Misguided America- Shorts and Quotes
In the mid 90’s I was working at a high-end women’s fashion boutique in San Francisco. My father had been ill for some time and unfortunately passed away after a long battle with a lung disease. I asked my manager, who happened to be a middle-aged white woman if I could have some time off to prepare for services and to grieve. She very graciously said yes and offered me several weeks off which I found to be unusually generous. As I gathered my belongings in the back room, I overheard her telling a fellow employee that the reason she gave me so much time off is because, “they have really big funerals.”
I safely assumed “they” meant Black people and therefore struck by how confidently she thought she knew something about Black culture. Honestly, I had never heard of such a thing and had no idea I was expected to plan weeks of events. Had my people betrayed me? Is there something I missed at the last meeting? Maybe she thought my father was MLK Jr. or Nelson Mandela; they definitely had really big funerals.
My father was nice and a good man but hundreds of thousands of people would not be mourning his death or attending his service. There would be no marches or dedications; no statues erected in his honor or streets named after him out of respect.
“Okay,” I thought, “two months off isn’t so bad.” Sometimes mis-information has its benefits.
A friend of mine, who happens to be Black, was called as a witness to identify a perpetrator in a court case where determining race was a factor. In her recollection the person who had committed the crime was Asian. As it turns out the guilty party was in-fact Latino. In her defense, her attorney reminded the judge that, “they can’t tell the difference between Asian and Latino and therefore she shouldn’t be penalized for any inaccuracies.”
Whoa… WTF? Once again, I didn’t realize I was born with a genetic disposition where it would be impossible for me to get this right. Where do these bizarre assumptions come from? I’m going to guess, these notions are concocted upon a single incident, decided to be true, set free throughout the ether until some other bozo comes along and says, ”Oh okay, yeah, I’ll spread the word.”
Speaking of Asian, about ten years ago, I lived two and half hours north of San Francisco in a county where there were very few African Americans. I had just moved to town and didn’t really know anyone so I decided to attend a Sunday service at a local church where there was a Black female pastor. After the sermon ended, the congregation met in the community hall where I met a lovely older Chinese woman. I told her that I had just bought a house and was looking for a job as a personal chef. She had expressed to me how nice it would be to have someone come into her home and prepare healthy meals. I gave her my information and said I would be happy to assist with any culinary needs. She very kindly looked at me and said, “Oh thank you dear, but I don’t eat soul food.”
Damn. I know what you’re going to say so say it. And just so you know, I am a certified chef who graduated from a top five, accredited culinary school. I also don’t eat soul food but I like Chinese food. Wow, there’s a lot to unpack here but I think the concerns with this statement of hers are pretty self-explanatory and if they’re not, we have an even bigger problem.
This one’s my favorite. In the early 1990s, I spent several weekends partying in San Francisco with another Black female friend. Every Friday and Saturday night we would drive into the city from the East Bay and spend hours bar-hopping around town. We both dated inter-racially and for the most part didn’t have a problem with skin color being an issue. She met this guy, who happened to be white, at a club one night and they quickly became a couple. One evening the three of us were hanging out together at a bar when a pasty white guy with big teeth approached our table. He looked at the three of us and immediately said, “Oooh kinky, I like it.”
I’m not lying. Yes, that happened. So the math on this is, two Black women + one white guy = kinky. How about this math, two Black women + fuck off = a good time. Don’t get your hopes up white boys, we are just regular ol’ girls. Nothing to see here.