Thursday, September 20, 2007


today i went to see an orthopedic doctor about a joint i've been having problems with. i was pleasantly surprised when the door to the room i had been waiting in opened and the doctor was black.

in all my years of going to see doctors, i've NEVER had a black doctor. isn't that shocking? well, i guess it's not so much shocking as it is ridiculous. i know that there are plenty of black doctors in the world but the majority of them obviously aren't in portland, oregon.

i go to the doctor every now and then-i've seen my share of doctors and so i wondered: how does one go thirty something years without ever being seen by a doctor of their own race? the funny thing about it is that i've never expected to see black doctors. up until today, i had never given the idea any thought. it seems like it's such a rarity here in portland.

so i wonder how that all plays out with the different races. has this subconsciously had an effect on me-having never dealt with a black doctor? never having the opportunity to see a successful black doctor? and what about white people here in portland? i'm sure that they are also really affected by rarely seeing a black doctor.

and i believe that part of the "white privilege" (that so many white people don't believe exists) is for white people to just be able to see so many successful people that look like themselves. i mean, what if every time a black kid in portland went to see a doctor, he or she were black? i bet the black people in portland, and even the white people here would be really different.

Friday, September 14, 2007

black esteem

i went to ikea today, here in portland. i had tried once before when they first opened and it was a zoo, so i went right back home. things have calmed down a bit there so i decided to give it a try. it was cool.

so the strange thing that happened was this: i was standing in the self checkout line and when it finally came to my turn to check out, i scanned my items. there was a sign on the side of the counter that said that they charge five cents per bag. that was okay.

so as i was finished checking out, but before i bagged my things, there was an option on the pinpad for me to select the number of bags i would be using. i selected one. as i reached for a plastic bag, some white guy-in the OTHER LINE (who was obviously watching me closely) called over: "um, those are five cents!!"

i gave him the dirtiest look i could muster and stared at him for a second. i said, "i know that", with a what---you-didn't-think-i-could-read? look. i finished bagging my stuff and then started the payment process. i then looked again at him and said, "it SAYS that right HERE" and rolled my eyes.

he got all defensive , and stumbled out the words: "well, uh, oh, um, i just was letting you know......"

my FIRST inclination was that he must have assumed that because i'm black i was trying to steal a plastic bag!? or couldn't read? i'm not sure what his deal was. and then i decided that maybe it wasn't anything about ME at all, maybe he was on meds, or psycho, or mental, or whatever. but it still really irritated me.

and then, as we stood in the food line to get some of their meatballs, i started thinking about the reasons for my first inclination was about me being black. and then i started thinking about my blog, and how i'd definitely have to blog about it.

i also thought how probably most of my readers would say that i must have low self esteem. actually i have very high self esteem and i'm pretty confident, believe it or not. but i think i may have low black esteem (is there such a thing? well, there is now). yeah, i think that's it.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


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.