Let’s get serious for a minute. Stop groaning…shit, y’all know my ass has a serious side (wink). This may not be news to some of you, but others…well, a bitch needs to clear something up for y’all.
Going with the flow…
A bitch received an e-mail from someone today and would like to respond. The e-mail attempted to make the case that discussions of race fuel discontent and contribute to the cultural divide that we see in America today. Clearly, this bitch feels differently, but my ass does feel that such positions are worthy of a response.
Life doesn’t get better when you just ‘go with the flow’. Day to day interactions aren’t made easier when we seek to ignore or tolerate the diversity of our culture. To be clear, a bitch can’t fucking stand statements about tolerance. You tolerate a stench…you do not tolerate me. And my ass does not want to be viewed separate from or in spite of my blackness.
This bitch understands why you may want to play the tolerance game. There is a powerful myth behind it...that tolerance makes things easier...that, by not being different, you will somehow benefit as an individual.
And let me explain why my ass sees that as a myth. A bitch grew up in the 1980’s in a middle class predominately white section of St. Louis County. My first social interactions with my peers took place at school. There were maybe 5 other students of color in our grade school, which might not have been a subject of note except for the fact that a bitch was made glaringly aware by those peers that my ass was different…in a bad way. Each day, a bitch internalized that…embraced and believed it…and began to live it.
Different…in a bad way.
Tolerated…in spite of that difference.
And after internalizing that bullshit, this bitch responded in textbook fashion. My ass made it my singular goal in life to blend and fit in. My clothes had to be just right, my hair had to be ‘like theirs’ and my language…that great social indicator of race in America…had to be ‘acceptable’. This bullshit went on for years…me desperately altering and my peers, with surprising consistency, continuing to ‘tolerate’ me falling short of de-blackifying myself.
Eventually a bitch escaped to college and my ass was blessed to go to a school that had little patience for a conformist. The evolution of an AngryBlackBitch had already begun, but it bloomed when my ass was 17. Thankfully, this bitch evolved into a real person rather than a carefully crafted thing created to make other people feel more comfortable with all of those 'pesky little differences'. Over the years, this bitch has faltered…but never to that dark vacant state of blankness…oh no, my ass is never going all the way back there again.
Now, some may say America has moved on. Many would say that wee little black girls growing up in St. Louis no longer face a world where they are encouraged to play the tolerance game…that young people who are overweight are not stigmatized…that gay and lesbian youth are embraced with love and understanding. And those people would be wrong. But what we are talking about is why they are wrong.
No one can respect what you do not respect in yourself. No one will adore what you do not adore in yourself. But people will ‘tolerate’ what you ’tolerate’ in yourself.
This bitch is not invisible or particularly soothing…my ass is not that comfortable black friend who fits into a safe little box or passively absolves you of your bigotry…and this bitch doesn’t calmly ignore my own bigotry. To do so would be insulting…that tactic assumes that others aren’t capable of respecting me as a black woman and it assumes that this bitch isn’t capable of accepting them for who they are.
And guess what? Life didn’t get easier when a bitch embraced the diversity within me.
What it did was get honest.
So, no… this bitch does not agree that the problems and challenges facing America are exasperated by open discussions of race.
Honey, going with the flow doesn’t make it all better or make it go away. It’s still there…you’re still you.
Maybe one day you’ll want to be.