Let’s Lose Caucasian

Lithograph of 8 variations of "Caucasions"

Dead sexy!

I cringe inside every time someone calls me Caucasian.

Why?

First of all, because it implies heritage in the Caucacus Mountain area, and although my ancestors were a bunch of wandering bastards, to my knowledge none of them lived in that vicinity….

But more importantly, because of the man who coined the word. Johann Friedrich Blumenbach, a German scientist and classical anthropologist. He was influential among racial theorists of his time for dividing people into five different races:

He named white people Causasians because:

I have taken the name of this variety from Mount Caucasus, both because its neighborhood, and especially its southern slope, produces the most beautiful race of men, I mean the Georgian; and because all physiological reasons converge to this, that in that region, if anywhere, it seems we ought with the greatest probability to place the autochthones (birth place) of mankind.[6]

Was he smoking crack? Ok, crack wasn’t invented then, he was probably hitting the laudanum a little too hard!

Anyways, Blumenbach was a major influence on Hitler and US segregationists.

I can’t hear the word Caucasian without linking it to it’s legacy of bigotry and hatred.

I don’t get mad when people call me that, because most people don’t know any better, but I hope we can all educate ourselves and do better!

Let’s lose Caucasian!

You Do Not Get A Laminated Ghetto Pass*

"Thugged out" white chick holding up some kinda medicie

Don't Be this Chick!

Some of you may have read My 10 Rules For White People Who Hang Out With Black People This young thing has broken rule #5, which is a soft rule, you can push that one and slide by, but she really stepped in it by breaking rules #1 and #2:

V-NASTY! FEMALE RAPPER FROM EAST OAKLAND! FOLLOW ME NOW..!! -VNASTY is out! R.I.P LIL NARIO , KERRY , CELL . FREEA ALL MY NIGGAS . IM THE FUCKIN GREATEST !

I really have nothing else to say about this…

SMH

*Thanks to my Man @SonnyBlowdro for calling her out w/this phrase:-)

8 Things Black Women Get Away With That White Women Can’t

So, two months ago Madame Noir published the article: White Women Do It, Too: 8 Things Black Women Can’t Get Away With Doing by LaShaun Williams. This article suavly bypasses such topics as the wage gap, promotions, or, god-forbid–running for President–in favor of covering such crucial issues as “being a slut,” “getting a nose job” and frowning. (Yes, my moody-coworker to the contrary, apparently black women must always smile!)

And, being the up-to-the-moment media-savvy bitch that I am, here is my timely response. Don’t take it too seriously. This is satire people!

8 Things Black Women Get Away With That White Women Can’t

1. Wearing a Fucked-Up Wig in Public

Baby in a Wig looking goofy

Now I wish that more black women liked their natural hair as much as I do, but one can’t help admire the millions of different creative ways that they have found to get their hair “did.” So that being said, why do otherwise impeccably dressed women come into work with a fucked-up wig? I’m not just talking about a lace-front. I’m talking about sticking out everywhere, all messed-up, held back in a sloppy-ass pony-tail using a rubber band fucked-up!

Now, if I go to work and my pony-tail’s messy, at least I can say that I can’t see the back of my head. But what’s their excuse? I mean, they can take that shit off!

 

2. Having a Big Butt

A Huge Green Butt

Why Didn't the Video Chicks Look Like This?

Oh, my, god. Becky, look at her butt.
It is so big. *scoff* She looks like,
one of those rap guys’ girlfriends.
But, you know, who understands those rap guys? *scoff*
They only talk to her, because,
she looks like a total prostitute, ‘kay?
I mean, her butt, is just so big.
I can’t believe it’s just so round, it’s like,
out there, I mean – gross. Look!
She’s just so … black!

Need I say more?

3. Working as a security guard.

Angry Afro Lady

Now don’t get me wrong, but I’m sure that there are some great black female security guards, but when you walk into, say, a place of Higher Education (not that I’m naming any prestigious local Universities, cough, cough) and most of the professors are white, the cooking and cleaning staff is all Hispanic and the security guards are all black–and some of them are so young and skinny they look like they could be knocked over by a feather–you kinda get the sense that some typecasting is going on there.

4. “Acting Black”

Wonder Women "I know you didn't"

Everyone knows the worst thing that a white woman can do is “Act Black”

 

5. Scaring People By Taking Their Earrings Off

Madea Goes to Jail

Don't Make me Take My Earings Off!

When a white woman takes her earrings off, she’s probably going to bed, but when a (black-man-dressed-up-as a) black woman does it, it’s on!

6. Going Out In Public With Her Black Boyfriend/Girlfriend Without Black Women Glaring at Her

Jill Scott looking perturbed

It's Not About You, Jill!

When you do it, that’s normal, when I do it, the person I’m with is “betraying their race” or some bullshit. If someone is attracted to someone of a different race, it’s not a rejection of you! It just means they like that person!

7. Finishing Lists

Sexy sketch w/pic of a white woman

White women are much too busy getting knocked up in a sex tape while talking like babies to finish a little thing like a list!

10 Rules For White People Who Hang Out With Black People

Polito-meter

If you are already a white person who hangs out with black people you probably already know these rules–and when and how to break them. If you’re just starting to hang out with black people, or are wondering about those strange looks your black friends, colleagues and associates sometimes give you–you might want to brush up on the “rules.”


  1. Never use the N-Word. I shouldn’t have to say this, but apparently I do. Don’t say it in public. Don’t say it in private, don’t say it in your head. Just don’t say it! I don’t care how many times Tupac or the Young Money crew drop it, pretend you’re a radio and censor it out. (I substitute playa sometimes in songs where ‘man’ or ‘asshole’ is really what they mean.) I don’t care how many times your black friends say it–you don’t use that word! When they say it they are empowering themselves by reclaiming a word that that has been used to cause suffering and degradation. When you say it you’re being a racist asshole. (And if your white friends say it, please try to educate them–if they don’t wanna listen, consider some different friends)
  2. Don’t say words like the N-Word. No it’s not okay if you say it with an “a”. Don’t say Snoop-like words like fo-shizzle. You think you’re sounding cool. They think that you’re finding a sneaky way to say the N-Word. On the same tip, my friend Digger watched his buddy get beat-up by a group of black guys after yelling out “Hey Digger” on the wrong street. (And yes he watched, that 98 lb white boy didn’t have a chance against all those dudes!)
  3. Don’t try to “act black” Unless you’re in a gang don’t throw gang signs or imitate the folks you see on TV.  Don’t have “gangsta” themed frat parties. Don’t try to dance like you see on the music videos–when you ain’t got no rhythm. Just find the beat. (Please? For me? Do you have any idea how hard it is to dance in a room full of no-rhythm white folks tryina’ throw down?)  Now I’m not saying all black folk can dance, ’cause that’s a myth just like the one about all black men having big dicks–just more of them can. You can too, just relax into the beat and find your own moves.
  4. Don’t try to “talk black” I’d say more on this one, but I probably break the “talking black” rule more than any others–you can only talk extensively with black people for so long before you start to pick up black English. I often have POC (People of Color) stare at me perplexedly and ask if I’m from the south–Actually, I guess that’s okay if it happens naturally, it’s the “try” part that’ll mess you up.
  5. Don’t try to “dress black.” For god’s sake pull your pants up! (Okay, that goes for everyone of every color. Please–I do not need to see your drawers unless we’re getting freaky!) As far as clothing goes, Hip Hop is so universal these days that you can definitely work that flavor into your gear, just don’t go over the top with it. Also, hair: please, no white girl dredds or cornrows! (Unless you’re a hippy, in which case, go ahead and do dredlocks–just be aware that if you go to Jamaica you might get your ass kicked!)
  6. Do not call black people “articulate” No matter how loquacious and eloquent the speaker is, don’t pay them this particular “complement.” You think you’re saying: “Wow, have an amazing way with words”, or, “Obama, you make George Bush look like a gibbering idiot.” They hear: “You talk perty good for a darky.” And really, they might be on to something. Do you ever pay this particular complement to white people? If you feel in awe of a POC’s way with words, try saying something like “I really liked the way you said XYZ–I never would have thought to put it that way.” That shows not only an appreciation for the speaker’s turn of phrase, but engages with the topic they were discussing.
  7. Don’t ask your black friends to use the back door. Not even if you ask everyone else including your Mama and Baby-mama  to do it! Black people have spent centuries having to go in through the back and they deserve red-carpet treatment now. (Um. I guess unless you’re getting freaky?)
  8. Don’t ask your black friend to dress up like a Gorilla Okay, really I can’t believe that I have to say this one, but a dear friend of mine  was pressured into donning a Gorilla suit for a play by friends, who were apparently unaware or uncaring of the history of white people making comparisons of black people to gorillas, apes and monkeys. Similarly, some black folk might not be too keen on monkey toys for their kids.
  9. Know Your History. Did you even pay attention in school? Read and learn as much as you can about the history of slavery and racism in this country. There’s a wealth of knowledge out there from PBS documentaries–to books on Harriet Tubman and Malcolm X, to fiction–like the works of Bebe Moore Campel and Alice Walker. (Not an exhaustive list at all–that’s just off the top of my head–but you have the internet, I’m sure you can find plenty to give you a better perspective on where African Americans are coming from–and maybe learn a little about yourself in the process.)
  10. Follow the Golden Rule. If you don’t follow any other rules in this list, follow this one. Do your best to treat all people with respect and consideration.

Any questions?


Temps: Second Class in the Office

I have a confession to make: as a single mom living in my Mom’s basement and working as a Temp, I don’t often feel privileged (hell, I can’t even spell privilege, which you would know if not for spell check!)

Sometimes I remind myself that I am a single mom living in my Mother’s basement in a safe neighborhood. People don’t shoot each other, shoot up, or smoke crack on my block. That is a huge privilege! My mom and stepdad invested their hard-earned money to live here for it’s “good schools” (they really are good) and concentration of Jews.

I try to remind myself of my remarkable ability to not get stopped by cops very often–or talk my way out of tickets when I’m clearly in the wrong–and sometimes don’t even have my paperwork together. Or my ability to walk through most stores without being followed (I say most, because they always follow me at the Roxbury Goodwill).

But when I’m at work as a temp Admin, it’s hard to remember I’m privileged. It wasn’t so hard at my last job–there was a lot of other temps, and when they would complain about–say–group emails touting the benefits program we were ineligible for–I would adopt a world-weary attitude based on my my year-and-a-half of temping, and point out that Temps were supposed to be like tissue paper: there when you need them, disposable when you don’t.

Even at that job it was hard though. The kids and I got sick–and even with the blessing of MassHealth the bills went way up. I worked for three weeks before I got better, and had to go cry in the bathroom when I got an email telling me to go home.

I worked the job before that for three months before getting a call on a Monday night (as I was working late, right after they showed me how to lock up.) telling me not to go back.

The thing is, when you’re a Temp, you’re making less than everyone else, and if you don’t work, you don’t get paid. Everyone around you is squealing about their bonuses and going over their vacation plans. But you don’t get a bonus. A “vacation” for you, is an unpaid break between jobs, where you yo-yo between manically job-hunting and slumping into a deep depression.

Today everyone in the office got out two hours early and went to a Bachelor’s Party for this adorable gay man in our office. I couldn’t go. If you don’t work, you don’t get paid.

I know it’s little, but all those little things add up. My life is on the edge. All of the time.

As I endlessly faxed and collated documents, I tried to turn the experience into a teaching moment. “This is what it’s like to be a second class citizen.” I told myself. “Only it’s just a taste.” Sometimes it’s the little things– like watching others drink from the nice clean fountain while you practically have to press your lips against the dirty rusty one–the small ways that society tells you you are “less than,” that eat you up inside.

While my coworkers blithely drank and ate penis-cake, I was moping but trying to take it as a lesson.

Casual Suburban Racism

I walked into this conversation Monday:

Man 1: “Really?”

Man 2:”Oh yeah, there’s a real problem with METCO kids bringing all kinds of drugs and violence into the school.” (METCO kids are kids from poor predominantly black neighborhoods who ride up to an hour both ways to get a “better” education. It’s part of the state’s attempt to make up for the segregated city and inequitably funded schools.)

Me: “I went to school here and never noticed METCO kids bringing drugs into the schools…”

Man 2: “Oh yeah. It’s a big problem. The METCO kids bring the drugs in and then local kids get busted for them.”

Me: “Are you sure the local kids aren’t blaming the METCO kids because they got caught?”

Man 2: “Well, my son got busted and it was all because a METCO kid left a bag of Marijuanna in the car…(ahem)…plus busing the kids in costs the city a lot of money…”

White Fear

So I was driving yesterday through a nice “upper-middle class” neighborhood, and my eyes locked on the eyes of a very scary dude talking on his cell phone. Why was he scary? Because he was over six feet tall and heavy set? Because he was black in a predominantly white neighborhood?  No, he was scary because he looked like my ex boyfriend.  You know, the one who used to push me around in front of the kids? Who told my mom that he cheated on me, and made my friends think I was crazy?  The one who grabbed the wheel and steered my car into a canyon, and then threatened to cut himself and blame me if I reported it?

Our eyes locked and I could feel the adrenaline race through my body as I searched for a hint of recognition. Same broad, thick forehead, same wild eyes with the epicampic folds. A little heavy–but he could have gained weight. A little darker–but then he darkened in the sun. I’m almost past him when I decide that, no, it can’t be him. He didn’t recognize me.

Whoever it was, with that moment of terror filled eye contact I have reinforced every stereotype this guy has probably ever heard about white people. I wanted to stop and jump out of the car and apologize, or at least explain.  In thirty seconds I went from happy to terrified because I thought I saw someone I haven’t seen in five years, and this guy, he got the fall out. I’m sure he’ll chalk it all up to white fear.