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Monday, December 22, 2008

flying in color

I have been trying to find the time to sit down and write this particular entry for a few weeks now.
However I was busy with making the quilt for the exhibit
Quilts for Obama: An Exhibit Celebrating the Inauguration of our 44th President
(see Wednesday Dec 17th entry.)

So I have not had the time. But the incident I wanted to write about has now happened 3 times so I figured I had to stop and write about it now before my head exploded.

The names in this story have been changed but the story is true.

About a week after Barack Obama was elected President I ran into a white woman I know fairly well.
Knowing we were both Democrats we did a little victory jig in the street to celebrate Obama's win.

So far so good.

Then "Jane" says this, "Cookie I know you must be especially happy that he won."
"Why would I be happier than anyone else?" I ask, thinking I know where this is going....

but hoping she is going to say; "I know you worked really hard on his campaign and you must feel great about a job well done."

But of course she did not say that.

What she said was, " you must be just so happy to finally have an African American President."

For some reason this statement really peeved me.

So I said to "Jane" ..."I am happy that we have elected a good, intelligent, reasonable man who is a Constitutional lawyer who I believe wants to see America get back on the right track who happens to be black."

Jane then says, directly on the heels of her last statement, "You know Cookie, I am really post-racial and I would not even have noticed that President Elect Obame is black if the media did not keep mentioning it."

I just looked at her and then walked away.

This same story almost word for word was repeated in the last few weeks twice more.

The last time it happened and "Prudence" said the whole...
"I am so post racial I would just never have know he was black" thing, she added helpfully, I never think of you as black either. I never even noticed it until you mentioned it one time."

I am thinking about now, "can I just slap this silly bitch?"

Well... I did not slap her but I was really DONE with this post racial line of B. S.

We change topics, we talk about our kids, my business, her job and possible move... then it dawns on me!

Perhaps I can make this a teachable moment for her.

So I say to her, "Prudence, you know you know Carlotta Finklestein don't you?"

"Yes!" she exclaims and tells me in all the ways the know each other and what dear friends they are. (I knew this already....)

I said, ..."then perhaps you can help me.... Carlotta has been so very kind and helpful to me this year and I would like to make her a fabulous scarf, but I am not sure of her eye color. Do you know?"

Pru, dear girl, waxes poetically about the color of Carlotta's eyes.

"They are blue, you know a really deep blue but with azure and gold flecks in them. Her eyes are just so pretty and vibrant, Cookie, I am surprised you did not remember."

I muttered something, waited for the revelation to hit her and when it did not, I said a quick good bye and simply walked away.

What was the revelation I was waiting for this "post-racial" white chick to have?

That, HELLO!!!, if you can remember the color of someone's eyes, two very small round balls in the top of someone's head, how can you not notice that Barack Obama or that I am Black!?!
Barack stands 6 feet 4 inches tall. That is a whole lotta black not to see.
I do stand only 5 feet tall, okay okay, I am 4 ft 11 and a half inches but I weight over 200 pounds. I am an almost 5 feet tall, big, round ball of blackness.

Is she and the other 2 white chicks, who peddled that same line of BS to me, kidding?!?

White gal pals. Wise up.

This does not impress me. It also does not impress any of the other sisters that I have shared this story with.

So stop it.

Oh and another thing, if you have to, for some reason mention our color. stop whispering it.

I have often heard someone say, "Oh I met the new Chief Surgeon at Musc today and he seems like a really on the ball guy and he is....(pregnant pause as voice drops to a whisper...) he's black."

You don't have to whisper this.

We all got the memo, we all know we are black.

Look, I have to wrap this up, but what I am trying to say is this;
We live in a world were people are different colors. Do not pretend not to notice it. If you can remember the gold flecks in somone's sparkling azure eyes, you can remember that I amthe color of 'baked to perfection Chocolate Chip Cookie' brown and you can notice and not be negatively affected by the fact of Barack Obama is coffee with heavy cream brown.
I believe that being post racial means seeing someone's skin color acknowledging it and still being able to judge that person by the "content of their character."


I see your true colors shinin' thru....
I see your true colors
Your true colors are beautiful ...
Like a rainbow

Aim High

1 comment:

Moon said...

I love it and what a coincidence I was just having this conversation with my discussion group about this very matter.

It is truly annoying to me when someone says with great pride that they do not see my color as in someway needing to be rewarded for rendering me invisible. If they cannot see this near (if I stand up straight)6ft tall copper color sister with blond hair, they should run to walk to their optometrist!

Way to go, Cookie! Sometimes there are indeed teachable moments, but the person needs to be willing to be taught in their post-racial smugness.