You’ve Got Issues, I’ve Got Issues

We outchea...living. (Photo by: Lippfoto)

We outchea…living. (Photo by: Lippfoto)

*Please excuse spelling and grammatical errors, I wrote this while sardined on a streetcar*

The way I think must be a complete anomaly to black people as their thought processes, on several occasions, are to me. I can’t say I’m right which means you can’t say I’m wrong, but maybe we can both learn from each other. My thoughts and actions are based on the following:

Knowing where I come from (“I” meaning my history, my family)

Knowing myself (what I value, what I want, who I am.)

The general struggle (though the world is not only black and white, there’s no denying the fight between races is still prevalent in society; our minds still go there on both sides. Please note: it does not make you a racist if you agree with that statement. I really hope you read on).

There is not enough bandwidth online for me to flesh out this whole conversation but I must lay down a few of my bigger thoughts as they float about my mindgrapes.

In the short three decades I’ve lived on earth, I’ve learned so much. I grew up with my dad instilling in me that I’m a woman and I’m black, this means I have two strikes against me already…  Let me let that sit with you, the reader, for but a moment.

What the direct f*ck am I supposed to do with this information as a child? So you’re telling me I have to work 10x as hard as everyone else to JUST get by. Not even to excel but to just make it through. Friends, this is a pivotal point in this little rant. This is where all the black people in first world environments, at the same time, received the same (or similar) speech from their black parents and our brains computed what this meant. To some, it fired us up, we soared through academics like a jet through the night sky. We dominated a field of sports thus receiving scholarship after scholarship to the schools of our choice. Some of us just stopped trying or dropped out altogether because “what IS the point?” *Seinfeld voice*

Let me tell what I did: I cried. I went to my room and cried. I tried to figure out why he would say these things. And I tried to figure out why they were hurtful. I mean, facts were facts – I have a vajayjay so we can check “lady” off the list. And my mom couldn’t disown me if she tried because I’m her daughter-twin, and SHE’S black, so I must be black. Why did his comment hurt me?  I was a decent student. I spent much of my youth convincing my dad that television was my only friend and it needed my daily/nightly support. I was a good kid, I didn’t swear, I didn’t talk back to my parents. How is it possible that the world will only see me with two black Xs across my body and pretty much deny me entry to the Good Life nightclub without even seeing my dance moves? So many questions. I looked at my surroundings – the 2400 sq. ft. home my brother and I shared with my father seemed anti-struggle, in the way that I know my father worked hard to give us the things we had but he couldn’t be the only  black, white or green person who did and continues to do the same. We went to private school with the Rabba family for Jeebus’ sake. THE RABBAS!!! Dad had a sweet Regal Buick, we ate well every night, we were never in want. But what I’m hearing tells me that I will probably not live this life as an adult because of my gender and my race. MIND IMPLOSION.

I still have a lot more life to live and I will have a lot more more fights to fight but my advice to any young black person who has yet to reach the blue or red pill decision is this:

Pick fights that matter. Trust me, there are a lot that you think matter but they don’t. They do not. Zip it….they don’t.  Nope, not even that one you’re thinking of.  It don’t matter.

There are a lot of us in the world, in your state/province/city/town but we are still considered a minority. Even if we took over the world, we would still be categorized as a “visible minority.” That’s fact. Because to the world, anyone who is not white is “other.” This is not a fight. Don’t be angry at this. The things you should fight about and demand changes will almost always fall under the list called “intent.” This is a life lesson I’ve only begun to grasp. The same way you do not want to be judged on sight, is the same way you absolutely must treat others. If we continue with this slave mentality, then it’s us keeping us right here. I’m the first to admit I’ve fallen victim to this thought process time and time again, “it’s cuz I’m black, right?” then I storm away. It does happen but it’s not 100% of the time. So if you’re chosen last for a team, there could be talent issues or jerk factors you’re not even aware of, it could have nothing to do with your skin tone. So practice and be nice to people.

If someone gets the job instead of you, it’s not always because you’re black. You don’t know what else that employer was looking for – did personalities mesh, was there more relevant experience? You don’t know! If you did find out this was totally about you being black, then why in god’s name would you want to work there ANYWAY?!! What if you got the job, would the problem be that they only hired you BECAUSE you’re black? Would you hate your job knowing that it wasn’t you they wanted, but they had to fill a quota? It’s the same reason I don’t understand why Rob Ford gets bombarded with complaints that he won’t attend Pride. I DON’T WANT HIM THERE BECAUSE OF THE MONSTER HE IS! He will never change. He likes and dislikes what he likes and dislikes, and showing him love, acceptance…..EVEN FITNESS and all the other things Pride represents will not change his mind.  There should be a giant barbecue float with a gravy bar dedicated to his absence – how I’d rejoice with all the gays who colour my life. I just feel like there’s no winning, there’s no right move, we will never checkmate.

Your favourite show has one black character and WE call him the ‘token.’ We say this must be their step toward affirmative action. Black casts can’t make it on major networks, we cry. We can only watch us on BET (which I would never recommend because that station is THE worst). There is NO winning. I have never watched an episode of “Frasier” and thought, “I cannot effing relate to this Niles. What is this mess?” I watched it and laughed at the jokes that were written; not to reflect on the lack of diversity in the show. People want another version of “The Cosby Show” where WE were represented. I watched that too and laughed because it was a good show – not because I saw myself reflected in the characters. No one in my family was a professional, the hi-jinx these kids got into are things I would NEVER attempt in my life. I couldn’t relate to their world but it was funny! There are eleventy billion reasons to like things and when you find something you like for whatever reason, just like it.

Okay, I have to cap this but this is something I’ll revisit several times because HOLY MOLY we all have to figure this thing out. We can’t just dictate and it be so, we have to do this together.

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2 responses

  1. Love this Ari. The way you described how you felt after your dad told you the two strikes against you – well it made me feel all the feelings. Feel feel feel.

    So happy to get to read your writing some more! Keep it up! xx

    • I got a comment, I got a comment! And thanks for saying so, Angie. Here’s the thing, we’ve all gone through the same things in different ways. You feel the feels because you can relate it to something that has probably happened in your life: being a woman, weight gain/loss, job opportunities, etc. We’ve all had these feels about something that we knew wasn’t quite right. But we gon’ change thangs, aren’t we?! 🙂

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