Tuesday, October 23, 2007


yesterday i was at work, when i yet again overheard something that i must blog about. i keep wondering when the day will be that all my racial experiences will be uneventful, but obviously it hasn't happened yet.

i was in the breakroom, where SINGLEMOMWHITEGIRL is sitting at a table with another BLACKGIRL, talking about how she's finally found childcare for her biracial /black daughter. the woman she found to do childcare happens to be black as well, by the way. so SINGLEMOMWHITEGIRL is talking about how her live-in white boyfriend (not the father, obviously) wanted to have a say in who does childcare for the daughter. i'm guessing he's playing the father role. so SINGLEMOMWHITEGIRL relays a conversation she had with her live in boyfriend where he says, 'i'm glad so-and-so [black lady] is going to be babysitting ______, because she[the child] is so wild, and she needs a good black woman to keep her in line, 'cause black women don't play'.

SINGLEMOMWHITEGIRL is giggling like she's pleased that she's so connected to the black race. the black girl she was talking to laughed about it too as if she agreed.

i wanted so badly to say something like: "oh, because REALLY- all us black women are nothing but neck-rolling, butt-whoopin', beat-you-down-with-a-quickness-if-you-backtalk type women, riiiiiight.

oh how badly i wanted to say that. and the funny thing was, this white girl is currently on thin ice for some other behavior, and i could have totally intimidated her by calling her out, making her scared of being fired. i'm sure i could easily have her fired. all i'd have to say was that she made a racial remark and it made me uncomfortable. and she'd be gone.

but, i just. didn't. want. to. if there wasn't an innocent little girl in the picture with a potentially unemployed single mom, i probably would have. but really. would it have made any difference if i had corrected her? granted, with my personality, i could have put on a phony smile and phony laugh and said something to put her on the spot, without actually grilling her. but as i thought about it, i decided that people's stereotypes are so deeply ingrained that even if i had said something about it, all it would have done was make her feel uncomfortable. true, she might think differently about that particular scenario, but what about the countless other stereotypes? i seriously doubt she'd really have been enlightened.

she's a single white mom with a black daughter and probably feels like she has a "free pass" to say things like that. and does she? i'm not sure. i once had a black girlfriend who was married to a white man, and the white man would repeat some words from rap songs occasionally in conversations and he would say the "N" word. sometimes he'd repeat something he heard someone else say using the "N" word. albeit it was hesitantly, but nonetheless he'd say it. and i got the impression that he felt he had a free pass because he was married to a black woman.

should i have spoken up? i know some readers will say i should have. but sometimes i just think that some people truly just don't know better, and i shouldn't have to be the one to teach them. i get tired of it. if it seemed like the intent was malicious or something like that, i probably would have. i guess it kinda just made me feel bad, more than anything, that we (black people) just seem to never escape the stereotypes. never.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


i'm not sure if the entire regal cinemas corporation is racist, but the management at the Lloyd location surely is, and i'm SO tired of it.

once upon a time, probably about 17 years ago, the regal cinemas chain was called Act III. whenever the lloyd center/multnomah location showed black movies that addressed real issues, such as boyz in the hood or juice, there was always some sort of ruckus, or commotion of young black people acting out. it always seemed to be out of control high school and middle school kids with no supervision past curfew acting wild and crazy.

not cool. i get it. it really gave black people a bad name.

so, it turned out, that EVERY time a 'black' movie, or any movie with any type of remotely controversial black actor in it came out( or even NOT controversial, like Denzel Washington), that particular cinema would NEVER show it. instead, they started to banish all the 'black' movies over to the mall theatre, across the street(for those of you who don't live in portland, there's the Lloyd Cinemas that i'm referring to, and the Lloyd mall cinemas). now, that probably doesn't sound that bad. the movie is still being shown somewhere, right?

i guess they figure that the lloyd mall is more conducive to outbursts and fights. it's a small theatre, inside a secluded section of the mall, and although both these theatres are in close proximity, the customers who frequent the mall theatre and the customers who frequent the lloyd cinemas are totally different.

the lloyd center area is a mixed bag in terms of classes of people. there are the wealthy yuppies from the sullivan's gulch area and irvington, and then the lower middle class black people who haven't yet been displaced by gentrification .

the thing is, after all these years, would it hurt to start playing black films at the lloyd theatre outside of the mall? are they still so concerned about catering to the wealthy white audiences that they don't even want to take the chance on black movies? when Act III was bought out by Regal, i was sure this would change. but evidently managment is the same and nothing has changed.

the husband and i were thinking about going to see "why did i get married" (and we like to go to the movies on this side of town), and OF COURSE, it was only playing inside the mall. i don't want to into the mall to go see a movie. not when it's "date night" and i've gotten a babysitter, etc. there's nothing but hood-rats and tweens with no supervision hanging out there. but, of course, if i want to stay on this side of town and see a black movie, i have to go to the mall. sure, we can go somewhere else, and we do, but it's just the principle.

i know that only portlanders can appreciate what i'm talking about, and if you think i'm exaggerating, i'm not. just watch the movies that the lloyd mall plays versus the the lloyd cinema. you'll see that i'm right. i wish that i had a way to show all the black movies over the years that lloyd theatre has NOT played but the mall has. but i don't have a way to do that. and it has been this way ever since the early 1990s. if you want to try and prove me wrong, go ahead. watch which movies lloyd theatre doesn't play. you'll never see a black movie at the outside theatre.

i totally understand them not wanting thugs and hoodrats causing a ruckus, but come on. it's been years. when are they going to realize that there are decent acting black people who are not going to go to a theatre a cause a scene? when are black people going to have another chance?

i'm starting to think that it's not about the thugs and hoodrats at all, but that maybe"they" just don't want a bunch of black people at that theatre, period. that's what it sure feels like.

Monday, October 15, 2007


i went grocery shopping today. as i rounded a corner, some black guy in a do-rag saying 'sista, sista' got my attention. i was naturally reluctant to even give him the time of day, but he immediately started talking. and he kind of inched up in my face. ugh. i hate when people do that. and i'll step back, and then they'll step up to me again.

he started talking about making sure i don't buy stuff, 'cuz we're boycotting'....i was like, WHAT??!! boycotting who, what and why?

so he starts telling me that all black people are having some national "blackout" day on november 2, because of recent events such as jena 6 and some other local portland issues where minorities were not treated right.

um, whatever. i'm just not into that. i don't think it's effective. and black people are so disunited anyway that we could never get all of us to actually stop buying things for a cause.
secondly, although there are many black people in portland who care about making a difference in the world, i honestly believe there are more black people in portland who don't. and thirdly, unless all the black so-called rapper/entertainer/role models are going to pay attention to this thing and can commit to stop bling -blinging for one day (is that possible?), then, the above said unconcerned black people probably wont pay any attention either.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


why does it always seem like immigrants who speak english as a second language are always the loudest talkers?

today i went to sears at lloyd center to look for socks and underwear for my son. some africans were shopping in the same department as i was. by the way- before anyone knocks what i'm about to say, i love when i see true africans here in america. even though they seem not to like us black americans, i still like seeing them and i'm glad they're here.

so today at sears, these africans were talking SO. LOUD. i swear people upstairs could hear them too. they were looking at boys' clothes, trying to decide, i guess what to buy. they were going on and on, in this really active discussion about...something clothing related. who knows. they were totally oblivious of anyone around, as well as me as i tried weaving in and out of their 5-person shopping crew.

i don't have an issue with them speaking their own language, really. i just thought it was interesting that they didn't have the slightest care who was around or who heard them.

i'm trying to think how can i convey how loud they were talking....i guess if you imagined sitting on your front porch and talking loud enough for someone on the sidewalk to hear you-that's about how loud they were.

i mean, when i see an american-born person talking that loud, my first impression is that they're just ghetto. but in this case, i don't think they were ghetto. maybe it's a cultural thing. maybe americans are the only ones who are obsessed with being quiet in the store, because i've noticed certain other immigrants doing the same thing way more often than another group of immigrants.

Friday, October 05, 2007


yesterday i went to the new Kohls store that opened in the gateway district. gateway is kind of a scuzzy, trashy, mixed-bag type area but it's not that far from where i live, so i do a lot of my shopping there. i wasn't that impressed by Kohls. the thing that stood out to me the most when i went into the store was the employees. i never realized how much the way a retail employee looks affects the way i feel when i shop.

gateway district being the scuzzy area that it is, i shouldn't have been surprised that most of the employees at the Kohls store looked really trashy. black and white, they all looked trashy. i mean, hey-it's in that neighborhood, it makes sense. but i didn't like it. besides most of the employees looking trashy, they didn't know what they were talking about when i asked them things. it was really obvious. when i shop, i guess i associate the employee with the actual company. isn't that marketing 101?

i will say, however that i do like shopping at the gateway fredmeyer because i figure that i'll never run into anyone i know from that area, so that on days where i 'm not looking my best, no one else will care or notice.

but somehow it's different when the employees at a clothing store are the ones who look trashy. not only did i not want to buy anything, but it was kind of distracting. i probably would have bought something there if it weren't for the employees.

when i found a coat that i really liked, i went to the register to put it on "24-hour hold" while i "thought" about it. the girl at the counter was kind of confused, like she didn't know what to do. when she called the manager over, it was this big, burly man, who wasn't very polished. all i remember was that he had a big pot belly with a sloppily tucked in shirt. he said,

"you want to put this on hold?"


"are you going to pick it up later?"

um, that's exactly what HOLD means. i will pick it up later. i gave him a funny look, as if to say, "duh....". i guess anyone can become store managers these days. i seriously don't think he even had a college degree. well, why should he, i guess. that would be kind of a waste to be working in retail with a college degree. but did he have any post high school education at all? i always think of store managers as looking professional and put-together, which he did not. at least, when i used to work retail back in my teenage days, all my managers appeared to be a step up from all the other employees.

my mom has told me before that i have an elitist attitude and she didn't know where i got it. i guess she's right. i don't know why. i honestly should have been born wealthy, because i'd fit right in mingling with the rich. maybe the reason why i can't stand snobs now is because deep down, i'm a snob but without a real reason to be. that's probably why i have such hard time accepting the fact that i don't live in one of the wealthy neighborhoods in portland. i shouldn't be here. in this neighborhood. growing up, i prettymuch had whatever i wanted, so now the fact that i live in a neighborhood that i don't care for is kind of disheartening. (my actual neighborhood is nice/average but it's not as upper class as i'd like it to be)

am i trashy like the employees at kohls and just don't know it? i seriously doubt it, but i guess i could be mistaken for someone trashy when i'm in that neighborhood.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


why don't black people in this area with young children care about their child's education? recently my daughter's school had their back-to-school-night. she goes to a school made up of predominantly black and hispanic. the white students are the minority. in her class of 25 students, only 3 are white.

when we got to back-to-school night, the only parents there from my daughter's class were the white ones. of 25 students, only the parents of the 3 white students showed up (and us, of course)? why don't black parents want to be involved and see what's going on at their kid's school? is school just a daycare option for them?

howcome the predominantly white public schools thrive while the opposites don't? one of the main reasons why i even have my daughter there is because i don't want to put her into a school of all white people and have her feel like she's "missing" something and then go to the other extreme trying to "be black" by emulating rappers and other black lowlifes who contribute to the demise of black culture and perception.

i prettymuch believe that if she goes to the type of school she's at, surrounded by black community, she will see the negative aspects (as well as the positives) and wont think that being thuggish and ghetto is so exciting.