I like country music, classical rock, heavy metal, as well as classical music. I used to like rap, but it sucks as of late. I wish MC Ren and NWA were still keeping it real.
I drink fine wines, dine at nice restaurants, and read the Smithsonian.
I communicate well, worked hard in school, and prefer conversations that center around ideas, politics, and theory.
I do not play basketball. But, I am a competitive distance runner and a decent tennis player.
I sport a blazer and a bow tie. But I also wear earrings (yes on both ears).
So, why am I bringing this matter up? A couple of weeks ago, while on a training run in one of Houston’s public parks, a young black man (14 or 15 years old) asked me if I liked white women? I do not know him and he does not know me. Keep in mind that I was stretching and getting ready for a very tough run. I ignored him until I heard him telling the two young black sisters what he asked me. After hearing that, I elected to lecture the brother on the history of Jim Crow and the meaning of being BLACK. I also enlightened him on the fact that I love ALL people. I asked him: do you like white women? He stated no. I asked why? He told me that white women are too proper. As one can imagine, I was really confused. I turned to him and asked, so what do you like? He stated that he likes girls who are ghetto. My response was one of frustration. I told him that he had just disrespected every black sister I know. That includes my mother. His mother. And the two young black women beside him.
I turned to both of the black women (14 – 16 years old) and stated that your friend does not see you two as being very sophisticated. They both agreed. We went on to chat about race and culture for a bit. Then I realized I needed to run. But this topic brings up a number of troubling matters. And, not just for the young black brother. I am always amazed at how whites assume blacks should behave. I go crazy every time I hear a white person tell me that they are “more” black than I am. What does that mean? (fill in the blank) Black people are still fighting Jim Crow; however, Jim Crow changed his name to Uncle Tom. There are experiences that blacks feel daily that a white person cannot comprehend. Here are a few examples: Being followed in a department store. Having people move to the other side of the room when you walk into the room. Locking car doors as you approach. Or, reaching for one’s purse. My favorite is when the police (po po) pull you over to ask a stupid question. On a recent trip, I exited the rest room on a plane to the dismay of one white woman. She elected to return to her seat. I heard her husband ask why? She quickly rolled her eyes at me to capture her husband’s attention. Now, I might be reading too much into this, but I suspect I am not.
With the advent of de-segragation, a number of blacks integrated with whites. Hence, the notion of cultural conformity transpired. Well, to some extent. Unfortunately, there seems to be a perception of what black is. And, if one does not adhere to that basic notion, folks start questioning one’s blackness.