Friday, November 20, 2009

Blackness

Click here for the most annoying story ever. I find it sad that we even give cases like this any publicity. Of course, here I go giving it even more attention. I wonder if this woman, who apparently is innocent and was racially persecuted in line at Wal-Mart, feels as though she has to give up some of her "blackness" in order to just get through a stinkin' checkout line. Ahh... reminds me of an old Wal-Street Journal article- you can read it here. This is serious business, my friends. Spoken from a black woman:

"Part of me has my fist clenched under the table," says Dawn Jefferson, a 31-year-old who teaches at a predominantly white private school outside Washington, D.C. "There is this feeling that black confrontational behavior won't be so acceptable. We have to all play the game now."

Wow. What is "black confrontational behavior?" Is it different from white confrontational behavior? Or is there any minuscule chance that "confrontational behavior" is unacceptable in a workplace no matter what color you are? Is it possible?

Michael Patterson, 34, who owns a car-related business in Jena called Classic Shine and Detail, says he isn't sure if Sen. Obama has endured the "black experience." He describes this as being stopped by police and being afraid of what might happen even "when you know you've done nothing wrong," and "coming home from school and finding out the lights have been cut off."

Wow again. I wonder if that's the same experience a hippie had back in the day: judged because of their clothes or lack thereof, or their poor hygiene. My friends, we are all being judged by employers, co-workers, potential employers and law enforcement every day! I bet if I did my very best to look like a "home girl," I may very well get stopped even though I've done nothing wrong. If my car had bullet holes in it, and a loud stereo system and obnoxious fluorescent lighting on the bottom, I might get stopped. And I am white. Please share this "black experience," my friend. Don't lay claim to it. I know it sounds crazy, but I know white people who have had their electricity cut off. It's called not paying your bills.

And so, in all of this, I couldn't think of a better way to put it than this:

How to turn one's blackness to advantage?
The answer is that one "bargains." Bargaining is a mask that blacks can wear in the American mainstream, one that enables them to put whites at their ease. This mask diffuses the anxiety that goes along with being white in a multiracial society. Bargainers make the subliminal promise to whites not to shame them with America's history of racism, on the condition that they will not hold the bargainer's race against him. And whites love this bargain -- and feel affection for the bargainer -- because it gives them racial innocence in a society where whites live under constant threat of being stigmatized as racist. So the bargainer presents himself as an opportunity for whites to experience racial innocence.


Read the rest of this article here.

It is amazing to think about all the people in the world who are victims. What a sad, unfair world we live in. If only we could all just have millions of dollars and never have to work for anything. If only we could all look and act like we please, and never be judged. If only we could break the law and not get punished. What a wonderful world that would be! (Please note the sarcasm here, folks)

I guess I just don't understand. I guess because I live the "white experience," I just can't ever get it. But let me tell you, I have been hungry. (This was as a result of poorly managing my money and my parents not falling for the "poor college student" act, but still.) My account has been overdrawn. Hundreds of dollars. On many occasions. I know people of all colors, shapes and sizes who have had their electricity cut off, had nothing to eat, and lived in less-than-desirable conditions. But I believe that because we live in the United States of America, we get to rise above the "black experience." (Can I call my own experiences of being poor or being prejudged "blackness?" Maybe we could call it "the gray experience?") But who knows, as the second article I mentioned above says, Obama didn't sacrifice his blackness to get where he is. He has senators doing the "homeboy hug!" Maybe, just maybe, if we are very lucky, he will let us all share in the "black experience!"

Isn't that what you want?

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