Black folks and Twitter…we are everywhere

Excuse me for being a tad late on this but with all that’s happening locally, its taking me a while to catch up on world happenings. Anyway Sunday night the BET awards were on, I won’t even go into what a mess they were other than to say, I don’t care what they say they have planned, I will pass the next time. However something interesting emerged, seemed a lot of Black folks were tweeting about the festivities at BET and some folks got mad about it…check this out, you can also feel free to do a Google search on the matter.

Seems a few folks were bothered by the fact that the trending topics the other night were the BET awards and were a tad pissed that all things Black seemed to be taking over…seems that social media like so many other things are no  longer the sole domain of white people. Shit, even the White House is no longer inhabited by white folks!

Seriously, all jokes aside I think this is great, for years folks have been quick to point out there is a digital divide that is leaving poor folks and people of color out in the cold. Yet with the price of technology steadily dropping, it seems access to the information highway is now being made available to everyone and while I am irritated to hear folks bitching about so called Black topics, its nothing in comparison to the fact that more folks have access to information.

I must say when I first heard this story, I did get a tad pissed…no offense to my white readers and friends but as a Black woman who spends a lot of time around white folks, you have no idea how often I have been on the listening or reading end of subject matter that frankly bored me to tears. Yet I sucked it up, its part of living in a diverse and increasingly more inclusive society….we get exposure to all sorts of things.

In hearing about this story, I was reminded of a quote by Audre Lord     I Like this quote I dislike this quote“The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house”….while the masters tools may not dismantle the masters house, we most certainly can say that using the masters tools will create change. Change that will make us all reexamine how we look at the world. As for the few idiots who tweeted their irritation about the trending topics perhaps next time they would feel more comfortable on a discussion board for Stormfront or some other racist organization…after all in cyber space you have no idea who you are engaging with and now the world knows you are a bunch of idiots but you will hardly deter folks like me from venturing into this brave new world of social media.

The Real Maine

It’s been busy around my parts the past few days, on a personal note elder boy has arrived home for the summer which is always cause for celebration at my house as you can imagine. Seems like just yesterday he was a wee lad like his sister, now he is almost a legal adult with facial hair who drives…where does the time go?

On a professional note, the community that I work in was visited by crime and I have been working to deal with the impact in our community. Which brings me to today’s theme…the real Maine. I love reading blogs, especially fellow bloggers who live in Maine. Maine is the type of place that its easy to romanticize, after all when you think of Maine, images of beaches, lobster and all things nice seem to come to mind. Its very common for people to see Maine as this simple and beautiful place to live filled with good times, good people and even good thrift shops.

Yet maybe its because of my line of work but I see a side of Maine on a regular basis that is not nice. In fact its downright cruel, I often compare my work in the inner city of Chicago as not being much different than the work I currently do. I work in a community where the poverty level exceeds fifty percent, where many families face financial insecurity on a regular basis…yet this same community is only mere minutes away from people with great abundance, yet the two communities might as well be thousands of miles away as the folks in the two communities never mix and probably never will.

Yesterday morning as I started my day reading about amazing thrifting in Maine (by the way while there is amazing thrifting in Maine, most of it occurs at antique marts, our basic thrift stores are not bad but frankly the ones in Chicago were better), than I heard this story. In case you aren’t prone to reading the link, its about a crazy Negro who for years has been terrorizing folks in this town who decided to kill a couple of brothers the night before. Yes, I called him a crazy Negro….I have encountered this man and he is ape-shit crazy, though I had no idea just how dangerous he was, I generally went out of way to not have to make contact with him when I saw him on the street.

For the past day, everyone has come out with a story about this man, even the mayor of this town found this man to be crazy and scary. I must admit part of me wanted to laugh, how the hell does one Black guy in a predominantly white town in the whitest state in America get to terrorize folks for almost two decades and never spend much time in the joint despite the fact everyone thought he was a walking time bomb? Part of me wants to say it was political correctness gone awry…but the truth is I don’t know.

Like others I am saddened that lives were lost, though I wonder what made these two young men decide to egg this man on considering his reputation was well known, I figure it had to be youth. When we are young we don’t see the dangers we see when we get older and can look at things more clearly.

Maine despite being known as a lovely place sadly suffers from the same ills as any other place, in fact some of the ills may be worse because of the rural nature of the state. For those who are financially well off it can be a wonderful place, sadly its a place where many often work two and three jobs to make ends meet. This is a condition that is not limited to folks with no education or those people….in Maine even the educated often find themselves working hard to make ends meet, though class makes people use fancy words to dress it up.

So while Maine is nice, I leave you with a snapshot of what the real Maine looks like…as for that crazy Negro Rory Holland, I suspect he won’t be beating the rap this time which is just as well since while diversity is nice, crazy dangerous folks wandering the streets isn’t good for any of us.

So when are you leaving?

This is a question that I get a lot these days as my son gets closer to 18. See, when we moved to Maine seven years ago, I figured I would do my time in Maine and when he turned 18, I would head back to Chicago my beloved hometown. Only problem is that life got in the way, it started off with the untimely and unexpected death of my mother and grandmother, the birth of my daughter as well as the purchase of our first home. When we bought the house it was during the real estate boom and we figured we would stay here 5 years or so…well this week marks 5 years that we have been in this house.

The truth is that I don’t know if and when I will leave Maine. Yeah, Maine can be a hard place to live as a Black person from one of the larger urban areas that many folks of color live (NYC, Philly, LA, Chicago, etc)…I mean Chicago the city has 3 million people in the city alone compared to the 1.5 million folks that live in the whole damn state of Maine.

So in the early days here I was in constant culture shock…then there is the practical stuff, like getting your hair done. Southern Maine has a whopping 2 hair salons that do Black hair and one of em is so bad that most Black folks her either travel to Boston, go natural or do their own hair. Which brings up another tidbit about living in the whitest state in the nation, even finding hair products to do your own hair can be hard especially if you want products geared towards Black hair. We have Sally’s Beauty Supply here but poor Sally’s Black section is real small…its a good thing I use natural products and have a fondness for Aveda products or else I would be shit out of luck.

Want to buy a lipstick and you aren’t white? Up until a few years ago, a trip to the makeup counter at Macy’s didn’t net a Black woman too much but we do now have a MAC counter so that helps a lot. A sista got tired of ordering online or heading to Boston for a damn tube of lipstick.

Making a nice soul food meal with collard greens? You can find collards here but they aren’t cheap, even at the farmers market in season I pay over $2 a pound for greens and you know you need a fair amount to make a pot. So I do string beans instead of greens most of the time and forget finding smoked turkey parts out here, its a good thing I still eat pork or else I would be really shit out of luck for indulging in my occasional nostalgia for southern food.

Yeah, people do still look at me like why the hell am I here especially when I am in an area that I don’t live in…or like this past weekend when I decided to eat at an establishment that looked like they had never seen a person of color step foot.

So you might wonder, why the hell aren’t you leaving anytime soon? In a nutshell, Maine has become home, Chicago will always be my hometown but Maine is my home. I have met some incredible folks here, the week after I came home from burying my mother, the Spousal Unit and I were out eating at a local eatery. The owner asked where I had been and I explained, well when I asked for the check he told me it was on the house, it was his way of offering condolences.

I could go on with random acts of kindness that I have only encountered in Maine, acts that are so powerful that it makes the occasional idiots less of an idiot. The physical beauty in Maine is amazing, its been 7 years and the ocean still mesmerizes me and the fact that its only a 10-15 min drive to the ocean is great.

The fact that small businesses here still use the honor system is also sweet, this weekend we picked strawberries at a local farm and the farmers were at lunch but rather than close the farm down they had a box sitting on a table so when you were ready to pay, you weighed your goods and put the cash in the box. Now being a big city girl, that tickles me pink…lets be honest, that would not fly back in Chi-town. Hell folks would either steal the cash or at the very least drive off without paying for the goodies. Or as my son likes to joke, the homeless folks would be in the  fields eating up the food.

Its things though like this that really make me like Maine, in many ways its a simpler place and at this stage in life I enjoy a simpler life though I do wish I had more folks of color here especially since my best Black girlfriend here in Maine decided it was a wrap after 10 years and relocated to CT.

Plus there is the practical issue that should I leave Maine, where do I go? Going back home doesn’t make much sense since I don’t have a job or home to go back to. Hell, both my brother and father live in bachelor style apartments so they couldn’t even put us up while we get settled. Then there is that pesky issue that while the Spousal Unit is self-employed it costs more to live in Chicago and I can’t take my job with me, of course the fact that I now have a house for life provided I pay the taxes and insurance are all good reasons to stay a while.

No, I am in no rush to head back but I would like to see my financial situation get to the point that we can visit more often. So guess I won’t be leaving anytime soon.