? No I am not offended by being hit on but, someone presuming some role because I happen to be black and they think I might be impressed is fucking stupid.
Another example is lately, I have had so many white people try to demonstrate their downness with black people by randomly telling me how much they love Obama.
Um. I don't really care. Just because you like Obama does not earn you instant cool points, does not give me some instant sense of camaraderie with you, does not really make me want to talk to you when you hit me with it out of the blue.
Also, just because you are interested in or like something you deem "black" does not mean that I want to talk to you. Nor does it mean that we have something in common. We might but that's not the point.
The problem is that people like to put things in neat little groupings, this is what being black is, this is what being white is, this is what being fat is. That is not how life works at all.
Also, if you approach someone in the attitude of a prevailing stereotype do not expect to be met with a happy oh HAY yer cool.
As in many things your approach is key.
You love Hip Hop. You know the history, you love the music, you are excited about it. You want to talk to me about it to see if I like it too. Here is the optimal way to go about that.
You: Hey Shannon have you heard this new mixtape? It is SO good.
Me: No I can't say I have.
You: Wanna listen?
That is lovely. If you are genuinely passionate about something, or if you're not yet and want to know more ask me politely. Ask me in a manner that broadcasts not "you're black so you know" but "HEY I dig this thing do you dig it too?" do that and we'll be all good.
And while I'm giving tips here are some things I'd rather you not do so you don't get punched.
Do not say things like the following:
"But you're black.."
"How come black people..."
You get where I'm going here. I will think you do because I think if you're reading me you're probably pretty sharp.
Also do not touch black people's hair without permission. Do not EVER tell me it feels like wool, just don't. If you like my hair tell me it's pretty. Ask me what I use in it. K?
My point here is that whatever assumption you might make based on the wrappings is probably wrong and it's not up to me to show you that.
It is also not up to me to give you the grand tour of blackness, nor is it my job to make you feel okay talking to me. Think before you speak, ask yourself whatever question. If you can't figure out a way to say or ask something just be honest. If you tell me "okay I know this is probably a really stupid/rude/racist question but I'd really like to know." I will probably not eviscerate you.
Understand that there is no one set of things that will define a persons experience of life. There is no one set of qualifiers for being a Fat, black, queer woman because there are not. Understand that at the root of it, if whatever you're thinking deep down (you have to be honest with yourself) is because someone is black/gay/fat/white/whatever that is a prejudice and it is your own job to work that out. I will not do it for you.
Seriously now I am done discussing this for now.
Also YAY Sara From F-Words is back to posting and I am so happy she's doing better.
Okay I'm done. My head is throbbing in a kind of disco way and it's not pleasant.