Thursday, July 22, 2010

Who am I? Why am I here?

As most people who have a blog know, having a blog is a funny thing. It is really easy to become preoccupied (dare I say, obsessed?) with it.

how many people are reading this?
do I have any new comments yet?
do people think what I am saying is witty/insightful/entertaining/boring/stupid?
why am I even doing this, anyway?
what does it all mean?

et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

I think I've gotten a lot better with most of this stuff. I don't check my traffic anymore, and I don't harass my friends nearly as much to leave me comments. But I do still struggle with what to say and how to say it. I've noticed recently that my pattern has been to think about writing a post for several days before I actually write it. There was a time when I was writing a post a day, and the words just flowed out of me each morning. But I think as the blog got more popular and I became more aware of the specific people I knew that were reading, that just sort of changed.

I think a lot of it has to do with the subject matter. It might be easier when your blog is about "today, I did x,y and z." Not, "What am I going to write about this time in an attempt to help solve the race problem?" I can't say for sure because I have never had a blog about x,y and z...maybe it is just as nerve-wracking. But I doubt it.

Another thing is that I sometimes find myself getting upset/irritated/frustrated at the comments that I get, and that makes me take a step back while I decide how I want to respond. I know that some people might think that saying comments are annoying is not the best way to go about getting more comments. But, we are all friends here and friends (good friends, anyway) are honest with each other. I don't tell you that I get annoyed so you'll stop leaving comments, I tell you so we can think about and talk about what it means.

I think for me, these emotions come from a basic feeling that what I am saying is not being heard; not being understood. Maybe you've already noticed, but all of my posts have tags. One of the tags is seek first to understand . That tag is for posts that are just musings about my life or my random thoughts and feelings. The whole quote that it comes from is Seek first to understand, then to be understood.This is my attempt to help you understand me better. Now I get the irony (is it irony? English teachers help me out,) in writing that quote and using it to say "Understand me!"

But I honestly feel like as a black person living in a predominantly white environment, I know way more about your culture, customs, vocabulary, history, mores, music, hair, food, dances, holidays, social movements, family dynamics, leisure activities, etc. than you know about mine.

I got emotional as I was writing that last paragraph, and we learn in grad school that whatever the person is talking about when they get emotional is really important .

So, as I think about it, I realize that I am getting emotional because as I write those words, I feel like someone is going to say,"No, you're wrong!" It's like I don't even have the space on my own freakin' blog to say, "As a black person, my voice is not heard as often as yours. You are allowed to take up more space than I do. Your story gets told, while mine is pushed to the sidelines." I feel like I need to justify or water down what I wrote, so people are not put off. Like, right now I feel compelled to say, "White people are not some homogeneous mass that all like and dislike the same things."

Does me typing that make you feel more comfortable?
Did you really think I thought that before I typed that I didn't?

This was originally going to be a short intro before I started a continuation of the swagger wagon posts. But I think it turned into something long enough to become a post of its own. Funny how that works. So...I'll end it here.

If you have a comment (no matter how potentially annoying or frustrating,) I would love to hear it.


  1. What to do with race? If I say I value your posts because I so value our racial difference, will you hear I only value your friendship because of that? Can you hear that it something I like and not the end all?

    I recall a conversation recently where we were talking about my gay experience vis-a-vis religion. It was clear to me that my experience is different largely because I am gay.

    I know that I want to hear what you say out of your black experience. And I think that both of our experiences are partially socially constructed: they are given to us by the dominant culture defining us as different, and as less important or acceptable.

    And what you say is in some way uniquely yours too, charming and intriguing.

  2. It's your blog. Say what you want. Your thoughts and experiences are just as valid as anyone else's.

    So there

    Don't censor yourself

  3. I used to blog about very personal things. It took a lot of time and energy. It meant something.

    It is so much easier to blog about food. It's just stuff that I eat.

    I feel you on the comments. When you write about something real, you expect decent dialogue. I think that expectation is reasonable.

  4. greg g5:02 PM

    My Dear friend, since you are being honest I will too. Over the past several postings I have found them to be some what boring intellectually. Yes they make valid points about race and culture and marketing and picking one commercial and comparing it to something from many years ago just does not get my interest peaked. Just today I watched a commercial selling some drugs where a middle-aged attractive white man went to consult his middle-aged handsome black doctor. Wow! I think in some respects times have changed. Is there a great deal of blatant stupid racist’s commercials out there? I say no. However, that does not mean that a commercial does not slip through the cracks every once and awhile. The culture must still be vigilant to point out those that have crossed the line. I commend and admire you for that service. An observation I have is that I believe some huge racial events have happened throughout the last year that have not been mentioned or addressed. Here are just a few. The voter intimidation allegations brought against the New Black Panthers, Tea Party being called racist, The NAACP endorsing legalizing marijuana in California and the effects on the communities. Does the NAACP accepts pot but not crack or meth. Why did they draw that conclusion? Why is our President so quick to make judgments about race when he does not have all the facts and then looks like a complete fool when it is clear that he over reacted? Is he being post racial or hyper racial? Is Eric Holder good for the Administration when he calls America a nation of cowards? Does his rhetoric advance or hurt race relations? Is Eminem part of the hip hop culture or a Vanilla Ice? Is Dr. Dre really a doctor? Will the Fat Boys ever reunite? Is black liberation theology the way of the future? I also want to know why Marxist ideology is so prevalent in the minority community and why if so, they believe it is the road to a prosperous future when it has failed so miserably around the world? These are some of the many questions I have and can not find answers to. I hope your blog will help me find some of them in the future. I love your passion and emotion and love to hear about your perspective. You and I have had our share of unjust and down right cruel moments in life and our quest to find the truth no matter where it leads is why I respect and admire you and know that better days are ahead. Take care my friend and I will see you on your next post.

  5. Anonymous2:39 AM

    Seems like a lot of people are interested in your views, perspective and experiences. Some readers enjoy them because they are clearly expressed and supported.

    Simply remember you will never please all of the people all of the time. You are entitled to your opinions and people who try to invalidate them should not make you upset. They probably have their own personal issues that will not allow them to acknowledge views different from their own.

    And yes, times have changed dramatically as far as how blacks are portrayed in the media. It is a good sign of things to come. Perhaps, one day, people will not believe slavery even existed. Perhaps, racism will be acknowledged as the idiotic belief it is. One can hope, yes?

  6. Anonymous1:25 PM

    myblackfriend, I think your blog is very important. It takes a brave person to put herself out there and risk hurtful feedback to get her message across. I'm thankful for all you've taught me over the years, and I look forward to many more discussions. Thanks for your honesty.

  7. Anonymous7:43 PM

    If I may:
    Greg - nearly all these those events have been given more press than they deserve and did not take place in the last year. But to address them anyway - the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation was one guy; the Tea Party is actually currently dividing itself because factions of it are in fact racist; the American College of Physicians, the Institute of Medicine, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society etcetera all endorse medical marijuana - what is the significance for you of the NAACP's endorsement? How do you see a comparison between medical marijuana and meth? Coming to the (correct) conclusion that the police may have acted poorly in regards to race is not unreasonable and yet, I agree as President he should have been more vigilant. I do find it interesting that people who were upset with that were not upset when he said "brothers should pull their pants up" which is incredibly racist. What say you on Sherrod? Holder's comments are fair. First - he didn't say white people - if that's what you heard I'd ask yourself why. Most liberals don't take issue with what he's saying and the conservative spokespeople apparently agree that they are TERRIFIED of black people and discussion regarding race:
    "O’REILLY: Now you got to feel sorry for us white folks here, because I’m telling you now I’m afraid to say anything. You know, you’re an articulate guy, doctor, but I’m never going to say that. You’re a smart guy. Is that bad if I say you’re a smart guy? … Yes, absolutely, instead of black and white Americans coming together, white Americans are terrified. They’re terrified. Now we can’t even say you’re articulate? We can’t even give you guys compliments because they may be taken as condescension?

    BECK: You know, Shelby, I don’t know if anybody else in the audience — oh, this is just going to be a blog nightmare over the next few days. But let me just be honest and play my cards face up on the table.

    I was thinking about this just last week. I don’t have a lot of African-American friends, and I think part of it is because I’m afraid that I would be in an open conversation, and I would say something that somebody would take wrong, and then it would be a nightmare. Am I alone in feeling that?"
    Poor, poor white men.
    Eminem is part of the hip hop culture. Dr. Dre is not a real doctor . . . except of funk. The human beatbox is dead. Black Liberation Theology transition into Marxism? I suppose. After all it is true that Jesus was a socialist brown man handing out free healthcare; which is only one of the reasons Christianity of all flavors has no place in our government. On what authority do you make the claim that minority communities embrace Marxism? If anything the majority (that's us) has been engaging in Marxism for centuries as we reap benefits of labor provided from minorities. Before you say it - welfare? More white people are on welfare than blacks (that's by percentage and numbers) and welfare is about 1% of the govt spending (and no, i won't factfind for you). Your words are respectful - your tone and questions belie that though; especially when you consider that all these questions were a tiny teeny google away from being answered by you.