More Black Girls in Maine? Oh My!

Considering that one of my paying gigs involves writing about diversity in Maine, it was with great interest that I listened to the findings that were released from the Census Bureau yesterday about the state of Maine. It seems that between 2000 and 2010 Maine’s Black population increased by 132%! In real numbers that means for a state that has a population of roughly 1.33 million folks total, 15, 700 are Black folks or 1.2% of the state’s total population…yikes! That means damn it, I am not the only Black Girl in Maine. Good thing I bought this domain before one of the other Black Girls in Maine decides she wants to get in on this blogging game.

Seriously, I know for readers in more diverse areas those numbers look pathetic but it means in my nine years here there has been some growth. Am I surprised? Nope. When I first moved to Maine, I could go days not seeing another brown face unless I was in Portland, our state’s largest city. I also figured that when went from one Black hair shop in Southern Maine, to 3 including the Black barber there had to be more Black folks here to support 2 salons and 1 barber. Ya know us Black folks we take our coifs quite seriously and I not really kidding.

Practically speaking? It still sucks and frankly as white woman I met recently through a mutual friend who lives here yet is from San Francisco said to me, frankly what passes for diversity in Maine is really just tokenism. After all despite being able to go into our largest city and see folks of color the truth is the average Mainer still has very little real racial diversity in their life. Going and seeing folks of color occasionally in passing don’t really amount to much if deeper connections are not being made. And frankly most of us still have a lot more work to do on that level, yet the numbers give me hope for the future.

First these numbers and the greater demographics of Blacks in the US showed that Blacks who after the great migration were generally found in large urban hubs are starting to realize that the US is larger than New York, Chicago, DC, Detroit and other larger urban areas where we have typically been found. Seems more and more Blacks are actually leaving the urban hubs, granted plenty of us are staying. Yet for many to leave the comfort of large urban areas to move south or heaven forbid to states like Maine in many ways shows some racial maturity among us. For too long we stayed clustered in relative safe havens like Chicago and New York yet now we are branching out across this country realizing shit, life can and does exist outside the urban hubs.

One of the beauties of social media is that I have met other Black Girls residing in states that until recently the idea of seeing Black folks would have been met with a black stare. Interestingly enough we all grapple with the same issues, we like the newer places yet at the same time sometimes that lack of diversity threatens to drive us mad at times yet we normally get away and come back and it works out. (Or if you are me, you are on the fence just waiting to figure it all out or a winning Powerball ticket that will allow me to keep my Maine home and perhaps get a condo in a big city)

Seriously while I am heartened to see the increasing diversity, its only one of many steps needed to change this nation from a melting pot which is frankly gross since sometimes throwing a bunch of stuff in a pot to simmer produces something nasty and inedible. While transforming into a large mixed salad might yield something far healthier and tastier for us all.

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!