Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Safe Negro Match-Maker

Well, I know it's quite silly to take a (two?) month haitus from a blog that just started, but my life is seemingly a perpetual state of chaos. I did think of quite a few things to share with the blog universe, but the opportunity to sit and unload my mind was just too far buried under the long work days (and nights), and the moves that I've been making.

The good news? I'm back!

Well, something that I've been most interested in sharing with the rest of the internet is a series of incidents that occured between myself and a white woman that I worked with at one of my several jobs. While I understand that "2010" doesn't necessarily translate to social intelligence any more than "1910", it always befuddles me when people make racially based assumptions about a person they barely know. What's more is that in "post-racial America", people are losing sight of what's actually appropriate .

So, said lady is an intern, actually, and an older woman. She was sent to various local restaurants in search of donations for an event, and when she came back, the conversation was as follows:

Intern: I found the perfect man for you.
Me: (awkwardly) oh?
Intern: Yes. He owns the Zaxby's around the corner, and he is...well -- just a really attractive Black man.
Me: (Not feeding into it) Umm..oh.
Intern: I mean, just an attractive Black man.
Me: Um, well. i'm..not...really...looking for...anything.
Intern: Man! I didn't look to see if he had on a wedding ring. I've been married for twenty-somethin' years, and so I just avoid peeking at that finger at all.

Pause.First set of assumptions: I'm young and single (and likely discontent with being so), and as such, I would love anybody to hook me up with any Black man they can find. Because I only like men, and only if they are Black.

Me: (Ignoring intern and completing notes)
Intern: (to nearly everyone in my part of the office) Guys, I found the perfect guy for Livication!
Me: (long sigh)
Intern: (to me) He drives a really nice SUV too.
Me: (trying to avoid being rude) Oh?
Intern: Yeah, a Jeep I think. None of those rims on it or anything.

Pause.Second set of assumptions: She should be praised and glorified for having found my soulmate, since all you have to do is put a Black man and woman in the room together for them to fall in love. And no rims? He's a safe negro and not a thug, so I'll love him. Regardless of my upbringing or general taste, my having a college education automatically makes me more attracted to Blair Underwood than Lil Weezy.

Me: Please...stop...
Intern: I mean, I'm telling you...he's got money because he owns a Zaxby's.
Me: Isn't Zaxby's a fastfood restaurant?
Intern: Yeah, but he's the owner of this one.
Me: (long sigh, and then under my breath) Well, you know how us coloreds love chicken..
Intern: Oh, and his name is Samuel; a good, strong, Biblical name.

Pause. Third set of assumptions and major fuckeduppedness: Fact - Black people enjoy chicken. They can enjoy free chicken together. Also, those Coloreds are intensely religious; I'm quite sure that the fact that his name is Biblical will sway her toward him. Religion is okay to discuss in the work place because we are all Christians! For the record, I am without any formal religious affiliation.

After this, I walked out of the room for a while. She did, however, encourage the rest of the (white) volunteers to discuss this because she felt she had done something great. Telling her to lay off didn't help, and going off on her would have encouraged the angry Black woman to come out.

I could not have made up something more bizarre. It was completely surreal in the most awful and awkward way. I mean, what the hell? What part of any of that was appropriate?