Wednesday, September 12, 2007

petty

i just got back from an extended vacation and then jumped right into getting my kids ready for their first days of school. i was halfheartedly mentally composing some thoughts about my vacation, taking my own sweet time figuring out which point to actually blog about until something seriously retarded happened to me this morning.

i swear if i wasn't the one writing this, i'd think i was making it up. i kid you not. i went to an online forum and explained the situation looking for advice and there were a few people who thought i was totally making it up. here's what happened to me this morning:

i walked to my car from dropping off my son at school and i find this note tucked into the handle of my door:

"for someone who is a christian you have never shown any friendlyness (sic) toward me or any of the other black women. i don't know if it's because you are married to a white man or not. you walk with you nose in the air and don't speak to any of us. i have seen you over and over and you are still the same" (signed) insert- name- here, 503-555-5555.

i could seriously go on and on about how high-schoolish and petty this is, that a grown woman has no business writing a note like this, or how i feel like i'm being stalked since she knew where my GMC was parked, but that would take all day. plus, anyone reading this already knows all that.

what i find so interesting is that i have no clue at all who this person is. i don't even know what she looks like. but she seems to think so highly of me, that she's obviously insulted that i'm pretending not to notice or know her.

and then i thought about it and asked myself: do i walk with my nose in the air? i was accused of that in high school, too. it can't be literally. i mean, if i do, it's just the way i hold my head. but honestly, i think i just come across as pretty confident. not over-confident, but i'm pretty secure with myself (i said pretty secure) and it probably shows. and i'm tired in the morning, i don't even think about my so-called status when i'm taking my son to school. that's like the furthest thing from my mind.

plus, i guess the fact that despite my son's school being predominantly black, my only really close associates are white parents. not intentionally, but for some reason those are the parents who seem to want to talk and don't have a moody chip on their shoulder.

maybe i seem snobby because i'm so actively involved with my son's education , or maybe it's because i look like i give a shit about my appearance in the morning. maybe the other white parents that i'm friends with just gravitated towards me.

most of the black moms walking their kids into the school look like they just rolled out of bed, with their scarves on their head, or their sweatpants and long fake fingernails. i don't connect to that. and i'm sure they see me and can tell i'm just not cut from that cloth.

but growing up, in a room full of black people, i've always gravitated towards the white people. i never had that sort of "hard" or tough shell or the loud, slang talk. naturally, i just didn't have it. and in high school, i was accused of trying to act white, etc. so this little note on my car was a surprise, but not really, as it just brought back high school all over again.

the thing is, i have plenty of black friends. i love having black friends. i would feel deprived if all i had were white friends. i think just the way there's white trash that people don't think much of, there is also black trash. so what that i have standards?

i spoke to my brother's wife, and my mom about this, who both said that who ever wrote this is obviously jealous of something about me. it actually kind of flattered me for a minute. i'm not going to call and give her the satisfaction of thinking i care. because i don't. it just reaffirms the whole point of me not being like someone like her.

29 comments:

a said...

What an odd thing for her to do! She sounds a little self-absorbed to me, and maybe a little intimidated too. Not knowing either of you or your kids' school, it's hard to say for certain, but it seems like your reasoning is right on the money.

It's kinda funny, actually. You'll be able to laugh it off soon, if you aren't already.

nicole said...

You said, "I never had that sort of "hard" or tough shell or the loud, slang talk."

Perhaps your conclusions about these women (or the bc) in general causes you to think more highly of yourself [then you should] and to consequently disassociate from them. Maybe you should just show yourself to be friendly to all people regardless of whether they have scarves in their heads or not. Just cause people aren't cut from the same cloth doesn't mean they aren't worth interacting with, even if it's on the most basic level (i.e., hello).

I'd say there's a grain of truth in the negative feedback you've received since high school. I'd also say that there's a grain of truth in your evaluation of the reasons behind them. However, neither makes the other right. Take the high road and be the confident woman you claim to be. Those women have no problems engaging with people, especially people who seem quite different from them.

Anonymous said...

Why do some people feel as if you have to speak first? If they wanted to talk to you so bad, they should make the first move.

Anonymous said...

Portland: the most passive-aggressive place on earth.

If you'd caught her doing it, and asked her to her face what her problem was, she would've stammered out an explanation and run.

EmergingPhoenix said...

The note was VERY passive aggressive. I think the woman was out of line to leave the note, instead of just trying to talk to you upfront. If it was all that serious, why not just strike up a conversation with you.

On the other hand, I do think some of your comments indicate that you do feel superior in certain ways. I agree that you do want to discriminate on who you let into your life, but that shouldn't limit who you can engage in pleasantries with. Afterall, a truly sophisticated person can command the attention of any crowd. They just know their limits.

Golden Silence said...

It's sad that adults can't conduct themselves like adults. Leaving that note on your car was very cowardly and childish.

If the situation ever comes up in person (if the woman ever has the guts to approach you face-to-face) then take the high road and be open to what she has to say. As poorly as that letter came across, maybe that's her crude and timid way of trying to open up to you.

Anonymous said...

I think its kind of odd if she actually left her name and phone number?? Does she expect you to call her and have a pleasant chat after that mean note? I say don't give it a second thought, easier said than done, but honestly! That is just rediculous and seems only designed to hurt your feelings.

That said: there was a woman at my school who would literally blow past everyone without even making eye contact, let alone a smile. When she did speak it was haughty and disdainful. She definitely gave off a "snobby, I'm FAR too good to speak to you" vibe. Trust me, it was not a shy vibe, it was a snooty, snobby vibe. I wonder what it is exactly that makes someone's attitude feel snobby, rather than shy, or busy, or whatever. Maybe you are giving off some sort of vibe you aren't even aware of?? Maybe you DO look down on these moms and they can sense it. Is there anyone you can trust that would tell you the honest truth?

Liz said...

The note is weird but give her a call and talk to her. Rather, listen to her instead of engaging in a tit for tat discussion. Black women have been so hurt in this world that sometimes things can seem one way when they actually aren't. I'd say you should extend yourself to the people you think aren't like you. Their children go to school with your children. their children may end up married to your children. The world is too filled with folks who are focused on the things that cause disunity instead of the things that unite us. Be a force that unites in your community. It's clearly needed.

lisablisa@gmail.com said...

If she actually left her phone number on the note, I think she really does want to speak with you. I would follow up with her, have an honest dialog and try to understand why you are coming off to some of the moms as snobby. If you don't follow-up after she has invited you to do so you will certainly come off as a snob who thinks herself above the other moms. Maybe it's the woman at the pool? You have nothing to lose and perhaps you will learn something about yourself in the process. If nothing else you will learn what type of adult leaves notes on cars...sounds like something I might have done when I was in junior high!

Anonymous said...

I think if she left a note for you, that she is reaching out to you. I also think that having read your blog for the past months, there is something to what she is saying.

I wouldn't have bothered if I were her, but I'm not a chummy-type person with parents at school. I smile and am cordial but my friendships are made elsewhere and I'm a bit of an odd duck anyway. I volunteer but it has always been clear that I'm not the chummy-mom type. My daughter goes to a predominately black school as well, and all the parent leads are stay-at-home black moms with impeccable grooming. And I mean IMPECCABLE grooming. I have never seen a scarf-head at our school.

I am so OVER the judgment that runs through your blog and through my experiences with black people in Portland. I would call classism 'cept I don't think you're a Jack and Jill, Links, Boule-type chick. So it is really hard for me to understand why black folks in Portland have this overwhelming need to prove how "more special" they are that those other Negroes. I think the pretzels you have had to tie yourself in for acceptance by whites in Portland has skewed your wannabe-elitist views. I think you lean towards the more competitive, girly stuff anyway (regardless of race) so it would be appropriate that someone would respond to you the same way.

Gee, I love how non-judging I am. [/sarcasm] I don't think you're unique in Portland. Many black people act as though smiling or acknowledging another black person in the kiss of death. It makes me sad. But I keep on smiling at EVERYONE.

Anon#3 because I can't remember my blogger info

Aly Cat 121 said...

I agree with Liz and Lisa because she did sign her REAL name and actually left her phone number. You may actually know this woman, since she seems to know you. And even with her saying what she said, she still wants to talk. Go figure.

But gurl I have to tell you, chil' you crack me up. LOL. I come to your blog and am reminded of one of my home girls. Actually you both sound so much alike that I actually thought this was her blog for a while. (sometimes I still do) *chuckle to self*

Have a good one Hon!

another anon said...

It is definitely an interesting situation. On one hand this note comes across as slightly resentful - "who do you think you are,do you think you're too good for us black folks because you're married to a white man?"
On the other hand she left her phone number so IS trying (rather clumsily )to reach out. On one level I would have said - ignore it - simply because it is a tad immature to leave a rather unpleasant note on anyone's car - why not bite the metaphorical bullet and say hello!? If you care enough and it bothers you so much that you feel compelled to write a note, watch out for the lady's car, make sure she's nowhere near then stick a note on...(LOL!) - then would it not have been easier to just say hi? I have to admit it's kinda creepy. Saved ONLY because it was signed or I would have tossed it away..but her name and number are there..so I'll give the cops a break for now.
For what it is worth - give her a call. You've nothing to lose and by doing so you're taking the (moral AND civilised) high road. At least if she then turns out to be as unpleasant as the note you can tell yourself - "well, I TRIED"...and you'd have a better reason for ignoring people than doing so merely based on how they are dressed.
I also note how eager you are to dissociate yourself from these other "ghetto" black mums. (Though if they are all going round leaving notes like that on cars, who can blame you!)
It's interesting how the white mums gravitate towards you; are any of them also friendly with other black mums or are you the lone (token) black parent they relate with?
If you are is it because..
1. They find the other bw there offensive in some way?
In which case they have no business bringing their kids to a predominantly black school..or are they so ignorant (I'm not trying to be rude - check the dictionary definition of "ignorant") that they do not realise that there are all kinds of black people - just like ALL the races - rich, poor, educated, not educ, cosmopolitan and well travelled, never been anywhere outside of the states, etc. So if your kids are attending a school like that you must be open and accepting of ALL the black kids and parents there - not just those you deem as suitable. Why speak only to a certain parent and snub others? That is so not on.
2. You may just be giving off "I'm open to you" vibes when you encounter the white parents, but a "back off, I refuse to be tainted with the same brush as yourself" vibe when any black mum is in your vicinity.
Now I cannot say smile at every black (or white) parent there - not my style at all - but marshal your thoughts and feelings into open, postive ones when you see the black mums - so hopefully the vibes you probably exude around them will be more friendly.

Now I am being a tad hypocritical with some of my comments because I'm not exactly the friendliest soul at the party - but hey she's left a note - call, see what happens...and keep us posted.

The Letter K said...

I think it's funny that you call it "petty" that a real woman left her real name and real phone number in an obvious attempt to contact you.

Not only have you complained in previous posts that the black women don't want to talk to you, and don't try to interact with you--but after a woman obviously tries to contact you to talk about it, you shrug it off and complain that she's being petty.

I don't think you want to talk with black women. You say yourself: "I have low black esteem."

You make a generaliation about graviating toward whites because "blacks" are loud and have this hard exterior shell. You also say "I have black friends" but continue to post only about your white friends. You even make sure we know "I've always graviated towards white people" and "my only really close associates are the white parents".

It seems like your family feeds into your insecurities as well: "Whoever wrote this is just jealous of you" Uh-huh. Of what? The person who wrote it pointed out a very specific trait of yours that comes through (even to me, across the internet). What would this person be "jealous" of, by the way?

I hang around all sorts of people, different "types" of black people, different "types" of white people. Different types of "all" people. Some days I wear jeans and a T-shirt, some days I wear cutoffs and a hoodie, another day I wear capris and a sweater, with my hair out. So what? Friends are more than what you look like on the surface, which is why my friends come in all races, all nationalities, all looks, all styles. For a person who says they're trying not to be judgemental, you sure do an awful job at changing yourself.

Again, I think your "low black esteem" makes you dislike black women, and black people. That's too bad.

That Black Girl said...

The letter K: I am calling her/the note/the way she left it on my car--petty because that's just not what you do when you are interested in becoming someones friend. had she written a note asking to meet up for coffee, or on the playground with our kids, that would have been awesome. how childish it is, and petty to write a nasty, negative note based on HER perception of me. after reading that, does she really think i'd be eager to be her friend? she totally blew it. and about the jealousy thing, she's OBVIOUSLY jealous of something she perceives about me-true or not. isn't it obvious by the note?

another anon said...

Err...hate to disappoint you TBG. Resentful sounding? Yes. Judgemental or accusing? Yes. Jealous? Hard to say. Reason being that we can dislike a persons behaviour/manner and call them out on it without neccesarily being envious. I could see a mum (of any race) at school (or any woman anywhere for that matter) who only chats with white's and feel "whats her problem, she thinks she's white now"? Without experiencing one atom of jealousy about her. Now I know people CAN be jealous but it's hard to tell most times. I think it would be healthier to assume the best of people - give room for doubt - only when a clear argument can be made can you justify labelling her or others as jealous.

That Black Girl said...

another anon: i believe she WAS jealous or envious of the relationships i have with the other parents that i don't have with her. she obviously put me on some pedestal and internalized my behavior as me-against-her, when i don't even know who she is.

lisablisa@gmail.com said...

TBG why not just ring her up? You seem to be spending lots of time trying to figure out her motives i.e. is she jealous /envious/immature does she want your life blah blah blah. I don't think calling her to chat about the note would indicate a desire on your part to befriend her nor do I believe by leaving the note that she is hoping to develop a friendship with you. I agree with a previous poster who said perhaps it was this woman's clumsy way of reaching out to you and possibly giving you some feedback regarding how you are coming across to some of the moms. Good luck wth whatever you decide to do, but if you're not going to do anything than stop obsessing about her intentions.

The Letter K said...

TBG:

Calling the note "petty" because she didn't come talk to you instead doesn't really make sense, especially since she wrote in the note that you don't seem to want to be bothered with the other black girls you work with.

Could it be that she's tried to find a way to talk with you, but feels that she's ignored and given the cold shoulder (something she mentioned in the note.) Could it be she didn't want to do on the playground, and couldn't think of another way to contact you--other than to go to your car and leave you a note...

Maybe she didn't it to spiral into an argument or a heated discussion. Confronting someone on the playground about being constantly given the cold shoulder doesn't make for polite conversation.

Have you even considered you might be giving these women the cold shoulder? That you might be judging them? You make an entire post on how the other moms are basically "black trash" and that you "have standards". You really think that type of attitude is not coming across to the other moms, especially if you're oh-so-chipper with the white moms?

Don't forget the conversations you've had about black women being jealous of you because you have a white husband and biracial children. What did you call it? "The Dream", right?

I don't know you--I've never had a conversation with you IRL. However, my opinion is that you have a chip on your shoulder, and you're really insecure when it comes to being a self-identifying black woman. You have issues with interracial relationships, interracial identity (where it concerns your kids) and have problems with separating material happiness with happiness.

Everyone has problems--that's obvious. But there comes a place and time when we try to rid ourselves of negativity, for the sake of our children. Your (eldest?) son already doesn't want to "play with the brown kids". Doesn't that frighten you?

another anon said...

"for someone who is a christian you have never shown any friendlyness (sic) toward me or any of the other black women. i don't know if it's because you are married to a white man or not. you walk with you nose in the air and don't speak to any of us. i have seen you over and over and you are still the same"

To be honest TBG I cannot see the jealous undertones in this note. Seriously. I mean, there are elements of bitterness in it - which many people carry about without knowing particularly if they have felt rejected or downtrodden all their lives; or had folks look at them like they were dirt. Maybe.
At the end of the day I do not know this woman, you do. YOU recieved the note, you can sense the atmosphere around you in the school so I guess YOU are the best judge of what her intentions were.
This still does not mean you should not reach out if you're so inclined. Personally I abhor (semi) anonymous means of communicating. But I WILL give her the benefit of doubt.
Think about something TBG. How does her leaving her name and number make you feel? Is there a peremptory feel to it? As if "How can this "ghetto" type mum more or less demand that I call her, does she not realise that SHE should be te one jumping through hoops to befriend me?" I guess what I am trying to say is - do you feel you are better than her?

a said...

It may be her clumsy way of reaching out, but it was still asinine. Would any of you want to be friends with--or even have a conversation with--someone who acts like a pouty child?

I don't reward my 2-year-old for negative behavior, so I can't blame TBG for ignoring her either.

When I was in junior high, we always talked about girls we were jealous of in 'who-does-she-think-she-is' terms and I DEFINITELY see the jealousy in her note.

Life is just too short to invite drama into your life. TBG abviously has other things to do instead of this.

One more thing...has anyone ever picked a fight or arguement with someone on purpose? Is it possible that this note lady was doing the same thing?

Anonymous said...

So TBG, just how many black friends do you have?

Anonymous said...

I hate when people leave notes on my car, it is very cowardly. Although you cannot relate to these women you should at least speak to them--every woman deserves that, particularly because you CHOOSE to send your children to school with their children. Obviously you know the value in raising black children around other black people, so why be more actively involved with everyone you encounter. Not saying you have to be best friends with any of them, just friendly.

I don't have a blog said...

I think you said it yourself...you said I don't walk around all moody...just as the note woman made a judge of your character, you've made generalizations about others. You do have a chip, but that doesn't mean everyone has to see it. Show yourself to be friendly...even if they are not "like you".

Anonymous said...

WOW! I just stumbled on this site during research about color prejiduce.

Wow! Were do I start. I dont think anyone can look at these blogs and not respond to them, because there almost like a cry for help. and while (honestly) I just read 2.

It seems that you are apolygetic about your view of your experience, but at the same time not sure how to change your responses to people.

I dont know if your a praying woman but you really need to amp up your prayer life and ask the Lord to help you not to compartmentalize EVERYONE (in this case the white parents vs the black) and to give you an ability to see people the way he sees them.

Just because someone has a diffrent background does not mean that you cannot relate with them in SOME way. I dont even know any of you and I can see a few connection right now. Mainly that all of your children attend the same school.

Growth will not come with you being an exibitionist and sharing all of your imbarrasing feelings and behaviors tward your own race, it will come when you stretch yourself in ways that will make you uncomfortable in an attempt to change your embarassing feelings and behaviors.

So instead of getting all bent out of shape about the note and trying to explain it away by saying that they are jeolouse, why cant you be mature and examine yourself a little. There is always a little truth in any criticizm.

And it doesnt cost anything to say hi in the morning or when you see someone on the street. Keep in mind that when you assume that these people are trash and you admitted that you have not had a conversation with them it makes you sound ignorant with exstreem tunnel vision and worse than what you PERCIEVE them to be.

Anonymous said...

I have lived in Portland for over 20 years and I am also Black. I would not have contacted this woman and for the people who suggested that "she is reaching out to you", are you serious? If she was really reaching out to you she would have walked up and introduced herself to you instead of leaving a stupid note. Not only that but she actually had the nerve to accuse you fo being "stuck-up"! Yeah I would really want to be her friend after that line. You did the right thing.

Anonymous said...

Allow me to say that i completely understand where you are coming from. Others who have commented have most likely never been presented with this type of problem. Now, before I too get attacked, I'll say this: I am not married to a white man, nor are my children bi-racial. Yet I still constantly am being accused of being prejudice against my own race and trying to "act white". I believe you have good reason to feel the way you do, and that woman SHOULD have spoken to you face to face if she really, truly, wanted to get to know you. As for these women leaving "i do get a sense of snobbery from your blogs" comments, disregard them completely. It is PERFECTLY REASONABLE AND NATURAL for you to feel some inclination towards white people if you have been treated in these ways from black women. I am sure some of these women commenting your blog have the same type of inclinations whether to hispanics, blacks, or whites themselves. Keep holding your head high regardless of the looks from blacks and whites alike. Take it all with a grain of salt.

keep it real said...

The fact that this woman left her name and phone number makes it personal, not petty. It seems like this woman may have tried to make some kind of connection at the school with you maybe with a smile or something, but according to what you said that you didn't know her,but yet your perception of her is that she's a head scarf wearing,long finger nail wearing black woman who is probrably just jealous of you. Why she got to be jealous of you. This woman whom you perceive to be someone you can't relate to may be well educated, well put together than you,or all your other "black friends". Do you even speak or smile at the other black moms? I'm sure the answer is no...Surprise surprise. I bet you wake up extra early in the morning just to prep your appearance just to look presentable to the white parents; then you are to busy trying to prove yourself to them that you are just as good that you don't even have time to say hello, smile or return any eye contact that is directed your way from the black mothers. Take a good look at yourself because it sounds like your the one jealous at the fact that you can't be yourself with any race without being judged.

Anonymous said...

wow, does this sound 'white':the thing is, i have plenty of black friends"

me thinks she doth protest too much

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