This is in response to this comment.
I get it. I get that. I appreciate your honesty and authenticity. You should have your own blog.
The following anecdote is off topic, but I decided to combine my race related items.
THE RACE CARD
I would like to start this off with a sigh.
Metro. Yesterday. With a friend. Normally I maneuver so that I get on the least crowded train car possible. But she, of course, apparently being more mentally stable than me, doesn’t care about such details and hopped on the nearest car of the first train to arrive. As soon as the door closed I realized that I was standing next to an argument.
A tall, thin black man standing next to me — I’m going to guess that he was high and/or drunk — was arguing with a middle aged professional white woman seated in the first row. The gist of the argument is that she had asked him to not loudly spew obscenities. Of course, that caused him to react by getting louder, cursing and confronting her.
In my mind, I’m thinking, “Oooooh no. Damn it.”
The hour and twenty minute commute — that’s my time to recover or even detach from reality so that I can pretend that the commute isn’t happening at all. It’s my downtime where I try to recharge so that I’ll have the energy to do something constructive when I get home. But you know. Stuff happens, right.
So then a short white guy standing next to me intervenes. He was trying to draw the agitated black man’s attention and increasingly aggressive body language away from the woman. I really can’t do this scene justice. Here’s a summary in dialogue.
“So what’s your problem? What?”
“Sir, I just asked you to not use obscenities.” (There was a kid with his father behind her.)
“F*ck you! I talk however I want. Sh*t. If I wanna curse I’m-a curse.”
“Okay. Come on, man. Let’s leave the lady alone.”
“Oh, you got a problem now? Wait a minute. I’m dealing with her. I deal with you after.”
“What’s your problem, lady?”
“I’m just asking you to not use profanity.”
“F*ck that. Sh*t. I talk how I want. Okay, so what’s your problem?”
“Let’s just leave the lady alone.”
“What? You on her side because I’m black and she’s white?”
You had to be there to see the look on the white guy’s face. It was a “Oh come on. For real? Did he just say that??” expression. A momentary pause as he absorbed the absurdity. I laughed. Not because it was fun or even funny, per se. It was an “in a foxhole with a handful of soldiers surrounded by vile, merciless enemies and someone says ‘At least it’s not raining’ and at that moment a peal of thunder splits the sky” kind of laugh.
“Cause I’m black and she’s white?”
“This doesn’t have anything to do with race.”
“Alright man. Alright. Here. Show me some love, GQ. Come on, GQ. We good.” The black guy leans over and hugs the white guy.
“Now let’s just let the lady have some peace.”
“What? F*ck that. Because she white?”
The train pulled up to the Foggy Bottom stop. The door opened and then shut. Black dude realized it was his stop. He curses. The door kind of opens again so he makes a lunge for it but just as quickly they start to close. His hand gets stuck in the door. Train doors aren’t like elevator doors. They don’t automatically open. So he’s standing there going, “Oooooooow! Oooooow!”
I take a step towards the door to help wedge it open so he can have his hand back, but as soon as I do the door slides open. They can sense when all the doors aren’t shut properly.
The dude takes the opportunity and runs off the train.
The comparison — not really apt, but I thought “Skip Gates”. This dude believed that people were taking up for this woman because they’re racist. I bet when he tells that story it won’t even cross his mind that he was getting ‘tude from people because he was a loud, obnoxious, cursing, drunk ass, rude, mannerless, disrespectful asshole of the highest order.
By the same token, I was going to help him get his hand out of the door not because he’s black and not because he “deserved” help, but because his hand was stuck in the door.
so later, my friend is like, “That was exciting.”
“No, that was draining.”
Draining because I’m standing there thinking that I’m going to have to get involved. This guy’s behavior was escalating. He was leaning into the woman’s personal space. Suppose he hit her or wound up to hit her? Then I’d have to do something and what if he had a knife or something? And my friend’s standing nearby so what about her? And you’re on a train that’s a bit crowded.
Anyway, the point is this. Black people. Remember when I said that the race card doesn’t play?
Well, first. After things settled down I said to the white guy that took up for the woman, “That was the race card right there, my friend.”
“Yeh,” he said, exasperated. “I felt like I was getting some mixed signals.”
“Well, he was subtle.”
But this is how some black people are. A while ago I was on the metro and an older black guy got on the train. He had a cane and was limping a little bit. He was going to sit down but … I don’t know what happened. All the seats were taken or people didn’t make room for him. He ended up walking to the rear of the train and sat in the seat next to where I was standing.
First thing he did was look at me and make a comment about racism and how even with a black president people won’t give him a seat because he’s a black man. I got the feeling that he felt like he was Rosa Parks. When I didn’t eagerly jump in and engage in a dialogue to shame all of the purported white racists on the train, he looked a little dejected.
Black people. Come on.
And frankly, I was embarrassed. Not by the old black dude but the dude from yesterday. My friend said, “And it makes DC look bad.”
I said, “It makes black men look bad.”
I see it time and time again. Tourists on the Metro who apparently have absolutely no contact with black people in their every day lives. They come to the city and most of the black people that they see (or notice or that draw attention to themselves) are panhandlers, drunk/inebriated, race baiting caricatures. I have compassion for people’s circumstances. I realize that I’m lucky to have had the upbringing and family and environment I had. But we all make choices. We all have hard times and episodes and we all make choices.
With all that said, it’s sad to see this kind of thing go down. Again.
I would like to end this with a sigh, head shaking in disappointment.
REALLY? Pt. 3
So in response to fbf’s comment. It’s been a while but I haven’t forgotten about it. I’ve had some thoughts fbf. As usual they’re bifurcated. Please keep in mind that what I’m saying is typical of me, given my social metabolism. I’m not going to claim that it’s THE right viewpoint. But it’s mine. For now.
I’m a fan of miscegenation. Mixing of races/cultures/ethnicities. It’s not without its baggage, of course, but apparently I can say the same for everything else. Not without its baggage.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with a person of any race/ethnicity/neighborhood wanting to date outside of whatever. A black man dating a non-black woman isn’t shunning black women. Or vice versa. It’s a big world out there. Like, a black person going to, I don’t know, Stanford or NYU or MIT or Princeton isn’t shunning Tuskegee or other historically black universities. That individual is making a personal choice. Because they’re a person and not a statistic or a category. I don’t view you as shunning black men for having an interracial boyfriend.
Your friend doesn’t need an excuse to date Hispanic women, in my mind, because there’s nothing wrong there to need excusing. I would say the same if you told me that you had a female friend who wanted to date an Asian guy.
I’m going to be real, though. It does get to me when a person ONLY wants to date one kind of person. Or excludes one category like, say, African American men. Drives me nuts when I see that on personals sites. “You’re a match!” Wow, she’s a musician! And likes to mountain bike, play tennis and loves sci fi! Oh wait. She’s not attracted to black men. Every other ethnicity. Not black men. Doh!
You know what I think is weird? When I was in high school the white guys there, they assumed that I didn’t have any attraction to the white girls even though I went to a middle school where I was one of the five black people out of the 800 students. Any black girl or woman that walked by — didn’t matter if she was 60 years old or 400 lbs. or a homeless addict — they would say, “There’s one for you, Gary.”
In fact, I’m surprised and disappointed by how segregated people’s lives are. If you’re on Facebook or MySpace look around at some of your friends’ profiles and photos. It’s like watching “Friends”. When you think, “Wait. They’re in New York? Apparently, there’s an all white section of New York that I didn’t know about.”
Anyway, yes black women have a lot to offer. But not JUST black women. We’re all individuals first, like you said, and more and more people are beginning to realize that. They have choices. They don’t have to like x or y or play a role in order to be who they are. I think it’s a beautiful thing.
To be blunt, I think that black women can be unconditional to the point of martyrdom. If you came to me and said that you were dating two guys and felt that it was time to choose one and then told me that one of them was black and happened to be a drug dealer with violent tendencies who hangs with a bad crowd and the other was a towheaded white guy who goes to the same college as you and has some of the same interests and respects you for you — no question. No hesitation. Do what’s best for you, your life, your children, your state of mind, your wellbeing. If you told me that you were going to choose the black man because he’s black and you want to support your black brothas, I’d call you a fool. A noble fool, maybe, but still a fool.
I think our children will have much less trouble with these issues because they won’t be burdened with these kinds of racial distractions. They’ll co-mingle and see each other as human beings with much more ease than we do right now. I see some of my relatives trying to imprint their own fears and mistrust on to their children in so many words. But the children aren’t having it. Not really. They’ve got white friends. They’ll probably have white girlfriends/boyfriends.
The black experience in America isn’t homogenous. That’s the thing. The black experience in America includes mixed-race families and integrating with people of other races and cultures. We may have a shared history but our experiences are increasingly vast and diverse. We’re finding that race and neighborhood are no longer the only factors when it comes to shared experience.
And one last thing that’s going to be a little…. Commanding voice? Assertive, not passive? I’ve got nothing against assertive women. And I’m pretty sure that black men don’t have anything against a beautiful dark-skinned sista. I don’t. But if a woman appears inwardly angry, has attitude, is loud, cursing and unattractively overweight — well. We kind of hit on this before. Stereotypes aren’t truth but they can have a grain of truth seeding them.
I see some beautiful black women while I’m commuting but I absolutely will not date a loud woman with a foul mouth. Or a woman who gives people attitude at the drop of a hat. And I’m just not attracted to big women. why all of this? Not because I don’t have my own flaws. It’s because I want to be with someone who will bring out the best in me: physically, emotionally, spiritually, psychologically. Whether it’s a friend, date, significant other or soulmate.
Anyway, those are my thoughts. My two cents.