No, we are not all the same.

I know a lot of white people. I have a lot of white friends. A lot of my clients are white.

My life will never be the same as their life. My life will never be worth as much as their life.

Doesn’t matter how much money I make or how much success I have, it does not matter.

Things are not the same.

I know. Obama is president. 

I know, Beyonce.

Oprah.

Shonda Rhimes.

Blah blah blah.

I think that a lot of people have taken these people — who are huge parts of pop culture society and have used them as representations of the culture as a whole.

“I mean, how can the world be racist when Oprah is so rich and is so influential? She runs the world!”

“I loveeee Scandal so that means things are ok, right? I mean I don’t think of it as a black show, it is just a show so PROGRESSIVE!”

“All the athletes are black so if the world was racist, HOW COULD THIS BE?”

I know you have most likely heard this before but these successes are not only exceptions but in some ways products of the way culture has always been.

Black people have always been objects for entertainment but still excluded in mainstream culture. Artists like The Supremes and Ray Charles would play their music in front of packed audiences full of white teenagers but still have to leave out the side door.

White men listen to more rap music than any other racial group but when they go to hire employees, they won’t hire anyone with a name that resembles some of the real names of the rap artists they listen to everyday.

It is not a coincidence that Obama shows up on shows like “Between The Ferns” and regularly makes stops on Late Night Shows. Fame and equality are not always mutually exclusive and often times in this society to be black and to be famous is to be entertaining and “useful”  and the fact of that there are BLACK PEOPLE DOING THINGS is nice but not representative of the culture as a whole.

Not to mention the fact that these examples are so far and few in between when there are SO many big named producers and directors that are all white men. Don’t even get me STARTED on The Oscars.

So, back to the point. No, we are not the same.

Here is the story of what happened to me, a college educated successful business owner (not that it matters but just to show it DOES not matter):

A few days ago my awesome Uber driver and I (both black) got LOST. We were having a  fun conversation about Johnny Depp (ha) and we both stopped paying attention so we needed some help. We stopped at a grocery store to ask for some directions.

You should have seen their faces.

Not to keep referencing Beyonce or anything but you would have thought we were Bonnie and Clyde or that weird couple (white) from a few years ago who kidnapped women and made them do weird sex stuff before killing them.

People would barely look at us. At one point one guy stood defensively in front of his white wife as in “ok colored people, MOVE ALONG.”

Fine, ok. Maybe people don’t like other people in cars.

Now let’s jump into the time machine and go back a few weeks.

My Uber driver and I got lost. This guy was kind of creepy and I wanted get out the car.  We stop and do the same thing and despite the fact this guy is kind of rude and weird, people HAPPILY walk up to the car and help us at every step of the way. Keep in mind I was visibly uncomfortable and was putting off all types of weird energy but because he is white, he can’t be bad, right?
These are not isolated incidents. It doesn’t matter how friendly you are, how rich you are or how you dress, you are treated like a threat and less than human as a black person in this country. There is nothing you can do to change parts of yourself.

And that is why when something like this happens, black people get angry. We get mad because we can’t change the color of our skin and we can’t FORCE people to stop being pieces of shit and we can’t stop this stuff from happening.

So, no we aren’t going to calm down and be quiet. We have a right to be angry.

Just because your black friends act fine and doesn’t mean it IS FINE.

Cause, wtf, right? WTF.

Comments

  1. says

    Shenee,

    When you posted this on your Facebook I didn’t comment because I didn’t know what to say. It makes me sick that things are like this. I just sat and cried when I read it.

    We had a similar experience recently that has scarred me. Our nanny lives next door to us. She is a 20 year old girl and I love her like a sister. When I told her yesterday I’d had a cervical biopsy, it wasn’t 20 minutes before her mom called to check on me and offer her wishes and assistance. When Riley doesn’t go over there for a few days, she misses her and will go visit and check in. Dionna also keeps a little girl named DeeDee and she is the sweetest baby and her mother has became a dear treasure to us as well.

    A few weeks ago, I was sick and the drs office just couldn’t get me out fast enough. Normally Riley rides the bus but there was a situation that day and she had to be picked up. Dionna jumped to the task and went to get her. She is on her check out sheets. In fact she’s listed as one of our emergency contacts. I literally trust this woman with my only child’s life.

    The school receptionist, however, came into a back office and called me to verify Dionna could get Riley, not because the information or her id didn’t match, but because she’s black.

    Dionna didn’t know they called but it literally sickens me. I can’t even bring myself to tell her it happened. And I can’t stand that this will happen everyday to you.

    I love you. I see how wonderful you are, and I know that counts for little but I see you.

  2. says

    YES. Thank you for continuing to tell me (us white people) these things. You are one of the smartest, most innovative businesspeople I know, and I hate the thought that something as unchangeable as your skin color could make your experience of the world so different from my own.

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