Thursday, September 28, 2006

Eating my words

I was all set to be judgemental on Bill, who is the father of one of the only white kids (daughter) in my son's class. You see, without getting too confusing, Bill lives right on the edge of another wealthy neighborhood-it's acually in between the 'hood and the un-hood, and he's actually in the neighborhood for the other school-where-the-little-rich-white-kids-go. But they turned him away because of class sizes. so he's at the hood school.

He recently asked me about where we live, and asked what school my son would go to next year.

I didn't reciprocate the question after i explained that my son would continue to go to that school.

and i dont know why i was even sweatin' the issue. but all evening, i was thinking. Oh, so he's really NOT one of those cool white people. he's ONLY here because he has to bethere. but next year, he'll fit in with all the wealthy snobs at the best little school in NE portland. He's not cool at all.

the next day, i decided to confirm my judgments. to my surprise, he plans to continue his kid at our school. i felt glad. glad that he's not afraid to be around people like us.

you can't always judge a book by it's cover. he looks so well kept, and so clean cut. and his kids look so clean. and nice. and well dressed.

But wait-so are we! and we're not in the hood neighborhood either. sometimes i can be such a hypocrite. i have lots of friends, equally white and black , but by the same token, i'll second guess an unknown white person's motives in a minute.

i should really stop. I like Bill.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

NO shame to my game.

if i hear someone being racist in even a subtle way, i will not hesitate to call them on it. it may be in a phony, laughing-but-you-know-i'm-dead-serious way, but you will get called on it.

I was at work yesterday, and these two white women were talking about something, I’m not sure exactly what-it had something to do with people who allowed themselves to be taken advantage of.

But of course, my ears perked up when one of them started talking about a neighbor lady whom she felt so, so sorry for. You see, this old lady allowed her granddaughter, and her grandaughter’s boyfriend Ty-RONE to live in the house. Well of course, Ty-RONE (with special emphasis on the name TY-RONE) was just out to get her money because, Ty-RONE was just a loser. And TyRONE this, and TyRONE that.

We all know about Tyrone. The way she kept emphasizing the syllables in his name. TyRONE. TyRONE. Yes, we know that Tyrone is black. The way she kept implying that he was such the loser, and the way she paused everytime she got ready to say his name.

The other co-worker caught on fast. ‘Oh…UH huh….’nodding with that look to say, "I know exactly what you're talking about" They didn’t think I was paying attention. It was so obvious. What she was really trying to just say was,
“this BLACK guy is trying to take advantage of my neighbor because….he’s BLACK, you know….her boyfriend, this loser BLACK GUY….”.

The poor, poor good white citizens that had this happen to them by Ty-RONE.


So, a couple hours later, I walked over looking for some supplies, and I casually said, "Was that you I heard talking about some guy named Ty-RONE?" That was all i said, yet, she looked so ashamed. we were on the same page. she knew what i was getting at.
immediately she began explaining herself. how she didn't mean it sound like this, or like that, she was just trying to tell a story about a neighbor and how sad her situation was.

she backpeddaled for about 5 minutes while I, with no expression just looked at her. all that explaining PROVED i wasnt being overly sensitive about it. because, for all she knew, after i asked her about tyrone, i might have been wanting to join in and dog on him too.

but she KNEW.

She looked embarrased.

Do you know any white men named Tyrone? I don’t.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

What it feels like to be the minority

my preschooler's school is roughly 85 percent black, and only about 7 percent white. 7 percent! In his class of about 15 students, there are only 2 white kids. 2! wow. talk about turning tables.

i mean, whats funny is there are more than seven percent white live in the neighborhood, so obviously, many of them are sending their kids out of the neighborhood.

all my life, i've been the minority in class. here, in portland, at the schools i went to, except high school, there were always more white than black. i didn't like it (still don't), but i was used to it.

I look at this dad who brings his little boy to the class, and whose son sits amongst so many black, latino and asian, and i wonder what's going through his head. is he one of those "cool" white people who seem to be "Down" with the flavor and embrace the black culture, and are not scared of black people?

Or, is he just on a waiting list, counting down the days until his son can transfer out? only time will tell.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

PTA mom

I had my first pta meeting tonight! How weird is that. i feel like a soccer mom or something. i really was anxious to see how many black parents would show up. i was surprised to find more than i thought would be there.

but i was actually pretty shocked at how many parents were NOT there, of all races. I mean, you have this school that is like 75 percent african american and of almost 400 students, only aoubt 15 parents showed up, 10 black.

where are these parents? a few miles away , over at the elementary school of yuppie white children, they're turning parents away from the pta, because it's too full. wow. imagine that.

so many black parents need to get it together. when i take my kids to the childrens' museum or library , i RARELy see moms of color. but yet, when i go to the mall, there they all are. how backwards is that?

Monday, September 11, 2006

i'm not bourgeoise, i just aint all ghetto and loud.

So i dropped preskooler off at his first day of school today. Well, i actually didnt drop him off; i had to walk him into the classroom to help get him all situated.

i couldnt help but notice this other black mom there, talking all loud to another mom about how, 'SHOO....she was finna go get back in the bed...' after dropping little suzy off at school.

why get back in the bed? it's freakin 9:00, or probably about 9:30 once she finishes getting little suzy situated and headed back home. but of course she didn't care that she was talking so loud for everyone to hear.

My point is the loud talking. why perpetuate the stereotype. i guess she didn't think it mattered since almost every other mom there was ethnic, you know, she probably figured we're all that way too...

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Portland needs a new radio station

My brother calls me all the time from Oakland, asking me if I've heard this song, or that song, and I rarely know of it. Want to know why? Because here, in Portland, the only station that it seems "whoever"thinks black people would listen to is 95.5, which is like hip hop on crack.

Do non black or even some black people think that A) all black people listen to hip hop and B) Hip hop rap is the only thing black people listen to?

I listen to literally every type of music. Like, I love me some Bonnie Raitt or John Mayer. But I also like Alicia Keys or 50 cent and lots in betwen. In fact, sometimes with my black friends in the car, even my mom, I'm afraid to put in my cd's or my favorite radio stations for fear of ridicule. But that's how it is in Portland. There's not a lot of selection when it comes to black music. There is no R&B station. And if you don't have cable to watch videos (like me), how do you find out about good R&B?

Let me know if you have an idea.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Dark skin and light skin

It's kind of this unspoken thing about being black. the light skinned and dark skinned thing. I don't know how true it is, but I have a dark skinned friend who says that there is always some kind of friction between the two types of women.

although my mom is light, and my dad is dark, and i turned out really light, i was never raised to think i was better than any one. as far as i knew, black was black. until i got to high school, and people would always ask, "what are you mixed with?" "she thinks she's all that just 'cuz she's light"(overheard).

whatever. the funny thing is, when i was really young, like 8 or 9, i remember knowing that it seemed to be sort of some "advantage" to be light. don't ask how i knew. It certainly wasn't perpetrated by my parents.

but i just knew. but i should clarify. i dont think im better than dark skinned black women, not at all. in fact i think it might be the opposite. i feel sometimes that when i come into contact with a dark skinned woman (one who is somewhat insecure anyways), they trip on ME, as if they think that i'm thinking i'm better. whatever.