As you all know, bouge is equal opportunity and all love. Welcome one and all to BougieLand, please tell a friend. But every once and awhile it seems necessary to offer a few suggestions to keep our lovely diversity melting pot from bubbling over. For the record, I had SIX of these happened to me in the last month. (Just. DO. Better. people) Here goes, a few things never ask a black person:
- If something is racist or not: Hmm, if you have to ask… I'd err on the side of caution. Yes, we are supposed to be post-racial these days but if you ask me, the post-racial tension seems just a little more on edge. Any comment or act with the slightest racist tinge while earn you the stern side-eye. In the Ross Dress for Less the other day a woman and her daughter were trying on jeans. The daughter's jeans were WAY too tight. Her mother said, "That makes you look like you have a black woman's ass!" Then they both started doing some sort of big booty dance. The daughter said, "Look Mom, I'm a video ho." I just backed out of the dressing room. No time to correct THAT level of ignorance. Listen up people: When in doubt, do with out. And along those same lines…
- If we're offended by whatever borderline racist thing you just said: We probably weren't until you pointed it out, in front of everybody, in a meeting... when we're the only person of color there. Think first, speak later. I remember sitting in a meeting when this guy said he had just come back from skiing. He shared that on the last day he took the black trail. Another guy laughed and said, "Oh does that mean they served Malt Liquor and did the Electric Slide." Half the room laughed, the other half looked at me and then the whole room fell silent. "Oh, was that offensive?" He asked me, "No more than your Opie haircut." I replied and the meeting went on with a laugh and a collective sigh of relief. If you only knew how often we bite back the urge to raise up a black power fist and commence to going in like Stokely Carmichael… you really wouldn't test us.
- Why we sunbathe: We come in a range of colors from crème brûlée to espresso. Some of us enjoy the sun and don't care if we add a few shades to the hue. Please stop looking at us crazy when we slather on the Banana Boat and get our sun worship on. Can't tell you how many times BougieSis and I get the "Huh?" look when we settle in with beach bags, iPods, books and icy drinks by the spa pool on vacay. By the way, before you ask – yes… some of us sunburn.
- If we think (insert Black Celeb Name here) is cute: Okay, you got us on Idris Elba – far as I can tell all black women think he's droolworthy and are saving up for the clone DNA. Anyone else we might or might not call the Hotness, really depends on individual taste. Some black men think Amber Rose is all that, others not so much. I'm not so wild about Taye Diggs, BougieYoungerBro is not so into Sanaa Lathan – to each his own. How about a pact, stop asking us if we think Will Smith is cute and we'll stop asking about George Clooney. Fair exchange!
- Where something in the hood is: As I've said before, I know not from hood. I don't know where that slammin' after hours spot is that you overheard Ray-Ray and dem talking about. No clue. Chances are I can only point you in the direction of what area of town I don't roll through after dark. I might be able to get you to the catfish shack/rib joint (ha!) but that's about it. And speaking of which…
- How to cook something you ate at the soul food place: Chances are I do know how to cook it but I'm not your soul food guide. Holla at the Neelys – they have a great cookbook out: Down Home with the Neelys: A Southern Family Cookbook and actually get paid to tell you how to cook things. I don't mind a recipe swap but when the only things you ask me about are collard greens, chitlins and sweet potato pie, you're getting the side-eye. Just out of the blue a woman asked me how to make "real mac n cheese." Not a woman I knew well, just some random broad in an elevator. I told her to Google it.
- Anything about Kanye West: Yes he can be a jerk, yes he's a musical genius, yes it's sad his mom died. Beyond that, we probably don't know him personally and can't offer any more informed opinion than you can. Don't know why he does what he does, my guess is as good as yours: publicity, ego, short man's syndrome?
- How come we are lighter/darker than our parents/siblings: Again, range of colors people. According my cocoa dad, he wondered how his kids with my cocoa mom kept coming out lighter and lighter. He told her he was one child away from clocking the mailman when my younger brother came out chocolatey.
- Why our hair looks different today: Please see installment one, question one… just don't ask anything about the hair. If it looks nice, feel free to say so. Leave it that.
- If we've ever been to jail: You read that right! Someone actually asked me this the other day. I was so stunned that I blinked for a minute prompting her to say, "You don't have to answer if it makes you uncomfortable." I wasn't uncomfortable, I was deeply offended. And so I asked, "What is it about me that makes you think I'd been to jail?" She turned bright red and shrugged, "I guess it was a stupid question. I'm not racist." Ri-ight, she's not a racist – she just impersonates one in real life.
Any to add? Comments?