Monday, July 11, 2011

Communal Blackness.

I've been thinking about Blackness, my own Black ness and I have a confession to make and I would really like to know if other Black folks feel this way and if this kind of feeling is something that transcends into intersectional territory.

Sometimes, especially now that I have eleventy million ways of interacting with Black folks from all over, fuck this is hard to say but sometimes I feel like there are gaps in my Black experience.

For instance.

I can't braid.

This seems like a small thing but in a large swath of Black culture this is a shared memory and experience. I was a member of some hair care boards and sometimes when it comes to my hair I feel like I'm missing a part of essential Black Lady things. I am not good at styling my hair. I wasn't when it was relaxed, I wasn't when it was short, I'm not now that it's natural and kind of long.

I feel like there are fundamental Black Folks things that I just don't possess because I was not raised in a place with a lot of Black folks.

Contrary to what one might think, at least from what I've gathered from some Black folks spaces on the internets, some folks might think I'd feel superior but I don't.

I feel incomplete.

I often feel isolated and hurt in a way that's really hard to express much less confess to.

I feel inferior.

Because of this sometimes it's really hard for me to engage with other Black folks. I feel like I don't have the right to speak up in certain situations.

I feel the same way in meatspace a lot of the time.

I just don't know how to approach this or how to process it when I feel this way.

When a very nice Black lady asked me about my hair in the store on Friday after Uniballer and I left the company party I panicked for a minute. All she suggested what that I would look cute with my big ole puff (picture forthcoming) and some corn rows in the front. It would look cute but I was too embarrassed to admit I don't know how to do that.

I am fairly shy and sometimes these things are just upsetting.

I don't know what my point is but I wanted to get it out. Does that happen to other people? How do you deal with it? How do you deal with it when you've had these feelings for your entire life and somehow the internet just makes it all worse?

SO what I haven't told y'all (totally switching subjects here) is that my home computer bit the dust a week or so ago and I'm really hoping it was just the power supply. There is a new power supply sitting in my apartment right now but I insisted to Uniballer that I put it in myself.

So that has made it way more difficult to finish The. Book because a good quarter of it is on my home computer and if my harddrive also crapped out, well let's just say it would take me another two months or so to finish The. Book.

Bad news. If it was indeed the harddrive be on the lookout for a virtual garage sale of clothes and shoes. Mostly shoes size 6.5-8 and clothes 12-18ish. Also probably some books and thangs.

In better news, I raised 235$ to pay my editor with. Hopefully Uniballer and I can budget out more to pay her. My chip in thingy is over with but if you'd still like to donate feel free to use my donate link in the sidebar there.

There you have it.

Suffice to say I'm in a little bit of a weird headspace right now. The. Book. Finances. ALL THE THINGS.

Thank all of you for being awesome.

Homo Out.


Anonymous said...

I am Chicana and I don't speak Spanish. I did not have a quinceanera. I am a fourth generation u.s. citizen - I don't have any family living in Mexico anymore.

I am so far removed from other Latinos and Chicanos in so many ways, I'm really lost culturally. I grew up around Chicanos, lot of them, but I was always alone, never really a part of anything. But I still feel very different from the dominant U.S. culture, it being mainly white, and I don't relate to that either.

I'm like in a weird place. And always have been.

I don't deal with it, other than well, I'm a really introverted person and I don't relate to a lot of people on so many levels anyway. I ignore it and try and focus on other things.

Mollena said...

I am still scarred for life (and I am not exxxagerating here) because I couldn't turn double-dutch and was horribly mocked by other black girls. Don't get me started on the way I spoke, and how white I must have thought i was because I pronounced the final "r" in "motherfucker."

Some people can braid their own hair. Lots cannot. It is a dexterity thing. There is prolly a salon near you, or a sister on CL who does hair who can toss up some 'rows for a minimal is quick to do :-)

I, too, have the cultural gap. But so many of us do, I bond with other Black grrls about not being Black enough alla time. ;-)

Sterling said...

It's not just ladies that get the incomplete black feel.

I was raised in a black church and that was pretty much my only exposure to other blacks.

I fear for my children because we will be in an area with almost no black folks (1st and 2nd gen Africans don't count for this). How am I to teach my daughter how to do her hair when I have no idea how to begin? How am I going to teach them what it means to be black when I don't feel that I have been black. I wonder and worry.

I know that I am black, and have shared many experiences with other blacks, but I often feel that I missed out on the better parts of being black. I have no rhythm, have little interest in basketball or sports for that matter, hate the taste of all beer and hate being in unnecessary loud situations.

I wonder and worry about my children to come.

Jen said...

I'm fairly light skinned, though obviously some kind of Black. (I'm adopted) My family is White. I went to schools with mostly White kids. I have no connection to Black culture and not sure I want to connect to most of it. My cultural identity is White. But I still have people assume things about me because of my skin color. I've been followed around stores. Had random strangers refer to me as "sistah". I don't know how to react to that. People assume that I've got an afro, when my hair takes after my mom's family who is mostly Irish. I can't put in corn rows to save my soul. There are days when I'm not even sure who I am. Should I have children, I won't be able to give them any insight to a chunk of their heritage because I don't even have it for myself.

wriggles said...

This is pretty deep and I don't pretend to have solutions.

Anxiety about your cultural place is widespread and hard to talk about for most people, so they don't.

That's part of what can create and feed harsh reaction/ judgement we might fear from each other in the first place. Its often circular.

All different kinds of groups fear each other all the time full stop, even those you think are secure.

I think it can help when you realise that, no-one has this figured out. Some just front trés bien, that is their overwhelming social skill.

My misfit tendencies are far more than mere race and to be honest, it would be easier to think of the things I'd not felt "corrected" (in some way) for.

I suppose in the end I grew impatient with that response and a little more used to myself.

Occasionally if I'm lucky, I can manage to cherish, the ways in which I am or seem different.

As for braiding, I suspect its an urge to engage, that's just collected around that, deep breath, and try it, or something else...

Aloysius said...

Gawd, thanks for this! I thought I was alone in feeling that I have no connection to Black culture -- even though I was raised in a black neighborhood. I mean, I have no existence within it. I've had my hair braided (it's NOT a fun experience for me, no matter how 'nice' it's supposed to be), and I can braid -- sort of. But really, I have no concept of 'Blackness', because I just don't get the culture at all.
What does the 'Black experience' even mean? What are these shared experiences that people talk about? I don't seem to have shared them at all, besides poverty -- which, as many Black folks won't acknowledge -- is shared by many races, including White people, a popular choice for the blame game... and I've never bought into that. Maybe I'm speaking from a bit of education privilege, but I have yet to see a White person stand in front of a school these days and prevent kids from going, or rising above the low expectations that Black people seem to press on their own children, because they believe their own crap.

This isn't to say I don't believe racism still exists -- it does. But why sit there and let it ruin you? Why not own your own crap and take responsibility to get the hell over it? It's difficult, yes, but at some point, Black folks have GOT to stop clinging to the negativity and using it as an excuse to get farther.

Then again, this is probably one of the things that keeps me out of the shared experience -- my honest contempt for what seems to be pushed at black kids by black adults.

I simply don't even want to share the Kool-Aid... it's toxic.

Anyway... thanks for this post.

Subscribe To My Podcast