Within moments, an Angry Black Bitch is leaving on a jet plane, and I’m left with some pretty big shoes to fill here in her absence. Now, I’m not saying she has big feet, because I was taught that it is not proper to discuss the size of a woman’s foot in public.
You see, where I’m from that’s called home-training.
It’s also called having a lick of sense in your head, because I know that talking about an Angry Black Bitch’s shoe size would likely result in having said shoe whopped upside my head once she returns from her vacation. Let’s just say, for a little extra dose of CYH (cover your head), that her feet are dainty and small, her shoes are always stunning and that her toes are always perfectly painted.
For those of you who may be wondering who the hell I am in the first place, let me introduce myself. My name is Rob Thurman and I am lucky enough to call a Bitch my friend, my colleague and my collaborator in the United Church of Bitchitude and Latter-Day Drunks. She sits right next to me and Monday through Friday, and I live a couple of blocks from a Bitch and a Bitch’s sister, which comes in handy when I drive their drunk asses home like I did last week….um….twice.
Most mornings, I will stroll up into our office on my bicycle (late) –and after a cup of coffee and 4 cigarettes, I am ready to engage a Bitch with an assessment of Katie Couric’s colonic health or some mind-numbing misdeed that recently has come to our attention.
I also turn to a Bitch for advice, as do many of you. We all know that sometimes it is beneficial to turn to others for guidance and, sometimes, correction. I thought that I’d share a story with y’all today that touches on being angry, appreciating Blackness and well-intentioned bitches. I’ll also speak of guidance and my own mother, whose own bitchiness is not in question. Once, after a heated argument, I called my older brother a son-of-a-bitch and my mother took off her shoe and whooped my ass with it.
That’s home-training for ya…and it’s what can bring an Angry Black Bitch and someone White Like Me together in the first place.
Now, I may look white, but I’ve always felt like a phony, like I’m in disguise. See, I grew up (legally) poor, fat and gay on a farm in rural Kentucky, ten miles from the closest town. I wasn’t actually aware I was poor until some White Lady Guidance Counselor pointed to my parent’s income on line 14c of a college application and said something about desirable demographical diversity and got all giddy and excited.
It’s kind of a bitch, being 16 years old, and suddenly being told you’re demographically diverse, when all you thought you were was kinda bookish and well-intentioned.
I was, however, made aware (almost daily) of being fat and gay. There’s just something about being rather rotund and wanting to play Wonder Woman in kindergarten that sticks with you throughout your life in a small farming community.
As I grow older and the festering wounds of childhood become self-deprecating blogging fodder, I still find myself very annoyed with a world that, on the surface, I’m supposed to be able to access with grace and ease as a reasonably attractive Caucasian male. You see, I might pass for white, but it’s not an identity I want to claim.
The way I see it: white people are trifling and white people bullshit is fucking everything up in this country.
On any given day, I will bitch to a Bitch about “reeducation” efforts in Kentucky that are teaching children that their Southern accents are bad and wrong. We’ll go out to lunch at a soul food restaurant and I will holler to the high heavens that the small restaurants back home that once offered decent Southern cooking have been bulldozed and replaced by McDonalds. I look around the nation and see bullshit going on in Arizona, Kansas and Pennsylvania, where some holy rollers are forcing intelligent design into the classroom. Across the ocean, the native folks in Hawaii are fighting to keep their schools and brown folks are getting herded up and/or shot in [insert any number of locations here].
And to make matters worse, up in my bedroom, gay white boys look at me like I’m crazy when I say the best concert I’ve seen this year featured Jill Scott, Queen Latifah and Erykah Badu. These dizzy queens have never tasted the sugar water and cannot imagine why one would want to in the first place.
And the weight of all this white people bullshit leaves me feeling like such an imposter -- and some days, it’s more than I can bear.
Being a solution-minded person, I decided to dig deep into my ancestry, with the hopes of finding something, some glimmer of a heritage that I could be proud of.
So, I called my mother…
Rob: Hi, Mom!
M: Hi, Robbie! How are you?
R: Fine. But I don’t think I’m white. Well…. I don’t wanna be white anymore.
M: What are you talking about, now?
R: Was Mamaw an Indian?
****For the sake of clarification, my mother’s mother was called Mamaw and my father’s mother was called Granny****
M: No. I told you before – many times -- that her grandmother or her great grandmother was. That’s where your high cheekbones and the black hair come from. Her people were called West. That’s all I know.
****I’d like to interrupt again. It occurred to me my grandmother’s people could, perhaps, be related to Dr. Cornel West. After all, Dr. West is a noted Black educator, philosopher and speaker. It also occurred to me, as a dyed-in-the-wool homosexual, it could be a metaphorical reference to the Wicked Witch of the West. Brown or green – at least it wasn’t white.****
R: Well, I’m not sure that’s good enough.
M: Good enough for what?
R: To turn our farm into a casino or legitimize a drug-induced spirit quest.
M: Are you on drugs?
R: No. I’m just mad at white eyes.
M: Are you drinking again?
R: NO! But I think my problem with booze is because I’m part Native American
M: I think your problem with booze is that you can’t keep your mouth shut.
****corrective, accurate verbal bitch slap****
R: NO! If Native American genetics can make my hair black and produce stunning cheek bones, then couldn’t, conceivably, my battle with the booze be linked to higher alcoholism rates among many Indian tribes?
M: I…..suppose. I just never touched the stuff, given our…family issues…so I wouldn’t know. Why you drank in the first place has always disappointed me.
****corrective, guilt-ridden verbal bitch slap****
R: Well….um…..I bet I’m part Black since I get along so well with the soul sisters.
M: You didn’t learn that ‘til you went out there to college.
****This will be addressed later****
R: Well…there are all those Black people named Thurman in town.
M: I know I have told you, repeatedly, that those folks are the descendents of the slaves of those other Thurman’s – the ones that lived in that big house down the road. Your Grandpa’s people did not have slaves.
R: Well…maybe Grandpa’s people were….umm…..the forbidden love children of slaves and slave owners. It happened, Mom! We watched Roots, remember?!?
M: You are drinking again!
R: No. I’m just mad.
M: About what?
R: White eyes.
M: When you get some sense, call me back.
R: Fine. Bye.
So….there you have it.
I’m still angry, only Black by association and my Native American bitchiness could only be either 6.25% or 3.125% proof. That’s not enough to legally change my driver’s license, birth certificate or any other official document, but it is enough to get me through today – and it reminds me I need to join NORML.
It also reminds me that I need to call my mother when I get home tonight.
In the absence of a Bitch, a mother’s verbal bitch slap may be necessary, just to keep things right in a world that so often seems so wrong. And my neck will no doubt be jerking during part of the conversation. I do, indeed, know what I’ve learned by keeping company with some Angry Black Bitches.
And in dereference to my mother and some home-training, that’s a conversation I will keep to myself. She’ll whoop my ass for sure when she ever finds out I put our family’s issues up here in the first place.
Have a good day and watch out for irate women brandishing shoes!
--Rob Thurman (pictured above -- braced for impact.....)