I’m back! Sort of. I’ve spent the last months doing various life altering things such as graduating, moving, moving again, being unemployed and “deciding” to become a writer (‘deciding’ because I’ve been doing this all my life and just figured it be easier to say when someone asks me where I work than I’m-a-recent-college-graduate-in-the-worst-recession-in-half-a-century-I’m-sitting-at-home-eating-Milkyways-and-watching-paint-dry, what-do-you-think-I’m-doing??).
So in celebration of my Tumblr homecoming I’m reposting my most popular post. If there is anyone still paying remote attention to this tiny corner of the Tumblerverse please let me know if there’s anything you’d like to say, show me, tell me about ie please talk to me I’m tired of watching paint.
She’s Pretty for a Black Girl
Since I’ve turned 21, I’ve come to the swift conclusion that veritaserum is just a shot of really good tequila. My late night shenanigans have forced me to consider things other than the normal night out conundrums, like last night when I encountered, “She’s Pretty for a Black Girl”. “She’s pretty for a black girl.” He slurs across the table. “So you don’t date black girls?” My fingers trace the droplets on the edge of my glass. Wait for it… “I mean some of them are pretty but I wouldn’t date one”.
“You don’t date black girls, and yet you’re talking to me.” I look back at my drink. What excuse will it be this time? I thought you were Hispanic? I really like your hair? I’ve once had a group of guys tell me, after admitting they didn’t want to dance with any girls at the party because they were all black, that I was Indian so I was suitable. I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen an Indian with an afro or if girls generally think the word “suitable” is a compliment, but I probably furthered their dislike by flipping the bird and flouncing away.
“Well you’re mixed and you talk like a white girl.”
Again. Where do these men learn their wooing skills. I still can’t figure out who he didn’t offend with that statement.
There’s a point in this conversation where the gentlemen realizes I’m unimpressed. That there’s something wrong with the phrase, “She’s pretty for a black girl.” It amazes me how many people think this is okay, when I say, “Bruno’s cute for a bulldog,” or “Sarah Palin’s well-dressed for an imbecile” it’s implying that the subject mentioned generally doesn’t go with the adjective that follows.
If you exclude someone based solely on his or her race, you’re being racist. If Donald trumps said, “I don’t hire Asians”, the weasel on his scalp would cower in terror at the media backlash. If it’s racist for a mogul to exclude employees based on race, then it’s racist for prowling bachelors to snub the darker beauties in the room because of theirs.
But how do I explain this to Drunky McGee? I can see his rum soaked brain beginning to realize my displeasure and his failure at “the game”. Soon the inevitable backtracking will start and I’ll be left with one of four options:
Number One: The Drink Toss (and Flounce) - Dramatic but a waste of a free alcohol.
Number Two: The Stereotype- Call him a racist asshole complete with fingersnapping until he storms away adding ‘mixed’ girls to his list of undesirables
Number Three: The Sic ‘Em – Run to the nearest bouncer and weep over the racist asshole who’s been offending you all night until he kicks him out of the bar (WARNING: this could get you either a free drink or another racist asshole)
Number Four: The Ghandi - Be the change you want to see.
What change do I want to see? I sometimes wonder what other people talk about. What happens when you’re both the same race? Sports? TV? Why is ethnicity the first thing that comes up when someone meets a crocodile?Sometimes I feel like they’re testing me, like I’m a show pony who has a name like Stumble Quits-a-lot and a questionable pedigree.
“Is this how you charm all the girls?” I ask, “Telling me you’d consider dating me because I’m only half black is like me saying I don’t date men but you have one X chromosome so we’ll see.”
He laughs. Science major.
“ Biology or chemistry?” I quip, smiling as I play with my glass.
“Neuroscience.” He says with a touch of pride.
“So I’m guessing you weren’t a fan of Pinky but the Brain”
I’m going to walk away in 30 seconds.
In 30 seconds I’m going to walk away and lean on a friend’s shoulder to gripe about assholes in bars. I may even reconsider option number one if I ever meet him again. But now, all I can do is be the change I want to see. If these experiences have taught me anything, it’s that furthering negative impressions doesn’t help anyone gain acceptance. And it starts with the crocodiles: the men and women who cross boundaries and combine cultures. Our duality forces people to face racial and cultural questions they wouldn’t normally consider. It’s not always easy to go with Ghandi, but laughter helps, as does a shot of really good tequila.