I’m home from my mini-vacation, sans laptop. I accidentally left it in security when a bag search interrupted me while on auto-pilot. Fortunately, it was located in the lost and found and will be shipped back soon. Whew! I didn’t even notice it was gone until several minutes after we were in the air. I used the remainder of the flight to freak out. I was given sympathy and reassurance from the woman seated beside me. She was so kind I almost started ugly crying. The relief I’ll feel when it’s back in my hands will be worth every almost-tear. Okay, I did bawl my head off when I got home, but it was in the shower, so it doesn’t count. 😛
I’m getting back into my rhythm with The Resistance. I noticed a response thread about Bill Mahr using the N word. Someone stated they didn’t mind his using it once in comparison to Snoop Dog using it several times a minute. They first stated they were “Afro-American.” It’s not a term I’ve heard in ages. It gave me pause, but only because it was unusual terminology for today. I didn’t draw any certainties from it. I’m apparently the only one, out of the hundreds who jumped in to inform him they thought his choice of words proved he was white. Initially, someone merely stated it’s an outdated term, and the use made them suspicious. Then came the flood.
At first, it was hilarious. Lots of memes and witty statements demonstrating a white person pretending to be a black person. It started getting ugly when the comments started coming from those who were taking a little too much pleasure in tearing someone down. It wasn’t funny anymore. It was an accusation. People were literally stating he couldn’t be black based solely on his word choices. Before long, I was also accused of pretending to be black by some Caucasian woman. Blocked. This is another symptom of institutional racism. The belief one’s behavior dictates the pigmentation level of their skin is ridiculous and astonishingly ignorant. It’s saying stereotypes have the same efficacy as DNA.
It’s a sore point for me in particular. I’ve faced this abuse too often in the past by other blacks who deny my membership because of my language, clothing, and/or who I hang out with. I speak proper Midwestern English, just like every other educated person who grew up here. I’m aware of slang from hip-hop and rap culture, but don’t think it’s the cultural language of any race other than human. There are people from everywhere who live the culture. Their skin is irrelevant. This isn’t rocket science. I can imitate an inner-city accent, but not with a straight face while being phony. I’m a black woman from the upper midwestern US. This is called a fact.
I’ve traveled enough to notice language and cultural variations in different regions of the US. I like diversity. It’s fascinating. I’m comfortable being myself and am mature enough to laugh at things like peer pressure and pettiness within my own race. My own sister used to give me shit about being openly Midwestern. All I heard was, “Hi, I’m a hypocrite so feel free to ignore me.” Being raised in the Midwest would have sufficed, but on top of that, I was adopted by a Caucasian family. Guess what? It influenced my language and culture. Of course, I don’t speak like someone who grew up in LA or NYC! Please explain the thought process that led to this being surprising information, because I can’t find it.
I don’t filter my world by things so petty as variations in physical traits. This is my life, and I intend to continue living the shit out of it. I’ll continue doing my best to avoid stepping on others out of default decency. I also won’t tolerate anyone stepping on me. I’m too busy chasing fascination to waste time conforming to stereotypes. I’m too free and happy for petty bullshit. While I sincerely think many who joined in to be silly on Twitter over this had no malice behind their memes, the point that matters is this: If you honestly believe language and culture can qualify or disqualify a person from a particular race, you believe a lie, which is ignorance defined.