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What’s the female version of an Uncle Tom?

April 30, 2017 Leave a comment

img_1542This is it. I am turning the corner and shedding my attempts at being welcomed and accepted by the black community. This journey is my own. I will go my own way.

35 years and I am finally here. I will still have my moments of regression but I have since learned that several members of the black community have turned their backs on me after learning that I am pro-life and do not support Planned Parenthood. If this is what isolates me from the black community, so be it. I will fight for the right for developing cells/human beings/fetuses/babies to live.

It doesn’t matter that we probably agree on everything else. No war. No death penalty. No injustice. Social justice for racial minorities. Undocumented immigrants. LGBTQIA+ community. Trump is a lunatic.

I’m tired of hearing tirades against white people. I’m so over it. Stop ranting against white people, band together, and DO something other than protest.

I’m tired of blaming whitey for everything. Did whitey do their fair share of oppressing black people back in the day? Yes. But it’s  significantly better for black people to advance in 2017 than in 1967. The white people who oppressed black people aren’t the ones in power anymore. A new generation arose that rebelled against the segregation of their parents. Did anyone give any thought to those white people who thought segregation was wrong and unjust? (Just like the white people who thought slavery was wrong and unjust during the Civil War era?)

And then there’s the issue of reparations for black people. No, thank you. White people can keep their money and their land. See how well reparations worked out for Native Americans? Government-protected reservations with high crime rate, high gambling problems, high suicide rate, high drug use, and high alcohol use. Nope. No support for reparations from this here colored girl.

I’m a black American princess. I went to a Catholic school K-12. Started at NYU with $18K in grants and scholarships and graduated from Hofstra on LI with departmental honors. I interned for a high-profile NY senator for a semester. I was a successful, established sole proprietor for several years after a full-time stint as an entry-level editorial assistant didn’t work out.

All along the way, the people who reached out to me and helped me along to get me to the next level were…guess who?

White people.

In grade school, other black students made fun of me and cut me down as I tried to assert myself as a young, smart girl.

In middle school, the black kids (and “wiggas”) would shut me out of their core group while white people interested in their education would interact with me and eventually become lifelong friends.

In high school, perhaps the roughest period of my schooling, I attempted desperately to fit in with my black peers only to get made fun of or used for my intelligence for the next quiz or test. The only students who were willing to offer friendship without strings attached were white people.

Even the one black boyfriend I dated (in an effort to gain credibility with the black community) dumped me after he made an attempt to have sex with me and I kept to my vow of purity.

So the long and short of it is, black people and I just don’t get along. It’s taken me 35 years to realize this but better now than later. I will never have a black BFF. And I need to be OK with that. Because I have so many wonderful friends—of all other races, though mostly white—who I can rely on.

This is an issue that’s on my mind so I’ll probably be blogging about it for a bit. But I needed to get it out that white people are not my enemy. They literally are my friends.

The issue isn’t white but black

January 6, 2016 1 comment

black and white

I idolize wanting friendship and more contact with people of the same race. One of the common complaints I have about my life is that I don’t have contact with enough black people. I have plenty of white friends—that’s no issue. I have a set of diverse friends: Filipino, Indian/Sikh, Ethiopian/Muslim. But few black friends. I actually can count on one hand the number of black friends who aren’t related to me. My white friends are too numerous to count.

This is a problem. Somehow I’ve made it an issue that it’s important to surround myself with more black friends so I can be more “in tune” with black culture. I don’t fully understand the talk about white supremacy. I only partially understand the idea of white privilege and don’t fully agree with it. Ferguson was a big deal but how did it suddenly become a turning point in race relations? The deaths of Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice, and Sandra Bland are tragic, but how are they significant in the sense of how they play a larger role in racism?

You’d think because I’m black that these things would automatically make sense to me. But they don’t. I think Freddie Gray was surrounded by idiot cops, Tamir Rice was shot by a cop who should have never been let out of academy, and Sandra Bland paid the price of nervousness around a cop for failing to signal. (I have been guilty of the same when seeing a cop behind me; moving out of the way is instinctive and automatic. I make sure that my failing to signal doesn’t happen now.)

I don’t necessarily see race as the main factor in all these but I do think they play a role on some level. Had Sandra Bland been white, she would have had a slap on the wrist and been let go. A cop who saw a white boy with a gun would have been a bit more cautious about opening fire than making hasty judgments. And Freddie Gray was the victim of being a black man who seemed untrustworthy and would do or say anything to get out of being arrested.

I want to understand these things. I even want to understand these things to the point of agreeing with them. How is that white people get these concepts and I don’t? Is white guilt truly a thing that causes white people to hate themselves and blame their own race for injustices upon other races?

These are all questions I’m asking myself and wrestling with. I may never have a significant friendship with another black woman. And I need to be okay with that. Because I have friendships with wonderful people: secular and religious. They all teach me something and all make me a better person in different ways. And those kinds of friendships transcend all boundaries of race.

Thoughts on #Ferguson

November 25, 2014 2 comments

I have a lot to say and if you follow me on Twitter, you’ll find these thoughts quite redundant. But I need to put them down somewhere and get them out of my brain and off my chest.

Let me preface this by saying: I don’t hate white people. I think white people and black people need to work together to effect change. That being said…

I live in a white neighborhood. It’s a peaceful neighborhood with very little crime. One day, I sat in my car, idling in the parking lot next to my apartment, listening to the remainder of a favorite song. I had just come from the gym and it was at night. A cop car pulled alongside me with a white officer at the helm. He very politely asked if everything was okay and I replied that it was. He gave me a dubious “okay” and pulled away.

I’m not sure what probable cause he had for pulling up. Because businesses were closed? Because it was a lone car idling in the parking lot? Did he see that I was a woman all alone? Did he see a black person in a car and wondered what the hell I was doing in the neighborhood?

I’ll never know. But the latter option has run through my mind.

That’s not the only instance in which my family has had a run in with white cops. I often tell the story of my dad who was driving home (we lived in a predominantly white neighborhood) and was less than a half-mile from home when he got stopped by a cop. The officer asked what he was doing and my father said he was heading home. The officer asked where that was and my father said it was down the street, a couple of houses away. The officer let my father go and my dad made it home safely, but he was always convinced he got stopped for DWB — driving while black.

I had a conversation with my husband that left me in tears last night. Because I love my son and I well and truly believe that he’s somewhat at a disadvantage because of his skin color. Despite the fact that Trayvon Martin was not killed by a cop, I really fear my son getting into an altercation with a cop simply because he’s walking around with a hoodie at 6 pm during the winter when it’s dark. My son may be half-white but he’ll only be seen as a black man in the eyes of the law.

I’m tired of making excuses for black people and why they deserved what they got. Mike Brown didn’t deserve to get shot at 12 times. I don’t care if police are trained to empty their clip or if they’re supposed to shoot until a person goes down. I think that’s barbarous. That 12-year-old in Cleveland, Ohio, didn’t deserve to die. I don’t care if he chipped the paint off the toy gun to make it look real. He was TWELVE.

Minorities have a history of getting the short end of the stick:

  • “Oh, that black person was being an idiot to the cop so of course he got shot.”
  • “Oh, that woman was all over the man so of course she was asking to get raped.”
  • “Oh, that Latin American immigrant came into the country illegally so of course his American kids should get deported.”

When does it stop? Who polices the police? I wasn’t much on white privilege before Ferguson, but I guess I am now. White people are more likely to be in positions of power. Black people, to succeed, have to (quite frankly) kiss ass in ways that their white peers don’t.

My mom always told me that black people have to dress nicely and act properly in front of white people if they want to get anywhere. My mother was promoted to the head forewoman position at her job from being a CLEANING LADY. She doesn’t attribute it to her great work ethic (which she had) and great English (she’s got a strong French accent). She attributes it to the fact that she dressed properly and always acted politely in front of white people in positions of power.

You see, I play the game, too. Where a white person can walk into an interview with jeans and be a likely candidate, I have to dress up in a business suit, be articulate, and put on my A-game to get the job.

Oh wait, that’s not a fair comparison because anyone who walks in with jeans won’t get a job in a white-collar industry.

You’d be surprised.

I’ve had to work TWICE as hard as my white peers to succeed in academics and in my career.

I really don’t believe white people are the enemy. It may sound like it, but I don’t feel that way. (Drop in reference to white husband that validates my lack of racism) My sole point is that white people hold the upper hand on a lot of things. In ways they don’t even realize. I may not always identify with my black peers, but that doesn’t negative the fact that my skin color is still dark.

So I guess I believe that white privilege exists. And I don’t know how to change it. It’s been an institution in America since the 1700s. Maybe the first step in breaking down white privilege is accepting the fact that, if you are white in America — and I don’t care if you’re a redneck or live in Appalachia — you have advantages over black people.

I guess that’s it.

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