Looking for non-white folks who live in Maine as well as working class folks in Maine

In light of a discussion that started on this blog a few posts ago, I would like to ask any folks who live in Maine who are either non-white or who hail from working class or even more humbler roots to consider doing a guest post here at Black Girl in Maine.

One of the reasons I started this blog last year was because as I like to joke it was cheaper than therapy but also I was interested in connecting with others….in the past year, I regularly get emails from folks particularly people of color who are either contemplating a move  to Maine or folks who recently moved here who are in a daze…

Maine has this amazing reputation outside of New England of being a place of lighthouses, lobsters and leisure. Yet those of us who make are home know there is so much more to our state, but at the same time its a place where there can be a lot of ugliness if you are not white or poor. I will say that the first 2.5 years here were the hardest in my life, the only reason I stayed is because my position back in Chicago had been filled and I had no place to go back to, otherwise we would have left most likely.

Anyway I know there are a few folks who lurk here on a regular basis and I would encourage you to share your stories about Maine. Oddly enough BGIM started off as a predominiantly Black blog but it seems my demographics are shifting and because of that I think there is great potential fo a dialogue that can be beneficial for all.

28 thoughts on “Looking for non-white folks who live in Maine as well as working class folks in Maine

  1. I can be a guest blogger. I won’t be as fight-the-power. I won;t blog during pms week. I tend to be more user friendly.

  2. I am really enjoying reading your blog. My husband, son and I are black and we just moved to
    Bangor, Maine about 6 months ago from Winston Salem, North Carolina. It’s a been big culture shock, leaving a diverse city to an area that is 95 percent white. I spent a good deal of time over the past several months trying to find stores that sell black hair products, as well black beauticians. The people here are very friendly, but somewhat reserved. We haven’t faced any overt or subtle racism yet, but we do get our share of stares, which is to be expected. I was surprised to see as much black people in this part of Maine as I did. From what I’ve been told most blacks are in Portland or Lewiston but we have met a great
    deal here, some from Texas, Michigan, New Jersey. Despite the culture shock, we really like it here It’s clean, safe and the schools are good but Maine winters are a different story!

    • Lynn, yeah the stares definitely. I have actually spent a fair amount of time north of Bangor and like you found most folks to be pretty friendly. Out of curiosity, have you found any Black beauticians up there? I know down here in Southern Maine there are realy only two known shops and 1 barber…so I am curious to know if there is anything up that way.

      • Hi im so new to maine and i live in sanford but is really close to portland n i would really love my hair done pls tell me the salons who do hair im dying for a weave email me mashiko89@gmail.com im waiting on a reply

      • There is Cordell’s on Portland, you can google to get the number. Dang, you got a long trip for a cut but considering I used to go to Boston when I first moved here, I know how it is.

  3. I did find one black hair stylist in Hampden, but she is not licensed. Right now, I’m planning on going to Lewiston for my hair care. I was told that Sallys stocks black products, and to my surprise I found a large area of ethnic products which is good. The good news is that I have a friend back home in NC, who is a real good hair stylist. I’ve been telling her for sometime that this area is in desperate need of a black hair salon, and she could make lots of money if she relocated her business here. She was very skeptical but I told her that there is a market here for ethnic hair, and she would be filling in a big gap. So, she moving up here next spring. Her hubby is a barber, and they are planning a dual barber shop /beauty salon. You know, I was talking to this black woman at the mall last weekend, and she has not had her hair relaxed or washed in almost 22 months!! Her hair was stink,twisted and falling out. She told me she had last went to a white salon, and they almost ruined her hair. I told her to to go Lewiston, Boston, or New York and get hair done before she loses all her hair!!

  4. If you see that woman again, tell her Blended Beauty Salon in Westbrook can hook her up. I got my hair cut their recently and they seemed pretty knowledgable…also there are plenty of salons in Boston that can take care of relaxed hair. At the every least she should just cut it off and rock a low fro rather than unkempt hair…one of the reasons I went natural was because I was moving here and wanted to not end up like that woman.

  5. I think it may be confusing at first for black people who move here from away and take a a while to realize that yes we do tend to be reserved here but a lot of it is directed at the “awayness” of you, not necessarily the blackness of you. (I’m not claiming there is no prejudice here; this is something different I’m trying to describe.) Maine and northern New England is a different culture from the rest of the country, something that people from away (there’s that phrase again, you’ll hear it a lot!) often don’t realize at first. It’s kind of subtle. Wasn’t only fairly recently that you mentioned that people here tend to “leave you alone and not bother you if you don’t bother them”? Or something like that, forgive me if I’m not quoting correctly. We have a long tradition of live and let live, as well as respecting the rights of other people to have absolutely wacko ideas and talk about them at length at town meeting. Or perhaps in the case of Rory Holland, at the modern equivalent, Biddeford City Council meetings. I have to say also that I’m from Aroostook County, where there were a fair number of black airmen and their families stationed at Loring AFB. Many have settled in that area. I grew up thinking that all black kids had strict master sgts for dads and consequently exquisite manners. Boy was I surprised when I moved to Boston!

  6. Oh, sorry, here’s the afterthought. I’m a self-employed housecleaner so I hope I qualify as a working class Mainer. I also lived in a third-floor walk-up on Main St in your “small city” for three years recently, so I might be one of the people who’s stared at you. Sorry again – it’s a reflex and hard to help. Is there an expression we have when we try to stifle it?

  7. @Lynn#2, its true not all Black kids have strict master sgts for Dads though mine most certainly fit that criteria. LOL I am almost 40 and still apologize if I use a swear word in front of my Dad. My own grandfather used to pop us on the hand if we had elbows on the table during mealtime….funny is I grew up thinking most kids had parents/grandparents like this, I was surprised to learn this was not true at all.

    I like how you described Maine, it sums up what I currently feel about Maine. I have neighbors who I imagine are probably opposite of me in everyway yet we can still have a respectful and decent relationship.

    Staring doesn’t bother me most of the time and this town is small enough that most locals who are in the downtown area probably recognize me on sight.

  8. I have been reading your blogs and they are very enlightening. My family is planning to take a trip up there and if we like it, we will plan to relocate. Reading about the lack of hair care products and places to get your do done has been a great heads up. I have always wanted to go there and hopefully will find it welcoming. Coming from California (bay area girl born and raised) to the not so subtle South (Texas). I have had some interesting experiences. My husband and I are working class people and have an awesome who is on the honor roll with three other daughters in college. So, tell me, what am I getting myself into?

  9. One thing you’ll be getting yourself into is a place with very few options health insurance-wise. That has been one of the most startling things her. Because of some stuff that Maine did to regulate the health insurance industry and gaurantee eligibility for all residents, most health insurers fled the state, leaving Blue Cross/Blue Shield with a near-monopoly on the private insurance market and resulting in VERY expensive insurance policies compared to other states in New England.

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  11. Im a born and raised black Mainer residing in 99% white Caribou… Im used to it here and the racism that tends to thrive in back woods small towns actually wasn’t so bad here. My only problem is lack of black hair care products and knowledgeable beauticians… Im currently trying to locate someone who can micro-braid extensions into my hair and it seems like Im going to have to make the 8 hour drive to Boston just to get my hair done! If anyone can savd me from this I would LOVE the feedback… Thanks!

    • Lydia, try Blended Beauty in Westbrook, see Trish. I am pretty sure she does micro-braids, I have been going to her for the past year and she does good work.

  12. I have to laugh when I read about Black people talking about the reaction they get from White people. You should consider the reaction White people get when they are in majority Black populated areas. That is how I grew up. I would rather be Black and live amongst Whites than White and live amongst Blacks. Have you been mugged? Stop your complaining. What do you want, a red carpet rolled out for you?

  13. Yeah, Bob…because sooooo many white people have had that experience, right? And blacks have soooo many advantages in a country where whites hold the vast majority of wealth and power. Advantages like getting turned down for apartments when landlords see they have brown skin…or not getting hired for jobs because of that…or getting hard prison terms when whites tend to get suspended sentences for the same crimes…or suffering unemployment rates twice as high as whites and wanting to work…I could go on, but I’m not sure you’d care.

    Yeah. So much better for blacks.

    No need for a red carpet, Bob.

    But it would be nice if they didn’t get so many doors slammed in their faces.

    Sorry for your experiences in life that were hurtful. I really am. But they don’t change the reality of life as faced by non-whites (particularly blacks and Latinos/Hispanics). Just like the isolated cases of wives who beat their husbands doesn’t change the fact that the vast majority of domestic violence is against women. It isn’t right if you had bad experiences growing up among blacks that you didn’t deserve.

    But do please try to keep some perspective.

  14. If you don’t find Maine accommodating then really the jokes on you! You wont find a bigger collection of naive ,liberal dimwits anywhere in the US. Oh, the lengths Mainers will go for “Diversity”.

  15. Greetings, I am an african american female my daughter and I have moved to manine in June of this year…and it is very unique in its on way! We really have enjoyed our stay thus far, we have met sooooo many people who are kind out going caring and much more! We currently are worshiping at Word of Life Christian center and we LOVE IT!!! I have had people stare at me but the majority admires me…not because I am black, but they hear my story about how I came to Maine and how far I have traveled and are amazed at the goodness of God! I really am grateful to be here in this season of my life…however I do have some frustrations with hair salons, nail shops and getting my eyebrows waxed! I have not found good service yet…my daughter and I are natural..so we can get over it..anyway I look forward to meeting all kinds of folks and especially other african americans to hear there story.

    Blessings upon,
    Ms.Cher’ron

  16. I am considering a job in Portland, Maine and wear a short, natural cut. Are there any barbers there that can maintain my “do” and know how to fade vs. bald me????

  17. I’m moving to Lewiston from NC in a month and want to know if you can help be fine a good hair salon. I’ve visit there many times I thought I would try living there. I just need someone who knows how to press hair. When I say press I don’t mean load a sista hair with greas and fry it like Sunday dinner…lol my mom gave me lesson about everything in life, she just left out the hair styling part..lol

  18. I’ve grown up here in Maine and in one of the richest whitest towns. I went through a lot of struggles because my brothers and I were the only black kids in the town. People refuse to believe that racism still exists, especially around here, but I have had my fair share of being called racial slurs. I now have a son who is more white than black and i’m having a hard time finding a school for him where there’s a good mix in diversity.

  19. Hello, I am considering taking a job in Bar Harbor. I am wondering if times have changed and maybe there is now a black barber in the Bangor area?

  20. Just happened on your blog. Thank goodness!!! 🙂 We are a colorful family on the seacoast of NH. My daughters are Ethiopian and we parents are Caucasian. I’m really looking forward to following your blog and commenting as the parent of a blended family.

  21. I just moved from River Falls Wisconsin a small town. I owned a hobby farm for 19 years. This particular small town was the best place I’ve ever lived, but it came with a cost. I had 3 black friends and met a wonderful black man which we dated for a couple of months only to find out he really was into white women. He married one and wanted all to have dinner together. My family would visit from NY and I introduced them to the farm life. I must say it was very comical. Now here in Bath Maine I would like to seek out places to dance, meet nice men and be come part of a community that includes black women for friendship. Where does one go? Any suggestions.

  22. I am in Presque Isle, Maine working on a three month contract. The people are very nice but I am the only black person in my place of employment and I’ve only seen three more in this whole town. Lol. Either way, I’ve found I have to travel to Bangor to find anything to do. I’m open to any suggestions of where to meet people or find other things to do.

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