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Karin Mitchell's books on Goodreads
Between Families Between Families
reviews: 5
ratings: 8 (avg rating 4.75)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

When is talking about race racist?

So I watched a horror/suspense movie with Rob and he was all "SSSSHHHHhhhh!!!! Just watch the movie." And I was all, "I wish we lived where there were some black movie theaters so I could have some folks to watch movies with." And then I had the bright idea to post this on FB

Me- I need to watch more movies with black folks cuz then the amount of talking I do in a suspense movie would be completely acceptable. Oh how I miss the movie theater by Union Station.

A-
I saw a movie @ the Halls Ferry Cine...holy shut up!

Me-
Ahhh that's my kinda folks. With them my comments would be received with an "I know that's right." Oh, and I miss stretched out ummm hms too.

More me-
I'm bothered by the fact that I worry that I posted this. Oh my god, this is too far outside of my politically correct comfort zone!!!! And I'm not too politically correct. But whew! Have I offended anyone? Seriously, this is kinda freakin me out.

B-
post a politically correct version next

A-
Delete it now !! I'm comfortable with being offensive to just about anyone ...

Me-
(get your whitey voice out for this one) "Certain members of urban African American communities like to 'speak out' during movies with comments like "go on with your bad self" and "rock on sistergirl." These groups talk more during horror and suspense movies and say things like "I know she did not just do that." I would enjoy it if I had acceptance for this type of behavior as when I 'speak out' during a movie, my husband tells me "SSSSSHHHHhhhhhhhhhhh!"

Dude from high school I totally forgot was black (swear to god) like even when I tried to take mental inventory of all the black people I know to think if they do or don't fit stereotypes and if they would stop talking to me over this-
Karin u crack me up

C-
Imagine my white girl voice when I say you all need to shut yer holes during the moobies. You're the reason I don't go often! There. I feel better.

Me-
R, would you like to be my "ask a black dude?" Seriously I need a racist barometer. It could be you! Well, prolly I need a panel but you could be a start. Cuz I'm kinda scared to talk about race, and I have self control issues which means as soon as I think "I shouldn't talk about that." I immediately HAVE to talk about it. I've decided to post about this. Blogwards!


So thanks a lot R. If all my black friends I can't remember are black now hate me I'm blaming you. Because now I MUST talk about this even though my current gut-situation is that I'm pretty sure my stomach is earning a knot-tying badge at the Eagle Scout level.


I'm terrified to say anything about race. I'm scared to say 'black people.' Which is stupid, and I know its stupid and I gather my gumption up before I say anything related to race. Even though when I say "black people" what I mean is, stereotypical things I associate with African Americans. And when I say stereotypical, I mean the stereotypes I love and envy. Or maybe all I mean is dark skinned and nothing else. But even when I describe someone as 'black' my blood pressure goes up. That's ridiculous. Some people are blonde, some have green eyes, some are tall, some are black.

AHH! And my anxiety level is back up.


When it comes right down to it, I hold onto the positive black stereotypes. Or the ones I think of as positive. My first love of literature was Toni Morrison. Until I began reading African American literature, I didn't know I loved words. But poetic license with writing is not a strictly African American trait anymore than hollering in a movie theater.

I'm sure there's some skinny ebony woman in St. Louis who bitches every time she goes to the theater and someone like me is sitting next to her. She doesn't jut out an elbow and wink and think "right!" when I say "Don't go there!"

She and I should really switch places. She should watch movies with my closed lipped husband and I should find her loudest relative to cause a ruckus with.

But my racism or just talking about race and I'm not sure which is where, does not stop there!

I'm a tall, slenderish, blonde girl. And I hate it, but I totally assume that most black women when they look at me think "Skinny white bitch." And this may come from having had many a fucked up student (I used to work with kids with severe emotional problems) call me that. Or it could be that I can feel it in my blonde roots.

And it bothers me because I'm thinking, "I love your skin and want to feel, feel, feel its delicious color splashed across a page." Its not a sexual thing, (except with men and there I have to admit there are very few black men that upon first meeting, I haven't thought about sleeping with at least for a moment. Hello, positive stereotype!)

Its this thing of stereotypes. I love hip hop and jazz and always have. I couldn't lose a beat in a crowd. I breathe hyperbole. I holler at the television and at the movie screen. And I. Love. Black. Culture.

And skin. I love the richness of caramel and the light brown eyes that sometimes contrast dark skin. And chocolate pours with hair so thick you could pick it out to wrap the world around. I love African skin like the Mauritanians that live in the mountains here.
Skin so dark you could dip your toe in to try to find the bottom. (Yes, though you'd think I live in the whitest place on earth since its a skiing, resort community, somehow someone along the way thought this was a GOOD place to send Western African refugees. And I feel bad for them because dang its cold if you don't ski. Its beautiful, but freezing.) And really I want to kiss the cheeks of these beautiful people and thank them for all that a culture of rhymes has taught a girl.

But that's racist, right?

Or maybe its like how I talked about having a miscarriage when no one else would. Maybe I need to get over myself and my fears and just let it out. Cuz when it comes to the folks I know in real life, I start to forget about what color they are and just think of them as them. I could even pretend I was at the movies back in St. Louis.

or would you say "SSSSSSSHHHHHhhhhhhh!!!"

3 comments:

Lora said...

I think that we all need to have a better sense of humor about ourselves no matter what our color, gender, religion, sexual preference, whatever.

I am an equal opportunity maker-funner.

It's strange because I live in a place where whites are outnumbered by non-whites, and it isn't such a big deal to describe someone by their color, or even to make a "your people..." comment if it is in fun. It works both ways. All ways. black->white, white->black, brown->red, yellow->brown.

I find outwardly religious people to be exhausting. I make fun of them. I can't stand ditzy white girls. Just like I get annoyed at bitchy black girls. And ditzy black girls and bitchy white girls. I don't like the way there are three houses on my block where 20 Mexicans live. I hate how all the Italian people on my street live with their mothers until they are 45.

People are annoying.

Race has to stop being such a big sensitive deal in our country.

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