Sunday, June 08, 2008

gawk

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.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's a nice thing that you gave them the benefit of the doubt. They may have just thought they new you, or maybe you are a good looking woman and these men were acting immature and were gawking. I found this to be a trait of all men in a group and there are women around.

Portland is changing quite a bit as is the rest of the United States. There are more people of color wherever you look and areas that were predominantly white are now less homogenous.

I'm sure you will be seeing more and more people who look like you in the Portland area.

Anonymous said...

Believe it or not, I don't think that it is a black thing. I think that it is a man thing. I live in Italy and men always seem to gawk even when their wives are around. The only difference between what they do in American is that it is controlled gawking based on our puritanical Christian past.

Natalie said...

If they looked and didn't say anything they were either gawking politely or thought they knew you. Looking is one thing and yelling out the window is another.

Anonymous said...

I think the gawking is a man thing too. The above noter is right about Italy. Even New York, loads of looking. PDX has its fair share of eunichs, so people in general gawk less.

Jasmine said...

Gawking is a man thing! Black, White, Mexican -- whatever, they ALL do it! I go to Howard and the random Black guys driving through definitely are not shy! They will stare you down! But at the same time, there's been White guys who walk by me repeatedly - if I'm at store for example - and gawk at me and it's so obvious! It's like ... duh? And the Mexican men who worked at my school were no different. Oh, it's insane and I actually really hate it when anyone does it. It just makes me uncomfortable when people STARE. Basically, regardless of color I think it's something everyone does...and women do it too. ;)

I'm glad you gave them the benefit of the doubt rather than just assuming. Because remember the same assumptions you make about others, others may be assuming about you. :)

moe said...

I like your blog. It is interesting how many people feel like they need to argue with you or judge you or SET YOU STRAIGHT, if they disagree. That (expecting to get judged/argued with/jumped all over) is probably what shuts people up so much of the time on topics connected with race at all, across any lines at all. How do you not get mad at the commenters?

I just wrote an essay...lol said...

Not only black men do it, but white, asian, spanish, tall guys, short guys, men with hair, men w/o hair, hell woman too! But not all men do it. However, just like you, i use to find it highly annoying whenever a man did that to me. What changed my mind was my friend who is a black female. She does it whenever she sees a guy she believes to be cute. I mean, she really stares them down and sometimes she doesnt realize she is doing it. She said that she did it out of appreciation of their looks and out of the fact that she knew she would never have the courage to approach them. So maybe those gawkers are just appreciating your looks. Now the only thing that bothers me is when they talk to me with the bs just flowing out of their mouths. Calling me shorty when im taller than them and going "yo ma" when i obviously aint their mama. and again it is not only black men who do that

skylynn said...

Im a black woman with a white husband and two little girls and people are always staring at me. Everywhere, Portland, Salem, men, women, children,teens. I get so tired of it. Why do white ppl stare so much? When the black guys do it I know its because they think Im attractive but with the white ppl you never know whats going on and I hate that I look at them and they look away real fast or they just keep staring, no smile or anything. ITS WEIRD AND SO ANNOYING!

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