Saturday, March 24, 2007

Reflections On Same-Race Racism

You know, I'm really supposed to be doing work right now--as a matter of fact, when I was at work, I was supposed to be reading for a class or something productive rather than messing about the internet. I can never get schoolwork done at work, and it has quickly become blogtime. And blogtime is continuing now that I've clocked out.

I added a new category on my blog called "Best...Posts...Ever," because I found some entries on other people's blogs that are so awesome I want to make sure you see them. I didn't get to finish reading all the comments on this post, so after I got off work I went back to finish looking at comments. This one post really stood out to me--scroll down when you click the above link to "Yolanda Carrington said..." and read her comments about having internalized racism against "people of color," including blacks, and gay white males. What's poignant about this is it's a black woman admitting this.

I love discussions like this, btw...when people drop the PC bullshit and just get flat-out ignorant as I know we all truly are.

It has always killed (as in "haha") me when I try to explain some phenomenon to a white person that is related to racism and blacks, and the white person kind of looks at me like...and says something expressing bewilderment, such as "But black people were doing it, too," or "But there were black people there." In other words, it's a situation in which the black people are just as racist against other black people as whites and others are, and white people are making the assumption that black people can't be, or aren't, racist against their own.

Uh, yeah, we are.

And understand that I can't speak for all black people, so let me just break myself down (and I warn you, if you can't handle non-politically correct need to click away now):

I told you I am a racist. What I didn't tell you is that I'm not just racist against white people, although I'm, perhaps, most racist against white people, particularly white men. I don't care what his sexual orientation is--he's an arrogant bastard who thinks he's smarter than everybody, better than everybody and more entitled than everybody to everything...until I find out he's an "exception," and then he's cool. Just being honest. Black people do the "exception to the rule" thing just as much as white people do.

This is not just racism, though. You notice how I single out white men and don't say anything about white women. I have plenty of stereotypes about white women, and, hopefully, the thing you'll learn about me through reading my blog over time is that I inevitably have negative stereotypes about nearly every single group of people--blacks, whites, gays, straights, Asians, Latinos, Christians, goths, the rich, the poor, and so on. I am simply an equal opportunity hater--I even had a shirt made that says so.

But what I want to do here today is focus more on some of the ways my prejudices towards blacks manifest themselves in everyday life, but not after I point out that I am a female chauvinist. That's right--you thought that was only for males (or rather incorrectly, you thought that was called "feminism"), but it's not. I truly believe women are superior to men. Women are generally not the reason the world lives in fear, after all, nor why our nation's currently all effed up, and I really resent men for making me feel unsafe in my own country. I think us women should have our own country, or that we should stay here and give men a dose of their own medicine. You know, if they're so manly and everything, then not only can they have all the best jobs and make all the money but they can also do all the cooking, cleaning, giving birth and child-rearing. What's the matter? You're the big, strong man--you can do it all while I sit and catch up on "All My Children" and go shopping.

I mention this because there's an intersection between my racism and my chauvinism. So, yes, I would say I have a problem with white males most of all...but second to them is black males. It's not that I buy into the notion of black males being dangerous. Males are dangerous, period, just in different ways. White men do the absolute craziest stuff, so I tend to view them as more dangerous than black men. At the same time, I know that if a crime is going to be perpetrated against me, it's likely going to be at the hands of a black person, particularly a black male...just because men generally commit crimes, and crimes tend to be same-race. So, yes, I am more afraid of black men than anybody else...although I must say this is one of the reasons I'm happy I'm black rather than white...because, like I said, white men do really sick crap to white women. But, unfortunately, if a black man comes into my home to complete a service, I'm going to be checking to make sure nothing's missing, and I'm going to make sure I've got a kitchen knife or something close by in case he tries anything.

One story--I remember this one time my best friend at law school and I were talking, and we somehow ended up on the topic of racial makeup at our law school. I know what it was--we must have been talking about families first, and I made a stereotypical comment about how white women oftentimes are housewives, which is something that's not common among black women. Black women work. And I asked her about her parents, and she said there was a point in time when her father was at home and her mother was working only. So I told her that sounds like a black family, and she wondered why that is. (If you haven't read other posts, this friend of mine is white.) I stated directly, without hesitation, "Because black men are lazy."

And she was shocked. She said, "I can't believe you would let that come out of your mouth!" She was admonishing me, this white woman was. And I just said very matter-of-factly, "Look around." And she was like, "What do you mean?" "You see who's here," I said. "Most of the black people at this school are black women." And then I don't remember exactly what I said, but I vaguely remember points about black men sitting at some poor black woman's home all day playing Xbox, running up her bills and treating her like crap when she gets home from working her 1, 2, sometimes even 3 jobs, to take care of his ass...and I gave examples of some of the dumb black females in my family doing this, to boot. What could she do--she's white. She didn't know how to argue with that. (Oh, oh, and I just remembered another "joke" I told once about why black men and white women seem to be so compatible and keep getting together--it's because they both don't like to work, i.e. white housewives and lazy black men using black women.)

If you know anything about black male/female dynamics, you know that black men often view black women as unsupportive. We badmouth them and call them names. I will be the first to admit that is 100% me. My justification? They started it. And just like with my views on white men, I have a hard time feeling bad about how I think because I feel as if black men have been mistreating black women for entirely too long. I don't understand the blind loyalty black women have towards black men when black men don't seem to care about us at all. What I do want you to understand is that this is certainly not all black men (i.e. the "exception to the rule" thing again). But I am, admittedly, very angry towards black men (and, no, this is not why I'm queer).

I wrote about how black men dating non-black women bothers me. And I didn't go into all the stereotypical reasons I've read in books written by black men, have seen black men give on TV shows and have even had black men give to my face for why they prefer non-black women. And they claim it's because we don't support them, most of all. No, I don't support them. By and large, black women do support black men--too much so, if you ask me. Now, you can write me with that PC "We're all black, and black people need to stick together" la dee da stuff. All I have to say is "Go tell that to a black man," because they effed us over first and are still doing so.

Besides, black men's idea of "support" tends to be "I say, you do" and variations of "We're men and, therefore, better than you in society, and you're supposed to fall in line with that. How dare you make more money than I do? How dare you take that better job than I have? Don't you see this is the white man trying to keep the black man down, trying to destroy the black family??? You're supposed to let me stay ahead of you on the social hierarchy. How dare you pass me? Are you even a real sista? You're not down for the black man." Screw that.

If you want support in the real sense of the word, I am there for you. If you are beaten unfairly by the cops, you're going to hear me complaining. After all, if anybody has a right to beat your black booty, it's black women...not white men. If you need a civil rights lawyer to take your legitimate discrimination case, call me and I will advocate passionately on your behalf. But all this, "You can't date white men because, even though I don't want your inferior black ass, you're still mine...but I can date white women" and "If you're not willing to be beneath and submissive to me, then you're not supporting me" nonsense, I cannot get down with.

Getting away from my prejudices for the moment, I wish to point out that I do believe much of interracial dating relates to same-race racism. And that is one type of same-race racism I want to be vigilant in making sure I don't participate. I think black people can be racist against each other sometimes simply because of the brainwashing we have received, and continue to receive, from whites. I think the notion that Euro-ness is beauty and blackness is not is one of those manifestations, as well as the notion that black female strength is "masculine" and unattractive. As I wrote before, I do believe a lot of us blacks just aren't attracted to blacks as romantic partners (or even friends), despite the fact that most of us have black mothers and fathers, and either don't realize it or don't want to admit it.

But then there's another kind of manifestation that comes from observing and experiencing life at the hands of other blacks that, quite frankly, sometimes kind of makes you see why white people hate us so much. (And I noticed with amusement that one of my new links, blac(k)ademic, had a section of her blog, back when she was still writing, entitled "black people drive me crazy." And I laughed, because I understood exactly where she's coming from, even before reading anything she had to say in that section.) The "not black enough" standard, which is a form of racism perpetrated upon blacks by blacks, has been the bane of many of our existences, and it is, at least, partially to blame for this last story...

I am not comfortable in all-black environments any more so than I am in all-white ones, because I know from experience that black people break out the "how black is everyone" ruler after a while in those spaces and start looking at you with suspicion, disgust, disdain, disappointment or whatever when they realize you don't measure up. And, as with any form of racism, typically when you experience it enough times, you start to dish it back out. So this afternoon, I was at work and all these black people started showing up for an event. They were dressed to the nines, and I looked like crap. I mean, I was expecting just a very lazy day of not really seeing anybody because nobody tends to be around where I work on the weekends. So I threw something on and went to work.

I often feel self-conscious around women who are more feminine than I am, but especially black women who are because I feel like they are a lot more judgey about how I'm supposed to look. My theory is black women care so much about how they look because they care so much about catching a man. Well, there's nothing new there--women of all races are much the same way. The thing is that I think, as black women, we are very aware that we're not the standard of beauty in this country--quite the opposite. I hear so many black women, even nowadays, talking about issues they've had with their black features, which is something I pretty much don't relate to.

Obviously, as mentioned in other entries, I don't really care about my looks--I never really have. Plus, a part of me knows that I have some privilege in being light-skinned (in fact, when I was really young, I didn't like dark-skinned blacks and used to be mean to darker girls), having a white/European parent and a parent who is part-Native American and has very strong Native American features, having long hair and a "nice" grade, and all that other hierarchical nonsense. In fact, I never wanted my hair permed and only got a perm because my mother made me when I was in junior high. And now I keep it because even spending the 20-30 minutes I do on my hair after I wash it is too damn long for somebody like me who doesn't really give a damn to begin with.

It's only been the past few years that I have really started feeling self-conscious around feminine women and have started kind of hating white women, in a sense--particularly blondes (and there was another interesting comment on Rachel's Tavern's post about that)--for something they really have nothing to do with, i.e. society's preference for them. So I think a lot of black women are affected in a way that I'm not by this, i.e. focusing on looks in a way that other women don't and wondering what the hell is wrong with black women who don't engage in this. Black women work really hard to look good, and I can't for the life of me figure out why getting your hair "did" is important enough to spend, like, 7 hours in a beauty shop once a week with loud black women wasting time, overcharging, gossipping, suffocating everybody with 15 different cans of hairspray, etc. Like I said, 20-30 mins is my maximum...

So it was like how black women around me look every day, only 10 times worse. And then it was in addition to the fact that everyone in the lobby was black--everyone. Can you envision me nearly breaking out in hives? And, black people, you know how most of us have the expectation that black people speak to each other. I just couldn't do it. It was too much pressure, and I was freaking out mentally. I tried my best to ignore the hell out of these people, and I could see the blacks trying to be discrete in shooting glances at me. And I was just kind of mentally labeling them "typical black bitches." It was hot chick after hot chick, all dressed up, all black Barbie-ed out...and then there was me, the homeless-looking lesbo oreo.

Yeah, I was self-conscious about all that at the same do you see why I was freaking out?