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"!