…Black…Black…

 

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A real life dialogue from 1990 between two young co-workers.  

One Black and One White.

 

Me:  “Hey Teri!  How are your classes coming this quarter?”

Teri:  “Hey Gwin!  They’re coming along OK.”

Me:  “Are you making any new friends?”

Teri:  “Well, yes…but, to be honest,  I’ve noticed that the Black students in my classes aren’t really friendly and they only talk to each other.”

Me:  “Well have you tried starting a conversation with any of ’em?”

Teri:  “Well, no… I mean, I’m not used to being around Black people so I wouldn’t know what to say.”

Me:  “Teri, you’re forgetting something…in case you hadn’t noticed, I’m Black and we talk all the time.”

Teri:  “Gwin, that’s different, you’re Black but you’re not Black Black.

Me:  What?  What do you mean I’m not Black Black?”

Teri:  “See… now you’re trying to make me feel bad, I’m just saying that you’re not like most Black people.”

Me:  “Come on Teri didn’t you just say that you’re not used to being around Black people?  So how do you know how most Black people are?”

Teri:  “Gwin, please don’t get mad.  You’ve been a very good friend to me and the last thing I would want to do is offend you so let’s just drop the subject, I’m sorry.”

Me:  “I accept Teri and I agree; we probably need to move on and start talking about something else.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

83 thoughts on “…Black…Black…

    1. Thank you rjay!
      I appreciate that :_
      It’s sad but true.
      Poor girl…she’s probably thinking the exact same way now as she did all those years ago.
      I hope to see you back soon 🙂

      Like

    1. You are absolutely right Susan.
      And thanks for stopping by.
      I intentionally posted an incomplete dialogue as a means of mimicking the fact that we tend not to want to finish these important conversations; even if we are bold enough to start them.
      I am so glad you took time to comment and like my posts.
      🙂 Hope to see more of you 🌹

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Thanks! I had a chance to hop over to your blog and saw your letters to Kris Kardashian and other various people and things! It was hilarious!!! Thanks for a good laugh. I’m following so I’ll be back over there 🙂 Thanks for following me.

          Liked by 1 person

  1. This resonated with me. So many preconceived stereotypes out there. I have to share something…
    When I was 5 years old…in kindergarten, I brought home, on the bus, my first boyfriend. His name was Tony. He was my best friend and we held hands and hugged all the time (that was in the 70’s and you know that wouldn’t fly these days…) Anywho…his mom and my mom talked and it was agreed that he could come over to the house and play afterschool and his mom would come pick him up.
    I never mentioned to my mom that Tony’s skin was a different color than mine, because it was not an issue for me. I hadn’t been taught that it was an issue.
    When my mother saw us walking down our driveway, hand-in-hand, she was shocked. She didn’t realize that Tony was black. That was the day that I learned there were “differences” between people and we could be “casual” friends but never good friends, best friends or boy/girlfriends.
    Even at 5…I knew she was wrong. I loved Tony regardless. He was the only one who was nice to me when I was the new kid in the class. And I challenged my mother on the subject from that point on. I knew how far to push her…I knew that she didn’t understand…I realized that she had limitations. I gave up trying to change her and lived my life…befriending who I liked, dismissing those I didn’t like, and the litmus test was never race.
    I have been blessed to have those uncomfortable conversations with many of my friends. I have learned through listening and observing. I have experienced situations that offended me and then realized that this was an every day occurrence for many of my friends. It saddens me, but I feel lucky to at least recognize and understand, even if only for a moment, some of the issues my friends face.
    Great post, Gwin!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Tessa thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this subject. What a precious story about Tony. I wonder what happened to him.
      Your mom was simply repeating what she had learned all those years ago. But you know what? We should know better by now and I am talking about BOTH races.
      If you read the comments you may have noticed a fellow white blogger named Delilah who feels unsure of how to broach this conversation with her Black friends. Do you have any suggestions to offer her? I’m sure she’s open to it. Be sure and tell her that LadyG sent you to her on special assignment! LOL!!!!
      Tessa girl you the shiznit!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I am happy to help, my friend!
        The reason most people don’t have open conversations about race, is because somehow it’s become taboo…or in poor taste, when it should be the opposite.
        My friend and I went to lunch together a couple of weeks ago. She is black. The server was a white female, who acknowledged me first, made small talk with me first. Tried to take my order first. And barely spoke to my friend. I don’t know if it was intentional or not, but it made ME uncomfortable. I smiled at the server and said, “I think she’s ready to order.” I made her address my friend first. When she asked me if I needed a refill on my drink and didn’t ask her…I looked at my friend and said, “Jaranda, do you need some more tea?” I demonstrated to the server that she needed to acknowledge and respond to Jaranda, as she did to me, we are here together, and her needs are equally as important as mine. Eventually, she got the memo. And afterward, Jaranda told me that she saw what I did and appreciated it…maybe the server will begin to understand how she comes across…or maybe she won’t. But I can’t sit by and watch that happen. I know it may seem small, but I noticed it and I didn’t like it.
        Ironically when my mother and I would argue about race, I would always get her with, “my race is human.”
        That always shut her down! God rest her sweet soul.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Oh yes my friend! Those micro-aggressions toward black folks are real! I am so glad that you noticed it and nipped it in the bud. Sadly, as black folks we sometimes get so used to it that it doesn’t even register. Now that’s fucked up!
          I really hope Delilah gets a chance to read your comments here. Based on her comments she is a very sweet person who is honestly perplexed as to how to engage her black friends who are on edge these days— and may I say, rightfully on edge.
          The stuff that’s going on now is out of this world!
          I just can’t with that bullshit.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. You have such a big heart for people, I will reach out to her in comments.
          And it is fucked up that you don’t even notice it any longer, because you get used to it.
          Change starts with one person, one situation, one encounter at a time. My kids have been raised differently than I was raised. And their friends will always be welcome, regardless of what’s on their birth certificate.
          I have a theory…there is a definite “white privilege” out there. IT’S REAL. IT EXISTS. And there’s nothing I can do to change it as whole, other than to use my “white privilege” to further equality…on a big scale, small scale in the microcosm I live in…I have the chance to educate and teach those who don’t understand. To call out the fucked up shit when I see it. And it’s a choice to do so. Isn’t always easy. And surely isn’t popular. But it must be done.
          To quote Langston Hughes
          “…the only way to get a thing done is to start to do it, then keep on doing it, and finally you’ll finish it,….”
          Don’t know if it will ever be finished, my friend…but we have to start to do it.
          All my love, Gwin!

          Liked by 2 people

        3. Thank you so much for that Tessa. It really does mean a lot to read your healing words here. You also have a HUGE heart for people. That being the case you will always be blessed.
          And it is so true, White people who are down need to use their white privilege to call BS out. And, as you said, it’s not at all easy but it is so necessary.
          I love the Langston Hughes quote.
          It reminds me of one of my favorites by Lewis Carroll:
          “Start at the beginning, keep going and when you come to the end, stop.”
          THE END of bias, racism and especially police officers trying, convicting and executing black men all in less than 5 minutes.
          All my love right back to you, Tessa–my sister!
          Gwin

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Whoa… I’m sure I have my own blindspots, but this one seems obvious: you’re nice because you’re “not like most black people.” Ouch.

    That has to be so frustrating. Even when you get along with white people, instead of people rethinking their racial stereotypes, you’re just seen as the exception to the rule.

    I’m white, so I haven’t felt this particular sting, but it does remind me of when people say a woman “thinks like a man” or acts like a tomboy. Instead of considering that women might also be sporty or good at science and math, this particular woman becomes the exception to the rule and everyone keeps on being sexist.

    It also reminds me of the time some people from South Carolina told my black friend Michelle that she was “pretty for a black girl.” Like she’d overcome a handicap or was pretty by lower standards or something. This was many years ago and I still feel bad for not saying anything. It was just so awkward and ignorant, I froze.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh wow! Thanks for commenting here Delilah!
      I love the fact that you have drawn a critical comparison between racist and sexist comments.
      When I was younger, I was often told that I was a pretty black girl by white people. I know that’s a little bit different than being called “Pretty for a black girl.” But the fact that the qualifier of ‘black’ was included still shows an inherent bias!
      I just have to shake my head sometimes babydoll.
      Heres to more folks of different races talking and sharing experiences.
      Have a great day 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Well I’ve experienced sexism, so I try tapping into those feelings to understand racism. I know it’s not the same, but it helps me understand why you can’t just easily “shake things off” or just ignore it.

        I think beauty ideals are changing for the better, getting more inclusive. I remember my blonde friends telling me, when I was a kid, that I could never be a Disney princess because I had dark hair, so I can’t imagine what it was like for any non-white girl. Even most white girls weren’t white enough to be Barbie dolls.

        A lot of Disney princesses have come along since then that are no longer exclusively blonde-haired and blue-eyed (Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Tiana…)

        I have a 4 year old daughter who was playing a Disney Princess game the other day and she gave her character black hair and a green dress so she could “be just like Tiana the princess frog.”

        I’m hoping that’s a sign of changing times, that our kids are no longer growing up with a single beauty ideal. This stuff imprints early.

        You too 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Lovely Delilah,

          Our friend, Lady G, asked me to reach out to you. I commented below and I hope you have an opportunity to read some of my comments. In college, a few of my roommates were African-American. When we went out together, with me being the only white girl in the group, I saw how my friends were treated differently than I was. I got helped in line faster. Servers came to me first. I was acknowledged and they were ignored. I felt helpless. I didn’t know how to confront the situation. So I shuddered at the way they were treated and remained silent. Who was I to take on society on behalf of my friends?
          Then I began to see the pain it caused them. I worried that my presence made the division even more obvious. I didn’t know how to confront the situation…so I decided not to do it in a confrontational way. I simply and quietly redirected those who ignored them. I saw myself as a liaison of sorts…teaching my people how to treat people. I make sure I do the little things…I teach my kids to do the little things…little things like reminding someone who is oblivious to the fact that they’ve just skipped over the black person in line, that “she was here first.” I speak to everyone I meet, regardless of their race…and that goes for those of other faiths too. There’s a serious bias in this country with religion…don’t even get me started on that! But plain and simple…be there for your friends. Listen to their struggles and understand where you can help Keep raising your little one to love and accept all.
          Peace and love to you and yours,
          Tessa

          Liked by 3 people

        2. Hi Tessa, it’s good to meet you! Thank you for reaching out to me.

          I think I’ve been kind of oblivious to a lot of the subtler forms of racism in our country. It’s obvious when someone is hurling racial slurs, but I think of people like that as outliers.

          I probably need to be paying more attention. I’m also the kind of non-confrontational person who usually doesn’t speak up even when I feel like I’m getting treated badly…

          I’ll read more of your comments because I’m trying to understand these issues better. One thing I’m struggling with is how to talk about the recent cop shootings.
          Of of my black friend will, for example, talk about how much she’s hurting on Facebook and I don’t know what to say, but I feel like staying silent isn’t helping.

          Thank you for sharing all this–you’ve given me a lot to think about. Peace and love to you as well

          Liked by 2 people

        3. Thanks for your sweet response. Glad to meet you, Delilah.
          It is difficult to know what to say or do in these situations. My advice, don’t stay silent. Reach out to your friend either in a post/comment/private message and let her know you are hurting…hurting for her…hurting for the families of those murdered…hurting for minorities in our country. As we know, we cannot control what other people do or think, we can only control our response. Let her know you stand with her in support. Let her know you love her. Let her know you are there as a friend. Ask her to talk to you, to educate you about the struggles she faces so you can use your privilege to call them out and to educate. It starts with each of us.
          (My blog is a bit tawdry, but there is an email linked to it…feel free to message me there, if you ever need to)
          PS: My little one is 3. And she identifies with Tiana, Belle and Ariel most of all. We can start to redefine the standards of beauty with our own little beauties.
          Blessings to you.

          Liked by 2 people

  3. I can definitely relate to this conversation. When I first joined the military I meant white people who spent little time around blacks. Conversely, I grew up not knowing anyone who was not black, white, Mexican, or Puerto Rican. Wow! I realize that I was not much different than Teri.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow, thanks for sharing that.
      It’s so true that the scenario in this post is easily reversed-as you have described.
      Even though this convo happened in 1990, it is amazing how segregated things STILL are.
      Thanks again for stopping by DJ KennyMan 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. For real -for real and seriously! All of the above baby.
      But you know what?
      I really actually felt sorry for her.
      Good thing you weren’t here!
      All hell might have broken loose! LOL!

      Liked by 3 people

  4. In Yorkshire (part of England’s northlands) they have a saying ‘There’s nowt so queer as folk,’. People can be kind, nasty and complete jerks (sometimes all together). The issue of Race is one of the US’ great tragedies because as individuals most Americans are so nice, friendly and upfront.
    And everywhere you go in the world you’ll find this. Now in the UK we’ve got the obvious ones White vs Black; White vs Asian; Black vs Asian and I could go on. Then there are the little ones that you only notice if you’re there:
    Wales (my bit): It’s settled down a bit now, but a few decades back there was tension between those whose first language is Welsh and those whose first language is English; if you couldn’t speak welsh then you were a traitor. And if you spoke English then you viewed the welsh speakers as inbred hill-billys who were planning on taking over.
    Northern Ireland: Well, we don’t need to elaborate.
    Scotland: Several scots commentators say this is the one the Scots would rather not talk about but they have a catholic/protestant religious divide that can be as toxic as anything you’ll come across.
    England: All the above like to blame the English for all of their problems; when actually most of the English get treated just as ‘screwily’ as the rest, by (you guessed it) The Central Government! And then for even more loopy reasons some parts of England don’t trust other parts of England with a vehemence that borders on a diluted sort of racism.

    After all these years of experience and consideration I have reached a conclusion:
    “Oh for %&?!$’s sake!! People are people! Quit with this crap! Folk are dying!!”

    I would just love to be able to go on a World-Wide Rant Tour, might not get through alive, but man what a way to go!!
    OK, I’m done Gwin

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Oh wouldn’t I just love to Gwin!
        Yeah, The Dis-United Kingdom; watch this space!
        (I’ve really embraced this grumpy-old-guy role. Currently I see both the Government Party (conservatives) and the Opposition (labour) composed of idiots. 5 mins of Facebook has me convinced the IQ in the country is in free-fall, and if I can find 1 hour of intelligent entertainment on any of the UK TV Channels on any given night it is a miracle!….perhaps I should have a Rant Blog)

        Liked by 3 people

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  6. It was 1990, but it stayed with you. I understand why. I’ve never been told that I was white, but not white-white ? I wonder in 2016, if we are more enlightened and whether it has gotten better or worse ? A thoughtful discussion, G.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you “Van” for stopping by and commenting 🙂
      You know, sometimes, when I glance at the TV, I worry that it’s getting worse.
      But the good news is that sensible folks from all sides can still come together in a forum like this and have a thoughtful conversation on the topic.
      But I know one thing, if we don’t get it together soon, “(we’ll) be living in a van down by the river!”
      (RIP Chris!)
      LOL!!!

      Liked by 3 people

    1. Yeah, I’d get that kinda thing from time to time.
      Honestly, I wished that she and I had been in an environment where we could have discussed the issue a bit more.
      Alas, we were in the middle of a busy ladies clothing store; not mention the fact that we were both rather young so neither of us was fully equipped to properly process what had occurred.
      I’ve been hanging on to that story for all these years so I decided to park it right here for further consideration by a very intelligent and thoughtful set of folks.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Even when I was young and dumb, I would’ve never understood that line of thinking, or comparison if you will. And sometimes I just can’t comprehend the extreme stupidity of people, even in today’s day and age.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. Thanks Paula! There are some folks out there that we’ll never understand.

          This girl was VERY sheltered and had grown up in a small Georgia town that was pretty much very segregated (de facto) even though segregation was made illegal many, many years before.
          Honestly, I was one of her first experiences with a real live Black person.
          It’s actually sad when you think about it.

          Liked by 4 people

  7. Hey Lady G, I’m black and back! 😀 You know this topic is very apt in my neck of the woods right now. After more than 20 years of our democracy, race is an even bigger issue. I was tempted to write something about hair because there is a rage going on right now about “black hair” at schools. Let’s just say we’ve had a couple of really “bad hair” days. But sister – I came here to pay my respects and say Hi – I’ve got lots of catching up to do. See you soon Sweetheart!🌹

    Liked by 4 people

    1. CHEEEEEEVVVVVVVYYYYYYYY!!!!!!
      I am sooooooo happy to see you here! YAAAAY! You just made my day girl! Really you have! My girl is BACK!!!!!

      Seriously now, write something about hair! Tell us more about what’s going on politically there with hair in schools.

      My sister is back y’all!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Whoa! that is one heck of a welcome. THANK YOU, THANK YOU – you’ve made my day too!
        Oh the hair thing is getting ugly – it’s cutting right down to the “roots” of our identity and the ugly face of racism in our mixed schools. I’m not big on social media but from what I hear on the radio, the internet lines are burning with venom and rage. Yeah – I’m trying to figure how to “treat” the topic. I got to get some sleep now, check you out tomorrow Sweetheart😊

        Liked by 3 people

  8. Nobody wants to have the conversation, but everyone wants to fall in line behind the old (and current) stereotypes. We need to get past that…but it doesn’t seem like one side wants to do it. They might actually learn something if they did, rather than holding on to their preconceived notions of what “blackness” is.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Yeah, we’re seeing alot of folks who don’t know and who don’t wanna know.
      It is very disturbing to see people spewing stuff that sounds like it came from 1940’s Nazi Germany and every other low place and time under the sun.
      Sadly, it just stimulates hate from both sides.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Tareau Barron

      That is very true. Alot of white people play ignorant when we try and educate them in things. ( definitely not all but alot probably 80%) All white americans should know (if they are not prejudice or racist) that America’s bill of rights were for White men only. I’ll tell you a quick story if you don’t mind. On Sept 11th 2001, I was supposed to take my ASVAB test to enroll into the air force. I chickened out due to the terrorist attack. I went fishing with my God brother and God father at this place called Galt here in Northern California. Usually it’s full of rednecks and good ole boys who gives us dirty looks and hard times about shit. Anyways that whole week those rednecks bought us beers and food. They welcomed us. It was bittersweet because it took an unfortunate terrorist attack for them to acknowledge us as being equal. Ain’t that some shiznet??

      Liked by 3 people

  9. Tareau Barron

    It’s sad because there is a division amongst us blacks. Hard working educated black folks vs coons. Yea I said it. Coons and ratchets are what everyone associate with being black. So the way some folks of other races feel about us, is kind of our (as a whole) fault. We don’t promote what we should promote. Your friend just sounds misinformed about what being black is. I’ve been in your shoes getting called “not Black black” by another race. It hurts honestly. I’ll always ask them “Well if u don’t think I’m black black, go ask the people who you think are black black who Dred Scott was”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This is exactly the kind of honest comment that I was hoping to see.
      Thank you brah! You’ve given us all much food for thought.
      If I didn’t know any better, I’d think I was responding to Aaron McGruder! LOL!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Tareau Barron

        Lmfao I’m upset with Mr. McGruder for leaving boondocks season 4 in the hands of other people. What a waste of a season. But to your point a few of our problems within the black community, are our fault. We can’t get mad when a white guy who loves hip hop and gets a proverbial “hood pass” to use nigger/nigga. Who told said guy it would be ok? It’s easy to blame other races for our problems. Most of us who allow this behavior know better. Adults. It’s on the opposite spectrum of your situation. Same problem, same severity, but different outcomes.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. Absolutely! But some people (of all races) don’t understand that.
          But I do agree with your point, culture, background –and I’ll add ethnicity and religious affiliation–take it to that whole n’other level! LOL!

          Liked by 3 people

  10. Umm, you and Terri need to have a talk. She needs to realize that she has preconceived notions about people and is passing judgement on folks without ever saying hello or trying to get to know someone. This is why it is important for white folks to not be afraid to talk about race.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Hey Sis!
      Yeah, you’re right we have to be able to have these kinds of convos. I failed to mentioned that this all took place in 1990. We were both sophomores in college working together part-time.
      I haven’t seen her since.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. Oh yes, I always like to have a deeper conversation with people of other races when the opportunity presents itself. I have a way of making people feel comfortable when talking about subjects like this. I think that the key is to be curious versus defensive. How ’bout you?

          Liked by 4 people

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