Friday, March 21, 2008

Race: Playing The Victim

I have often found that sometimes things seem worse than they really are. For me, when things go wrong, there is usually a really good reason that leads to a much better outcome than if things had gone the way I wanted them to.

I'm not going to go into details as to what I went through this week, but the bottom line is now I can say a little more confidently than I could all semester that I will graduate soon. And that was really, really hard to say all semester. Things fell completely apart first. It was one of those times when if someone asked you how you feel, you couldn't answer. I guess it was a combination of emotions and thoughts, no single one prevailing except, perhaps, the survival instinct. I didn't have time to sit around angry or depressed.

And, actually, someone did ask me how I feel, at least about graduating. And that's another question that brings up different emotions that are hard to put into words. It's one of those questions people expect you to answer the same, that you're happy or ecstatic because you're finally done with schoolwork or because you're now going to make money. Schoolwork is not what law school has been for me; it's a lot more complicated than that. And I've been so caught up in dealing with graduating that I have barely searched for a job, so one thing I can say for law school is that I seem to jump one hurdle and immediately encounter another one. This has been so for, actually, approximately four years of my life now, starting with the law school admissions process and won't stop until I pass the Bar exam or get a job, whichever comes first. Now that I have the graduation thing pretty much squared away, I have to focus more on finding employment.

My friend Angel asked me how I felt about graduating. Excited? Nervous? I responded that it was neither of those things. I think my latest experience has been a case in psychology and have thought this for a long time. The truth is I don't want to leave. There are two reasons why, despite this, I worked hard to graduate: appearances and money. By appearances, I mean how would it look to get this far and not graduate? Or to graduate and then immediately enroll in another program at this school just so that I can stay at this school, in this town...which is really what I want to do? By money, I mean law school costs too much to spend another year here, and another program here would also cost too much. I have to move on.

Thus, the story has been a tale of conflicts: sadness over leaving, worrying about not being able to. But perhaps the reason that I had to worry all along was because I didn't want to leave, i.e. I was subconsciously sabotaging myself. And then there's the fact that I want to stay here, but, on the other hand, I want to go to Chicago. It is probably the case that neither will happen. I am thinking of taking either the California Bar or the NY Bar, because they both have way more job opportunities. If I don't get a job where I'd like to before I graduate, then I will have to choose California or NY because the deadline for registering for the Bar exam will be really close at that point. Although I don't want to go to NY and certainly don't want to go to CA, I already have the feeling that if this is what happens it will be because it's better for me somehow.

By the way...the reason I say that the struggle to graduate turned out for the best is I ended up getting probably the easiest path to graduation that I could, at this point. The path I was trying to take would have been more difficult. And with the newer, simpler path, I wondered why I'd never thought of it before. So, this leads me to believe that the job thing will go the same way.

I've been reading a little about the fallout from Obama's speech on race, and I was going to write a separate post about it...but. I think the most important part of my reaction to white people's reaction fits here, because a lot of white people seem to partially take Obama's speech as yet another black person playing the victim all because he essentially said racism still exists and is still a problem in the US. What I want to say is some people really are victims. It's not exactly the same, but I wonder if white people think it's okay to tell a rape victim to "get over it" or stop acting like a victim just because she tells her story and says rape is a problem in the US. Rape is a problem in the US, and this woman really did get raped--what's wrong with admitting it? The rape is over and done with, but the effects still live on and her story is still important. Some people really are victims. There are more victims in the US than not.

But that's not the point. The point is how do you let being a victim affect you. Obama is a victim because of race, even though he's mixed. But he went to Columbia University and Harvard Law School. He's running for President and is beating a white female who went to Yale Law School and has way more political experience. And he's running on a cheesy campaign of "change" and "hope." He makes one speech, probably the truest speech he's ever made, and to whites and Asians like Michelle Malkin, it's a vital mistake that could be the undoing of his campaign. He never stands up and speaks honestly about racial problems; it's always about uniting people rather than pointing out what's really wrong. And yet, to a lot of people, he is now just like "every other" black person, playing the victim and blaming white people (neither of which he really did). Tell me, who sounds more irrational and delusional--him or these people?

Obama is successful, no doubt, but being successful doesn't mean you don't have more difficulties because of some group to which you belong, and being successful from one of these groups doesn't mean others in that group don't experience more difficulties. Obama knows race is a problem, but, clearly, he has not sat around and let race destroy him or his efforts to succeed. Still, apparently, any time a black person gives their perception of race in the US, unless it is something people from other groups want to hear, they are being the victim. I see nothing wrong with telling it as you see it, or even with complaining and getting angry at times; what I do see a problem with is not taking action. The two are not mutually exclusive.

I discuss this latest turn in Obama's quest for the Presidency because I do complain and get angry, and I do think all blacks are victims whether they want to see it or not. The same is true for gays, Asians, Latinos, the poor, the elderly and many other groups of people in the US. Furthermore, I agree with the ideas motivating parts of the speech by Pastor Wright that I saw quoted. I haven't seen the whole speech, and I can't find right now the article that I saw. I just remember that the basic idea was that blacks are not treated fairly in the US, and, for that, we should condemn the US. I'm not sure I would use the word "condemn," but if you've read enough of my blog you know that I am not all sunshine-y about this country, in large part because of race. So what I'm saying is I agree with what led him to make that part of his speech, that what drove him truly is a problem here (and this might be what Obama was basically saying in his speech).

But despite the problems the US deals all those groups of people I listed, we also have opportunities and, at least, ways to fight for our rights. Obama knows that. I know that. If being black was a problem in every situation, then I wouldn't have been able to go to [white] people at my university and work out my graduation issue just the way that white students can and do. If being black was always a problem, I wouldn't feel that if I keep looking for a job I will get one. If being black was always a problem, I wouldn't have several [white] people out there helping me find a job the way I do now. If being black was always a problem, I wouldn't be where I am. Just because it's not always a problem doesn't mean it's never a problem. But being a problem sometimes doesn't mean that you shouldn't try.

If a black person isn't where Obama is or where I am, it doesn't always mean they haven't tried or that they are just blaming race without it being a factor. I believe I have run into numerous times since I've been in law school where race has been a negative factor, most importantly in the many job interviews I've done over the past three years. I've seen many fake smiles, critical eyes, intimidated demeanors, and once even got hostile tones--to my surprise, more so from white women than white men--followed by rejection letters. Making the claim is not what tells you that I "play the victim" in a way that unfairly blames all my problems on others; giving up looking for jobs after a few of those experiences is. I could go home and live off my parents. They are paying my undergraduate loans; why not let them pay the law school ones? Or I could work harder to find a man who will take care of me, which I actually hear more white women at universities discuss as their plan than black women. But I will not do these things. I will consider places I don't want to live and apply for jobs there, whether law-related or not. It's hard, especially right now with the economy, but I will make the effort.

If you read this blog, then it's no secret: I hate law school. It was a mistake. However, coming here was not. Out of everything bad comes something good. I love the university. It's hard to explain, because you never think someone could love a school. But I do; it could be a person. It's going in my will, and not just the law school. I will be trying to encourage my nieces and nephews to attend this university, and if I ever have kids I will be one of those parents whose kids will grow up having the school shoved down their throats. They will watch every football game, every basketball game and they will attend some. They will visit the school, wear the school's shirts/jackets/hoodies/hats/etc and they will be forced to apply. It's true; it has already spread to others in my family.

This is something I thought only happened on TV sitcoms until I came here and saw it. I'm not the only person who is like this. I know of no school other than Harvard that inspires pride, fanaticism and loyalty to this degree. I see families wandering around with their really little kids all the time and have heard of kids being raised to attend this school all their lives, which could be a lot of pressure since this is one of the hardest schools to get into in the nation. One day, I tried to count how many students I saw walking around wearing some article of clothing bearing our school's name, and I couldn't keep up. And those people who have been eager to give me advice and/or help me find a job have generally been graduates of this university. I can contact anyone else out the blue, including other blacks--most of them don't respond. And I haven't even mentioned the friends I've made that I wouldn't have made otherwise.

I jumped hurdles to get here, and I jumped hurdles to get out. As I said, this has been my life for four years. When something goes wrong, I come up with solutions and move on to the next issue. As with the graduation situation, sometimes the hurdles are solely my fault. Other times, as with some job rejections and the situation I described about a year ago in my blog with LA Girl, race plays some role. But the response, for me, is always the same, regardless of the situation. Everyone has to do what simply needs to be done, no matter the reason. This is not me saying "get over it" because I know better. Keep your struggle with you. It makes you stronger, and it makes you appreciate what you have more than those people who somehow expect you to get over inequality when they (if they're white) also complain when they perceive themselves to be the victims of it. You don't have to try to convince anyone, because if a black person like Obama can't convice white people then no one can. If you wonder why I say unity cannot be achieved in the US, why we'll never eradicate race and/or why racism will never go away, our best symbol of the possibility of all these things played a part this week in demonstrating why.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Ask A Negress Pt. 3

From a variety of sources, including Yahoo search and Topix:

Why is that in movies targeted at blacks with all black casts, the entire movie seems to be about being black? You'd never see a bunch of white guys actually mention being white in conversation. Do black people really talk about being black that much?

A: This is actually not true, on both counts. Sure, "white movies" definitely will not be all about being white, not blatantly anyway. But black movies usually aren't, either, though they will probably refer to being black and realities of black life throughout the movie. However, I am not sure I could sit down and think of too many white TV shows, for example, that last for a couple seasons that don't eventually have some borderline-offensive episode that plays with race and has white people referring to the fact that they're white and white stereotypes. On Lifetime alone (which I watch every afternoon during the week), I've witnessed this in shows such as "The Golden Girls," "Still Standing," "The Nanny" and "Reba." In everyday life, white people can be heard "joking" about or stereotyping stuff like the fact that one of them can't dance or play a "black" sport or doesn't have a big d!ck.

I've seen white celebrities do interviews and refer to themselves as white in relation to some stereotype, i.e. Ben McKenzie from the "The OC" insinuating that he wasn't good enough in football in high school because he was white and Felicity Huffman from "Desperate Housewives" on "Oprah" implying that black women are better singers/dancers and have nicer lips than white women while describing her experience as the only white female in a studio. As far as white movies, whites usually won't refer to whiteness like blacks do in black movies. However, they definitely display it and exploit white stereotypes. Whites perform whiteness all the time; they're just not verbally explicit about it like blacks are.

Do blacks really talk about being black a lot?
YES. I have generally found that a group of black people aren't going to be together for a good amount of time and not talk about race in some way at some point. It's just a huge part of our lives. It's the same for queer people and oftentimes for women, too.

Why are the most dangerous cities in the Us predominately black? Why are the dangerous and bad parts of cities predominately black?

A: I've somewhat touched on this in my posts about anti-racists, as well as a couple other posts here. But to be most simple, 1) blacks are angry, and 2) black men, at least subconsciously, feel a sense of entitlement to everything just like white men do. A white neighborhood is not going to be crime-ridden, because angry black males are simply not going to go to those neighborhoods and commit more than a few crimes over time...and because nobody else is that angry, nor do they have any reason to be. Why won't they commit crimes in white neighborhoods? Because crimes involving white victims are more costly than crimes involving black victims. So, blacks in black neighborhoods often have less than whites in white neighborhoods, but blacks will prey on the blacks anyway because they are much more likely to get away with those crimes or get lighter sentences than for victimizing whites in white neighborhoods.

Many black men will go around breaking into other blacks' homes, stealing/breaking into their cars, etc, and hurting other blacks in the process rather than get a job just because they perceive white males as not earning everything they why should black men have to, especially working crap jobs while the white men get the good jobs with a similar kind of resume or have a better resume simply because, as white men, they were given more opportunities in life? Not saying I agree with these black men or that this is even definitely the case, but this is how I perceive black men who commit crimes as thinking based on comments I've heard many black men make, including ones who aren't criminals. Everything those black guys take or work for, they seem to feel they're automatically owed just because white men don't have to work as hard for those things.

On the site I took this question from, the black responder correctly mentioned the connection between crime and poverty and education. While I agree, it's still also the case that some of those black men could be working but aren't; they live a life of crime. It's also the case that they generally won't go to the better neighborhoods to commit crimes, even though they could potentially walk off with more stuff from those places than they get in poor black neighborhoods. Although you could also make a proximity argument, I believe my response is the reason why.

Why is it that Blacks blame a lot of their problems on Whites? Don't they create their own destiny these days?

A: It's not whites, per se, so much as the problems/systems that whites have created throughout history that either have lingering effects and/or are still perpetrated/kept in existence by whites. We generally don't blame specific white people. As long as whites are still predominantly the ones in positions of power, no, blacks don't create their own destinies.

Q: My Q-if you could pass for 2 weeks(or any period of time) is there anywhere you would want to go or do, that you wouldn't do now?

Q2 Anything you want to ask of other races?

A: Regarding question 1, probably not.
#2, definitely, but when I have questions for other races I generally just ask people of that race. The answers I usually get aren't satisfactory, but I think that's because people don't sit and really think these kinds of things out the way I do. One question that comes to mind, though, that I haven't asked some people yet is how can white people look at people like Britney Spears, Paris Hilton and all the other crazy young white female celebrities, and then talk about only black people having no morals or black women being promiscuous. For people of all other races besides black, I want to know why they have such a hard time accepting that we're all different, race does matter and will always matter.

Q: I am a white female, rasied in white suburbia, California. I think we had two blacks kids I went to school with all the way from 1st to 12 grade. The were nice enough kids and they had nice parents who cared about their kids welfare and education. I was just wondering why weren't there MORE of these families? Why do some black people feel they are OWED something becuase they cam from slaves? My Neighbors didn't feel this way! They worked hard and raised nice kids, who raised more nice kids! The didn;t think they were "Opressed!"

A: I seriously don't think there's a black person alive who believes racism is real but doesn't think they are owed something. It has very little to do with slavery, too; we're talking stuff that goes down TODAY. Just because a black person doesn't complain and/or works hard doesn't mean they don't think blacks are oppressed or not getting what they deserve. It's all about the approach, though, i.e. some blacks believe we're owed more but will go ahead and play by white people's rules, some won't do much of anything to help themselves, some will try to make their own rules, etc. How do you let your mindset affect you, is the question. Do you understand that you can be owed but you're probably not going to get it? How do you respond to this reality? As far as whether or not blacks are oppressed, whites and blacks just define "oppression" differently just like we define "racism" differently.

I understand that the "N-Word" is extremely offensive to black people. I would like to understand why and if black people think that if they took less offense to it, maybe people wouldn't throw it around so much.

A: Clarify by saying "some" black people. For black people who are offended, I think they would point to the historical context in which the word was used towards black people and the fact that it is often still used today with a similar kind of context/meaning to it. If blacks took less offense to it, I think its use would actually increase because whites and others are clearly dying to be able to use that word without blacks getting mad, especially given that so many blacks use it in a way those blacks deem "positive." Many whites, Asians and Latinos find that use cool and really want to imitate it.

Q: Why do blacks vote democrat?

A: The majority of blacks are middle-of-the-road, with many conservative viewpoints. However, time and time again, when Republicans get into office, they make decisions that harm blacks more so than Democrats do. Financial decisions are huge since they affect employment, taxes, etc. Republicans also have a habit of being against programs that benefit blacks, such as affirmative action. Democrats also usually pay lip service to blacks; Republicans often don't, and even when they do we don't believe them or one of them shows up in a racial-slur scandal, i.e. Trent Lott, Arnold Schwarzenegger, even John McCain with the "gooks" thing.

Q: Why do blacks smell?

A: My experience is every race has a scent that is particular to/similar among people of that race, a scent that differs from people of other races...including whites. I'm not kidding, nor am I trying to be offensive. I strongly encourage everyone to use fragrances, because I hate when I am, for example, sitting in a classroom and feeling overwhelmed/unable to concentrate by the natural scent of a white or Asian person. The worst is sharing a communal bathroom with a bunch of white females; the scent is awful. It's the same scent I smell in a classroom when I am sitting by a white person, whether male or female, who doesn't have a nice fragrance on, but 1000 times worse.

I actually can't recall smelling a particular black scent or bad smell among blacks, but this might be because I am black. I will say, however, that I have smelled a scent among some but relatively few blacks that, when I've smelled it, has been the same in every black person I've smelled it in. I have never smelled that same scent in another race. At the time, many blacks have called it "musty." I don't know if this is what whites and others mean when they say blacks stink. I asked one of my white friends if blacks had a scent and informed her that, to me, whites and Asians do. She was unable to answer this question. But that "musty" scent is usually from sweat/not having washed up recently.

I have heard throughout my life blacks say whites smell like wet dogs or bologna. This is not quite what I would say they smell like, off the top of my head (could be wrong--haven't smelled a wet dog in forever), but it supports my idea that we all have a natural scent that is common among people depending on their racial background.
That's edition 3. See ya next time!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Ask A Negress Pt. 2

These questions are generally from Yahoo Answers.

Q: Black people tipping poorly or not at all in restaurants... WHY??

A: I'm not sure, but I think there could be several different reasons. I hate tipping and, pretty much all through college, I didn't tip. Here's what I think about tipping:

1) For a long time, I didn't know anything about tipping. Barely knew what it was and definitely didn't know the "rules," i.e. 15% and crap like that. Where I grew up, there was generally no need to tip. Restaurants are run a lot differently than restaurants everywhere else I've lived. They don't have spots on receipts/tickets where you add a tip. You pay the exact cost and move on with your life. My parents didn't teach me about tipping. They would leave a couple dollars on the table at a restaurant or pizza place, but I had no real idea why they were doing that--maybe they just wanted to. So, essentially, tipping came out of nowhere to me when I first left home. Along with this personal story, I suspect that a lot of blacks do grow up in places where tips are expected but don't really grow up frequenting those kinds of places. So, similarly, many blacks probably don't know tipping rules or "get" tipping.

2) The reason I say a lot of blacks probably don't know a lot about tipping or go to those kinds of places is because the majority of blacks don't have the luxury to go out to a restaurant that often. In other words, blacks are the poorest people in the US. Why in the hell the poorest people in the US would be expected to tip people, and then everyone cries and whine when they don't or never think about the fact that they might not know anything about/can't afford tipping, is beyond me.

3) Tipping is one of the dumbest systems I've ever heard of, and I just know a white male invented this. Look, I've paid you for the meal. You get an hourly wage, do you not? Why am I required to give extra? I don't care what industry you're in. No, I take that back. If you're really going to show appreciation for someone's service--their simply doing the job they sought out--you'd think it'd be something like tipping people like doctors or firemen, people who save know? Instead, I'm supposed to give extra for your either having an attitude, screwing up my order, taking too long to bring the meal out or deliver it, overcharging in the first place for your meals and/or interrupting my conversation every 5 seconds to know if I want something else (and this last thing, you white wait-staff especially do!!! I mean, get the hell on and let me talk to my friend, okay?!?!)?!?!? I don't think so! I don't have money to just give away, people! And if service people think they're entitled to tips or higher pay, then, sh!t, just include what the tip would be in the menu price so that I won't have to feel like I'm paying you twice!

Q: Can anyone help me to understand why black people look down on other blacks who are doing something positive with themselves.

A: Clarify by saying some black people. I think blacks are usually either jealous of or conflicted about these kinds of blacks. On one hand, many blacks can be happy about a black person doing/behaving well. On the other hand, some of those same blacks can be suspicious of this positive black person. Do you look down on the rest of us because you're doing well? Do you care about other black people, or are you a "sell out"? Are you trying to distance yourself from other blacks? Does your success make us look bad in comparison? Do you still understand/relate to blacks and the black struggle? These are some of the questions that even some of the other blacks who are doing well have about other blacks who are doing well, and we usually tend to suspect/perceive these blacks as either not really being down for black people or making us look bad in comparison.

Q: Why do black people think that the destruction of New Orleans was a government conspiracy?

A: Black people don't think that the destruction of NO was a government conspiracy; blacks think the government's response--or lack thereof--to the destruction of NO was a government conspiracy. Simply put, we feel that if that same situation had happened in a lily-white city or even another nation, the US government would have been way more sympathetic, a lot more helpful and would have jumped on that situation a lot faster. But because so many blacks lived in NO...nope.

Q: Why do black people that ARE SMART insist on speaking wrong????

A: Actually, I think the phrasing of this question kind of demonstrates that it's not just black people. It's not. And it's not even all blacks, either. However, you probably will find a higher percentage of blacks speaking incorrectly than whites. I think one of the most obvious reasons is more of us either spend time around other people who are uneducated or less intelligent than we are, come from uneducated/less-educated families or both. Sometimes we "insist," but I think the majority of us don't. Even many of the best-educated people have their grammar and speech rules that they either don't know or slip up on when speaking. Most people don't speak or write perfectly all the time. And especially for blacks, many of us believe that our "culture" kind of requires us to go into relaxed mode sometimes when we speak, particularly depending to whom we're speaking.

Q: I would personally be flattered to have others take interest in my culture. Why is it when whites or asians act "ghetto", it is considered offensive to black people? How people sometimes act is depended on the way they were taught and the environment they grew up in. Some do not act such way to purposely imitate blacks, but simply because they are being their true selves.

A: First of all, because "acting ghetto" is not our "culture." The fact that people think it is and then proceed to imitate that is precisely what makes it offensive. Ask different blacks and you'll get different responses about what exactly black culture is, but, at the very least, I would say that having a culture means that some aspect is pretty universally agreed upon among and performed by that group of people. "Acting ghetto" simply isn't agreed upon and performed by enough blacks for people to claim and believe that is really culturally black. The question someone asked that I answered in Pt. 1 about how blacks can be complete strangers and still acknowledge each other is much more realistic to say is culturally black because way more blacks across the US engage in that kind of behavior.

Second, whether someone who isn't black is being true to themselves or not, as I explained in Pt. 1...blacks get punished for acting the exact same way those white or Asian kids act while those white or Asian kids don't. We're looked down upon; we're talked about negatively; we're turned down for jobs; we're assumed to be unintelligent; we're assumed to be dangerous. I don't care how a "wigger," "chigger" white or Asian grew up, they simply are not harmed like that by performing blackness. So, yes, it's going to piss a lot of black people off because, while we get punished for being who we truly are--and even for not being that way but the assumption that we are simply because we're black--these people get off scot-free. There are simply too many negatives to being black for people who actually are black for us to be "flattered" by non-blacks imitating us or who they think we are.

Q: Why don't black people in America just call themselves American and be done with it?

A: Because nobody else in America is just going to call black people "American" and be done with it. To all white people who wonder this same thing, be honest--when you see a black person, do you think "there's another American" or do you think "there's a black person"? If you're trying to describe someone who is black, aren't you going to mention they're black? Nothing wrong with calling people what they are. Plus, being "American" will kill our individuality. The majority of us don't ever want to be associated with white people in a way that suggests we're the same as or indistinguishable from whites. We're not like you, and we're happy about that.

Q: I know not all black people are like this- many are nice, but the majority are rude as hell. And they always use foul language. Why is this?

A: Honestly, I wonder this about white people probably every single day that I encounter white people. I think that the majority of people in the US are rude, but in different ways depending on their race/background.

Personally, I think the rude black people this person is talking about are rude because they're tired of dealing with everyone else's rudeness. They wonder why they should be considerate when no one else is, especially when no one is considerate towards black people. Blacks, generally being angrier than people of other races because of stuff like racism, react the most openly rude and foul. Whites are rude and have no idea that what they or other whites are doing is rude. I firmly believe rude black people know they're being rude and don't care if you have a problem with it. To them, you, as a white person, are rude all the time and don't notice or they are being rude on purpose, thinking to themselves "why should I care?" or "You deserve it, you white m*therf*cker!"

This is totally just my theory, but it's based on 1) my interactions with rude blacks, and 2) the way I feel when I encounter rude whites. It's a rare day when I'm walking around the law school and don't encounter a white person doing something I feel is completely rude towards me and I not feel like physically hurting that person, seriously. Usually, it goes a little something like two or three whites are standing in the middle of a walkway just running their mouths and they see me coming and*ck...out...of...the...way as common courtesy should dictate, especially considering nobody has any business just standing around blocking walkways to classes, dorms, etc...and I just want to grab at least one of those people and throw them as far as I can, because clearly they expect me to just maneuver my black @ss around them--no, you move your white @sses for a change.

I also suspect some blacks will be more rude towards people of other races or with certain characteristics just because of the resentment/bitterness/hatred/whatever negative feeling they have towards people of that group.

Q: Why do black people think its ok to call white people white people?
all i want to know is why do black people in general say "that white girl" to offend white people? but if a white person would ever say "that black girl" it would be racist.?

A: I don't think black people say that to offend, but at the same time I don't think we care either if you do get offended by it. White people do say "that black girl" and refer to blacks and "black people" as such but I can't say that I've ever heard anyone feel that's racist.

I guess we think it's okay to call white people "white people" because that's what they are. What else are we supposed to call them (and don't give me that cheeseball "human" or "American" nonsense)? I remember a couple different white females telling me they don't like being referred to or thought of as "that white girl," but I still can't figure out what the problem is. If you're a white female, you're a white female. It's not about being offensive.

Q: Why R black people so loud and obnoxious (especially black girlz)?

A: Because we have the hardest time being heard. Meaning, nobody listens to black people, especially black females. It starts in the home, too. Our parents will talk and talk and talk and tell us to shut up and we try to get their attention and they completely ignore us until we just get really which point they tell us to shut up. And then we go out into the world and try to talk, and whites and other non-blacks completely ignore us and/or dismiss everything we say. We're not invisible or to make people understand this? So, what worked in the home? Getting really loud.

I also think a lot of blacks are just very dramatic/emotional in comparison to other groups. Black women being women, this is especially true for them. There are a lot more instances among blacks where letting this emotion come out is expected/accepted/encouraged than in other cultures--best example is church--so...I think a lot of blacks just have less self-control in this area. If you think about it, all kids start out loud, pretty much. And, to be honest with you, this is another area in which other people, particularly whites, are just as guilty but in a different's another thing about white people that makes me want to hurt them. If you don't believe whites can get loud, just go spend time at a dorm or Greek house at a predominantly white university.

Q: Why do some black people who prefer to date non black people feel the need to tell everyone?

A: We're considered the least attractive race, so we have the least amount of options and have to put more work into getting a mate. In addition, people assume that blacks want to stick with blacks more than they assume that about any other group. Especially for black women, it's kind of important to get it out there that they will consider someone from another race.

Q: What's with black people and fried chicken?

A: I don't really know. My theory is it's one of those foods that black kids get fed so much because it's easy to make, like-able and affordable, and it does the trick if you're hungry for a lot of blacks. For many blacks, food is more than just food. It's reminiscent of home, family, friends and good times. Personally, I don't think fried chicken is all that special, and I don't really associate food with other stuff the way a lot of blacks do. That, combined with having chicken shoved down my throat incessantly growing up, are probably the reasons I don't care for it and can't say the last time I had any. But for other blacks, I think it's the memories and food association more so than the taste, though I do believe black people just love the taste of fried/greasy stuff. Blacks love unhealthy food and consider it part of our culture because, as I said, it's the kind of crap most blacks grew up on since unhealthy food is often the cheapest and easiest to make.
Edition Two is now in the books. Join me next time!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Ask A Negress Pt. 1

Mulling over topics and can't really come up with something (sorry it's been about two weeks--been busy)'s something I've been wanting to do for a while. Now, these are questions I'm taking from other sources, so they have actually been asked by somebody--guessing they're usually white or non-black. However, it seems like these questions have often been answered by black males. I tend to disagree with many of their answers, so, clearly, you can't take any of these responses as the black authority. I would do something like this with queers here, except I don't know jacksh!t about being the typical queer.

So, here's the latest edition to my blog: a section called "Ask A Negress"! I will keep adding to it and will give it its own category to the right. Most of the questions in this edition come from this site.


Q: Why is it that generally, the black man, is so much cooler than the white man? Cause it seems to me that 80 % of the black men/ kids ive met seem to be cooler than the average white folk. Even the black kids that seem to be losers with the other black kids seem to be cooler than most white kids. Do i just live in a weird place? or does this go on everywhere?

A: I've thought about this before. In fact, some of my black friends--hell, and even most of my white friends--refer to whites on the whole as "lame." So, I'd say it's not just black men, or even just the black race.

That said, I think black kids are cooler because we are dealt a harder time within our community if we're not. Sure, if you're a white kid, you might get stuffed in a locker or something like that at school. As you get older and end up lame at a place such as law school, people will either talk about/laugh at you or think you're okay because they're just as geeky as you are if you're all white.

But for blacks, with the combination of wanting to be accepted by other blacks simply because of race (after all, we get dissed enough by everybody else without getting it from blacks), standard teasing and the odds that if black kids don't like you if you're in a white environment no one else will...we tend to be more willing to find out whatever it takes to be more socially accepted and make ourselves that way. In addition, among blacks, even your family--including your parents--will make fun of you if you're not cool. Now, white kids might have siblings who tease them...but parents? I promise--personal experience. Trust me, the kinds of personalities white parents value/see as perfectly acceptable in their parents don't in theirs! So, if you're black, there's potential for non-stop torture if you don't become cool. It doesn't just end when you get out of school.

Q: Why can black people crack on white people and it not be racist (Chris Rock, others) but if some white dude got up there it would be racist and he'd get fired or have to pay some big fine? I've got nothing against that kind of humor, its funny as hell, I was just wondering if you had an idea why it is this way.

A: Well, but most of the time black comedians get up and either make fun of blacks or make fun of blacks plus other groups, such as whites.

I don't think white people are as suspicious as black people are when it comes to race, so white people tend not to react the same as black people do about this issue when the tables are turned. If you're white and you get up and talk about race...we're just waiting for you to screw up. We are. And you know why? This is the reason racial satire/jokes tend to become uproars when whites do them: we always will believe you really mean what you say. And you can argue "didn't mean it like that, didn't mean it like that, didn't mean it like that"--we believe you meant it like that. Deep down, the majority of us think the majority of you are racist. Say the slightest thing to "prove" us right, and we'll run with it. It's not the case you can't ever discuss race in comedy, just you can't say certain things or be as risque with it. (And no matter what, you can't get up and talk about lynching people of a different race--a black person would get in trouble for that just like a white person would)

I don't think this works both ways. The majority of white people in the audience at, say, a black comedy club will sit and laugh at the jokes blacks tell about whites; they don't sit there and feel like, "See? See? I knew all dem damn niggers hated us!" I firmly believe if white people reacted like blacks do about these kinds of jokes, black people wouldn't be able to tell the jokes.

Q: What do black people think of those white people who wake up in the morning and think they are black.. you know what i mean, the guys who wear the way to baggy pants for a white kid, with the hat on sideways and attempt to speak ebonics... cause to me they are damn funny :)

A: Seriously, I think the majority of blacks can't stand these kind of white people, particularly the white males. If a white female comes around "acting black," black guys will accept them way faster than a black female will. And they will also accept white males like that faster, but not as fast as they'll accept the white female. But many of us just see it as irritating because you can "perform" blackness and still have white privilege in society; we can't. So while you think you're being cool or the way you were raised, you're just showing us you really don't get it. We can't figure out why you're not exploiting the fact that you're white.

Q: Why do so many black guys date white women, but few white guys date black women?

A: Can't speak for white men (or black men, really), just have my opinions and observations as to why. This really could be a book, but to be brief...

I believe that black men are more racially open-minded than black women are, I really do. I do think stereotypes about white women and black women play a role, but I also see black men as more at ease with interacting interracially than black women are, even on the most basic levels. I notice this at my law school all the time. The black men there can be seen speaking to all kinds of people; the black women...hmmm, not so much.

Now, with interracial dating, my observation has been that, as nervous as people naturally are when it comes to approaching others, the fact that someone is a different race makes it even scarier. What people from another racial group want from you is signs that you're open to them and won't reject them or be hostile towards them based on race. Now, with black men being friendlier towards and approaching people of other races more than black women are/do regardless of that...I believe one thing is white women feel more comfortable going there with black men than white men do with black women. In fact, oftentimes, the white female probably doesn't even have to make a move; the black guy will do it. But with white men and black women, nobody's making the move. They can be interested in each other, but they're not going to show it because they're both thinking about what role race will play more than the black men and white women are.

One more reason I'll give--I think white women understand black men better than white men understand black women. So white women/black men can relate in ways black women/white men can't, will treat race differently (and I'd say better) in the relationship than a black woman/white man couple would, and I think white women are more racially open than white men are because of this closer understanding, at least with respect to blacks.

Q: One salient thing I've noticed about black people compared to others is the sense of unity, brotherhood, or a 'collective' so to say. Black people seem to treat other blacks, even complete strangers, as friends they've known. Other races don't seem to do this. In other words, why do blacks see themselves as a unit instead of individuals? Very curious...

A: I think it's forced upon us, to be honest with you, whether we realize it or not. It somewhat goes back to the expectations of coolness. If we don't do these things, we'll get ridiculed. In another sense, it's about grasping for comfort where you can find it. For example, when I got to law school, I suddenly wanted to be closer to blacks than I'd ever wanted to be because I didn't feel comfortable with/accepted by the whites there more so than anywhere else I've ever been.

The response by the guy whose site I took this from mentioned some stuff about the South. Being from the South, I can tell you that, sure, we acknowledge people down there. But we don't just acknowledge other blacks. And this is one of the reasons why I felt/feel law school was/is so awkward. My experience with the South is if you notice that you see someone on a regular basis or have seen someone enough to recognize them, you greet them as if you know each other even if you're strangers and have never actually spoken. Sometimes people I've never seen before greet me. I feel more comfortable with white Southerners because they engage black people in this just as much as blacks engage blacks in it.

Q: What do black people think of Asians?
Do you think it's better to be black or Asian?
Do all black people have extremely curly hair?
I've seen some black girls with straight hair, how do they do it and isn't it lots of trouble to keep hair straight b/c it keeps growing?

A: Haha, the guy whose site I'm stealing this from said he thinks Asians rock, then proceeded to give stupid/stereotypical reasons why. Honestly, I think the majority of blacks have mixed feelings about Asians. Um......on one hand, I perceive blacks as respecting a lot of the stereotypes everybody has about Asians, particularly the stuff about how Asians raise their kids, Asian intelligence/hard work and a lack of violence...on the other hand, some resentment because blacks perceive Asians as being treated better than them, as well as the idea that Asians don't like us.

Frankly, I think it's better to be Asian. I would rather have everyone think I'm smarter than I actually am, have my parents pressure me to be better than I am at everything, have people say "ching chong" and mock my eyes as a kid then do a total 180 later in life and trip all over themselves talking about how much they respect my people/love Asian women...than be considered dumber than I actually am, grow up with parents who think that nothing I want to achieve with my life is possible and complain about my efforts, and have people tell me in high school that they don't think blacks are attractive/would never date a black person and pretty much hold true to that 10 years later while adding insults about "black culture" to their reasons why they look down on blacks. And that's just what's specific to me--that's not including the perception that black women are illegitimate baby factories and black men are criminals, stuff like that.

What is meant by "curly," because I don't think most blacks have curly hair. I don't even know how to describe the kind of hair the majority of blacks have, but most people say "nappy." To me, that's not the same as "curly." I have curly hair; it's not nappy.

As for straight hair on black women, the guy--being a guy--gave an off answer. There are many different reasons why a black woman has straight hair. Hot comb is one, but it could also be blow-drying with a comb attached to it, perm/relaxer (most prevalent way) or fake hair. I guess some black women could have naturally straight hair, but I'm not sure I've ever known a black woman with naturally straight hair. My mother's hair is somewhat, but she's also mixed with white and Native American. I straighten my hair with a blow dryer--I have a perm, but my hair is still curly unless I blow-dry it with a comb--and I don't feel it's too much trouble.

Q: Why aren't there any black hockey players? I mean everyone in the entire NHL (national hockey league) is white I think there has been 1 or 2 black players in the NHL since its creation (someone told me there is one on the edmonton oilers right now) why is this?

A: How are blacks supposed to play hockey, even if they're interested? My impression is hockey is most popular in cold places. Not too many people from the South--where the majority of blacks in the US are from--are going to go to an ice rink just to get into playing a game. Southerners freak out about the cold and ice.

Also, the sports that come on TV most are basketball and football. The sports blacks see people who look like them in most are basketball and football. In black neighborhoods, there's usually a basketball court or goal visible and in use, and the streets or a backyard are easily used for football. So, for one thing, growing up, blacks barely know hockey exists. For another, basketball and football are shoved down our throats. Third, the sports we see blacks striking it rich in are basketball and football.

Finally, there's that "cool" factor again--a black person playing hockey would get talked about badly by other blacks. Now, Tiger Woods was celebrated by blacks, but don't think we didn't wonder why the hell he was trying to play white-@ss golf just like, in the back of our minds, many of us question Venus and Serena Williams and this tennis stuff. Hell, Tiger's the posterboy for not being black enough/not wanting to be black. True that's not all because of golf, but the fact that he plays golf is further evidence.

Speaking of...

Q: What does "acting black" mean?

A: "Acting black" doesn't mean what most non-blacks think. Personally, I think it depends on what kind of black people you're around as to the standard. But contrary to popular belief, acting black has nothing to do with education. My observation is the kinds of things that will usually get you tagged for not acting black or thinking you're not black are not hanging out with enough blacks or any blacks at all, how much interracial dating you do, what kinds of things you like (i.e. music, TV shows, hobbies, etc)...with black women, hair; with black men, style of dress and level/type of masculinity (i.e. walk, talk, approach to the ladies, etc) and could also be hair (i.e. dreds, cornrows).

Perhaps the most misunderstood aspect of "acting black" is speech. Now, when we say someone "sounds white," we aren't really referring to whether or not they speak proper/standard English. We're talking about "the phone test," i.e. if we're speaking to you on the phone, can we tell what race you are. It's really hard to describe, but, even if a black person speaks "intelligently," blacks usually just have a different tone/sound to their voices than whites and Asians. One of the best examples I can give is the ever-popular "Valley Girl" accent. black woman is supposed to sound like this. If she does...she's acting/sounding white. My observation is black women tend to have deeper/lower voices than white and Asian women. With men, it varies, but there still is just a quality that separates the black male voice from the white male voice to the ear.

This is more so what we're referring to when we talk about "sounding" or "talking" white, I feel. It's not about intelligence or proper speech, and when it is it's about how someone sounds when they speak. Once again, blacks tend to associate lameness more so with whites, so we feel the way whites pronounce or enunciate words sometimes is dorky or has a dorky accent to it. If a black person has that same dorkiness to their speech, they sound white to us. Perfect example? Carlton Banks from "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air." On the other hand, we love blacks who are articulate without the dork factor. Example? Barack Obama.

Back to other elements of "acting black." The kinds of things you like are another key element that seems oft-overlooked or misunderstood. Of course, everyone thinks blacks like rap music. But I oftentimes find myself amazed by some of the things white people assume are universally liked by all people, not realizing the racial differences that exist. Good examples, I'd say, are bungee jumping/snowboarding/skiing/surfing/skateboarding, excessive alcohol, random acts of lesbianism/public displays of whorishness/too much of an emphasis on being or feeling sexy/comfortable with one's sexuality, wanting to be thin/thinking about weight quite a bit...oh, and TV shows like "Friends," "Arrested Development," "The Office," Seinfeld"...look, a black person who likes too many of these things is just not going to be accepted by most black people! A black person has got to watch shows with black casts, and especially be up on black classics from "Good Times" to "A Different World." A black person has got to know Al Green to Jay-Z, regardless of whatever else he/she likes in terms of music. A black person has got to know of pretty much every black person in the entertainment industry, not to mention all their personal business, and then sit and gossip about them.

And let me explain the alcohol thing a little better--white people, don't ever invite a black person to a party. Odds are this party will be alcohol-driven or somebody's spiked something. Now, there are a lot of blacks who appreciate alcohol. But unless we're alkies or borderline alkies, we just don't appreciate it like white people do. We also don't like music you can't dance to at parties...and by "dance," I don't mean jump up and down. And we don't come to parties to stand around, look at other people, sit around talking or making out or getting drunk and then fall out, and crap like that. Parties black people tend to like have lots of good food--I'm talking wings, bbq, pizza, sandwiches (hoagies, subs, etc) and other stuff that white people whine about having "too many carbs" and "calories"--urban music, real dancing and cool people of which the majority are black. There might be some alcohol there, there might not be--but, trust me, pretty much everything else I listed is probably WAY MORE IMPORTANT to the majority of blacks for you to have at a party.

Q: First of come like all black people call each other niggers but get pissed off when a white guy says it? That's always confused me;)

A: First of all, not all blacks do that. Second, it's an attempt to exploit the fact that white people aren't "allowed" to say it. There are so many things that white people can do that blacks can't or have an easier time doing than blacks do. And there are so many negative "memories" attached to that word because of whites. Some blacks use that word with each other to reclaim it, then, to give it positive meaning that whites don't or traditionally haven't (and, as I explained in response to racial comedy, we always think you mean it like that!!!). And it's one of a few ways blacks know how to exclude white people in any meaningful sense. There are not many things blacks can do that whites are dying to do but "can't." This is one; rapping or singing R&B is usually the other. Besides that, what else do we have on you?

Q: I've been noticing alot lately that black men have been dating asian women. Well, my question is how come you don't see black women dating any asian men? I'm asian myself (korean) and I'm really digging this one black girl at my school. Unfortunately, shes not interested in me, even though we are friends.

A: Some of the explanation for why black women/white men relationships are less common apply, i.e. the scariness of approaching someone of a different race and friendliness/open-mindedness. In addition, with Asians, there's this culture of encouraging relationships with whites and discouraging relationships with blacks. With blacks, we either never think of Asians as dateable or wanting to date us since we never see these kinds of relationships and hardly see these kinds of mixed kids. The lack of dateability, I feel, comes from the perception that Asians are probably the most different from us, even more so than white people. I'm not sure why that's the case. As the guy who answered this question said, Asian women are viewed as exotic; Asian men, not so much. Then--and I hate to say this--some black women buy the stereotypes about the Asian male anatomy.


That's it for the first edition of "Ask A Negress"!