Tuesday, February 27, 2007

homeownership pride

not far from our house, there are two trailer parks. eww. so thankful to not live there, i always think. even though my house is less than a mile away, i'd like to think we are worlds away.

and i thought about the way most people on my block including myself go to lengths to keep our properties nice. i live on a street in a neighborhood which isn't the trendiest neighborhood, but parts of it are really neat with great houses. i think i've mentioned it before, but portland is funny in the way that one block can be really really nice, and the next one over could be totally shabby.

anyways, i'm proud of our little house. it's not all that. it needs some updating in places, but in comparison with other older homes around portland, it fits right in. when i buy a new peice of decor, or we fix something or remodel something, i'm proud to display it and i think of it as another notch on the belt making our house inviting and warm.

and then it occurred to me about people who live in the trailer parks. i guess they might also do little things to their trailer that they're proud of and show it off to their fellow trailer park neighbors. it's probably a big deal to them. and then here i am, driving by looking down on the park. i wonder if people who live in the suburbs of portland, like lake oswego, or somewhere where the neighborhoods are newer and the houses are bigger and nicer think the same thing if ever driving through my neighborhood.

look at those small, old houses. situated so close to each other. those poor, poor people in NE portland...

Friday, February 23, 2007


'Man, this version of Just Callin' It Like You See It is boggling my mind.

There are moments when i find your insights pretty interesting (most of us are not unaware that pdx is is the Great White Populace and it's instructive to hear another voice or voices). There're other moments when it's obvious that your own personal insecurities cloud the quality of thought, but it's your blog (hell yeah it is) so go for it on the merely-32-inch-tv and the afraid-to-meet-the-woman-on-the-phone threads. But something about this post is just so out there, so cynical and ill-toned, that I had to wonder if you ever read your own blog.

Lady, half of your posts revolve around perception and presumption and how puzzling and cruel they can be. Yet here you are dissing a room fulla whites because they had the wherewithall to attend a Black History Mo. screening. These people were interested enough to get their asses up to PCC for a screening and you're instantly dismissing them as granola-eating, White Guilt laden black history dilettantes who're watching whatever movie as a collective act of...condescension? This particular musing is generalizing in exactly the style that you accuse or document various whites of doing, and it's no prettier from your pen than it is when you journal the behaviors of others.

You imply that white people everywhere only allow themselves to think positively about blacks once a year (do you really truly think this?); you state that the scholastic portrait of blacks is limited to poverty and ignorance (i can only attest to the california public school system on this, but i sure as hell didn't wander around the elementary school yard thinking blacks were stupid and poor); you sarcastically chide the attendees of this event for coming to an African film during Black History Month, because you apparently can tell that they're not interested in the black community beyond this 90 minute reel; then you wag your blogging finger in the face of this nameless, generalized audience in Portland because Africa's been historically exploited by whites um, not in Portland?

I think you can see that this line of thought doesn't make a helluva lot of sense. Perhaps you're resentful of the whites in that room at PCC for whatever reason. Okay, that's cool, if that's where you're at and you're honest about it. But weaving a poorly-constructed and mean-spirited narrative around people that did nothing but show up to a movie is a cheap, cheap shot, no matter the cheerleading that occurs in the comments section.'

i think people forget that this blog started out as a personal, almost-confessional type place for me to write about my thoughts, experiences and feelings. period.

( i'm not writing for the Oregonian here)

Monday, February 19, 2007


saturday we went to the african film festival at the pcc cascade campus. it's part of the black history here in good ol' portland. and by the way, why is black history relegated to just month? why can't it be included in history with ALL history, white and black? is february the only month white people will allow themselves to even think about the positive contributions black people gave? howcome the only history children learn about blacks is that we were slaves. poor, ignorant slaves. period.

anyways, i always enjoy going, and this year, just like every year, there were overabundance of white people. i actually sat near the front and turned around to count how many black people i saw. there were only a few. in about 150 people, probably 20 were black.

i know i could talk about why there were so few black people ( i've already gone there). but i think it's more interesting that there were SO MANY white people. i mean, it's nice that all these white people are so incredibly interested in the african films (during black history month! wow! ), but are those same people as interested in the black community here in Portland during the other 11 months of the year? i mean, there were a ton of white people. literally. it was funny, they were all the granola, crunchy, no-makeup-wearing, au natural type. i don't know what's up with that but, whatever.

as the white people poured in i couldn't help but wondering WHY they were there. were they subconsciously doing it in a condescending way? i mean, i'm sorry-but africa is the way it is-poor, underdeveloped, etc mainly because of white people stripping the land and it's resources. so it's a little ironic that they are SO interested in it. if africa was a wealthy, healthy nation would adopting african babies and watching african films still be so facinating?

Thursday, February 15, 2007


i keep thinking i'll run out of things to blog about, and them *bam* something interesting and bloggable happens.

i was at work yesterday when a client that i had never worked with before or met in person called me. he was all upset about something that wasn't going right with his business. a co-worker asked me to deal with him and i said sure.

so, as we're talking, he started going off about 'some african american male' that he had dealt with previously over the phone (never met face-to-face). first of all, before i go there about this, why is it that people think they can say things over the phone that they'd never have the audacity to say to someone in person?

i didn't get upset, but i was irritated. obviously i can't say exactly what i felt to our clients. but it was weird that he just ass-u-me-d he was talking to "one of his own" and felt like i'd be on his side about dogging on the african american man. despite it all, i felt like i was looking into a one-way mirror where i could see him but he couldn't see me. so i asked how he knew the young man was black. he replied in a calloused way, almost like he wanted to hurt someone's feelings. "oh, you know, the mumbling and broken english slang, non-textbook english, [etc...]".

"excuse me, can i put you on hold for a moment?" i asked. i never came back to the phone. i was done. period. i know, that was unprofessional. but i didn't care.

the thing that really got to me was this: that it seems like the black people like myself who speak proper english, who are educated, middle class or wealthy, with good work ethic, non-gang members, can't seem to get away from the stigma. no matter how educated i get, will there ALWAYS be that stereotype? ALWAYS?

i don't dislike being black, but sometimes i feel like i'm tired of being linked with "those" african americans. i know i may get some backlash but pay attention to what i'm saying. i'm not ashamed of being black. i'm embarassed that there are rappers like ludacris and little john (and whatever other rappers that degrade women and curse and rap about s*x with ho*s) that just by being black i'm automatically associated with. it's like i can't escape it.

seems like only the uneducated and ignorant black people are the ones who are always representing the whole race of black people. i hate it because that's just not me. and back to the phone call i was telling you about. will black people ever get away from the substandard english stereotype? will the black people who don't like rap and have masters degrees and live well above the poverty line ever be the ones to represent the entire race rather than those who don't?

Monday, February 12, 2007

crappy service

do white people demand excellent service when they go out to dinner at a restaurant? i mean, if they're treated badly or get poor service, the first thing that pops into their mind is obviously NOT that it's because they're white. Geez. wonder what that feels like. when a white person complains about poor service, they're taken seriously. but, i feel like when i (or another person of color) complains about poor service, the response is like "oh god, they're going to play the race card...they're going to say they were slighted because of being black... Great." or that the only reason why i think i got such bad service is because i'm black and hypersensitive.

saturday, the husband and i went to local BrewPub . i don't know why i keep going back there when i keep getting such crappy service. the last 3 times that i've gone there (and i don't go there often), i've gotten crap service. but i'm not much one for boycotting a place if i really like their food. i just suffer through it. although, hte main reason i don't go there more often is because of their lame service.

so, The Husband and i walked in. the sign read "Please wait to be seated". the place was packed. we waited. and waited. and waited. like 10 long minutes had passed and the hostess chick walked back and forth in front of us, doing this, doing that. she even looked as us and kept going, ignoring us. honestly, i didn't think it was a black and white thing. i really didn't. even if it was, i was tired and starving and didn't really care.

i was getting hot under the collar. i told The laid back Husband that it was time for me to speak out. he told me to just pipe down and wait. yeah, whatever. so here came the hostess girl again, a Tonya Harding look-a-like, right in front of us, ignoring us. "excuse me" i said. she looked like she couldn't understand what we could possibly want. mind you, i DO know how to complain in a diplomatic manner. i asked her if she noticed that we had been waiting for about 10 minutes without ANY acknowledgement whatsoever. not even a hello. "oh, we're just so busy, etc, etc...". i asked her if that was their usual procedure when they're busy, to just let their patrons stand there without any acknowledgement for....ever? how were we to know when or if a table was available and how long the wait would be? she started to act uncomfortable, because i had put her on the spot. i wanted her to know that being ignored was unacceptable. regardless how busy they were. "and what is your name???" i asked. she told me her name. i had to let her know that i KNEW who she was and i would REMEMBER.

a moment later two other white couples came in. this was perfect. the perfect opportunity for me to see how they were treated. i couldn't wait for the hostess to come and greet them right away so i'd have something to be pissed about and prove exactly what i know to be true. they waited and waited too. good. so it wasn't a race thing.

when the hostess came back, she apologized and told us it would only be a few minutes or so. then i got kind of worried. this is the kind of stuff that gets you marked by the cooks. you might have some spit or dirt or something in your food. i was mad at myself for even saying anything. now i had to worry about my dinner being prepared on the floor, or worse. the Husband and i discussed going elsewhere but we were too tired to think of another place.

when the hostess came back again to seat us, i thanked her profusely. i thought maybe that would help me get some untainted food.

when we got seated, i was much more relaxed after i had a hefeweizen. i tried to ignore the fact that we were seated kind of in the middle of the restaurant for all to gawk at us, the only interracial couple in the place. the hefeweizen helped. it even helped when my plate was brought to me and my food was cold. anyway, i could continue on about the service, but i wont.

i looked around. i was the ONLY black person in a sea of white people. i'm getting kind of sick of that feeling. i mean, really. it's very underrated. okay, so then a black guy with a large group of white people came in a little later. that's still 2 black people out of about 120 people.

i'm just still trying to figure out why my roots are so deep here and why we stay in a place like portland. it's great and all, but the overabundant whiteness really gets to me at times.

Friday, February 09, 2007


last night The Husband and me and kids went to hang out at my brother's house. he and his wife are die hard Grey's Anatomy fans. i'm not into it, but i watched it since i was over there. his wife was talking about the black surgeon and his asian girlfriend and how they never show each other any affection the way the other non-interracial couples on the show do. i wouldn't know since i don't watch the show but it's probably true.

i know it's true in my case. well, kind of. i mean, i'm pretty affectionate to my husband at home. but it's really, really hard for me to be affectionate with him in public. i always tell people that i'm agains pda's (public displays of affection), but no, that's not really it. i feel like everyone's watching us. like we look so out of place to even hold hands. i have a fit when my husband tries to kiss me in public. he doesn't care what ANYone thinks which is why i love him so much. i'm the opposite.

no one bats an eye when they see a couple of the same race showing affection to each other but when you see a mixed race couple, it's just different. i feel like people think we're some naive misfits trying to be rebellious against society by being together. and whenever you hear someone say "oh, they're such a cute couple, they look so cute together", they're always talking about a couple where the people look similar to each other-both handsome, both short, both tall, both stylish, etc. i don't think that when people see a couple of different races together, that the first thing in their mind is how good they look together. i mean, they would appear to be opposites. my husband and i are opposites. he's very tall, i'm short. he's white, i'm black. aesthetically speaking, i don't think we look good together.

it makes me feel sad. sad that it's such a hangup of mine. i feel envious when i see couples of the same race being all affectionate in public. like it's something i'm missing out on. i wish i didn't care so much about what people think, but i do. and there are still racist, mean, rude people out there.

Monday, February 05, 2007


at a recent kindergarten round up, i met a couple white moms who had biracial children (black fathers). both the moms were single. i started thinking all the white moms i've ever known with children by black men.

of all the white moms i know who've had children with black men , they've ALL had major problems in their relationships. they're either no longer together, or, if they are together,they constantly deal with problem after problem and nonstop drama. at the same time, i know many black women friends who've had children by/married to white men and for some reason those women have fairly drama-free lives, and seem relatively happy.

secretly, i've wondered if they look at me and my (normal, happy,trouble free) life and feel resentful. possibly resentful that i, a black girl have what they "should have" had. a SMALL part of me feels kind of guilty, but not really.

i know that there are white woman/black man couples out there that are successful. and i know that there are black women with white men who are UNsuccessful but it seems so rare. why is that though?

and i'm not saying that there's something wrong with black men. i mean personally, my preference is white. but there's obviously a different dynamic between white women/black men and black women /white men relationships.

Friday, February 02, 2007

superbowl eve

we're having a superbowl party this weekend. i almost chickened out because our tv is only a 32" inch. who wants to watch the superbowl on a small tv like that? the Husband and i went back and forth about which we needed more: a new sectional sofa for our family room or a tv. but not both. we can't afford both. we were so indecisive about it that here we are, on the eve of superbowl with the same tv and the same family room furniture we had. it's a good thing our friends really like us.

yesterday the Husband actually had the nerve to ask if i wanted to go buy one of those huge TVs at costco and then return it after the game. he was kind of, sort of "kidding", and i brushed him off good. but i know that if i had indulged him we'd have a 62 inch, hdtv right now. i wouldn't want to be the idiot going to return it. i just couldn't do something that ghetto. that's the kind of stuff that perpetuates the stereotypes. but of course, my husband could do it (but wouldn't)which made me think about his whiteness and my blackness. he could do ghetto things like that and the salespeople wouldn't think twice because he's just a good looking, tall, friendly WHITE guy. or, if they did think twice, it wouldn't be because he's white.

the Husband and i kind of have this deal about returning things. i don't like to return high priced items because the whole racial drama and stereotyping that comes with being a black girl. so the husband will return things for me (no dishonesty). i would just rather keep the chance of racial drama and suspicion to a minimum if possible. i've been there and done that enough to know how it is. especially if i have my 2 boys with me. you know, the stereo type--single black mom with multiple kids trying to get something for nothing. maybe that's just my perception. but the Husband has no shame and doesn't worry about being stereotyped so he's happy to return things for me when necessary. last summer i bought a laptop and something wasn't quite right. the salesman had rubbed me the wrong way i had flipped a little attitude so there was no way in hell i was returning that thing. but The Husband was in and out in a matter of minutes. even IF they wouldn't have been suspicious of me and given me any grief, i would just rather not take the chance of it happening and me getting all riled up.