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!