Ladies. Gentlemen. Other.
When I wrote the letters to black and white people, my mind was a-scatter. Stream of consciousness. That means that there were a few things I didn’t say because I forgot or I was kind of scared to say them. Or I wanted to keep my personal A-hole factor to a minimum.
But since I like to write and all of these thoughts are pinging around in my brain … resistance is futile.
P.S. – TO BLACK WOMEN
I’ve been overseas once. To France. That was in 2002 and I still miss it. I get homesick for Grenoble and parts of Paris on a semi-regular basis and for the life of me I can’t explain why. But I can tell you this. France is not a fat country. I think I was the fattest person in France in August of 2002. That taught me something — women are beautiful. Sexy in all their variation. Of course, it was Summer and there were also a lot of tourists and everyone had their Summer thing going on. I think that’s how people are supposed to look. Sun bronzed or browned, casual with an air of adventure.
Then I came back to the U.S. and for the first time in my life saw with fresh eyes what an epidemic of obesity looks like. I thought, this is not how we’re supposed to live. This isn’t right. It’s not natural. It’s not healthy. This is a disease. America is fat! My family responded to my revelation with fried chicken, ham, potato salad, deviled eggs, corn-syrupy juices, constant baking of cakes, pies and cookies and stored up bacon grease.
Later I read that black women are disproportionately obese. This quote is from the American Obesity Association:
For women, the black (non-Hispanic) population has the highest prevalence of overweight (78 percent) and obesity (50.8 percent).
I’m afraid to say this, but … black women, it’s time to get this under control. Sometimes when I’m on the Metro I feel like I’m watching “Nutty Professor II: The Klumps”. Hercules! Hercules!
It’s a wonderful thing to be happy with who you are and to be comfortable in your skin. But it’s crazy to be loud and proud about being fat. A sassy, fat black woman is great for entertainment but not for longevity.
We live in an information age. We know what makes us fat. We know what kills us. Black celebrities often barely make it to 50, collapsing from strokes, diabetes and heart disease. We know what we’re supposed to be doing. And it’s not just for your own health, but we’re teaching our kids our suicidal eating/drinking habits, too. We know that our culture is gluttonous and we know that drinking that giant milkshake isn’t good for us. There’s no excuse.
I hate to say it, but maybe so many black women are having trouble finding men — according to articles and statistics I’ve read and conversations I’ve had — because of the weight issue. Just maybe. Personally, I know a number of beautiful desirable women in most facets but … the weight thing is a deal breaker.
Oh. Let me point something out, though, because I know some people right now are assuming that I think all women should look like Thandie Newton. That is NOT what I’m saying. I like buxom, zaftig women. For real, y’all. Healthy and attractive does not necessarily equal skinny. Hollywood is a crazy place. The images in media are, to me, also not healthy — the waif-like thinness, the obsession with defined abs, Anorexia, Bulimia, starvation/deprivation diets and so on.
So I’m not judging or holding you up to some unrealistic standard, I’m just saying with all due compassion — reclaim your health and your physical potential. If it helps at all I’ll beg you. Please, baby baby, please.
P.S. – TO WHITE PEOPLE
I wanted to make sure that I emphasized that whole Jim Crow era. A lot of people just gloss over it. I’ve heard people say that Black people need to get over slavery. Even if that were the case and even if it were easily done, there’s still the Jim Crow era to cope with.
ADDENDUM: I was just talking to one of my uncles and we were talking about traveling via car. He told me that when he was a kid his parents would take him and their siblings on trips. It was always a straight shot, though. No or very few stops. They didn’t have a choice. They weren’t allowed to stay at the hotels and motels along the way. Whites only. When they did have to stop for gas, all of the kids would quickly pile out to see if the station had “colored” facilities. He said, “They would take your money for gas, but wouldn’t let you use a restroom.”
Ask your grandparents what it was like. I’ve always wanted to do that. Ask an older white person what their perception was. How they remember it. If you’re a podcaster I would LOVE to hear an interview with the elders in your family about that era and their perceptions.
I know that you’re not all conservative, especially not my mostly liberal friends — bunch o’ hippies CUT YOUR HAIR — but I’ve been hearing some Conservative talking points and view points that I have trouble coping with. I’ve decided to leave most of them for another time, but …
I have a theory
I figured it out. You know in the letter I asked “Where are you?”
I figured it out and the answer is even more shocking and mind-blowing than I imagined.
I’ve noticed that when minorities move into a white neighborhood, within a few years that neighborhood will be all minorities. At first I thought it was the “white flight” phenomena. Then it struck me. White people aren’t fleeing from minorities. They’re being bitten and turned into minorities!
Think about it, man! It’s the only explanation that makes sense. A few Latinos move into a neighborhood and suddenly everybody’s Latino? Entire enclaves in well-to-do Northern Virginia of Middle Easterners, Ethiopans, Indians, Pakistanis?
Why else would all of these Caucasian folks be practicing exotic religions, getting their hair locked, eating foreign foods, interested in big butts? Practicing yoga?!
I’m on to you. This explains why Indians are running motels and convenience stores in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. It’s all so clear.
I wonder if I’m eligible for the Nobel now.
TO ASIAN WOMEN
How do I say this. I’ve spent considerable time and money on personals sites. The ROI is poor at best. I’ve written about it many times before. Just click on the “personals” tag in the tag cloud on my blog and you’ll see what I mean.
I like to hang out and walk around the National Mall. GWU is nearby. So is Georgetown. Lots of young people, is what I’m saying, meeting and interacting. DC is a great city for people watching.
Here is something that I’ve observed. It bothers me. Please don’t be offended by that. It bothers me because of my own issues and shortcomings.
Asian women LOVE white men. Every time I see an Asian woman with a white man, her affection for him is palpable. She’s all over him. Leaning on, holding on to, gazing longingly at him. As long as he’s tall-ish, even the most pimply faced, sunken chested, scrawny, average looking, nerdy white guy seems to evoke waves of cosmic gratitude from their Asian girlfriends. The “how did I get so lucky” vibe.
I imagine a hierarchy of desirability. The desirability quotient takes into account the probability of the subject’s parents disowning them. From most desirable to least:
- White doctor
- White liberal arts major
- White ex-con
- Asian doctor
- Asian man of same nationality
- Barnyard animal
- Black doctor
- Black man of non-doctor descent
Okay. Now you can be offended. But you’ve got to admit that’s kind of funny. Before you scoff, though, let me just say that I’ve heard anecdotal evidence of some Asian cultures viewing mating with black people as — well — akin to bestiality. My own experience online in an incredibly diverse metro area like Washington DC bears out a very low opinion of black men.
Thank you for allowing me to also express a little frustration as I ramble on. I just wish that … I don’t know. Black folks have a bad rap around the world even as black artforms take root. It doesn’t translate to respect and understanding, apparently.
That’s a shame.
P.S. – TO WHITE WOMEN
My friend, Sarah, who is an amazing, beautiful, whip-smart, well-rounded and down to earth super mom left a kind and educational comment for me on Facebook. In it she said that … oh, hold on. I’ve got to watch these skating babies again.
BTW – White women go running in scary neighborhoods to prove (to ourselves and to others) that we’re not prejudiced. If you need me to explain that I’d be happy to.
That makes perfect sense. It’s honest, straightforward and real. I think the people who live in those scary neighborhoods have some respect for that, too.
Oh. Just in case some of you are thinking that the word “scary” is implying something untoward, I consider any neighborhood where there are regular homicides to be scary. Or active gangs. Or you know how there are map mashups online that show crimes in a region? Any neighborhood where the icons on the crime map cover up most of the streets. Or any neighborhood where the sex offender registry website makes you shudder. The higher concentrations are in certain neighborhoods and zip codes for sure. I’ve looked. Hey, Dundalk. You’re representin’ with the sex offenders. Vigilance.
I do respect that indomitable attitude. You’ve got to live your life and not give in to the projected societal fears and prejudices.
BUT, let me add something just for you brave, open minded women who go where you want when you want.
If you’re ever in a situation where a little prejudice will save your life, then by all means be one prejudiced mo fo. If your spidey sense is tingling, don’t ignore it for the sake of being politically correct. You run your taut ass and toned legs to safety. Stat.
Don’t let yourself fall prey to Missionary Syndrome. I just made that up but I’m sure you know what I mean. There are many stories of missionaries, nearly always white, who go to live in some remote native village or in the hardest inner city trusting that their righteous motives afford them some grace. When the murder, rape or molestation comes — it’s a shock. A shock to experience the possibility of tragedy come to fruition.
So you go ahead and do your thing. Just … take precautions, stay alert, keep your wits about you. And rock on.
Once again, I’ve been rowing down the stream of consciousness. With one oar. A lot of the things I wanted to say leaked out of my head as I was writing. There may have to be a P.S.S.
G. “Faffa” Young