A Sea of White Supremacy

I sit here at my job as the only black person in the building, yes the building! The higher I climb the corporate ladder and excel in my education the fewer blacks I see.  Oh wait excuse me for the lie, there are other blacks in the building – my client’s nannies. 
 
 When I see them I have an urge to speak, something in me pushes me towards them. I have so many questions, but I also feel like a trader of some sort. Why do I feel so guilty? I stand behind the counter answering phones, managing schedules and hugging white babies. And in return there are exchanges of awkward glances between my brethren and I.
 
I feel so alone. Black culture is completely different from white culture. Many times I find myself laughing at jokes that are not funny or talking about subjects that completely do not interest me. Although, the more I pay attention the more I recognize that both parties are sharing fake laughter and forced conversation. Now, as I mentioned before I am use to this setting, have broken difference/commonalty barriers, and found topics both parties can enjoy, but is it too much to ask for a black companion in a sea of white supremacy?
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2 thoughts on “A Sea of White Supremacy

  1. You are never, truly, alone until you’ve lost your ‘self.’ “Justice” Clarence Thomas is alone; and Thomas Sowell will be alone, if he ever stops tap dancing and starts doing some serious ‘interpretive dance.’ But you are not “alone.” My education, next to my ‘faith,’ is the best thing that ever “happened” to me. Read, volunteer, become active (or more active) in a community that interests you, then read some more. Honestly, I think books saved my life. Maybe that’s why I became an academic, among other things…

    I can’t think of anything that a book (the right book) cannot remedy. I’m pained and ashamed to say that the days of being accused of “thinking you’re white” just because you’re articulate, motivated, educated, and inquisitive are not gone. Intellect is not antithetical to “Blackness” (whatever that is) — and I must disagree with you regarding “Black” culture and “White” culture. Shakespeare, music from the Baroque period, and ice hockey are all part of my culture as a Black woman. I also love Led Zeppelin and spent my last dollar, a few years ago to go to a ZZ Top concert. Nonetheless, James Baldwin still moves me to tears; Miles Davis had to have been from another planet; Alice Walker speaks my heart; and I will mourn the passing of Wangari Maathai for the rest of my days! And did you know that the author of one of my favorite books, ever, Alexandre Dumas, was not only a Frenchman, but Black! And as a Guyanese-American (pardon the hyphen) Black woman, I’m beginning to wonder what this thing, called “Black culture” is that has been left to us after centuries of oppression.

    As an intelligent, educated, inquisitive, and sensitive Black man, I’d say you’re in danger of having it all… That makes some people nervous, and others, outraged… Don’t let anyone (including yourself) ever take that away from you.

    You’ll remain in my thoughts and prayers,

    Vivien

  2. Thank you for your comment – I really appreciate the insight! I adore your love for books and Baroque (both delights of mine!) I understand your position in stating there is no “black” and “white” culture, but I must disagree. Although there is some transfer of music, books, and movies there is definitely much that does not cross-pollinate. It is undeniable that when one who is from a predominately black neighborhood enters a predominately white institution or neighborhood they experience culture shock. Language itself has the power to segregate (slang/lingo). Music and dance has the ability to point out differences in region and history. And with those differences it reminds one of their “blackness” or whiteness” It reminds them that they are different (which is not a bad thing but a living truth).

    Even the fact that you knowingly used Led Zeppelin, hockey, and baroque to prove as black women you enjoy these facets of life only indicates that you know these amusements are largely enjoyed by “whites” and thus signifies to me you understand the differences in both cultures.

    Lastly, trying to deny that there is no “black” or “white” culture (or any culture for that matter) is ignoring the complexity of each community and simultaneously simplifying & overlooking their rich history.

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