I know, I know. I’m that person who doesn’t text you for weeks and then out of the blue sends you a quick “Good morning beautiful!”. You should ignore them because they need to kick rocks with open-toe shoes (my friend says that all the time and I find it hilarious. Thanks Ali). But maybe, just maybe, you decide to respond. At first you may be incredibly upset: “Idiot (I suggest using a stronger word but I’m working on my cursing), where have you been?! You ghosted on me”(Which sidebar, why is ghosting a thing? We’re adults. USE YOUR WORDS. But I digress). Their smooth talking slowly gets the best of you. You start remembering why you liked them in the first place and you’re once again enthralled.
Happened to me last month Definitely not speaking from personal experience. That was my roundabout way of saying: “hey boos! I’ve missed y’all! I’ve missed this space and I’ve missed story telling. I really appreciate how y’all continue to rock with me!”
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way (although…y’all know to expect another long intro excusing my absence for the next 6 months. I’m not really sure why I play these games), let’s dive right back in. I debated long and hard about what to discuss following my re-emergence from hibernation. While a lot of you (the 4 that still rock with me) seem to like the dating stories, my dating life has been more sad than entertaining lately. I did learn a new term though, “softboy“. So I thought I’d bring you another installment of “When people say dumb sh%t and need to be called out”.
Picture this. You’re sitting at a bar with a group of friends, glasses clinking, beer spilling on the old wooden table. Someone is laughing loudly while you try to repeat your unique name to Ruth’s date for the 3rd time. Beneath your worn out shoes, the floor feels sticky. The air smells of stale beer, rotting wood and discarded cigarette buds. This is the bar that everyone goes to because the beer is cheap and the fries are extra greasy. It’s not much but it feels like home. You’ve joked with friends, played darts and stayed out well past your bedtime in this bar. You know where the bathrooms are located; and that anyone who orders the salmon sandwich will also become well-acquainted with those too-small stalls with the broken doors. The point is, this is a safe place. You feel confident that you can be yourself in this place and that you’re in good company.
Esther*, a pleasant blonde woman from the South (the Southern part is important, so pay attention folks), is discussing the latest college football game. Apparently, her favorite team beat some other team or something to that effect. That’s usually how these things work, right? Personally, I don’t care. Esther keeps yammering on about her team and mentions that they might beat the 1st place team in their division. People chuckle. Again, I do not care and am barely listening. Like I said (or in this case, am about to say) I’m just there so I won’t get fined. Esther, not one to be discouraged, continues: “We will rise again!”
“I don’t get it. Why would that make you pause?” Good question my friend. On a regular day, I would have gone on with my merry Black self and ignored Esther and her enthusiasm for college football. But on that fateful day, I happened to walk by a car with a confederate flag and 2 Trump stickers. So your girl was feeling extra sensitive to anything that may have had even the slightest racist undertones.
For those of you who may still be confused about why Esther saying “We will rise again” irked me, here’s a little free .99 U.S history lesson. In 1861, 7 states succeeded from the Union and formed what became known as the Confederacy (They would grow their ranks to 11)… Actually, I don’t have time for this and I’m not the historian in the family. If you’re really interested, follow my cousin on Twitter (I gotta ask him if he’s cool with me putting his business out there first) or you can read about it. Google is free 25/7.
Essentially, what you need to know is that the Confederacy would have kept my behind in chains, picking cotton if they could and *some* Southerners have been going around for decades declaring that “The South will rise again” cuz you know…they racist AF. So you can see how hearing Esther, a blonde Southern woman, say those words may have made me feel some type of way.
Anyways (because this post is already getting too long)…while I’m a little shook, I get over it quickly. People keep laughing, drinking their beers. We’re all having a good time, Mary-Magdalene* is discussing her new business venture with a slightly buzzed Peter*. Emblazoned by alcohol, Peter declares “You should get some African colors for your logo”
“Now what exactly are African colors, Peter?”
“You know…bright! Maybe with some African print.”
Can someone please explain to me what exactly African colors are? If I wear a yellow shirt in Russia, is it called “Russian yellow” vs. if I wear that shirt in Ghana, y’all gon’ call it “Ghanaian yellow”? I’m confused. I know we stay poppin’ in all colors of the rainbow palette but I didn’t realize bright colors were only reserved to Africa. Also, the audacity to just throw a “African print” as if that makes it better. “African prints” as Peter referred to them, vary and can actually depend on country/region. Example: fabric prints from the Forest region in Guinea are quite distinctive. Y’all stay trying us and having this “Africa is a monolith” attitude, even when you should know better!
Fix it Jesus!
Y’all! It may seem as if I’m making a mountain out of a molehill but words matter and these thought patterns are pervasive. We have got to do better people. So next time you’re having drinks with a Peter, at your favorite bar with the sticky floors, and he says something slick, follow these steps:
- Ask the ancestors for fortitude
- Take a deep breath. If you’re drinking, take another sip of your drink
- Look him in the eye so he can see that he ’bout to be checked and you ain’t playing no games
- Go for the jugular and make sure he knows/does better next time because you care
Disclaimer: if Peter is your glucose guardian (think about it for a second. It’ll come to you eventually), your ride home or just being the good friend who’s got you covered cuz you forgot your wallet, keep yo’ mouth shut. I can’t cover your beers and mine therefore your “wokeness” might have to wait until after the bill has been paid.
Other option is to write a longer-than-needed blog post on the interwebs. But that’s just me though. Not trying to be accused of ruining anyone’s life or friendships.
*Names and scenario have been changed.