My pet peeves- the race edition

Sorry readers that I have been slacking in getting back to a regular writing schedule, between a slow recovery and returning to work, blogging has fallen to the bottom of the to do list. Hell, I am still not cooking, so you know if I am not cooking blogging is just not a priority.

However I enjoyed some of nature’s best medicine today on this gorgeous May Day and decided to share some of my thoughts…things that just irk me. I like to call it my pet peeves, the race edition. As a Black woman living in Maine, race is one of those issues never far from the surface. I was born and raised in Chicago so even though I have more or less settled into life in Maine and accepted my fate as the only fly in the buttermilk, hey I am sista and I do still have race on the brain.

I admit some of what I am about to say is not for those who are easily offended and while its hard to read tone online please be aware that I am trying to be light. Imagine if we were face to face kicking back with some drinks.

First up, now I don’t see a lot of Black women here in Maine but I do see Black men. Nine out of ten times they are partnered with white women. Often I will be in a shop and see a brotha and the brotha and I will hit each other with the nod. You know that acknowledgment that says I see you playa. In most cases the white partner is completely oblivious to what is going on, but there are times when the white partner of brotha man sees the exchange and rather than understanding that as we used to say in the early 90’s, it’s a Black thang. The white partner gets a nasty look….yo girl, I do not want ya man. Yep, I am going there. In almost all cases the brotha with the white chick wouldn’t be my cup of tea if we were on a deserted island and he was the last man standing. So please stop giving me stank ass looks. You see I am with my man and kid so back that shit the fuck up.

Next up how come when one black woman sees another black woman instead of coming with a spirit of sisterhood and solidarity, we have to give each other that stank eye. Now this shit used to happen all the time in Chicago, but when it happens in Maine, it really pisses me off. Sistas we need to get it together, next time I see you don’t act like its going to kill you to say hi. There is a biracial sista I see in my area all the time, she rocks some fierce head wraps, I have never seen her with anyone other than a man I presume is her husband and her kids. Instead of giving me the side eye maybe you could just say hello.

By the way in big cities, do brothas still try to holla at chicks and get salty when they don’t speak back? That was another one that used to irritate me back home, of course that rarely happens here since there ain’t no brothas to holla at a sista. (though I saw a man so fine the other day, maybe I was delusional, if Taye Diggs mated with Idris Elba, that’s what this man looked like..he was a fine piece of chocolate, still wondering why he was here but that’s another story) Though it sill happens when I am in the city…brotha, yo when out of style a long time ago playa.

White folks, I really don’t care if you adopt Black kids but dammit for the love of Ray J, please learn how to groom ya child. I am so damn tired of seeing Black kids with white parents running around with jacked up hair and ashy legs and arms. Just today I saw this at the festival I was at and goodness gracious this chile was ashy, hell you can go in the kitchen and rub some damn olive oil over the kid. For most black folks, the average lotion is not enough for ours skin, learn the facts. And please don’t put a relaxer in a little kid’s hair…seeing a young girl with limp processed hair and edges that are starting to recede sends me into rage.

Speaking of hair, if you are a Black woman with a Black child and you relax your child’s hair, you need your ass kicked. I am not even kidding, you are a lazy heifer and I mean that shit. I recently watched Chris Rock’s Good Hair and the clip of a 4 yo girl getting relaxed nearly sent me over the edge. Comb your damn child’s hair…this was a skill the Mamas of yesterday had, learn it and learn it quickly.

Sistas, stop saying you won’t ever date a white man but bitching that you are man-less. Most of the reasons I have heard for why sistas don’t date white men are pretty damn stupid. I admit it can be hard to overcome the racial and cultural differences but look if you link up with a man who hails from the same class as you and shares other similarities you probably will connect. Besides no one says you must marry the first white man that asks you out but shit why be dateless on Saturday night besides love can overcome a lot. Sistas saying shit like you won’t date a white man because they are less endowed and have no soul…well you just sound ignant as hell. Sure you must know not every brotha is hung like a horse and lets be honest many things can be taught. So if you really don’t want to date a white man at least pick up a valid reason for doing so, not some bullshit you heard from someone else. Just saying.

Lastly how come some of us get mad when we are in places where we are the only folks of color and white folks are looking at us? Seriously? Look, you can stare at me all you want, long as you don’t put ya hands on me or say some crazy shit, I really don’t care. In most cases clueless white folks who like to stare can be disarmed with a big smile and a hello, nine out of ten times, it moves the situation along and everyone is happy.

As you can see I think about some crazy shit, its been one of those weeks for me and I figured I’d share with you, my dear reader. Have a great weekend!

Woke up and the world went mad!

I have to admit there have been a few positives about being sick, one is that in the past couple of weeks I have been forced to pay less attention to world events and happenings. After all when merely coughing or taking a dump is so painful it has you reaching for the bottle of Oxycodone, you tend not to care much about anything else but survival. Thankfully while the pain is still lingering I am making a slow return to my life and with that return to my daily activities of living, I am starting to get caught up on what’s going on in the world.

Um…I swear since I been laid up we (collective we) have lost our ever loving minds…for starters my hometown Chicago. Chicago, what the fuck is going on? Apparently crime is reaching such levels that the buzz is about the fact the powers to be are talking about bringing in the National Guard. People are getting shot and killed left and right and as my Pops told me the other day, it’s no longer relegated to the hood. In other words it ain’t just po folks and folks of color popping caps in each other’s asses.

 Just a few days ago in a fairly upscale area of Chicago (Bucktown) where I lived about 16 years ago when it was starting to get gentrified but still had pockets of gang activity but still felt it was safe. The other night two young ladies were coming home and were robbed by someone who felt it was not enough to rob em, no…this savage beast had to beat the two gals with a fucking baseball bat. Once upon there was some type of honor or code even amongst the lowlife’s and generally at 3 am a robbery does not need to include bashing folks to a bloody pulp. Several weekends ago, in one weekend there was a report of over 40 shootings, and criminals who were exchanging fire with the cops. Let me tell you something those are some brazen bitches. My Pops is ex Chicago law enforcement and our family circle is filled with law enforcement and once upon a time, criminals did not shoot back at the po po. Some shit you just don’t do as Mos Def says…

Moving on now in scary happenings, it appears that if you want to rob a bank, just go ahead and get yourself a Black man suit. Since I am late to the party, I imagine most of ya’ll have heard this but apparently last week, a white boy decided to go on a crime spree dressed as a Black man. Apparently the shit was so good, so convincing that if only this fool had thought to change up the getaway car; he probably could have pulled it off. Of course some poor Negro would have been sent up the river but hey all them Black men are criminals, one is just as good as the next. Took some thought and some balls to actually do that.

Lastly in shit that just has me really going what the fuck, we have Arizona. Damn, Phil Collins had it right, ain’t no fun being an illegal alien, Except now in Arizona it ain;t no fun to be anyone who looks Latino since if you get caught without ya papers, you might be deported. I know I am distilling this down but the fact is if you start profiling one group of brown folks, it won’t take long before the powers to be find reasons to profile all folks of color. Too bad though that so many of us American Negroes are just happy not to be the ones on the hot seat so we think hey that shit happening to them Mexicans got nothing to do with us. Ok, son..You best believe all sorts of reasons can be found to profile our asses too; after all we do seem to have some violent bitches that lurk amongst us. Look, I’m just saying…don’t shoot the messenger just heed the message.

Lawd, all this shit happening is enough to make a Black Girl in Maine want to head back to bed clutching my well worn copy of X-Clan. Instead I write this and hope you too will think about what we can do to stop some of the madness in this world. Or is it too late?

Really…it’s everywhere

I was relaxing Saturday afternoon catching up on Season 3 of Mad Men courtesy of my love who decided to treat me to the gift of renting the entire season at one time rather than making me wait for them to become available on Netflix. It was a lazy day, kidlet was chilling with Papa upstairs so Mama was engrossed in America circa 1960’s when the telephone rang. Initially I ignored but after looking at the number on the caller id, realized it was my good sista friend who used to live in Maine but now resides in southern New England (CT, MA and RI are southern new England, I live in Northern New England). Let’s just say that since she left Maine she has felt no love with the place and I can dig it, hell she spent damn near 10 years living in the same town in Maine made famous by a certain family that gave us 12 years of presidential rule in the last what 25 years…yep, that town, starts with a K and that’s all I got to say about that.

Now when my girl first moved to Maine she was still youngish and happily married to her knight in shining armor, a white fella a good 10 years older than her who made a shitload of cash. So she wanted to live in the best school district for their boys with zero crime…you get the picture. Well lets just say that 10 years in that town took a toll on my girl and that knight in shining armor well he morphed into a cockroach. Right about the time life started changing for my girl she found Blackness in a major way, no more undercover Blackness meaning she was Black when we hung out but did a code switch when she was around whites. Nope she went from being the favorite Negro to having her son’s teacher slap a restraining order on her when she no longer played the game. So yeah, to say she caught the bitter bug about this place would be an understatement.

So she packed up the kids after a bitter divorce and moved back to where she came, but thanks to the divorce and the pesky need for the kids to see their Papa she still is in Maine a couple times a month. Anyway, I gave her a call back since I had a feeling I knew why she was calling. See, a mutual friend had just been in the paper because she was dealing with some racist shit in her little town here in Maine. Long story short, our mutual buddy came across an email that a town official had received and forwarded to other folks…tuns out that email contained a rather unsavory “joke” about Michelle Obama who as we all know happens to be the FLOTUS. The nasty little joke compared Mrs. Obama to an ape, really not very funny at all. Our mutual buddy took this email to the media and lets just say in certain places in Maine folks have a lot to say about this, some felt it was racist as hell and others felt  that our buddy was just an oversensitive Black woman playing a deck of those race cards again.

So my girl wanted to talk about this, also she wanted to get a sense of what I planned to do since I do have a venue for sharing my thoughts courtesy of the monthly column I write for a local publication. Of course you know, I have to say something and those thoughts will hopefully be published later this week unless my editor decides otherwise. But what I really want to get to is the heart of the conversation with my girl, she made a seemingly innocent statement that I have been sitting on all weekend. She stated that she felt Maine was and I quote a racist ass state.

Now I know my girl has a lot of bad feelings about Maine, it’s that lovely relationship that goes sour like milk left out on the counter all day. You forget that once upon a time you liked that glass of milk. In her case she forgot she used to love this state. Lately all she can see is the bad but lets not throw the baby out with the bath water. Make no mistake there are some racists here but the fact is they are everywhere.

Big cities and urban areas are not immune to racism, shit I grew up in Chicago and in the city limits there were and maybe still are neighborhoods you knew were not places to go if you were Black. You might be fine in downtown Chicago but go 20 mins south to Bridgeport and there were whites who would have no problem pulling out the N-word or jacking you up. I remember years ago, a young Black boy from the adjoining community rode his bike into Bridgeport and a group of savage motherfuckers beat that boy silly to the point of brain damage. This story has repeated itself in numerous so-called diverse areas across the United States. Racism and ignorance to the point of violence is real and not at all limited to small white towns or lily white states. Shit I suspect Southern Illinois is still scary place for Black folks.

I often talk with friends from away who remind me that I live in a white state and remind me how much of a drain it can be on the Black soul. I agree it can be a drain but at the same time being Black anywhere in this country can be a drain on the soul. Looking back on life in Chicago, I was denied jobs due to my race…a brokerage firm flat-out told me they could not hire me because the clients would not want to deal with me because of my race. Once I called about an apartment in Chicago’s Lakeview area, an area that seems open and accepting after all its the home of Boystown (gay community) and well on the phone the place was available but when I showed up less than 2 hours later it was magically gone. I could go on…on the flip side and I am being honest I have not found my race to be a barrier to housing or jobs in Maine. I thought they would be but I actually landed a job, a job that by Maine standards paid damn well with complete benefits less than 2 weeks after moving to Maine. Hell, I thought being a Black woman in Maine would make it harder instead professionally in some ways its been a plus. The biggest challenge has been that salaries are much lower than I want factoring in the 100 grand in student loan debt I am carrying.

Now I know some would say that maybe I was just in the wrong areas in Chicago, well I spent my high school years and a year in my early 20’s living in a predominantly Black area and that wasn’t a cakewalk either. I was either teased or ridiculed for my “white” taste in things or looked down upon because I have working class roots…it was a damn I can’t win for losing situation. Get dissed by folks that are not like me and dissed by the one who are like me. So I have come to a place where I cannot let outside shit affect who I am, yes I miss certain things about living in close proximity to my own kind but I try for the most part to not let it get me down. Technology has allowed me to create a virtual sista circle of Black women who are similar enough to me, that I have support, some are sistas I have met in real life and some I only know via email and phone calls but its enough to sustain the soul.

I wish there was some truly ideal place where one could escape the ugliness of hate but in this country no such place exists so rather than focusing on the negatives I choose to create my own positivity no matter where I go and suggest that others do the same. I like to joke that I create my queendom no matter what…as for the Mainers I suspect if we wanted to call an entire state racist, I say look to southern states. I suspect places like Alabama and Mississippi have a few more racists than a place like Maine. Here we might have a bit of ignorance but not all ignorance equals racism, sometimes lack of exposure creates ignorance but those can often turn into teachable moments.