Sunday, January 28, 2007

'you have that white girl "aura" '

that's what a (white) coworker told me on Saturday at work. I know what she meant, but how am I supposed to take that? I honestly don't consider it offensive. Should i? I don't know. I guess I haven't analyzed it enough.

i know for a fact that she didn't mean it in an offensive way. deep down, i think i should have been offended. what struck me so weird was that she felt comfortable enough to say it. but that's not all she said.

we were talking about another black female co-worker who happens to be dark skinned. white girl didn't like some things this other black girl was doing--trying to flirt with white girl's boyfriend. so, white girl starts talking about how her boyfriend does like black girls, but he REALLY doesn't like the dark skinned ones. she smiled at me and said, "he likes them with your coloring, he used to [before they got together] be all over light skinned black girls like you". wow. us light skinned black girls must be special. for half a second i felt that way. and then i wondered why i was letting this white girl try to make me feel all superior to someone else of my own race like that?

that didn't seem right. the disappointing thing about i was that i didn't say anything to correct or scold. i just listened and took it all in. if 93% of portland was black, i wonder if i'd feel secure enough in myself to just say any old thing like that to a white person. that seems to be the way it is here in portland. i think white people just feel so comfortable with themselves. why shouldn't they-everywhere they go, there they are.

i've had conversations with white people like that before. maybe what white girl said didn't bother me because all my life i've had more white friends than black so i don't see them as the enemy so much. and most of the time when i'm with a white friend, i feel like one of them, in that i dress like them, i talk like them, i do things they do (i.e. i don't do/wear/say the stereotypical black things). and it's not in a phony way. that's just me. i'm a product of a white environment. what can i say?

but back to the comment about me having a white girl "aura". when she told me that, she started backtracking trying to explain what she meant as she thought i might be offended. she explained that 'you don't do the whole neck roll thing', and i appear to be kind of soft spoken, friendy, etc. i told her "yeah, yeah, i know what you mean, you don't have to explain". and thinking back, all the guys i have ever seriously dated were either from upper class black families and "acted white" too, OR biracial guys who also "acted white" OR white guys who were less than the stereotypical cornball white guy but not the vanilla ice type. so maybe i do give off some kind of aura or impression. i think subconsciously i've thought this without giving it a name like that.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

the odds

the company i work for in has a huge campus back east with a regional office here in portland. every so often, at the regional office the stuffed shirts decide to shake things up and reorganize everyone's cubicles and managers. i'm really not sure what the point of this is- according to them, it's necessary at least once a year, sometimes twice.

so, this week they're doing another "realignment" as they call it. when i went to check out my new digs and which desk neighbor i would have, i was annoyed that they have me sitting next to another black girl. i like her, that's not the issue. but why did they put the two black girls together?

on my entire floor, there are approximately 75-80 employees. 5 of us are black women. but in my immediate area of 20 employees there are only two black people- myself and the other girl, who i'm now going to be sitting next to. is it a coincidence that they put us next to each other? what are the odds, with a ratio of 1 to 9? was that their way of putting us in our own little corner where we wouldn't "disturb" anybody? kinda feels like it. if there were 10 black people out of 20, it would be different. or do they think we want to be next to each other because we're both black? maybe i'm reading too much into it. but something just doesn't feel right. not when we (black people) are so sparse there.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

date night

went out last night on a date with the husband. we started at kennedy school mcmenamins but when the wait for dinner was an hour, we decided to go somewhere "different". different as in: never been there, and probably for good reason but willing to try. i was feeling like mexican. so we ended up at Chez jose on about 20th and NE broadway.

wow. for a native portland/oregonian, i'm not surprised i've never been to that place. i'll never go back . we didn't have a bad experience, but who goes to an americanized mexican restaurant? that's just so not our style. i didn't realize it was so white in there. i didn't see one hispanic. and then, the chips and salsa. the salsa, was hot. i don't mean spicy. i mean it was steaming hot. wtf? besides that, it tasted like canned enchilada sauce.

in a place like portland, there's just no excuse for a restaurant like that. as many mexicans around, you'd think they could find a few to wait some tables and cook some authentic food. the service was pretty decent, at least. it was filled with people who probably didn't know the difference.

the husband and i like to make fun when we see a black guy with a white girl. we're such the pot calling kettle. but we're a different kind of interracial couple. i dont think we see ourselves as interracial. well, except for when i discuss it here. and, it's a whole different story when it's another black girl with a white guy. we don't make fun of them, we do the smile and nod, as if to say, "we know how it is, too".

this black guy and white girl come into chez joses and sit nearby us, and the first thing going through my mind is hmmph. why is he with her? if i think that, and i'm half of an interracial couple, others who are not interracial couples are thinking the same thing or worse. but we do it all in fun. however, there's still a part of me that wonders why he'd choose to be with a white girl rather than a black girl. maybe no black women wanted the guy. i don't know why i think like that, when people probably wonder the same about us.

people say portland is a liberal type place and more accepting interracial couples, etc. actually i believe it's more like a really polite place. everyone is so afraid of asserting an opinion for fear of being "judgemental". people will smile and pretend like they are okay with you, but behind closed doors it's a whole different story.

Friday, January 19, 2007


husband came home yesterday really discouraged from his job. he works for a huge corporation which is actually a pretty good job. the problem is, he works with a bunch of constant-pms-ing and post-menopausal women who hate men and hate their job. so the shit just rolls down.

the pay is okay. i wish he made more but his happiness and security is what matters. now that that's gone, it's to the drawing board and resume writing we go. as i was typing this, i wondered if it would make a difference whether his women superiors are white or black? oh yeah. even though husband is white, he has a black frame of mind. and then i tried to think of a time where he or i had ever had a slew of black women as our bosses. the workplace would be a very different place. i didn't have to think very hard. i know it's different in the east and the south, but it's lame that here in portland it's such an abstract thought.

i think we (pacific northwesterners) just get used to not seeing many black people in power (yes, there are some, but few and far between).

Monday, January 15, 2007

addressing a (rude) commenter who hates me but keeps coming back

...I just read your blog about Michael's and the part that you wrote about "making yourself sound black," is one of the most ignorant things I've ever heard. And then you topped that by saying that you "can turn it on and off when you want...most of the time it's off." Ignorant! Why is it off most of the time?...

*ahem*chuckle**first of all, despite what you may think, i don't have self hate issues (that was in another part of her comment). it's just that i can look at being black objectively.

second of all, just exactly HOW is making myself sound black (or "white") the most ignorant thing you've ever heard? really? REALLY? explain that. maybe you should venture out of your hood. how are you going to tell someone that their experience being who they are is ignorant? did you grow up in the same amerca i did? it sounds to me like you may be the one living under a rock and not gotten out to see the world.

thirdly, you ask 'why is it off most of the time?' hmm. you really have to ask? why WOULD i want to go around in a city where i only account for 7 percent of the black population -talking slang and ebonics perpetuating the stereotype? fortunately, i'm not one of the loud mouthed, don't-care-who's-around, women giving black people a bad name. if you are, then more power to you. that's your choice.

and finally how dare you tell me that my black experience is incorrect or invalid, or ignorant. i'm not some white person writing what i think things may be. i'm black talking about real life and real feelings and real stereotypes in my world. and i'd be willing to bet that if you weren't so worried about who might be reading your blog and you wrote what you really felt, it would be "ignorant" too.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Oh. There you are.

i like to respond to commenters, as people usually agree with me or don't. and for the past two weeks, Blogger (obviously) wasn't sending me notification emails when someone commented on my blog. here i was, wondering why my comments had just dropped off. oh well, i thought. and then, my stat counter site went down for about 4 days so i had no clue if anyone was reading at all. guess i should go to my actual site like i did tonight. i was shocked to see many of the comments i have never seen before. i'm supposed to get a notification email when readers comment. no such luck. ack. blogger sucks.

but thanks for reading. to the anonymous commenter who asked, TBG, ever think that maybe you obssess a little too much about this whole race thing? actually, no, i don't. ever think of taking off those tinted glasses?

chris, i wish i knew what brouhaha you are talking about. enlighten me. my email is in my profile page.

i get a lot of hits, i mean A LOT of hits from people trying to find out about "why black people eat chicken and watermelon". apparently, some people out there still think that. ...i get a ton of hits from people googling "hair texturizers". i had to do some editing because of my post about radio p*rn when i started getting hits from people looking for p*rn and other nasty stuff (thanks to the lyrics i posted from that song).

that is all. carry on and thanks for reading.

Friday, January 12, 2007

down with the flavor

today my (white) dentist revealed to me that his wife is black. this took me totally by surprise. i could tell there was something kind of hip about him but i wasn't sure what, and he didn't really strike me as a guy married to a black woman. I have yet to meet a white guy who's married to a black woman who is not super-hip. and i don't mean that in a Kevin Federline, Vanilla Ice, hip hopper-wannabee kind of way. it's just kind of a cool, relaxed, friendly kind of way. hard to explain. but why is that? Are black women just naturally hip, and it automatically spreads to who we're with?

one of my girlfriends and i have a term that we give to white men that are married to or dating black women. we say that they are 'down with the flavor'. i mean, if you're white and you're with somebody black, you can't NOT be down with the flavor. because for a white guy, it just means so much. he's instantly cool and accepted. it means that he chose to be with someone black despite his white privilege and despite society's image of beauty being blonde and blue. and, that he's accepted our HAIR. yes, they know it's definitely not like theirs, and they love it anyway. and, they don't care what people think, specifically other white people who can't understand why in the world they'd cross that line. and, while i am a skinny mini, a lot of black girls are not, so another thing is that a white guy with a black girl is not one of those guys who thinks a size 2 is fat.

but what's weird is that it's different with a white girl and black guy. the dynamic is just totally different. but that's another post altogether.

so back to mr. denitist. he knew my husband is white, which i really don't think about most of the time. i mean, i don't walk around thinking or wanting everyone to know he's white. but the dentist and i started talking about places to live and he said something to the effect of portland being one of the most interracial-couples friendly places, and how he and his wife rarely get any strange looks from people. i was like," huh?" thinking his wife was white. even though i thought something was different about him, i never would have guessed he was married to someone black. but it made sense. so, of course i had to ask. "is your wife black?" he said yes. and then, all of a sudden it was like we were in cahoots or something, like he knows- that i know- that he knows- what it's all about.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

people's choice awards

did anyone else think it was a little weird that all three nominees in the R&B category were white? christina aguilera, justin timberlake, and well, okay, mariah carey isn't really white but she can kind of pass in the pop world...what happened to the black artists? in portland, you probably wouldn't know, since they really don't get any airplay on the mainstream radio stations. shoot. even i barely know who they are. in case you didn't know, it doesn't stop at hip hop and rap. uggh. i hate most hip hop. sadly, a lot of people think that that's where black entertaining talent stops. the only way i even know of any of the new r &b artists is from music videos, which i rarely watch. but occasionally when i'm channel surfing i'll see something interesting.

Sunday, January 07, 2007


the party went good. better than expected. and the neighbors, who cares. it was a swap party(don't get any weird ideas), where a bunch of my friends, 20 to be exact all came and brought bags of stuff from their house that they no longer wanted anymore. kind of like an indoor garage sale, but without the JUNK. and no money was necessary. it was a very cool party, and really just an excuse for friends to get together. lots of food and drinks (coconut rum, mmm.)

i get so nervous when i invite people over. we live in one of those old style portland bungalows from the 1920's. it's very charming. , built ins and all. people always tell me how cute it's decorated. i kind of have a knack for that. and not to toot my own horn but it looks like it could be out of a magazine. however, the kitchen is outdated. i've done all i can to modernize it and cosmetically make it flow with the rest of the house, but the bottom line is that it just needs to be gutted to the studs and redone. but we cant afford to do it. so one of the reasons why i get so nervous about having people over, is that i feel so insecure about my kitchen. i mean, everyone always hangs out in the kitchen. the whole time, i'm thinking about how my friends must think my kitchen is the most hideous kitchen in the world. i know. how shallow. how superficial. but still. it just nags me, and sadly, keeps me from having more parties.

but this weekend was different. somehow, for some reason i finally convinced myself that it really just didn't matter. that i'm not defined by whether i have granite countertops and stainless steel appliances and new mahogany cabinets. and for so long i've felt like my house just didnt cut it because of my OLD kitchen. but this weekend was so fun, and i realized (like i should have realized long ago) that my friends have always been my friends regardless of my kitchen. i mean, for once i felt like i didn't have to defend my crappy kitchen. for once i said out loud, yeah. it's crappy. the cabinets suck. the tiled floor sucks. so freakin' what. i'm still a great person with great friends and that's all that matters.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


i'm hosting a party on saturday night. i'm excited and looking forward to it. even though i like hosting parties at my home, i have to admit that about 50% of my motivation for throwing the party is to give the nosy neighbors something to talk about...

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


there's this really good coffee joint called AJ JAVA, right on the corner of NE 42nd and Prescott. up until the last couple months, i've passed it by with this snobby attitude, comparing them to starbucks Morebucks. oh, Morebucks, the king. i think it was the drive thru option that enticed me to try it a few months back. and then something changed in me when i saw real neighborhood people working and chatted with the owner, a black woman who could have been a friend of mine,and now i'm hooked. and, their coffee is really, really good, even better than morebucks. trust me, they're definitely not paying me to say this, but they're worth your while, and they have free wifi. don't let the cheesy yellow and red painted building deter you. "Morebucks" and their "Buy an image with your coffee" is lackluster now in my book.

i never thought much about supporting local businesses, or specifically black ones until recently. i mean, we've got the freaking Gentrification crap going on over in the hood, which in my opinion might be great for Portland in general but the attitude over in the 'hood' reeks now of This is OUR territory now, you____ blacks... which royally sucks but, i guess it's always been that way with people with money. to hell with black people. we want THAT neighborhood. we'll fix it up nice, make them feel out of place (maybe inadvertently, maybe not), and enjoy ourselves.

i guess i'm rambling and ranting on. but back to the coffee place, it just feels nice to give my coffee money to someone black. to hell with the morebucks-image buying. it's just an illusion anyways.