Saturday, June 14, 2008


i was over at grant park, mingling with about 4 other white moms whom i had just met. we were in line to sign up for swimming lessons and we were all talking about our kids and life, and then the discussion turned to hair. i actually wasn't saying a whole lot in the conversation when one of the moms started talking about those foamy pink rollers from back in the day, and how hideous they made her hair look. she turned to me and said, "you probably never had to worry about that, huh?" and then she looked uncomfortable like she thought maybe she had put her foot in her mouth.

i've probably never had to worry about that, huh? oh nooooo. never. never have i EVER tried to do any type of styling with my hair. in fact, i've never even heard of pink spongy rollers. this idea is completely foreign to me. us black people don't ever do stylish things to our hair.

hello. woman. what an idiot. i'm sure she meant nothing by it, but it just shows how ignorant some white people can be when it comes to what they think about black people. so then i started explaining about my hair, yadda, yadda, yadda, how i have it chemically relaxed, and yeah, i have attempted to curl it with rollers in my past thirtysomething years. another one of the white moms chimed in to say how she would 'die' for hair like mine. really?

let's think about that for a minute. she'd 'die' for what- my relaxed hair (which is actually in imitation of hers)? or the kinky stuff? which one?

i responded with "really???? REALLY???" and educated her on the fact that my hair, in it's natural state does not look like halle berry's or alicia keys, but more like jill scott's or macy gray. now. let's talk about how you could die for that.

and then i had to do some serious soul searchng--why is it that i assume that someone white would NEVER want my hair? is it really that bad? it must be, afterall, we (black people) don't even want it.

Sunday, June 08, 2008


today was another sporadic sunny day in portland, so of course i took the opportunity to be out and about. i went to see a friend and we went walking around the neighborhood. a car with some black guys drove by and they about broke their necks looking at us walking along the sidewalk.

i promise you this isn't going to be another post about black men gawking and doing the 'yo baby what's up' thing. at first i thought, here we go again, with the black men and the gawking. and then i realized that i do the same thing without even realizing it. only i do it because once upon a time in portland, it seemed like we (the black people ) all knew each other. literally. when i was a kid, it was rare that i would go out to the store and see someone black and not know whose mom or dad or sister or brother it was. but back in those days (mmmm...around 1980-1990-ish) most black people lived on the northeast side. now it seems like we're all over portland more so than before.

so i guess it's just out of habit that when i see someone black, i take notice of them to do a mental face-scan to decide whether or not i know them. lately there are a lot more black people that i don't know because of portland growing so much.

so, i did kind of give those guys the benefit of the doubt. instead of ragging on them about being some sorry gawking losers, i thought maybe they just thought they knew me.

Sunday, June 01, 2008


two of my best (black) girlfriends and i decided to go hang out in the Pearl district this weekend. we had a great time, and i realized how much more confident i feel around white people due to Obama being so popular. i mean, being black has never really stopped me from going where i wanted to, but occasionally i feel a little bit out of place or like i don't belong in some of the less ethnic areas. but yesterday was just different.

we were crossing an intersection where we had the walk signal and even though the car was stopped, we were all doing a sort-of run/walk, like we shouldn't have even been trying to cross the street in the first place. and then my friend asked, 'why are we running? we have the walk signal. when you see white people crossing the street, walk signal or not, they always walk like they own the street and KNOW that no one better not hit them'. we laughed about it jokingly but thought that we knew it was true.

it seems like so many people have embraced Obama- both black AND white. so this weekend when us three black young women were walking around in the Pearl, i felt like i was 100 percent equal with any white person there. i already KNOW we're equal, but it doesn't always feel that way, especially in an upscale area like the Pearl district. but now that a black man has the favor of so many people, it feels a little bit like he's redeeming the good, educated, hard-working black people that always get lumped in with the bad, uneducated, lazy black people who perpetuate the stereotype.