Monday, November 29, 2010

Black Jesus

          I've always been entertained by things that seemed bizarre to me. Even if I'm the butt of the joke, I will still laugh if there's something perverse involved. This interest in all things odd started at an early age, thanks to Princess Toadstool (my Mother). She used to do this very strange thing and invite Barbie (my sister) and me to sit on either side of her and she would begin to sing. First of all, Princess Toadstool probably has the singing capacity that of William Hung. I think volume is on the top of her priority list in terms of vocal technique. How so much noise comes out of someone the size of a lawn gnome is a mystery to me. Anyways, she had a very interesting choice of song. She always sang the same one. It was a Christian Gospel song called "Deep and Wide". Before she began, she would take a big deep breath in as Barbie and I tried to contain our laughter for what was to come. She would wail out the first word "Deeeeeeeeeeeeeep" while simultaneously she would stretch both her arms out in front of her as far as she could. And then when she wailed "and WIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIDE" she would abruptly open her arms as hard as she could and whack us both in the face. Some people would consider this child abuse. Barbie and I just considered this a good time. I'm not sure why we got so much joy out of this but neither of us could stop laughing every time she did this. And Princess Toadstool wouldn't stop; she would just keep going and going and going because she also was aware of how happy this made us. Good times.  
            That nightly occasion was the closest Barbie and I ever came to having a religious experience with my Mother. Her mother (my Grandmother) is Catholic and the only thing I understand about Catholics is that they’re permitted to swear uncontrollably which left Princess Toadstool to give us the remainder of the household religious education. We never went to church. Besides her rendition of the gospel “Deep and Wide”, my Mother Princess Toadstool made 2 other important references to God. The first thing she told us was that God can see everything including behind our ears which is why we must take care to thoroughly wash that area of our bodies. When she told us this I assumed that the same must be true of the perineum. Secondly, she made it very clear that God looks like Aunt Jemima. I don’t like pancakes very much but sometimes I’ll put syrup on my chicken wings; this is something new I’ve discovered since moving to Texas. Her reasoning on this ridiculous comparison was Princess Toadstool felt that it would be funny if all of the horrible racists, murderers, and supremacists died, went to heaven, and had to face the Black woman who’s on the front of the syrup jar. She felt that this would be their punishment for being so evil because surely Ms. Jemima would never let them through the pearly gates. I wonder where I get my sense of humor?

      One time Princess Toadstool told me that she wanted to become Buddhist. I’m assuming that this had less to do with their relentless commitment to a higher being and more about being surrounded by Asians who, like her, are munchkin-sized. Oddly, my home town is very religious. It's often referred to as the "Bible Belt". Most of my friends called themselves "Christian" which to me meant that you talked about people behind their backs as opposed to their faces and you weren’t allowed to watch “Sabrina The Teenage Witch”. On a few occasions I went to church with friends if I had happened to sleep over on a Saturday night. This experience was very difficult for me because at that age I had a very difficult time controlling my own imagination and/or laughter. The entire time sitting in that pue I couldn’t stop rewriting the lyrics of church songs in my head and changing the words to dirty ones. I had no idea that in the future I would ever have to face this again, voluntarily. I was wrong. Very wrong.  

         As an adult, the idea of going to church immediately gives me a full onset of diarrhea. This is not good considering my self-diagnosed IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). So when I was offered by one of my co-workers here in Texas to join her weekly visit to Baptist church, I was hesitant about going. Not to mention, every time that I enter a religious sanctuary something very strange happens to me. I remember a few years ago I rubbed up against one of the branches of a fake tree in my friend's church and I began to spontaneously bleed profusely in the middle of prayer. I took this as a sign that I was not welcome. But somehow I managed to conjure up enough courage to enter a Christian establishment. After all, Jesus is supposed to be accepting of all people. I figure that Jesus was raised Jewish and I know for a fact that the Jews secretly LOVE the half-shvartzers! But this wasn't just any regular church; it was a Southern Baptist church. I have to say, I was mildly excited about it. The idea of a bunch of crazy Southern Black people all crowded together in one place screaming, hooting, hollering and wearing large hats had QUITE the appeal somehow! But, for the fact that I hadn't been to Church in a long time, I was not fully prepared for not only the Texas experience of a church, not to mention the BLACK experience of a Church, not the mention the 2010 version of a church! I was not emotionally prepared to see what I witnessed that morning at the Concord Missionary Baptist Church of Texas.

         First of all, I don't understand why they don't have extra Bibles in Church! I mean, they say that God is the author. And church is the House of God. So why there aren't any spares of his own book in his own house is beyond me. Anyways, I ended borrowing my roommate’s Bible which ended up being in my favor considering that it allotted me time to study the names of the chapters in the car on the way there. I don't understand why preachers yell out random chapters like PSALM or SAMUEL or LIL KIM; can I just get a page number please? So my co-worker picks me up and I get in the car and we're running VERY late which made me very nervous because the last thing I want is to look crazy in church. Normally it brings me great joy and pleasure to stand out but in a religious setting I just wanted to blend in, lay low, hold in the laughter, and take copious notes so I could write about them later. Apparently our tardiness was not a problem though. See, I forgot it was a BLACK church which means that you are looked upon as culturally out of place if you show up to anything on time. So we got out of the car in a very full parking lot and made our way in with the rest of the community which was just as late as we were. So I walk through the door, shake some lady's hand and I feel a sigh of relief because I've realized that she had not yet detected me as a non-believer, otherwise known as Lucifer. That morning I made sure I was dressed in most Christ-y looking attire possible which basically means I made sure not to iron anything and decided to forego the eyeliner and clear nail polish. So we walk in to sit down. And I realized something. Churches are not the same as they were when I was kid. Times have changed.......

          The choir had already begun to sing and many people had been seated at this point so I very gingerly went in and sat down. My co-worker had to do "Communion" which I had no idea what that was yet. But basically she sat in the Orchestra and I was in the Mezzanine. I composed myself, put my Bible on my lap, and looked up to enjoy the festivities. I was completely overwhelmed with what I saw. Let me tell you, I thought it would be a few people on stage singing in robes and an old lady on the organ with some happy Black people clapping along. I was wrong! It was so much more; this was a full performance! It was the weekly Matinee! And not only that, a performance with late seating! Even better. There were lights! So many lights; with dimmers and spotlights and different color specials. There was a full band with drums and a horn section. There must've been at least 40 people up there clapping and singing and hundreds in the audience. They even had a stage with a background set! They had bushes that were trimmed down to the shape of very large letters like oversized chia pets. It read: WE GROW PEOPLE! Is this a church for midgets? (I'm sorry that was mean...."little people" that sounds less offensive) My mother should've come, she'd fit right in! And the real kicker was this. There were camera men!  At least 4 of them. They had video cameras that displayed every moment live on not 1, not 2, but 3 video screens above the choir in real time. There was a soundboard and a program. This wasn't Sunday service, it was a football game! I thought to myself "I needed to bring popcorn". But then I realized I could just buy some at intermission. I've never seen such a spectacle. I tried to calm myself down so I could absorb everyday detail. Somehow, in between my being totally captivated and my never-ending sweat I managed to jot down a detailed record of the events. So here's the running order of the program:

ACT ONE: Follow The Bouncing Cross
       The choir sang a song which was great because the words were very easy to follow. I though it would be fun if they made it like a Disney movie where you follow the words on the screen with a bouncing ball; in this instance a bouncing cross, halo, or Jew would be more appropriate. Anyways, I was so insecure about looking crazy that I was quite relieved once I realized I could catch on quickly The song went: "GOD IS AN AMAZING GOD! GOD IS AN AMAZING GOD! GOD IS AN AMAZING GOD! GOD IS AN AMAZING GOD! GOD IS AN AMAZING GOD!" So that was the first verse. The second verse went: "GOD IS AN AMAZING GOD! GOD IS AN AMAZING GOD! GOD IS AN AMAZING GOD! GOD IS AN AMAZING GOD!" At this point I'm thinking alright already! He's amazing....I get it.  So is Cinnamon Toast Crunch!

ACT TWO: Cue crazy Black woman singing and running around aimilessly
         This lady came out wearing red (Black people LOVE red) and she sang a song by herself. She was lovely! And then the chorus started to sing back up; or as I call it, Black up. Now as I said, not only was I watching it live from my seat but I could also watch it 3 times over on the video screens above me. The lyrics to this song actually had more than 5 words repeating over and over so this time they were displayed on the screen so we could follow. IT'S A SING-A-LONG like Disney! Just as I had hoped! I did not participate on account of the fact that I was trying to not draw any attention to myself and also because I was completely enraptured and slightly traumatized by the event and was too busy gawking. Then randomly people started standing up one by one (mostly elderly women with hats) and they would raise one hand up and sit back down. I'm not sure what all that was about. Maybe they were confused and thought they were at Bingo. And then it got better! The lady in red started perspiring (Black people sweat a lot!). She started shaking a little and her head starting moving back and forth like one of those bobble-head things that you put on the dashboard of your car. I think she "caught the spirit" which means she momentarily went batshit crazy. She also started a brisk run then stopped which is understandable; she was in heels for Christ's sake!

ACT THREE: Black man talks very loudly
         So I really needed to settle down after all of that singing. I really could've used an intermission. I think I'm going to write an anonymous letter of complaint. Anyways, after those shenanigans finished, a man came on to the stage. His name was Mr. Pastor Man. Strange name. He talked for a long time. He started by talking about the movie “Inception” starring Leonardo Di Caprio, in a theatre near you. I'm not sure what the relevance was because I was too busy following the visual references on the screens above me. They displayed pictures from the movie while he was talking. I couldn't believe it! It was so weird. Preachers have visual aids? He went on to talk about "growing people" which was the theme of his sermon and would continue to be for the next few weeks because background sets don't change themselves. This is show business after all. And then it happened. "Turn to JEREMIAH...." he said. And of course even after all of the intense 5 minutes of studying the names at the tops of the pages in the car, I couldn't find it. I began sweating! I knew that I would be found out! I knew people would be staring at me, they would see me fuddling through the pages clearly not knowing what I was doing and the entire community of Dallas would know I wasn’t truly one of them! And then I would be crucified; like Jesus! But then! I was saved! Not by Jesus but by the video screens! See nowadays you don't have to flip through your borrowed Bible to read the quotations. They just simply display the passage right there on 3 video screens. It's E-JESUS! I stopped sweating and my diarrhea subsided. So I calmed down and just paid attention to Mr. Pastor Man. The thing I couldn't help notice about Mr. Pastor Man is that he began his sermon in a normal vocal register and slowly began an increase the volume as he went on. I'm sure the elderly people in the nosebleed seats appreciated it. However, I got great seats (probably because my co-worker had connections). By the end he was screaming! And of course my self-centeredness made me think that he was yelling only at me! "I'M SORRY MR. PASTOR MAN! I'M SORRY I REWRITE THE WORDS TO GOSPEL SONGS IN MY MIND AND MAKE THEM DIRTY! PLEASE FORGIVE ME!”, I wanted to proclaim! Somehow, I restrained myself. I missed the end of his speech because I was distracted by a young boy in the row in front of me who was eating Skittles. I LOVE SKITTLES!

ACT FOUR: Snack Time
        As much as I thoroughly enjoyed the festivities up until this point, the next part of the performance was the show stopper, literally! I noticed that they had a very large table in front of the stage with a white blanket over it concealing whatever was on the table. All of a sudden a whole bunch of men and my co-worker (the only female) were standing in front of the table. They had white gloves on. A camera, a stage, and a bunch of Black people with white gloves on. My guess was a Michael Jackson tribute, but I was wrong. It was something called Communion. Up until this point I didn't understand why there wasn't an intermission; an opportunity to stretch our legs and get some snacks. But I found out that's what Communion is! They instructed us to stand and they unveiled the table which had many platters with snacks on them. Each of the men (and one woman) went down the aisles even all the way up to where I was in the mezzanine and passed us a refreshment. I told the man he passed my row that I wanted a hot dog with ketchup on the side and a diet Snapple. He seemed confused. It turns out that we all had to eat the same thing; like on an airplane. When we received the snack we were instructed to sit down. It was a small plastic container which reminded me of Dunkaroos. It had two compartments kind of like when you buy yogurt that has granola in a separate container on the top. Except the top part had bread and the bottom part had grape juice. I didn't have breakfast that morning so I was ready to dive in. I peeled back the lid but then stopped myself. I looked around and noticed that nobody else was eating. I assumed they must've been on the Atkins diet. I figured out that I was supposed to wait until everybody was served their snack before I could get my vitamin C for the day. Oprah said that once 3 people are served at the table it's okay to start. I thought that was the rule! I mean she's Oprah for Christ's sake! But I decided to be patient. I dissed the big O. After all, it was my first time there and I wanted to make a good impression. I didn't want people to think I was some kind of fatass. So as I was waiting, I looked up and I saw the most amazing vision ever. Jesus; times 3! There he was on the video screen! "I didn't know Jesus did film?" I thought to myself. I must say he was very convincing in the role of himself. He's also incredibly thin; don't forget the camera adds 10 pounds (He's giving me a run for my money, he's a Mediterranean Jew so he's almost as Brown as I). So finally everybody had been served and I ate the bread (rather dry I must say) and then took the shot of red Alize, I mean grape juice. I have to say Communion was delicious! I was very sad when they came around with a collection plate for the wrapper. I was sad to let it go. I really wanted a souvenir.

ACT FIVE: Commercial Break:
         I know I sound crazy but I promise to you I am mot making this next part up. I swear on the Bible I borrowed from my roommate. On the video screens they played a commercial that was advertising a Male Christian Fraternity that meets every Saturday morning. First of all what's a male fraternity? That's like making an advertisement for women’s tampons, not to be confused with male tampons? HUH?! Anyways, it started with this man (who for some God forsaken reason was White, what ever happened to representation?) he slowly was putting on a full medieval metal dominatrix looking fighting suit complete with sword and shield. And this booming voice played through the speakers "COMING OCTOBER 10TH.....MASCULINITY AS YOU'VE NEVER SEEN BEFORE...MALE FRETERNITY SESSION EVERY SATURDAY MORNING AT 7...PREPARE FOR TOTAL DOMINATION COMING TO A CHURCH NEAR YOU!!!!" The commercial finishes and there's a silence in the room. Normally at this point I would get what I refer to as the "church giggles". When you laugh incredibly inappropriately at a time when you don't want to and the more you try to stop laughing the more difficult it gets to control. This did not happen. Have you ever seen something so funny that you can't even laugh? This is what happened. I was shocked, appalled, and so horrified that I was completely frozen in its hilarity. There's no way this was real. As I watched the insanity unfold on the video screen, all I kept thinking was, “I swear I wrote this shit.”
ACT SIX: That's so gay!        
          I noticed that from time to time a phone number was displayed on the video screen that said "Text questions to 214....". I thought to myself: Texting in the house of God? Really? Is Ms. Cleo here? Will she answer the questions? I found out, what happens is that people text their questions to a computer and then Mr. Pastor Man comes out at the end and answers them. The questions were about the sermon and came from people in the audience and perhaps at home from the live feed. The questions were generic as were the answers until he got to the last one. The questions was "There are many openly gay pastors. WHAT KIND OF GROWTH IS THAT?" As Mr. Pastor Man read this question there was a hush over the crowd and he looked uncomfortable. This made me nervous. A large amount of angry Black people is not funny. I slowly sunk in my seat which also helped to suppress my 3rd onset of diarrhea that day. My small intestine cannot handle church. But I do recall that there was a phrase he used in his response that went something like "Homosexuality is a sinful practice!". The pastor finished his response and I was still alive and had not pooped myself. I survived undetected. I guess I have E-Jesus to thank. 
ACT SEVEN: Jesus anyone?        
            The last and final act of the show was very exciting! The white-gloved people removed their gloves and surrounded us all. This was it. They were going to capture us and never let us leave! It was a full on take-over. I could feel it. This turned out to be true but not to the extent that my imagination had taken me. In fact, it was a takeover but a voluntary one. Each of the men in suits with red ties held out their right hand in gesture for anyone to come and they would take them into a room and except Jesus into their heart. It's all a conspiracy. I think they take you with a big smile their face, they greet you and probably lure you into the room by offering you more delicious Communion which quite frankly I would not be able to resist. And then they take you to the DUNGEON OF DOOM and hook you up to a lie detector machine to find out if you are something horrific like a homosexual, a Jew, or God forbid half White! And then if you fail the test they put you into a magical machine which turns you into Denzel Washington which sounds scary now but might be a good idea if I retire or go to Germany.

EPILOGUE: Chicken and waffles

        So even though I really wanted a second helping of Communion, I knew that I needed to be thankful that they didn't kidnap me so I did not press my luck any further and left immediately. We went to where any respectful group of Black people would go post-church, the Waffle House. Our server's name was Trickadeshakeshiapropeesha. I didn't recognize half the food on the menu so I decided when in I ordered this lovely thing called grits. It looks like rice and tastes like sin! It's almost as good as Communion. I had 3 cups of coffee which was very silly considering my IBS. I couldn't resist. I knew I had to stay awake because I had MUCH writing to do.
       So that's it. That was my day of Lord. I'm pretty sure Jesus and I are BFF's now. It was wonderful. Somehow I made it out alive. The aliens didn't brainwash me. However, next time I will be sure to bring one of my White friends as my protector. It might be nice to see something White in church besides the gloves.


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Giving Thanks

         Thanksgiving is over but it is only at this point that I am able to be thankful. Up until now I've been pre-occupied with my being terrified about Black Friday. When I first moved to America I had never heard of this event before. I thought, "Is there an additional Martin Luther King holiday I missed?" Apparently I was mistaken. This is the day when Americans completely lose their shit and go absolutely insane over markdowns at Macy's. I found out that it's called Black Friday because that's the color of the people who will bust a cap in your ass to be first in line to purchase their 75% off DVD player from Radio Shack. It goes without saying that this time of the year makes me a little nervous on account of the constant dodging of bullets in the mall. So now finally that hot mess is over with and I am now able to calm my nerves and make my laundry list for things I am most thankful for. Here it is:

I am thankful for....

1. Vaginas - Without which I would have not had my grand entrance into the world.
2. Black people - For constantly providing material for my blog and talking loud in movie theaters.
3. My Mother - And all Asian people who are the same height as she.
4. Ramen noodles - For your unwavering source of nourishment.
5. Dogs with 3 legs - For bringing a smile to my face and joy in my heart.
6. Briefs - Thank you for the "convenience flap", it saves so much time and energy.
7. Jesus - I love Jewish people!
8. Kegel exercises - Thanks for keeping me toned.
9. Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders - I admire your courage to be both orange and retarded .
10. Fat people - Thank you for my self-esteem.
11. My 2nd testicle - I'm so happy to have a spare.

It's important to not present a one sided argument. Since I started blogging I've decided to create a non-partisan and non-polarizing environment. Thus, I have written a second laundry list which is slightly more realistic:

I am not thankful for...

1. My 3rd testicle - This is useless decoration.
2. The baggage fee at the airport - Now I know why Black people carry guns.
3. Geri Haliwell - Why did you go and break up the most amazing group since Milli and Vanilli?
4. Madonna - For stealing Black babies.
5. People who are thinner than I - Go eat a hippopotamus and screw off!
6. Michael Vick - Dogs aren't too fond of Black people to begin with. You're not helping!
7. Erections - I don't like surprises.
8. Barney - Large purple homosexuals shouldn't be on television that early in the morning.
9. My bellybutton - Are you in or are you out? Pick one God damn it!!! Why did I get Ricky Martin for a bellybutton?
10. Asian babies - I get very nervous when I can't tell when something is asleep or not.
11. Barack Obama - Stop being so thin and Brown! That's my job you little bitch!

Happy belated Thanksgiving! Enjoy your leftover turkey (or tofurkey for the vegetarians).

Monday, November 22, 2010

Barbie is Black

         My Mother is White. My older sister is White. My younger brother is White. And somehow I managed to turn out Brown. I guess they left me in the oven too long. I'm not sure how all of this happened but it did. The important thing to understand about all of this is that it's very funny. Please allow me to explain.

         My Mother is very possessive over family photographs because they tend to go missing when any of the children tend to bother them (White people are always neurotic about Black people stealing from them; even when it’s their own children, for Christ’s sake!). I make annual trips back home during the summer and one of the first things I always do is open up the family album so I can get my one and only annual opportunity to reflect on my ridiculous childhood. It seems the more distance I get from my past the more insane it appears. Growing up as the only Brown child in a sea of White people did not feel nearly as awkward as one would imagine. However, the pictures tell a very different story. Seeing a photo with a seemingly White and also vertically challenged family smiling together is somehow made obscure when in the center is a string bean Brown child with un-kept naps at the tops of his head. "One of these things is not like the other...." I looked like the adopted orphan from Uganda. I’m pretty sure when I would walk around with my Mother in our incredibly religious Caucasian town, people probably thought we were dating. My mother claims to be 5 feet which I think is a bit of a stretch. If you gave my mother a parasol and slapped a tiara on her head you would swear she was Princess Toadstool. My younger brother looks like Aaron Carter and Justin Bieber’s lovechild. And my sister, whom is the subject of today’s rant looks like Barbie. If you’ve noticed I haven’t been using anyone’s real name (including my own) so let’s refer to my loving sister as such; Barbie. (P.S. Her hair is actually black now (it's lovely), she's channeling Vanessa Hudgens, but for the sake of consistency we'll call her Barbie.)

           I’m thinking back specifically to a picture in the family album of my sister and I. Barbie was maybe 6 and I would have been 2 years old. The picture is of us lying on the couch (my Grandmother refers to this as a "chesterfield", we'll get to her at a later blog!). We were sleeping and I’m wrapped in her arms. We look like the most beautiful bi-racial dumplings you’ve ever seen! All you would need is one more Black toddler on the other side of my sister and we would have made a perfect Oreo. My Mother (Princess Toadstool) says that we were inseparable. Barbie has good taste. It’s amazing to think that my sister had so much intuition and foresight to be able to predict the popularity of Black babies decades before it was made popular by the likes of Angelina Jolie, Madonna, and Sandra Bullock. Barbie has always been ahead of the times. Like all siblings, we did not remain inseparable forever. At some point we have to part ways with our families and grow individually. I remember Barbie being very popular and incredibly beautiful (she still is). I looked up to her as any younger sibling would. I always took notice to the way she dressed and the things she did. I really took to heart the things she would say to me. I remember the first time she or anyone had began to make mention of me looking any different than everybody in my family. Perhaps it was only natural that these observations would be pointed out to me by one of the members of my family. They, more than anyone, were concerned about my place in the world. I, however, was perfectly comfortable not being aware how odd and displaced I may have seemed but it was inevitable that someone would point it out. I realize now that it was better that it came from inside the family where I knew I was ultimately loved. Barbie took that torch and ran with it. I just didn't expect it.

         One day I was in my room, Barbie came in with a cassette tape. She played it and began singing; it was Deborah Cox (**famous Canadian reference #1, please memorize these as there will be a test at a later date, with prizes). First of all, I have to mention that in retrospect it is quite embarrassing to admit that the White people in my family are far superior than I in the Mariah Carey bi-racial singing department, especially my sister. After a few bars she paused a moment. She looked at me and said, “Do I sound Black when I sing?”. Silence. “What the Christ are you talking about?”, was the unspoken response in my  head. This was completely ludicrous to me. “Do I sound Black”, what does that even mean? There I am sitting with my own flesh and blood sister asking me if she sounds like the race that is the same as my biological father whom neither of us had met. I wasn’t offended, nor am I now (I have no reason to be). However, I was perplexed beyond belief. I didn’t know how to respond. I paused for an inordinate period of time and quietly said “Yes” simply.

          When I was 12, I overheard Barbie use the phrase “tap that”. She used this phrase a lot. In researching the language of Ebonics I found out later that "Can I tap that?” is in reference to a man of African-American decent inquiring to a lady if he may engage in penetrative activities with her undercarriage (that's the area between the front vagina and the back vagina). Upon hearing this phrase, I thought it was the most amazing thing ever. I still think it’s pretty amazing but whenever I use it I am always sure to add the word “please” at the end. Respect is something that is earned. My sister grew out of the use of this unbelievable term. She’s now 28, married with a daughter in Kindergarden. Perhaps one would say that this would be an inappropriate time in her life to start casually using this type of jargon again (even as a joke) but I for one disagree. My sister really was always several steps ahead of me in the ebonics department. I'm not sure how this happened. I watched B.E.T. more than she did. She had some Indian friends. Maybe that was close enough? However she became abreast of the idiosyncrasies of the African American speech is still a mystery to me but the fact that she was seriously ahead of the game became increasingly more apparent to me as we got older.

          One day I was sitting in front of the television or "the boob tube" as Princess Toadstool calls it. I was watching one of my favorite Black shows to further educate myself on "my people". The Fresh Prince of Bel Air (please refer back to my earlier blog where I reference my unfortunate confrontation with this hairstyle). Everytime I watched the program I always saw myself as the Carlton of the family. Do you remember the dance Carlton did? Barbie is actually amazing at this dance! You wouldn't believe it until you saw it. I really want her to do it at my wedding one day. I'll have to make sure I use the restroom before she does it otherwise I will probably pee myself in my white suit. So, she came and sat down for a moment and we watched together. When it went to commercial, Barbie turned and looked at me. She said, "Why don't you talk like that?" "Like what?" I said. She paused, "Like Fresh Prince", she said. Silence. Time out! We are both sitting here in the same house, being raised by the same people, attending the same school in the same redneck town. Why would I talk any different? In retrospect, I'm not sure if she thought that I should've been making a conscious effort to sound that way or if she believed that it should've been natural for me because of my genetics. I suppose I should ask her. But at the time I was so perplexed all I could say was "I don't know." Which was true, I didn't know. However, I didn't expect it to be any different than the way things were. I learned to speak English from Dr. Suess, that's all I knew. That's still all I know. I was somewhat shocked that she pointed this out to me. She was the only person I can remember who ever had the balls to say anything like that to me. In the end, it actually was to my benefit.    

         White people are funny. They tend to keep things inside (like any good Christian should). Being half-White I understand that silence is a virtue. I, the only Brown person in my city, could walk into a room perhaps with Princess Toadstool and no one would say anything at all yet people looked incredibly confused. Caucasians tend to ignore the elephant in the room if it saves them any embarrassment. I know this better than anyone; I do this all the time. That's why I blog, it's the only way I know how to vent. Black people, to the contrary, generally don’t give a shit what people think so if they don’t understand something they’ll ask the question. Whether posing the question makes them look ignorant or not seems to be of no interest to them. My family was no exception to this White passive aggression. My White family rarely made reference to the fact that I looked any different than anyone else. And to me, all I saw around me were White people, so I, in a sense, felt White as well. Things felt familiar and perfectly ordinary to me. And the fact that my family was oblivious (or pretended to be) only helped perpetuate my being oblivious. So when Barbie, all of a sudden, starting pointing what I'm sure everyone else was talking about behind my back it was an awakening for me. Even though I felt confused and exposed by some of the questions she asked, she was actually talking about something that most people were just too scared to actually bring up.

           Barbie meant no harm. She was only speaking her mind. She really prepared me for some of the judgments and questions I would later receive later in life; especially from Black people. Barbie simply just saw what I see now when I look back at our family photo. I look back at that picture and think "What's that Negro doing with all of these Caucasians? Is he the family slave?" When I look back and think about how bold and unfiltered my White sister was. All I can say is..... That's so Black of her! 

Barbie is Black.
Crack is whack.
I love you Sister!

Monday, November 15, 2010

My Black Vagina

            If I had a vagina its name would be Susan. Susan is easy to remember and rolls off the tongue easily; just like my vagina. My vagina wouldn't have a last name just like Cher or Madonna. My vagina would definitely be Black. And not like Halle Berry Black; I mean Nelson Mandela Black! My vagina would be so Black it wouldn't be allowed to open a checking account. My vagina would be so Black that it wouldn't leave tips at restaurants. My vagina would have no hair on the sides; only hair on the top. The hair would sit just north of my vagina in a circle shape. My vagina hair would look like your Dad's face when he hasn't shaved for 5 days; or Santa Claus. The afro on my vagina would be so big I could keep all of my secrets in it; and maybe a few dollar bills too. My vagina would speak English, German, Pig Latin, Japanese, and Hebrew. It would also know sign language. My vagina would have an amazing singing voice; probably a soprano. My vagina would be left-handed. My vagina would be soft and shiny; also amazingly musical! My vagina would have charisma and it would smell like a mountain breeze. My vagina would be more amazing than any other vagina you have seen. My vagina could make a sex tape with itself. If you had my vagina you could stand over a mirror with legs apart and you would look down at the reflection and say to yourself, "Wow! Now that's potential!"

                                                            We all can dream.....

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Black Barbershop (Blarbershop)

          My hair has always been a point of contention for me. I'm a nappy headed hoe and with that comes certain responsibility to be educated about the diligence in maintaining these naps. There are many things that a person of color must do to upkeep one's Chia pet. Having your Caucasian mother drag you out on the front porch and cut your hair with sewing scissors is not one of them. Bless her heart; she did the best she could. Occasionally I went to hair dressers but they were of no help as I was probably the first Black person they had ever met. One time I was at my Grandmother's apartment out on the deck and I looked over at the apartment next door and there were two African men out on their porch; one was cutting the other's hair. Of course as soon as my mother saw them she couldn't help herself. My mother is the kind of person that could strike up a conversation with a waffle iron. She can talk to anyone; thus her conversation with Black people. Somehow she convinced one of them to cut my hair. She successfully managed to talk the man into it with almost no effort; I, on the other hand, was in need of a compelling argument that I should let this unlicensed stranger who barely spoke English to touch my precious Chia pet. Even though my hair was no doubt a hot mess at the time on account of it never been cut or taken care of properly, I still enjoyed my poofball. I took a strange pride in it and I really didn't like others messing with it too much. I got dragged over there and this man proceeded to cut my hair. I don't think I spoke an entire word to him the whole time. Quite frankly, I felt bothered by Black people. There were none of them in my family or school but on the seldom occasion I ran into someone who was Black it usually was not a pleasurable experience. It annoyed me how so many of them stuck together like glue and pretended to immediately understand me and act like my friend because I was a "brother" too; while in the same breath they wouldn't take the time of day to extend the same welcoming  behavior to any of my White family members. Eventually, I got over that but at the age of 12 I wasn't quite there yet. I'm not sure that this make-shift African barber's number he did on my head helped me progress any further into the understanding of Black people either. After he finished, I went and looked in the mirror and immediately burst into tears. My head looked like a piece of Lego. It was like the Fresh Prince of Bel Air except without the fade; just one solid block on top of my egg-shaped face. It was atrocious; a complete abomination! At that moment I promised myself that I would never go back to the likes of the Black barber. I would keep true to my promise for 10 years. But then there was a day where the experience repeated itself. Jesus has a really good sense of humor. 

         I had been living in New York City in Queens for 2 years when I lost my clippers. I had somewhere nice to go that night and there was no way I would show up in public with my hair looking like Spongebob Squarepants after being run over by a dump truck. I don't think I need to explain why at this point in my life I had been cutting my own hair. Unfortunately, without clippers I was out of luck. I had to improvise. Everyday I had walked by what seemed like a very quiet humble little barbershop on the corner. I never would dare or even dream to step into this establishment considering my past history with letting others, particular African Americans, take control of my fuzz bucket.  However, on that Sunday I had no time to keep looking for my clippers so I gave in and decided to enter the unknown world that is Black barbershops or Blarbershop for short. I walked across the street to the entrance, I took a deep breath and tried to erase all of the painful hair memories I had experienced in my youth and walked in. One thing became very clear to me as soon as I entered; Black barbershops are absolutely insane. They have Nintendo, football games on the television, a tattoo parlor, high chairs to get your shoes shined, a pool table, chicken wings, and a refrigerator There were about 30 people in there! All men. All brown. I felt like I was on Lava Life. So I walked through the door in my Black Jones New York trench coat, tight jeans, and pointy shoes. I took a look around  and quickly realized that actually I was the one that looked crazy. I was a little intimidated by the loud noise and the billions of people crowded into that small place. I didn't walk up to anyone. I just stood there. I just stood and took it all in. I saw the poster on the wall with deceased Black celebrities. I was very proud of myself because I could name almost all of them: Tupac, Notorious B.I.G., Aaliyah, Run DMC, Bob Marley and one more that I couldn't figure out. A man in the corner gestured for me to come over to him as he proceeded to boot whoever was sitting down out of his chair. I thought he was a customer but apparently random Black men just come and hang out. Who needs online dating? The man greeted me, shook my hand and sat me in his chair. He wrapped a black tarp around my incredibly thin neck and started with his interrogation. He said, "Do you want points?" I said "Yes". I had no idea what he was talking about. I found out later that points are triangle shaped sideburns. I liked them. I felt like Elvis except without diabetes. Then he said, "Do you want it round or square in the back?". I still can't quite figure what this nonsense is all about. First of all, what shape is it normally? If a barber could just simply try to return my hair line to its original shape I wouldn't need to endure this ridiculous line of questioning. Second of all, I can't even see back there. A billion confused thoughts raced through my mind. At this point I was sweating because I clearly was out of place and had no idea what was going on. What was worse was the fact that my barber was catching on. I knew I couldn't ask for clarification or explanation of any of these questions he was asking me because it would only lead to further embarrassment. So I said " I'd like it square in the back please", but thought to myself "I'll try round next time and see if people react differently to me from the back". He used 2 different razors: a medium sized white one like the one I have and a tiny red one that's very hot! I found out the red one is a trimmer.  Then, he flipped up this thing on the back of a chair and shoved the back of my head back on it. Of course I didn't realize that he had flipped up anything I just saw this Black man push my head back with one hand and magically something had appeared behind my head to support. I was beyond perplexed at this point. It would only get worse. He did something quite disturbing. He brought out a straight razor. I had only heard about these contraptions in books and movies. Then, without announcement, he shaved me. It was so bizarre! I mean, I loved it! But still! Shouldn't you ask permission first? I thought that would be the polite thing to do. At first I thought he was trying to kill me. He didn't though. I made it out alive. He finished shaving and proceeded to spray some delicious and suspiciously gay mist all over my head. I learned at a later date that these were disinfectants. He even did my eyebrows with the straight razor right before he let me out of the chair. The total came to $14 which although is very cheap, it definitely sounded like he pulled the number out of thin air. I feel the same way about the copious amounts fried chicken that people were eating casually. I gave him $20 and left. I went home and took another look in the mirror. This time there were no tears. I actually looked really good. It's been long since the days of my mother hacking away at the wild bush on my head out on the front porch with her sewing scissors. Maybe I was growing up. Maybe I was changing. Perhaps the world of African American hairstylists wasn't as petrifying as I once thought. Not only did I look fabulous at the party that night, I basked in my own glow for the next five entire days.Unfortunately my coiffed look didn't last long. Beauty is so fleeting. My French Canadian roots literally grew back with a vengeance. They were pissed that my naps were being treated with chocolate love. In no time my curls grew back and my head returned to its normal state of looking like the set of Anne of Green Gables. I suppose there really was no easy fix to my nappy problem. It would just never go away. However, there is one solution that I have found and I have stuck with more recently. I've found away to be truly content with my natural African-descended hair. I now follow in the steps of Mr. Clean.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Welcome to Brown and Thin!

Well hello everybody! It is a bright and early morning. I am so excited to premiere my new and amazing Blog!

          So here's the deal. The most important thing you need to know (ever in the world) is that I am Brown and thin. NEVER forget that! Good, now that we have that covered, I will explain a little bit about what my blog and its future content will be. I will be telling stories about my adventures and observations of people who are often less thin than I. I will be talking about my Brown perspectives in places that feel dominated by one particular race. I am half Black (therefore Brown) however I never had any Black friends or family members to associate with until in my twenties. I wouldn't say that I'm on a quest to be Black but I am completely fascinated in what it means to be Black; especially in America. I will be talking about feelings of displacement and amazement, always with a comedic twist! The topics of my rants will include but not be limited to: du-rags, golden teeth, Ru Paul, koolaid, cars that bounce up and down, shiny watches, hats worn only in church, Dark and Lovely shampoo, corn bread, and Kevin Federline.

          Although I have an interest in Blackness, I will also be talking about things that interest me: gender politics, how incredibly thin I am, Grey Goose, underpants, Lucky Charms, and vaginas. Like any blogger, I'm basically freestyling it but please prepare to laugh and to be entertained. I highly suggest that before reading this blog that you have two vodka based beverages (preferably Goose or Belvedere). Well, that's it. All my bases are covered. Welcome to the adventures of me: Brown and Thin! Cheers!

DISCLAIMER: You should not subscribe to this blog if you are any of the following:
1. Easily offended by jokes that pertain to skin color being compared to paint chips at Rona.
2. You are pregnant and not sure what race the baby will be because you slept with an entire football team.
3. Not intoxicated.
4. Believe that Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior instead of something more realistic like the Michelin Man.
5. Limit your sexual escapades to only one position.
6. Have never seen a Black person before (ie. Sarah Palin......Obama doesn't count, he's a Halfer like me)
7. A White Supremacist (or Half-White Supremacist)
8. You think that WAL-MART is a legitimate place to purchase clothing for you and your children.
9. A Korean hip-hop artist with music videos on YouTube.
10. My mother.

*If any of those applies to you I recommend that you forego this Blog and instead opt to watch Sailor Moon.