Wednesday, July 16, 2008

#7 Acting More Black Around Black People

(A JAM C) Just to make things clear, biracial people aren't the only ones who start dropping their "g" at the end of every word that ends in "ing."  They're not the only ones who start saying "y'all" as if that's actually a word.  And they're definitely not the only ones who all of a sudden start using words like "is" or "be" when you know that "are" or "am" is the appropriate word.  Most importantly, we aren't the only ones who say the "I" in a southern accent, which makes it sound like "ah."  For instance, when I hear a really articulate non-black friend of mine all of a sudden start saying something like "I'm down wit da game, you know who ah be," I really want to smack him in the face.

I'll just be straight with you, my speech all of a sudden doesn't change around black people.  With that being said, I have my techniques.

My way of being cool with my black friends is to reach into the extensive vault of my brain and bring out my love affair with traditionally black music.  I particularly like classic soul.  Stevie Wonder, Teddy Pendergrass, Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Luther Vandross, etc.  I love to all of a sudden whip their songs out and start singing in my smooth silky brown voice (No, I don't know what a smooth silky brown voice is, it just sounded good to say).  I can hang with the rap game, but I try to steer clear of it, because I'm not as familiar with the underground anymore.  So yeah, I stick with Classic Soul and R&B.  Some songs are ridiculously dirty, so I love to throw out a line or two just to get a rise out of people such as.

"Mymind'stellinmeno!"  (R. Kelly, Bump and Grind)
"Every time I close my eyes." (Jodeci, Freek'n You)

I love singing those exact words.  Seeing people's reactions is hilarious.  Mostly it's a simple "boy, you better stop" with a couple of chuckles.

Other songs just stick out to members of the black community.

"Girl you know I I I I I I love you!" (Lenny Williams, Cause I Love You)

"I've been really tryin' tryin' to hold back this feelin' for so long." (Marvin Gaye, Let's Get it On)

I love those songs.  Teddy Pendergrass has always been my favorite, but recently Stevie Wonder has made a push, and seriously, I love almost every song that he has ever released.  I mostly don't bust these songs out to try to impress my black friends.  I'm actually doing it because of my love for the music.  I live in a house with 9 other guys, and 8 of them are white.  If I bring up any of these singers or songs to my white roommates, they'll just look at me with a blank stare.  If I start singing around my black friends, we might just start having a spontaneous dance party, and let me tell you this... I am 100% black on the dance floor.  There's no white in me.  My booty is rockin' everywhere, I'm gettin' jiggy with it.  I get low, I get high, I pop, I do the robot, the worm, the Carlton, whatever.  I can break it down on the dance floor, and if my singing starts one of these dance parties, I'm down.

White guys can't break it down.

I wish they could, but they can't.  It's just a sad truth that I'm going to have to live with, and since I'm mostly surrounded by white people in my job, and in most areas of my life, it is easy for me to feel a sense of freedom when I'm with my black friends.

I don't think everybody is like this around black people though.  If you're black, here's a word for you... most non-black people are intimidated by you.  Well, maybe not you alone, but if you're hanging out with your black friends, there's an overwhelming sense of "I'm the most uncool person in the room" syndrome.  Some will want to leave that area immediately, but occasionally you'll find that they'll desperately want to fit in with you.  For this can even happen with us biracial people.  One time Janara (aka House Negro) and I were eating at a Mexican restaurant, and in mid conversation, she all of a sudden just started laughing.  Apparently, one of the waiters was getting a phone call, and his ring tone was a rap song.  Instead of answering the phone, he pulled it out of his pocket, then looked at us, and then answered his phone.  His look was a "do you see how ghetto I am?  I have a ring tone with the rhythm of your people on it" look.

Just a warning, that kind of stuff makes you look so much more uncool.  At first, you were just there... now, you're that really uncool guy who is trying too hard.  I can only hope that I'm never that really uncool guy who is trying too hard, but sometimes that label may fit me perfectly.  Now, if I'm ever that guy, when I am definitely not uncomfortable around black people, how much more likely are you to be that guy or girl, if you're very uncomfortable around black people.

Here's a possible remedy for you.  Despite the things you may believe, black people are generally nicer than white people.  As crazy as that might sound, that's the truth.  When you realize the fact that that's true, you'll have a much easier time relating to them.  Once that happens, you're in the clear.

Anyway, you're cool.  Just don't try too hard to make yourself appear cooler than you actually are.  I'll try to do the same.

1 comment:

House Negro said...


I know I'm biased because 1) I'm your sister 2) I'm biracial and 3) I'm a fellow contributor,


I couldn't stop laughing while reading this post. I forgot that you write with little tact AND you write what most people are too afraid to admit to and write for themselves.

well done.