Friday, August 23, 2013

Never too much!?!

Last night, I met up with a friend in Union Square.  I had just come from a poetry reading and he had just come from a bar in Brooklyn.  I asked him how he was and he began to describe how horrible his work day had been.  Apparently, his manager had been disrespectful towards him and he was ready to go off on her.  This was third job where this type of situation had occurred--within the last few months.  Again, I found myself listening as he lamented against spending all that time at his elite university only to have to put up with this type of treatment.  Surely, all that time spent studying and sacrificing was supposed to lead to something better than this, right?

As I listened to his complaining, I began to smile to myself slightly.  I too had been down this road after my first year of college.  It was the first time I had had a job and the first time I really had to interact with adults in a non-academic setting.  I soon realized that it didn't seem to matter to anyone that I had been given a scholarship to an boarding school and Connecticut.  Or that I had attended a college that put more black students in medical school than any other university in the country--including Harvard.  No.  No one.  Not one person cared.  Not one person changed their estimation of me.  I was just the weird girl who answered the phone.  It wasn't long after that I realized that I needed to check my elitism and sense of entitlement at the door because it certainly wasn't doing me any favors.

I tried to explain this to my friend who, like me, was also a boarding school alumnus.  We had bonded over our experiences as very "specific type of black people."  We talked about all of our shared experiences with racism while at school and feelings of isolation within our own families.  However, our opinions always seemed to diverge when it came to work.  To him, I did too much.  To me, he was lazy.  Again, he would stress how much smarter he was than his boss.  I would try to remind him that it didn't really matter if he was smarter than his boss, because his boss was still his boss. 


Walking in Black and White.

During a press junket for Temptation, Kim Kardashian recently told a reporter that she wanted to raise her kids so that they won't see color.  The rapper Eve has echoed similar sentiments.  But after what happened to me today, I really can't ever see that happening.

Though I always heard stories about interracial couples extolling horror stories of bigotry, I had always imagined that this type of behavior would occur months or even years into the relationship.  I had just met this dude 3 hours earlier.

While there is a lot to be said about prejudice towards interracial coupling, that was not the most disturbing part of this experience for me.  Though we technically were on a date, the offending passersby had no way of knowing that.  It was the middle of a Sunday afternoon, neither of us were particularly dressed up and we weren't even standing that close to each other.  There was no hand holding or kissing or anything that indicated that we were a couple.  We were merely walking together as opposite races and opposite genders.  Which begs the question:  Can't people just walk down the damn street?  Whatever your feelings on interracial relationships, do you really want to live in a world where two people of different races can't even walk together?

Did I forget to mention that this all happened in New York?  

A makeup-less life?

So, I'm a little late to the party, but I just read a post that Afrobella posted on her site about the reasons why women don't wear makeup.  One of the reasons she posted struck a cord with me, but not for the reasons I expected.  She claimed that for some wearing makeup "created expectations."  If people saw you wearing makeup, then they would expect you to look...well, made up all the time.  Immediately after reading this, an indignation rose up in my chest.  My mind screamed that's not true!  And more to the point, who cares what people think?  But as I began to write just that in the comment space below, I began to realize how true those sentiments really rang.  And more importantly, why I and so many others felt that way.

The irony thing about reading Afrobella's post was that I had literally just finished watching a video from Dutch Youtube beauty guru NikkieTutorials.  She posted a fabulous look inspired by Loki from the blockbuster movie The Avengers.  It was a shimmery, smoky arabesque look with gold eyeshadow on the moble lid, glitter in the tearduct and a bright green cut crease.  Baby, when I tell you Miss Hunny looked about 85 shades of fly, 62 ways and dope and 105 ways a fierce, believe me.  Her face was beaten to the gawhds!  Check it out for yourself and then come back to me.

So, what did i tell you?  Umm hmm...yes hunny.  But I digress.  (Puts drag queen voice away.)  I've been playing in makeup literally since I was five.  And over the past five years, due to copicous amounts of youtube video watching, I have honed my skills.  But makeup for me has never really been about trying to look prettier.  It was always more about creative expression.  I've always been on the quiet side, and makeup was a way for me to explain who I was without having to open my mouth.  As I have gotten older, I've come to realize that life isn't always so simple.  The privilege of pretty certainly exists and wearing makeup certainly enables one to participate in that privilege. 
If one has moral obligations against