African American History Month has come upon us once again. Rather than bore you with an endless list of accomplishments that you can read for yourself in the encyclopedia or give you my perspective on our history, I shall take this time on my own blog to air my frustrations in Part One and Part Two of this letter. There are just some things that I absolutely detest concerning race relations and representation. I will just relieve myself of the burden I have been carrying for such a long time in these two installments.
Dear White America,
I hope this first of two letters finds you enjoying the world that you have made for yourselves. Comfortable, profitable and, for me, unattainable. Here are just a few things that I believe cause the world I am now in as a result of your malice and greed, to be rather difficult for me to thrive in. I won’t take up much of your time.
I am so sick of the way most of White America views us. Why is it when I go in a place of business, I have a store owner or salesman/woman who will say: “what’s up?” Or refer to me as “homie” or “brother man”? Call me high-minded if you want, but I don’t talk like that. Nor do I want to be spoken to in that manner. Just because I am black doesn’t mean I haven’t mastered the English language. I say “good morning” and “hello” just like everyone else. Is my stature as a man beneath an occasional “excuse me, sir. How may I help you?” If you are too sheltered to encounter Black people without the vernacular, you probably shouldn’t be in customer service and definitely should not have me as a customer.
For the record, I also shake hands and enjoy greetings that are not ethnic. Fist pumps and thug looks don’t make me more comfortable and are not required. However, that does not mean I want to go jumping off the side of a mountain or wake boarding. Let’s have a happy medium between a few games of basketball and a few rounds of golf.
I recently dined at a rather nice restaurant. When my betrothed and I sat down to eat, Billy Joel and Air Supply were playing. By the time we ordered, two other black couples had come in. They were, of course, seated in the next booth to keep us in one place to be easily watched (if I am wrong, please explain otherwise). During our meal, we noticed that the music had changed to Drake and Ludacris. Why? Because you felt you needed to appeal to your clientele? I like Michael Buble’ and Neil Sedaka just as much as you do. What if I want to expose myself to a different atmosphere? You quietly just put me back in my place. My other problem? The two of us were the only people who were intrigued by this. Once again, White America corralled the blacks back into their hole and soothed us to keep us calm. Instead, it infuriated us – at least my party. We could not help but be reminded of the whole ’50’s lunch counter incidents
Please, please, please don’t try to mask your racism with avoidance. I’ve work in a predominantly white female environment. On a daily basis, I’ve had people walk on the opposite side of the hall from me (almost touching the wall, in fact). Many will look down or at their phone to avoid eye contact. This is the behavior of an idiot. Don’t you know that I can smell the prejudice coming out of your pores? I have been black for some time now and am not new to this. I would much prefer if you just come out and say: “I don’t like you” rather than go out of your way to avoid me.
In my experience, you avoid me until one of your bolder representatives bombards me with questions. Once you have interrogated me, getting all the intel, you take it back to headquarters and then even more of you recuse yourselves from my wake or when you feel that I am not a threat, try to befriend me as best you can with weak jokes and feeble attempts to win me over. I have learned to be a mystery to you as long as I can. Some of the women on my job asked my name in the first week and haven’t called it since – not even to say good morning.
My father once told me that my worst enemies would be a young- to-middle-aged white male and an older white female. Why? The male sees me as a threat and harbors the hatred that has been taught to him. The woman? She regurgitates what she hears and, as many women do, harbors the grudge far longer than the man.
I can’t say this unequivocally is true. I certainly don’t feel this way. This was probably just the bitterness of segregation that was in his mouth and the stench of slavery was still in his nose.
My father had is reasons for feeling this way. Somehow, the racism I have seen in the last two years has caused his ideas to be founded to a certain extent.
All of this cannot be blamed on racism. There are quite a few of you who lack even the most rudimentary social skills. When it comes to dealing with people “of color” you are just awkward. You have all the social graces of a one-eyed mule. When you don’t know what to say, you awkwardly say nothing or pull out a phrase from your box of stereotypes that you think we love to hear. We are people, pure and simple. Despite what your great grandparents told you. You have our permission to treat us as such. Thank you.
On a side note, can you all please tell Meagyn Kelly that we are okay with our Santa being black. Any man who can make children in the projects happy by bringing presents down a chimney that isn’t there is alright with us. However, leave our Jesus to our imagination. By the way, someone should tell her that her white mother spelled her name with a rather ethnic variation. Go figure.
Also, while you shake our hands and join us singing Kum-ba-Yah, the Oklahoma SAE Fraternity, Bouton Gilbeau (frat house mother) and the wonders of modern technology have given us a glimpse of what you really think and shows us what you have taught your children. Thank you.
Your blatant cover up of crimes against Blacks and your defense of it through racist media outlets such as Fox News, who has a legion of élite and powerful juggernauts of prejudice who made their success from our following, not only supports, but allows you to destroy lives like Trayvon Martin and Sean Bell in such cowardly fashion without losing a minute of sleep.
Please don’t think that the lowering of a flag makes any difference to me. You can take down as many Confederate flags as you want. The flag doesn’t purport the racism – racists who wave the flag do!
I will take a pause to let you ruminate on my observations. I will be back with another letter.
Good day, White People.