It’s a Weird Day
Last night was pretteh awesome. The inimitable Rich “Sunshine” Meister got us on the list for the Dallas premiere of HBO’s Ballers. Open bar, free buffet, pretty people dressed up into prettier people. Super cool.
Unfortunately, while I was enjoying the unearned spoils of a friendship based almost entirely on a mutual enjoyment of themed pub crawls, an evil man was murdering innocent people in a church – just because they were black.
That’s some shit.
Today I don’t yet know how to feel about it. My big brother has his thoughts:
“We aren’t viewed as Americans. We aren’t viewed as people.”
I can’t go that far. The way blacks are viewed in America is – unfortunate (I use that word because, while there are a host of historical and cultural issues that lead to it, we do too much to perpetuate the negative stereotypes – (As loathe as I am to say it, this point of view is not for my white friends…read it, be aware of it, and never use it in a discussion of racial issues; because you can understand it as well as I can understand what it feels like to be a woman walking home alone at night). I get surprised reactions when I start talking about economics or social issues with confidence behind my opinions and information to back it up. When I start a new project or a new job and everyone is surprised by the quality and speed of my work, I have to wonder. The frequency with which I get asked if I was married when I talk about my kids is absurd. Because muscular, 30-something black guys aren’t supposed to be smart and capable and have legitimate children.
But even here in the south…in a place once (and maybe still) known as the “City of Hate”, I never feel like I’m not viewed as a person, or as an American. But I know that as hard as people try, there’s no escaping the differing expectations. And now, I’m about to go to a happy hour where one of three things is going to happen: a) I’m going to be the Official Representative of American Black People to everyone who talks to me, b) literally no one will talk to me about it, but they’ll give me that side eye that let’s me know they’re aware that they aren’t talking to me about it, c) I’m going to get inappropriately drunk for a Thursday and hide.
In case #1 happens, I need answer. In case of #2, I need a prepared speech (to give to the assembled group, since they won’t ask). In case of #3, I need water. Unfortunately I don’t yet know how I feel. Fortunately, I have water.