Tuesday, November 20, 2007

reactions to comments and OPEN thread

i think i've said this before, that i don't know how *not* to be .... "self-hating". that's not really the word i would use, but for lack of a better one, i did.

people always comment on my posts that i make them sick, i'm shameful, etc. my thoughts really are: how is this MY fault? i've done nothing but grow up in portland oregon among a majority of white people.

the things i blog about are a combination of my experience living in portland as a black person, and my personality. so, some things i say sound "off". i've been accused of hating being black and hating other black people. and the people who criticize me fail to realize that i'm only a product of my environment. i've traveled and been to other places but portland is where i grew up. where my views were shaped.

a few commenters recommended counseling. for what? where? i've never heard of counseling to help black people appreciate being black. have you? if so, please enlighten me. other than that type of non-existent counseling, i really am an O.K. person. no need for therapy here. for me, growing up in a place like portland and trying to have a sense of pride about being black and my culture was/is like trying to swim upstream against the current.

portland oregon is not the type of city where we're surrounded by tons and tons of successful black people. how can i *not* grow up and have sort-of this white mentality and then feel a little conflicted when i look in the mirror and see someone black? and then think negatively about black people that i see acting different from me and feeling like somehow i'm supposed to have a connection with them because we share the same race?

people who criticize me on this blog seem to think that having a sense of black pride about my hair, my features, my race, my culture should just be inherent. like that comes naturally. well, i'm proof that it doesn't. especially in a place like portland. things that i think and blog about might seem incredible to someone who lives in a place like Atlanta or Texas where black people are bursting at the seams, but it's different in a place like portland. granted, portland is slowly becoming home to more and more people of color BUT it still has a long way to go AND during the younger years of me growing up, it really was very white and one-dimensional.

commenters say that i contradict myself-that i preach about people being racist and judgemental but my posts are just that. what i blog about are my feelings. i'm not writing a book here. my feelings are just my feelings. and usually the feelings i blog about stay in the blog. this is my outlet for the way i interpret my world.

31 comments:

another anon said...

TBG the way you put it "to help black people appreciate being black" - makes the suggestions sound laughable thereby trivialising the issues at stake. Which makes me wonder if there is a part of you which is comfortable with the damaging and negative thoughts you have. Again perfectly understandable. For trying to change our core thinking and beliefs is the hardest task we might face.
It is actually about finding a psychologist who deals with issues surounding self esteem and racial identity crises. Believe me they DO exist. Many different papers have been written on the subject of race and how it pervades the lives of people - white and otherwise and considering the thorny racial history of the US there are definitely psychologists/analysts whose main area of expertise is race. Just like there are analysts specialising in a myriad of other topics. It may take a bit of persistence, you may have to shop around so to speak but it should pay off.
It's quite interesting the way you go on about "its all the fault of Portland, where I grew up etc"...fair enough. But maybe the time has come when you need to stop saying "woe is me, it's not my fault" - and take action. You HAVE been trying - hence this provocative blog - this means you ARE aware that there are issues you need to deal with - but blogging can only do so much. I repeat none of us are qualified to give advice.
I reiterate TBG - you are not mad - you seem to believe that people saying you need help automatically equates to being some kind of sicko or lunatic. NO it does not.
Just like many millions of human beings out there who have issues - you need to deal with damaging or destructive thinking in a tested, safe way.
Think about it. Despite all some of us may say, at the very least you have our support.

Natalie said...

I agree that there is plenty of counseling available to deal with creating a positive racial identity. I am a half Black half Jewish person who grew up in Minneapolis, went to a mostly white HS and College and loves my blackness with everything I have. Are all Black people role models? No. Do I want to be associated with what is stereotypically "Black behavior"? No. Do I want to be seen as a successful Black woman who loves her heritage and herself and can teach that to people that I meet and the children that I will one day have? Without a doubt.

what I am saying is you can't blame it entirely on environment. I've studied plenty about sociology and psychology and while environment can be incredibly influential it is also how you choose to see yourself.

Lee said...

Yeah, whatever, environment does play a part. I grew up in a majority white place too but I'm no self hating negro. If it doesn't come inherently it's something you need to work on. But now, it's time for you to take responsiblity for thoughts and actions. Just because there aren't tons of positive black role models in Portland doesn't mean they don't exist and you should know that by now. You're 35 for christsake. Grow up and stop making excuses about why you hate yourself and other black people.

There is counseling for pretty much anything these days.

The Black Sentinel said...

I grew up in Seattle, just a hop from Portland. I had relatives that grew up in Portland and some still live there. I understand about growing up and living with a white mindset, I was knee, no head deep in it. I understand that growing up in these white areas place you in a position to not appreciate your racial identity.

Now that said, growing up with a white mindset is not your fault, that is a product of your environment. But, you have grown up and so have I, and now I have decided to open my eyes to see the propaganda for what it is. I have decided not to continue drinking the proverbial Kool Aid so to speak.

You say that it is like swimming up stream. Fine but why do you just have to go with the current. I say try swimming up stream if you really want to change. You can't continue blaming everything on your location.

There are a lot of us out there that were living with a white mindset then we came to the realization that we have been duped and manipulated into believing in a culture that does not have the welfare of the black community at heart. And that means you too!

I find that reading your blog is in a sense entertaining and sad. I find that you seem to revel in the propaganda and spew it constantly against blacks you deem to be less than yourself. I think that you do harbor ill feelings towards blacks but that does not mean that you have to stay that way.

I also think that you have embraced the white mindset and are scared to look at life through the eyes of a black woman. Try it you might like it. I know I do.

Good luck

: JustaDog said...

Just listen to your own words:

people always comment on my posts that i make them sick, i'm shameful, etc. my thoughts really are: how is this MY fault? - Your words come from you, then in that same paragraph you try at divert fault to "growing up among a majority of white people."

WOW - what a racist comment! Imagine your reaction to some white person saying thier life is wasted because they grew up among a majority of black people!

You are NOT a product of your environment, you are a product of your choices. You choose what comes out of your mouth. You choose what is typed on the keyboard. Only you can choose what you think and how you will react.

You have to decide are you a person with choice or are you some hopeless noodle that blows whatever direction the wind blows.

I read your posts off and on and I think you are intelligent, but you do have this weakness of pulling the race card far more than you need to. Sometimes it's like you're trying hard to get attention or generate sympathy for yourself - and you're better than that.

I bet you'd be amazed in yourself if you stop listening to the real racists in the black community that insist you must always see race in everything. Those days are over with and the ones that try and keep it alive are probably all millionaires like Jesse and the gang.

Try turning your ear to someone like Bill Crosby and stop hang'n your eyes and ears out with the racist generators of hate.

: JustaDog said...

One more thing - a challenge for you.

Try doing a week's worth of posts WITHOUT turning them into some sort of racial event!

Eva said...

Maybe you should leave P-town for awhile. I grew up in Oregon and I left for 16 years, most of it in NYC. It helped in so many ways. It is not like it erased issues, but the context changes...

While it is true that so much of it (your attitude, etc) is up to you, getting a new life elsewhere might help you see what is actually other people and their crap vs what is just yourself talking. Because we all have that weird chatter back there in our heads (at least those of us who think too much...oh well!)...

another anon said...

^^^Eva raises an excellent point when she suggests moving to another city. A part of me would have liked to add my assent to this idea...but the truth is - we cannot escape ourselves...until TBG adresses, comes to terms with or heals her inner conflicts I doubt that she will be truly at peace anywhere. Not even if she moved to Africa ...afterall, there are black folks there - and TBG is not at ease with black folks.

mendegirl@aol.com said...

I concur with the above comments (except justadog) about how it is your choice to remain in the mindset you're in.

I didn't realize that you grew up here. I have never met more self-hating Negroes than I have in Portland. Most self-haters I've met here aren't terribly educated or insightful. But I also know that there are many groups of professional black women that meet informally and formally around Portland. And if you're from here, you know that, too. And you would certainly have more of an inside track with these groups than I would.

For whatever reason, you have chosen to not make those connections. Maybe because it is much easier in this town to be the way you are. White people don't get mad if you co-sign their racist beliefs. (See also: Bill Cosby, Ward Connerly, Clarence Thomas) Much more socil trcation that way.

I often wonder how much I have ruined my daughter by bringing her to this town to grow up. I talk to other black people who believe as you do (you're certainly not alone) and it makes me unbelieveably sad. Where I came from black folks married white folks because they loved them, or they were cute or whatever. Here it seems to be about diluting the "stain" of blackness. For a lot of people, not the folks I hang out with.

Often other black people who believe as you do, assume because I have a lot of white friends that I must also be self-hating. . . so they will say some uncool stuff like what you've posted sometimes.

: JustaDog said...

I concur with the above comments (except justadog)

It's always easier to blame others so carry on and ignore the better alternative.

I often wonder how much I have ruined my daughter by bringing her to this town to grow up.

Oh yeah - like you think Watts in Los Angeles or New Orleans would have been better? Your daughter should blame you for your pessimistic attitude of self-defeatism and blaming others.

Like I previously posted - people make the choices they make, no matter how much you want to divert blame on others.

I know the truth is not so easy to believe, but that too is a choice - to believe a lie.

cardiowhore said...

Keep on blogging TBH, I dont have to agree with you, but I respect your opinion! The problem with people responding to your blogs is that some of these people secretly think the same things you do! They just dont have the Balls to admit it!I admit to sharing some of your views! and usually some of the ones that dont agree with you are usually one of the very problems that you talk about!

mendegirl@aol.com said...

justadog:

who have I blamed? how am I defeated? I understand that you choose to believe that racism doesn't exist . . . . .so clearly we disagree.

But thanks for the personal stuff,justadog, I appreciate your insight. . . so much you have gleaned from one comment. You're awesome!

Ed. Note: socil trcation = social traction

TBG, that fact tht justadog believes that you're at tipping point that could their way. . . .would freak me out.

YMMV.

I don't want you yo stop writing either, but I wnt you to get past this pre-contemplative phase of unlearning internalized racism.

Golden Silence said...

Of course you shouldn't stop blogging, but in the same token you need to do more to heal yourself and I think therapy's the answer. You're stuck in a rut and need to get out of it!

Sparkle said...

I like reading your blog TBG...write whatever you want. It's your thoughts on what you are experiencing. It is hard to grow up in an mostly white city where black people are not too often seen and images of what black people are like come from Television. It's takes time to deprogram yourself and the negative images of blacks from our minds when people have been internalizing it for centuries.

I've never heard of a therapy...lol... to help with black identity or black pride issues.

We are a product of our environment which obviously affects how we see our lives and make our choices.

If it helps...try travelling to cities with a significant black populations like Atlanta and if you want to go further... travel to the Caribbean sometimes

The Letter K said...

Stop playing the victim role.

REALITY CHECK:

You grew up in Portland around white people. So what? Plenty of black people grow up around white people, and come out more or less the same as if they'd grown up around blacks or Asians or Latinos. Some people are just like that.

Plenty of blacks grow up around other blacks, and turn out self-hating, or black-hating individuals.

It doesn't matter where you grow up--it matters what you take from your surroundings, and what you choose to internalize.

The sad thing is--you don't distinguish between liking the way you look, without it being attached somehow to "black pride".

Loving your hair texture, skin color, etc. has nothing to do with pride, but hating it because it makes you look more black, or makes you less white has a lot to do with self hate.

I have dark brown skin and I love my skin because it's my skin--not because it makes me more "in tune" with my blackness. That's a concept that you don't quite understand right now, but hopefully you will sometime in the future.

I fear for your kids because I see you passing down these same self-hating traits to them. Your one son didn't even want to "play with the brown kids", and that didn't even seem to frighten you!

If my daughter told me she didn't want to play with other brown/black/white kids based on their skin color, I would be horrified, and would try to rethink what I've been passing on to her.

You have a choice to make. Either get over your self-hating ways for the sake of your children, or allow them to turn into dillusional, color-struck, self-hating, confused men who loathe you for not taking the time to better yourself.

Keeping it real said...

"Either get over your self-hating ways for the sake of your children, or allow them to turn into dillusional, color-struck, self-hating, confused men"

Oh please...Black people are already dillusional, self-hating and a confused group of people.

Look at the fucking mess the black community is in. No knowledge of their REAL history, can barely scrape together a culture that is not overtaken by hip hop. Black boys are jail and black girls are baby mommas to different fathers. Black people growing up in a generation of women and absent fathers. The media displaying black women as nappy headed hos/prostitutes/welfare stealing mothers and black men as gangsters/pimps/criminals/drug dealers and what's worse, black people emulate this nonsense. Barely ever seen a successful black person that is NOT in entertainment. Professional Black women all scraping around for a quality black men. What a pathetic group of people. I'd self-hate too, if I were African-American. This is where "blacks" have ended up, in a dirty ditch. Everyone is jumping on TBG's throat like it fucking matters what you say. Suddenly, everyone on here think they're better, or god forbid, superior because they can't seem to control any other freaking thing in the black community so they come charging, like a savage animal at a anonymous black woman on the internet (for pete's sake). It makes people feel good to finger wag at other people because then they can forget about their own problems.

keeping it real said...

^^^in continuation...I just find it extremely funny, people are getting worked up, over one woman when they are much bigger issues people can address. Where the heck are these same people with the same passionate arguments when real issues of importance come up?

interested said...

NBC is doing a five part special on called "African-American women and where they stand" Beginning this week.
Link included:
http://dailynightly.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2007/11/20/476352.aspx

The Black Sentinel said...

Keeping it real,

I agree with you yet wonder why you are here getting all worked up about a few people commenting to a person who obviously asked for the feedback? Shouldn't you be out trying to "fix" the black community? I understand that you have spewed a lot of propaganda that is so indicative of sheeple today.

Since you have NO idea what any of these people do besides comment to this lady, shouldn't you stop YOUR "finger wagging"? I usually don't like to reply to other replies yet, you are very hypocritical, telling people to stop doing to her exactly what you are doing to them. So where does this leave us all?

If you cared to notice the black community is in no more mess than any other! Do a little research on all those supposed truths you spewed and YOU will be surprised at the numbers. I agree with you on one point, blacks should learn more of their "real" history.

Stop being parroting propaganda.

The Black Sentinel said...

Oops, stop parroting propaganda.

My mistake.

The Letter K said...

You know the funny thing about it, "keeping it real" is that you tell me to "worry about real issues" instead of saying my opinion this blog...but then procede to give your opinion on this blog.

I'm not even going to get into the obvious hypocrisy there. Just thought I'd bring it up so that everyone else here could have a good laugh.

You're not black, or maybe you're a self-hating black who hides behind the thick wall of internet anonymity--but that doesn't matter. What does matter is you've conjured up a bunch of wild stereotypes about who black people are, and just expect us to roll over and take it simply because...you have an opinion? Or...you think you're "keeping it real"?

Please.

TBG asked for an open forum, complete with questions, and I gave her my opinion. If she didn't want opinions, she'd lock her comments, or make her posts private.

I don't have to prove anything to you. You're not my responsibility, and I'm not yours.

Good luck, though. You seem to have a lot of pent up frustrations and angst you need work out.

Keeping it real said...

HA HA!!! I can't believe that idiot above me actually replied to what I said on the fucking internet. I got ya'll hook...line and sinker... You people are a fucking joke. Reading some of the fakest feigned outrage from "I love my dark skin" letter K, made laugh so hard!!! What a disgrace to the "African American" pathetic race.

Black sentinal,
Call it propoganda but Stats do not lie. Black folks are going downhill because of idiots having too many mouths to feed and absent fathers. Middle class black folks are already leaving poor black people behind to wallow in housing projects waiting on welfare.

keeping it real said...

This is probably my last post... but I just wanted to say that the letter K is extremely self-absorbed. I quoted her as a pretext for my argument, not as a response to her. She appparently thought the world revolved around her and thought I actually gave an actual hoot what she said. TLK, I don't have to prove anything to you. You're not my responsibility, and I'm not yours. Good luck, though. TLK seems to have a lot of pent up frustrations and angst she needs work out. One of them is stop harrassing the wrong people and thinking everything is about her. If she actually responds to me again, spouting some incoherent nonsense...I have just proved my point.

My main point in response to TBGs post(not the letter K because not everything is about her) is: are you looking for approval for the justification of how you act because you are not going to get any. I sympathize with your plight but I'll avoid fingerwagging and just say there is alot more you have to see in this world and black people are making tremendous progress and success. There are successful black people around but obviously, you live in Portland and I don't trust BET/the media to give an accurate protrayal of african american life(s). Forget about having black pride...that stuff is over ever since black people succumb to the hip hop lifestyle/caricature...but be comfortable with who you are. I don't think you're sure who you really are and where you fit in. Yes, I do think you have some identity issues, and believe me... you are not alone in this and you have the right to pose questionable issues.

"how can i *not* grow up and have sort-of this white mentality and then feel a little conflicted when i look in the mirror and see someone black?"

I think you got to the root of your problem. What you haven't answered is what exactly do YOU see when you see yourself as black. Think of it this way, Should having a darker skin color mean you are inherently intellectually, emotionally, mentally different from someone who is white. Absolutely NOT.

"And then think negatively about black people that i see acting different from me and feeling like somehow i'm supposed to have a connection with them because we share the same race?"

That statement alone speaks volumes but I don't know what you mean by black people "acting differently from you" In what way...? You have to specify...

Again, you don't have "feel" any connection because some people share the same skin color as you.
That would be insane and borderline "white sumpremacy" only in reverse.

My only hope for you(based on your post because I don't know you personally) is come to terms with what "blackness" means to you and reach a point in your life where it is not a stigma to you and how you treat other people esp. those who share the same hue as you.

The Letter K said...

"Keeping it real" is the classic example of someone who loves to point fingers at everyone else on the internet, while somehow missing the fact that he (she?) is also on the internet.

Logic, folks. It's not a hard concept to master.

Say what you have to say. "Keep it real." Whatever. I'm not your keeper, you're not mine. Do as you will.

You say I think the world revolves around me? You make direct attacks toward black people, and make specific attacks against anyone who disagrees with TBG. How is that not about me? About us?

Again, logic must not be a strong skill of yours.

Thank goodness you've given an actual response to TBG instead of just rambling on about how black people are "the pathetic race" Hopefully she'll be able to take something and learn from it--if not for her sake, then for the sake of her children, whose primary images of the world will come through her and her husband to their children.

But, in your own words, "aren't there much bigger issues to worry about" than what some anonymous woman writes on the internet?

keeping it real said...

The letter K is the classic example of someone who loves to point fingers at everyone else on the internet, while somehow missing the fact that she is also on the internet.

Logic, folks. It's not a hard concept to master.

Say what you have to say. Whatever. I'm not your keeper, you're not mine. Do as you will.

Again, logic must not be a strong skill of yours.

Thank goodness you've given an actual response to TBG instead lily flower, "so what" speeches. Hopefully she'll be able to take something and learn from it--if not for her sake, then for the sake of her children, whose primary images of the world will come through her and her husband to their children.

I'm finished with you, you have given me such a good laugh. I never intended to respond to your initial post but due to your warped thinking, you felt it necessary to speak to me when I had no intention of engaging in conversation with you. You just won't stop, will you? There are bigger issues in this world than this instead of fingerwagging about what an anonymous woman does. That's technically true. I believe that. Does this mean I was talking to you or anyone else specifically when I said that, NO...I simply stated an opinion that there are other things to focus on. Why should I not say something about that? End of story. You don't like it. Fine... but I have no interest in brawls or tirades or rants from people towards me I don't know on the internet. I read TBG's post and I respond with sympathy bias towards her. Big Deal. Don't take my reponses so freaking personally. Again, it's the internet for pete's sake. Why the post warranted a reply which lead up to this is absolutely ridiculous. I didn't expect my response would get an actual "rise" out of two posters which was quite funny. I never intended that to be the case. Jesus Christ...You got offended too easily over nothing. I'll be the bigger person and say just state your opinion, all you want about (TBG), it's the internet, of course...lol...but please leave me out of your conversation and I will do the same for you. I've had enough of this. Farewell.

The Letter K said...

I really should link you to the "Classic Internet Arguments" page. I think they hand out awards for people who use the most techniques.

This has ceased to be about black people, and has now turned into something you claimed you did not want: a post about The Letter K.

I still have to laugh, though. If "it's the internet" why are you here? It's illogical to claim that everything on the internet doesn't really mean anything, yet make three long posts over something you say you don't really care about.

Any way, we need to stop flaming up TBG's blog with this nonsense.

Peace.

jasmine said...

I really can't get over the fact that you sound like a whiny child in this latest post.

Katherine said...

First time here- attempted to read the majority of your entries. I must say that while I was reading this blog- I honestly thought that it was young[16-25] black girl like me [20] writing this, not a 35year old woman. You have your comment section open- so you must want some type of feedback and this is YOUR blog- so you can choose to ignore others opinions of you. Moving On... It seems as though you have some issues to deal with as a black woman. You ask if there's counseling to help you appreciate being black. You need counseling to help you appreciate yourself because it's obvious you have hangups concerning african americans, their behavior. etc. It's not about growing up in Portland and having pride in your african american heritage- it's about what values your parents instilled in you and whether they taught you to love and respect yourself in addition to your blackness. So, no "having a sense of black pride about my hair, my features, my race, my culture" is not inherent- you're taught to appreciate these things from an young age. I don't know if I would go as far to say that you HATE black people but you attribute too many things to ethnicity. I, shake my head, as I read your entries and think how you would have faired in my predominately African american/Latino community in Chicago, because as I said once before, I don't think you have these issues because you grew up in "[white] Portland".

SolShine7 said...

Don't give up! God can help you sort out your feelings. It's okay to feel the way you do and share it with people. There's healing in that.

I'm a bi-racial woman and my identity comes first from who I am in Christ, then all else follows. When you become a Christian it's not like all your doubts the minute you believe. It's more like you have a safe source to go to as you figure it out along the way.

p.s. I like your blog.

keep it real said...

Oh yes! I realize that your environment does play a big role in your views and perception,but so does your up bringing by your parents. Just reading some of your blogs i came to realize that you are definely a confused person and I hope that you will seek couseling other than what you are recieving from your blog. Good Luck!

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