Thursday, October 22, 2009

A few more things never to ask Black People (especially Bougie ones)

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:

  1. 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…

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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…

  6. 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.

  7. 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?

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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?

39 comments:

natural nubian said...

neva eva eva eva eva eva eva, under ANY circumstances, ask me how do to do ___ dance. yes Uncle Luke and I hail from the same state, but do NOT ask me how to do the latest dance. Rose Perez or Debbie Allen I am not.

All Honey said...

It is rude, even ruder when they guess- so are you Indian? #FAIL!

CitizenOjo said...

I would tell them that I have been in jail..it ends the conversation and gives you more time to eat the hors d'œuvre

Tiffany Nicole said...

"Ri-ight, she's not a racist – she just impersonates one in real life." --Now that's funny! What a perfect ending! As the ONLY African American teacher with a staff of 75 and student body of 1100 I always get the "represent all Black people" questions. For instance, what's the correct term--Black or African American? and of course the hair questions. Then there's why do Black children speak so loudly? or Will you please speak with the Black children in the halls? Maybe you can form a step club or something? Yeah..I have the authority to speak for the entire Black race since I'm one person! You said it best Onechele--sometimes you just gotta walk away!!!

S23 said...

I don't think I've been directly asked anything remotely as crazy as those questions. I have to admit when people come up to me and tell me how articulate my 7 y/o is I kind of give them the side eye. Is he not supposed to be??????????????? When I first went natural, there was this 21 y/o fresh out of college yt kid in the office. He was always very mannerable and always asked how I was and how my son was. One day he asked me "Why'd you start wearing an afro?" Mind you, I didn't have an AFRO. My hair was in spiral curls.. The room fell SILENT.. Honestly he caught me off guard and didn't know what to say. I just said "Hank, I wear my hair anyway I chose, do you have a problemw ith that?" And he politely walked off.

ASmith said...

"Maybe you can form a step club or something? "

This made me raise my eyebrows and it pisses me off that it did.

I can't with the #foolishness.

Lady said...

"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. "

....LOL, I would have to agree with BougieUncle, that would cause a stern side eye.

The melanin deficent are so perplexed by all of our different hues. I work with them everyday and I feel like their personal tour guide to all that is brown; music, food, slang, and the list goes on and on.

MochaMuffin said...

LMAO - a girl at the gym asked me to show her how to do the stanky leg. Dammit! I should have to told her to Google it. Instead I gave her the laser beam of death stare and walked away.

MochaMuffin said...

I like that - I'm going to use it : You are testing my inner gangsta!

ASmith said...

"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."

Amen. My gangsta is tested so often.... TOO often.

In general, I like to quote a good friend during a conversation about a friend of hers who liked to begin racist statements with "I'm not racist..." My friend said in response, "yes the hell you slightly are..."

I just say that to people now when they say racist statements (whether they acknowledge it or not) "yes the hell you slightly are" and walk away.

Carey Jackson said...

I think that Black Run comment went over the border of "borderline racist" LOL. Sometimes I'm amazed that it's 2009 and people are still this narrow minded, most of the time I'm not.

SpitGameSpeakTruth said...

True story: Girl asked me if I used Afro Sheen. I was like, yes - 25 years ago. Kinda went the way of Pond's cold cream, right?

JaymeC said...

Girl every time you do one of these I think you've no more stories to tell. Today two people have asked me about Lil Wayne going to jail. I only knew who he was because of your blog and that VH1 you had me watch. Hot mess!

LikeLena said...

One of my daughter's friend's mom asked if she could send her child over to watch me cook. And she actually said, "You people do it so much better." Aargh!

thinklikeRiley said...

Oh if we just going in on crazy ish white folks say to black people - how bout - where can I get a gun? F! I know?!Chick at the gym rolled up. WTF, cuz a bruh work out he gotta be violent?

OneChele said...

Girl you know the hair is a source of confusion. This is why I say - just don't ask about it!

OneChele said...

Inner gangsta... stealing it.

OneChele said...

Excellent point, I will try that next time. Yes - In Jail for murdering someone who asked me a stupid question!

OneChele said...

Not the step club?!

OneChele said...

Do they still make afro sheen?! LMAO! Whatchu know about Pond's son?

OneChele said...

Le Sigh with where's the weed question. Don't you know the map is stamped in invisible ink on the back of the ghetto pass?!

Violet Rose said...

Old skool!

OneChele said...

You're welcome

OneChele said...

Who is "you people"?!

Violet Rose said...

You might win with that one, sheesh!

Violet Rose said...

Microchip under the skin at birth!

Violet Rose said...

Classy touch with the "slightly" LOL

Violet Rose said...

Why we always gotta be dancing or marching? Why?

CurlySue said...

Where do you find them? Or rather how do they find you? I think you maybe a drama magnet!

Andrea M said...

One of the things I love about this blog is that you talk about ANYTHING and you shoot straight. LOL to this post with the crazy questions.

Diana said...

they do still make Afro Sheen, it's still blue and hella greasy

Diana said...

Yeah she does. The one thing I would add, since I'm a "blended race" person is not to ask, "What are you?" You mean BESIDES HUMAN? It's so rude.

OneChele said...

Yes, I get the "are you mixed with something?" question all the time. My response, does it matter?

daisy said...

I don't dance, cook, or tell jokes on demand. Deep, deep sigh.

rikyrah said...

I love this list...made me LOL all the way.

uglyblackjohn said...

Really? You get offended?
At least they're trying to learn - not just assuming something.

EC Thompson, MD said...

the next time somebody asks you what is it like to be in jail, I think the appropriate reply is, "I don't know but I think there's a high likelihood I will know after I put my foot in your ass." Some people do say the stupidest things. As you said -- think first then speak.

Stank_0 said...

I'm sorry the black trail remark...I would have kept it "too real."

A way to make people think is a very emotionless "Are you serious?" No humor or emotion whatsoever. Then just fall silent.

derek love said...

I had a coworker ask me where to buy weed. Worse, I had just relocated to this city, does he think it's part of the black folk relo package?!

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