Black American? or American Who Is Black? Part ii

Please note for those of you who are literalistic: I mean some, not all, when referencing black or white Americans.

I have a confession to make: I rarely think about my race.

I’m not saying that I am color-blind. I don’t even know what sense to make of that word. What does it convey? That’s like saying: I don’t see men or women, everyone is the same gender. That’s just stupid.

I admire all sorts of things about different groups of people, be it their coloring or cultural or religious heritage. I also enjoy being brown skinned. I enjoy my complexion. I like who I am. I delight in it. It’s just that the race I am (in America) is not at the forefront of my thinking.

However, I like my own definition of self. Yes, for practical reasons, at this point in time, my race is black. Lord knows what tomorrow will bring: What black Americans or the US government will call the group next.

It doesn’t change who or what I am.

And no, I don’t see myself as African American. That’s a misnomer. I was born in Europe, shouldn’t I call myself European American?

I am an American. My cultural heritage is West Indian. I like saying black, because it’s a shorthand term: a political, social subset of Americans with a degree of African heritage, among others.

I have noticed that amongst some generational Americans taking note of your background upsets them. They act like it is an either or choice. Pick one and it’s offensive, pick the other and you are rejecting their social and cultural dictates.

They get upset with hyphenated Americans, or there are others who want people to emphasize the hyphen and fit within their group definition.

White Americans seem to dislike the hyphenation and emphasis on racial / ethnic background.

Black Americans seem to dislike black immigrants who don’t immediately accede to their definition of “black”. For example, a Jamaican, Nigerian, Hutu or Guyanese, etc. may see themselves as a West Indian or African, or whatever first, and not ascribe to being “black”.

Somehow that accurate self-definition is a rejection of them.

I’ve always looked at it this way: black Americans have to stop thinking that immigrants of any color owe them something. They do not. Unfortunately, no one cares if your ancestors fought in the Revolutionary or Civil War or any of the following wars.

They didn’t march and die alone in the Civil Rights movement: some whites and even some black immigrants were right alongside them.

When America decided to change, they felt they were changing it for the better of everyone, not just generational black Americans. Otherwise, the words used in Civil Rights legislation wouldn’t have been “minorities.”

Black Americans also have to stop telling immigrants, Africans and Caribbean peoples, how to define themselves. These people are coming from countries where everyone is more or less the same race.

Who are you to tell them what they are?

Those who complain are the same ones that resent the immigrant for his appearance and progress in this country. Hey, it is a struggle to come here, work, study and start fresh from scratch. It makes them grateful to be here.

They aren’t carrying the scars of past historical racial antagonism with white Americans. So don’t expect them to. They’re not here to do that.

Last, but not least, they come here for a multitude of reasons. If this magnificent country lets them in: they will take advantage of it.

In some cases, that may mean staying, and letting their kids become Americans. Or it may mean going back home to retire after working here a number of years.

Yet, it is not up to black Americans to define who is black in this country.

They have to learn to accept people who come here as they are, and stop demanding more from people who happen to have a degree of African ancestry in common.

At some point, every group assimilates.


Business, Politics and the Personal – Part ii

Continued from Business, Politics and the Personal – Part i

&#149 Business: People are in business to make money. That’s a given. I understand that.

The Good Person Myth

I don’t like the fiction – pushed by the media – that a successful businessperson or famous corporate entity has higher morals or ethics than anyone, because their profits are high or they have millions and billions of dollars. The only people who love these businesses are its investors, owners, and perhaps a couple of satisfied customers.

When it comes to money, people in business are no different than the gangsters portrayed in movies. I often think that thugs might have a code of honor that business people lack. Note how they have to teach ethics in school. Study after study shows that a majority of students cheat on their exams.

No matter what paperwork they sign or the promises they make, business people lie as much, if not more than criminals. Think of the difference between drug dealers and pharmaceutical companies: one uses deadly force, while the other uses the deadly force of the government.

In case you are wondering, here’s an example: required immunization shots that may actually kill you. One has the government’s imprimatur, whereas the other does not.

They want to know everything, even when it’s none of their business.

We’ve got business people who assume I’m a liar, or hiding something because there are time gaps in my resume. It can’t be that I’m taking care of personal business, because in America you have no right to privacy or a life. Sometimes the fact is during those gaps, I wasn’t doing jack. What would there be to write? Sought and obtained various vacuous propositions from January through December.

You are supposed to tell all. There’s not enough money in the world for me to tell anyone anything that I consider irrelevant to the tasks at hand. And what is a job? A series of tasks. Nothing more, nothing less.

And yes, I am arrogant, and I still get hired.

Only we can be dishonest, we make money.

What is it that these knuckleheads will say? Well, you could have been in jail. Honestly, like you really care what I’ve been doing? What a crock! This is a blatant contradiction given that in this great country, businesses routinely hire folks who cannot speak English.

Businesses routinely hire people with Tuberculosis (TB), Hepatitis B, and other contagious diseases to work in their restaurants, meat processing plants, hospitals, and the like.

Businesses routinely hire people to work under the table: employees will take cash payments instead of a check. I’ve even interviewed some employers – not for a job – because I couldn’t understand how their type of business made money. Well, if you pay people off the books you can.

But me? I might be a criminal, because I speak English, live in a house, paid off the car, went to school, finished school, etc. I still get punked for it.

Honesty is for suckers.

So, I might be lying about my college degrees if the dates don’t sync up neatly with my times of employment? Wow, what gall! Do you want a blood sample, and the first born as ransom too? This is an era where corporate CEOs claim to be graduates of Ivy League colleges they never attended. I know none of them had to mail copies of their transcripts or degrees to anyone.

Know the right people and no one will hassle you about anything.

I have to account for every day, every week, every month and year. Yet, if I cross the border, just got off the plane, or have the right connections having built a grand career on lies, everything will be cool boss.

Don’t forget, if you are an American employee, you are lazy, suspect, criminal and devious.

My advice: follow the crowd and be a business sociopath. No one will notice the difference. Businesses love liars and storytellers. Honesty is for suckers.

Remember that no one here respects people, because we all supposedly have an entitlement mentality. Entitlement to what? Respect as a human being? Apparently that is asking for too much.


  • Cheating Students
  • Share

    Black American? or an American Who Is Black? Part i

    I have a confession to make: I rarely think about my race.

    I mean that I don’t wake up every morning and say, “Damn, I’m still black?” or “Damn, where can I go to escape being a black person?” I also don’t see everything through a prism of: this is racist! I don’t go looking for it.

    I do think about being a woman, almost all the time, especially at my age, more than anything else.

    Why don’t I think about my race? Let me try to put my thoughts in perspective.

    I’ve been traveling since I was a little kid. I’ve been to the Caribbean, which have black majority ruled countries. I grew up in a mostly black area here in the USA.

    Even as I got older and really traveled overseas to Europe (and other places hopefully!), certain things stood out in my mind. In the Caribbean and elsewhere, I’m a woman first. People may ask, or note, that I am also an American.

    I’d get into the specifics of why they know I’m American, but that’s for another posting. The same goes for Europe, well, except for the UK. People assume I am native there. Aside from driving on the wrong side of the road and talking funny, it’s a bit like being at home.

    Oh wait, no! No one in the UK clutches their purse when I’m around. I don’t get the “you must be a criminal because you are black” treatment. No one stares at me “funny” when I go into a pub or restaurant. Although I hear from my UK family that the country does have its issues with black people.

    The grass is never greener anywhere.

    I figure when our (America’s) bad racial habits gets picked up overseas, it will be with a country we are closely tied to culturally. Plus, it’s to be expected with the US media devoted to the demonizing of (American) blacks worldwide. A ton of the entertainment on UK TV / movies / radio / etc. are American. Think of the anti-black pollution served there daily.

    Overall, my thinking of race has been tantamount to this: racism is the problem of the person who harbors it. As long as this person isn’t trying to deny me Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, I don’t think about it.

    More to follow…


    Hair Again – High Maintenance?

    I’ve never liked my hair worn straight. I have never liked the methods used to make it straight either – be it hot comb, flat iron, or relaxers. Although I was combing my hair since I was about 8 to 10 years old – I certainly didn’t know what I was doing – I never craved straight hair. All I wanted was for it to be long.

    As a child, my natural hair never reached past my ear lobes. When my Mother pressed my hair for “special occasions” – it was only long enough for an itty bitty ponytail. Sad.

    I may have been the only girl in high school with an afro. Almost every girl had relaxed / pressed hair that was shoulder length or longer. I was a hold-out until junior year, then I finally broke down due to peer pressure.

    I got a relaxer a few times, but I hated being forced to be one of the crowd. It made me so cranky, I got the nickname “crabby”. Damn right I was. I enjoyed being quirky and different. I can’t stand conformity. I despise anything that requires group think or everyone must do the same thing because some idjit is doing it.

    My hair strands are rather fine. I could never get a decent thick afro. I always needed to pat it down. I didn’t like relaxing my hair, because the thinness was accentuated. It made me self-conscious. And who wants to feel the wind tickling the scalp? That sensation alone put a chill down my back. Yuck.

    I wore an afro for a number of years, before my aunt and uncle from the UK introduced me to the jheri curl. It was nice for a couple of years, before the product starting disappearing off store shelves. To make a long story short: that product also thinned my hair out. It made it long, but it also fell out in clumps periodically. Wasn’t that a blast?

    I read a lot of comments where black women are going through something called a transition to grow out their hair from a relaxer. I suppose some of us are so self-conscious about our texture that we feel the need to transition. I understand. Well, not really, but I can pretend to.

    Um, I just cut my hair to a few inches and rolled with it. I remember the next day I showed up to work; the director of our department marched down the hall and came to my office door.

    He looks, seems satisfied, nods, and says: “Your hair looks nice.”

    I smiled, somewhat cheekily, and said, “Thanks.”

    And that was that.

    My hair has been a pain in the ass. I used to wish I knew how to take care of it and comb it. I wasn’t educated about it until I started reading natural hair care books. The biggest breakthrough came with the advent of the internet.

    Now, I sympathize with black women who say that they prefer to relax their hair. They believe it is for low maintenance reasons. Hey, whatever floats your rationalization boat.

    I don’t care how knotty and uncooperative my hair has been. It will never compare to the misery of going through: the chemical process, the hair salon wait (all day!), the scissor happy / unsympathetic (rough handling) hairstylists, the expense, hair breakage, bald spots and receding hairlines (alopecia areata), and the terror of worrying about permanent scalp damage!

    I’m grateful for the forums that educate me on how to manage my hair. That is what I have always wanted. Best of all my hair is very low maintenance, cheap and easy to comb. Okay, most times easy to comb.


    Business, Politics and the Personal – Part i

    I don’t lack for topics to write about, I actually have too many. Yet I feel one needs to write and keep a thematic flow. Today, I’ll break that rule. I wasn’t even aware that I had built a box and joyfully stepped into it.

    I’m going to briefly (I hope) write on some topics in this and following posts:

    &#149 Politics: in consideration of campaign finance, should the New York Times’s relentless pro-Hillary Clinton slant be viewed as a campaign contribution? I’ll include Time Magazine and the Washington Post in this collective.

    I am always amused by how people in the media are always so certain they know what is best for the American people. They suffer from chronic smartest people in the room syndrome.

    If these people say that the years Hillary Clinton spent as First Lady qualify her as co-President and is her political experience, then she’s to blame for all the misdeeds and scandals of the Clinton Administration as well. Shouldn’t she have been impeached too?

    By the way, what are her legislative achievements as Senator of New York? Oh that’s right, she thinks that illegal aliens should get driver’s licenses. It’s not like people use a driver’s license as a form of ID to ah, let’s see, ah, vote – right? US Citizenship isn’t earned or a privilege anymore. Is this an Open Borders Society?

    Todays politicians are not just treasonous and they are not just unpatriotic. Their contempt for the American people is so deep that they think nothing of disenfranchising people who have died for the right to vote. Why is the situation in this country such that US Citizens are put over a rack of laws to abide by, but it is a free-for-all for others?

    Clean house, I say, clean house. Let us stop voting for those that have such contempt for us. Try a new method of voting: just vote for the new guy. Rarely, if ever, re-elect anyone.

    If people want to vote in someone as president who is famous for being famous or “smart”, why not at least pick an attractive and likable individual? That would make Senators Obama and former Senator Edwards a more attractive pair to vote for.

    Last, but not least, the writers of the New York Times do not understand the people they write about. This is true of articles (the few that exist), which cover black American women. I often feel as though they are writing about an alien species, which I feel is done on purpose.

    I don’t care if they claim that 99.9% of black American women love dem Clintons.

    I am one of a handful that ain’t voting for her.