Tuesday, December 18, 2007

13 Ways to Look at A Black Woman



Today I babysat for my friend. She had a job interview and needed a favor. While I was "on the job" in her home, several workmen were there finishing up some repairs in her kitchen. The foreman introduced me to the rest of the crew as the "housekeeper," even though my friend had told him the night before that her best friend from college would be watching her chubby-cheeked, blue-eyed son. I guess he forgot and just decided I must be the housekeeper. Not the babysitter or the friend.

Later today, a very high-end public relations firm contacted me because they wanted to handle the publicity for my new book, Kinky Gazpacho. They came looking for me after they read a positive review of the book in Publisher's Weekly magazine.

Yesterday I worked a shift as a waitress in a cozy little restaurant near my home. One of my customers, a distinguished-looking White man of a certain age, waited until he'd had enough to drink and his wife wasn't looking to plant a wet slobbery kiss upon my face and whisper nonsense in my ear with his hot, stinky, breath. Ugh.

When my children see me come to pick them up from school they yell "mommy" and jump into my arms, safe once again.

In the eyes of the world I am so many things. I am a servant, a potential gold mine, a whore and a mother. I do not get to speak to define myself. I am a Black woman in America. I am so many things. I am nothing.

Does anybody else feel this way?

Peace!

9 comments:

the prisoner's wife said...

yes!

in different situations you become different things.

when i am...
1. on the job, i'm the teacher from around the way who's always talking to her students about college & riding them about not turning in homework.

2. with my son i am MAMA!!! gimme some juice!

3. visiting my husband i am suspicious or desperate because i'm with an incarcerated man. nevermind, i'm holding our family together (solo) the best way i can.

4. alone i am tired. recovering. thinking. plotting. praying. trying to decide my next move.

5. blogging i am smart, opinionated, poetic, and sometimes a little funny.

Me said...

tpw:

You sound like a beautiful, Black woman; complex and distinct.

Take good care in 2008.

Thank your for reading the Meltingpot.

LorMarie said...

Your post made me think. How exactly do I define myself? I think the best thing to do is only apply positive characteristics to ourselves. We can't let others define us.

Me said...

LorMarie,

I agree completely. I do define myself, in fact, I don't define myself. I allow myself to be whoever I want, whenever I want. That's why I'm still standing and smiling. But it still manages to take my breath away sometimes when other folks slam me in a box and won't/can't see who the real me.

Mes Deux Cents said...

Hi,

Amazing post! I stopped letting others define me long ago. For me that means not really worrying about others pre-conceived notions of who I may be because I'm an African American woman.

Unfortunately for those that presume to know who I am, they will never get to know me.

Oh well.

Thanks for writing this.

pressandcurl said...

Lori:

In this society, Black women are symbolically placed at the bottom of the rung...And of course, white woman are inappropriately positioned on the top of the pedestal.

It's a daily struggle as a Black women to demonstrate to others including some of our own ignorant peeps that we are the Queens of the Planet.

The first to arrive...We taught everybody else what they know.

Our natural beauty, for instance, is like no other.

Just look at our unique kinky hair standing strong naturally...

Like Africa/strong. As the late
Kwame Ture (aka Stokely Carmichael)
said in a rap by KRS-One:

"No matter how hard you try to disguise yourself, it can't be done.

"Africa is so strong, that regardless of what you put in your hair, she will snatch it off!"

Those ignorant people you encountered couldn't deal with the vibe of a Strong, Proud, Black woman....They tried to snatch it off -- Your/African/Blackness/Strong...

Miriam said...

Great post! I'm late here. but I agree with me & Mes Deux Cent; no matter what they say, I don't want people defining me. Its too confusing and I may end up something I don't want to be!

I'd rather be myself. Even if it means I give a strange look when folks think i'm a maid -in my own home, etc.

Houseonahill.org said...

Yes, and I also agree with mes deux cents and Miriam. Women of color, especially we who are black, have always had to defend everything about ourselves, even though we ARE capable of everything :0). That should be our mantra from now on along with "I'm Every Woman" ~ "I'M EVERYTHING"! this way to accentuate the positives ~ Unfortunately, that will do nothing to save us from those nasty slimy kisses from strange whacked out men. Stay strong!

Cloudscome said...

You've defined yourself well, with beauty and complexity despite the ignorance around you. I'm looking for your book now.