Eight years a blogger…reflections and thoughts on this anniversary

This space is celebrating its 8th anniversary this month. Considering how fast the world moves, in blogger reality, I am feeling like an elder statesperson. Of all the bloggers who were my inspiration to start this space, only one is still standing as an almost-daily writer with only a handful more even still in existence at all. My first post in January 2008, was pure drek; then again, I have come a very long way as a writer. Writing in near anonymity for the first several years here allowed me to find my writing voice.

Since my last post, I have been inundated with requests from the mainstream media both locally and nationally to talk about Blackness in Maine, the Black Lives Matter Movement, the governor of Maine and so on. I have only responded to two requests, one from a Portland Press Herald reporter who somehow had my personal cell number and I happened to have answered the phone (as my ex said, how do these people have your number? Are they passing it around like a joint at a party?)…the other, a reporter at a publication that gave me my first chance to write professionally. So even though the rag has changed hands and isn’t even a shadow of its former self, I still have a soft spot for it…don’t ask.

As I shared many moons ago, the title of this blog was an inside joke, it was never meant to go anywhere because initially in my mind, this blog was just a hobby and I was not a particularly skilled wordsmith. Whether I am a skilled wordsmith is probably still up for debate and in reality this blog hovers somewhere between a hobby and a part-time minimum wage extra gig. However, one thing that has become clear is that this space speaks to people, whether it resonates or offends. It’s also put me in the increasingly awkward space of being asked to speak for people based off the fact that we share the same skin tone. It also has left me open for every angry white person to lash out at me and increasingly I do worry about my safety. A few days ago, I received the following email and I wish I could say that this type of email was a once-in-a-while occurrence.

Hi Shay, 

 My disclaimer is that I am a almost 48 year old, pink colored, resident of Maine.
I was born in Lynn MA, and grew up in Peabody MA.
I moved to NC for a couple years and have been in Maine since 05.

Per the US census, 95+% of Maine is white, 1.4% Black, and 77% of the US reports white, and 13.2 Black.

What I believed I have learned about you, from things I have found on the web.

You used to live in Chicago, a leader in gang/gun and drug violence.
You married a white guy, and you have two children.
You moved to Maine, which I assume was not for the culture, or climate, but for the job and/or safety.
You have not, short of words, been treated poorly since living here, nor been part of any drive by shootings that you may have back in IL.

You used to have a post about why there isn’t a more diverse population in the state, and you had speculated that once freed, the slaves went to where there were jobs and industry and a favorable climate.
Maine has none of those things. and I cant find that post anymore

You write, as not the focus of your blogs, but mention what I feel is the real reason of what is going on in the country/our state.
“Change and difference”

In MA and especially NC, my opportunity to interact with others that do not share my skin pigmentation, was much greater than here.
I agree that in NC, where walking around a mall was about a 50/50 black/white mix, it felt odd and I was uncomfortable.It was very different from anything I had experienced before..but like you speculate about Mainers (which I believe you and I are not…you have to be born here I think), once you get used to the look of the surroundings…It becomes normal….People are people, judged for who they are as individuals, once you get over the first impressions.  My guess is, due to your pigmentation, you maybe felt discriminated against by everyone, but as you got to know people/they know you, hopefully a lot of that disappeared.

In reading the main stream media articles and now your blogs…I feel attached or shamed for the color of my skin.  There are things saying “equal among all people but it isn’t”, but if it is a pool of 77 vs 13, how could everything be 50/50?
My folks did not have me to be part of an Arian nation, but merely to have children.
I have not been, nor been approached to go to anything “white power”

I found thru google the article about the idiots yelling hurtful words at you in Portland, but I cant understand your anger about the people watching.

It was just words, correct?  And wanting people to do something about it…I am lost with what you would expect from them…run them down, beat them up, shoot them, arrest them?  What did you want the people there to do?  One person asked if you were OK, from words?
If I was there I would probably not been involved either because it is a tricky situation.
If I ask you if you are OK, then I am babying you and treating you different.
If I challenge the idiots in the car, maybe I get beat up or worse….over words

If it was a physical encounter, then yes 99% I am in it…but words…maybe 10% or less for me.

 I haven’t researched or studied all of the race/religion/land conquerors of history…I just summed it up to every race/religion has tried to dominate and eliminate every other one thruout history…black/white/asian…it doesn’t matter…it was all bad.
I have been called tater in Cherokee NC, by native americans (silly me didn’t know what my distant relatives did to their distant relatives nor that it was aimed at me) 
Whitey and cracker, in MA by dark pigmented people.
And no one was physically hurt after….
They felt the need to say something hurtful, because I am different looking than them….I get it. Their insecurities trying to hurt me.

I believe it is human nature for people to seek out and feel more comfortable with others that are similar to them.

We are evolved mammals, that if we look at all other species, they all do the same thing.

If you made it this far, great, thanks, I will get to my point.

I believe because you married a white guy, you must not be the racist you now appear to be in your posts.
Racism can be the other way too.
If your kids are from you and the white guy, most likely they will have the awesome tanned pigmentation that all white people seek.
Perhaps the next generation, if we follow the examples of you and your husband, will have a tanned appearance, and then it won’t matter where the past generations came from…we might all have similar appearances…Like Morgan Freeman told Anderson Cooper…he doesn’t want to be identified as “Black” or “African American”, he just wants to be Morgan, a US citizen.

Please help us heal as a state and country by using your BGIM pulpit as a message of “One idiot or carload of idiots yelling idiotic slurs, does not define all of us…the majority of pinkies are good and want the blended future of americans…and not all blacks are drug dealers from NY….but accept that some of the drug dealers are, the same as some whites are bad…but not all” 

Yes PLP should not have said young white girls, but statistically he has a 95+% chance of it being accurate, there is not a large chance of it being another pigmentation.
I don’t believe the names he used were specifically aimed at a skin color.   I grew up where most of the drug dealers/bad people were white…and they had these types of names also.


Sigh…what do you even say to this? Happy Anniversary to Black Girl in Maine! Thank you for reading and sharing this space with me and for trying to make this dusty rock just a little better in your own way.
Black Girl in Maine runs on love and reader-support, if you appreciate this space, please consider a one-time gift or becoming a monthly patron. Thank you.

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