Racism! Not Talking About It Won’t Make It Go Away

I am the only person of color in my office.

It’s weird to think about it, but it’s true. Despite my light-skinned privilege, I still stick out like a dark-featured, curly-haired, big-bootied, afro-latina sore thumb in a sea of alabaster faces, hip-less thighs, light hair and high-SES Jewish and aryan-looking goodness.

Let me be clear here: I like my co-workers. I even enjoy having lunch with them. Talking with them. Sharing the space with them. They aren’t my Bee Eff Eff Jill or anything, but we get along okay.

Now, as you all know, Beyoncé recently had a concert on Sunday and interspersed before and after her performance were some commercials and some dudes in tight pants throwing around a giant disconcertingly rotten lemon. Among the excess of advertisements was this feel-good, get-out-your-blue-jeans-and-hot-dogs-and-freedom-fries-and-bibles Dodge ram commercial. You can see it in all its ‘Merican glory here.

Interestingly enough, among the tanned and weathered faces shown in each image, I counted one person of color (0:47), and three ethnically ambiguous (0:17, 1:24) looking-folks. Now, I am basing this on purely anecdotal observations here, but, I gotta ask…where are all the Mexicans, yo?

I mean…okay, let me back up here. I am not saying that there are no white farmers by any means. I’m just saying that, shit, there’s gotta be a hell of a lot more brown folks harvesting your dinner (assuming you are not living off of ramen and oreo cookies), right?

Thanks, Jesus!

Also, my mandarins have been tasting off the CHAIN lately, so thanks for that, too.

Anyway, we were discussing the ad over lunch (thanks, Jesus!) and I had brought up the same observation I made here–that it was a super whitewashed ad. Now, normally, I wouldn’t even bother mentioning it because HI, HAVE YOU WATCHED TELEVISION. I’d go blue in the fucking face if I stressed how the media is whitewashed every time someone brought up anything surrounding it.

But because much of the commentary revolving around the discussion was the “raw”, “realness”, and “authenticity” exhibited throughout the commercial, I felt the need to highlight it (no pun intended).

Bizaaaaarely enough, the all-white table shifted uncomfortably, and then changed the subject after a few seconds of some truly awkward silence. Soooo, I did anything a normal person would do and consulted the land of social media and Facebook-status-updated the ever-loving shit out of it.

I talked about how it was good to feel uncomfortable about these topics because it reveals how shitty racism is. People still feel ashamed. And that’s okay. And even within the safe-haven of my own little cyberspace surrounded by a multitude of social justice-loving activist friends, people still have a hard time talking about it. And again, that is okay.

The responses were plentiful, and many were well-thought-out. A lot of folks brought up that it was important to continue the discussion of race and ethnicity, because it exists  and we shouldn’t forget about an ongoing occurrence revolving around systematic social oppression. And of those that had already contributed to the dialogue (or had already made their thoughts on the matter heard time and time again) posted hysterically funny gifs and memes about white guilt, regardless of ethnicity, race, religious background, orientation, or gender.

Like this.

Like this.

It was like an Internet kumbaya. And it was beautiful.

And then something poignant happen.

My status got deleted.

Seriously.

It got reported as offensive, and then deleted.

I wanted to be mad, but somehow, I felt validated.

Because it further proves that this is an ongoing conversation that needs to be had. Racism doesn’t go away simply because we stop talking about it. Incidentally, that exacerbates the problem. I’m hoping that whoever found the topic “offensive” either takes the time to engage me in dialogue about why they found it offensive, or kindly de-friends me.

Life’s too short to deal with it with your head in the sand.

lol racism, wut?

lol racism, wut?

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Today! On Misadventures in Public Transit!

As you may or may not know, fellow Bourges and Bourgettes, there’s this little game on Sunday involving grown men engaging in ram-like head butting and some kind of lemon covered in animal skin being tossed about while onlookers participate in drinking copious amounts of fermented liquid bread that makes a person take their clothes off in public in the middle of the night and sob-slash-demand my husband to fuck me because it’s been over a week and why don’t you love me anymore.

rams-headbutting

Seriously though.

navy-tackle-football-helmets

What is the difference.

Apparently, ’tis also the season for stupid homophobic remarks such as the one made by 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver about whether or not an openly gay player would be allowed in the locker room. Now, Culliver (‘s PR team) has since (made him) apologized, but I can’t help but think that rather than truly learning about the community, he’ll just be better at keeping his mouth shut and instead be quieter about his bigotry. I certainly hope I’m wrong.

“But wait, Bourgie,” says you, my invisible reader, “what the fuck does this have to do with your misadventures on public transit?”

Well! I’m glad you asked!

Today, during one of said misadventures, two guys on the train to work today seemed to think that while what Culliver said was an incredibly stupid and misguided thing to say (“especially in a city as liberal as San Francisco,”), the backlash and ire that people felt was…wrong.

What.

“Yeah, I mean, like…that shit wasn’t cool or whatever, but he shouldn’t have to apologize for his opinion,” said one with an indiscernible facial tattoo.

“Right,” the other agreed, rolling up the sleeves of his red hoodie, “that’s like censorship, you know? That’s like super fascist.”

…I…oh come on.

The argument (and metaphor…dafuq man…) was totally weak to say the least. Equating having consequences for your actions to fascist censorship (Mussolini, how he rolleth in his grave)? What happened with Culliver was not the same as having your face shot off for expressing your opinion. Culliver said some egregious shit, people and especially San Francisco (a city so gay that I have heard it referred to as The Mothership in some queer circles) were unhappy with what he said, and it reflected poorly on the team. I am sorry, Red Hoodie, but if some dude makes a denigratory comment that he knows is going to be broadcasted publicly while representing his team, he’s gon’ have to pay the social cost.

The main point here is that there are ramifications for everything. Culliver was free to make the comments he did (i.e., not censorship), but he had to know that it was going to be shitty for the 49ers’ image (beyond it just being a super douchey thing to say) to express them (in a public forum no less).

In the same vein, I could stand up on a chair and shout out racial epitaphs until I’m blue in the face and have every right to (as long as I wasn’t directly threatening anyone), but the sole backlash or ostracization I’d receive as a result of my acting like a giant asshole does not equate to censoring me.

So you shut your pseudo-philosophical, Kony ’12-endorsing pie hole, Red Hoodie!

And to you, my nonexistent readers. I leave you with a real man’s hoodie…that of the flyest-dressed motherfucker in the whole train, of whom I had the privilege to stand behind in uncomfortably close proximity.

You're welcome.

You’re welcome.

Sweet, Sweet, Genderblind Stupidity

Well. Last night was apparently very eventful outside of the Von Quityourbitching household. While Obi-Wayne and I settled into bed with the Shitty Pups at the witching hour of 8:30pm, my AARP card-carrying mother was getting down at the country club for a homegirl’s birthday party (bourgie-ness is apparently hereditary, yes).

Cue a phone call at 10pm.

I felt around on my nightstand for my phone and saw the stock image of my mother’s brown face smiling back at me. Hoping she was calling to swing by and pick up her grand pup (he had been acting shittier than usual as was demonstrated by his current energetic yapping, and it would have been welcome), I slid my thumb across the screen and croaked, “hello?”

“Did I wake you up???”

“No, I’ve always sounded like this. You just haven’t noticed in the years you’ve raised me.”

“Oh. Good.”

My mother, as a foreigner, still did not fully catch sarcasm, despite having been fluent in English for over 25 years.

“What’s up?” I prompted her in Portuguese.

“Ai, I was just at this party and saw these two women get in a fight!”

“Well that’ll certainly be good for the country club’s street cred.”

“I don’t know what is that…” she retorted in English.

I suppressed a laugh. “It doesn’t matter. What happened?”

“Have noooot a cluuuue. I was at the table and this woman threw white wine at this other woman’s face. Then the girl who spilled the wine pulled the other woman’s hair and guess what her husband did while his waive was being assaulted?”

“What?”

“Nothing!”

This, admittedly, made me sit up. “Seriously?”

“Yes! I guess the woman who attacked his wife is his cousin, and all the husband said was,”–here she dropped her voice a few octaves lower and reverted back to English–“‘I’m never speaking to you again’! Can you believe it?”

I frowned. “No.”

“Real men, they don’t exist here in this country. In my country, he would have grabbed her by the arm and escorted her from the room! If my husband eeeever let this happen, he’d be served with divorce papers the next day! These women, they are unfortunately more like men nowadays. And the men, they are all wimps!”

I listened to her speak of gender and cultural polarities for another five minutes before we bid each other boa noite and I lay back down in bed.

“What’d she want? She taking the dog?” Obi-Wayne mumbled against my neck once I had settled in again.

I tried to shake my head no, realized that I was too lazy to, and instead managed a half-shrug. “Just wanted to talk. Lady at this country club apparently got her ass handed to her by her husband’s (female) cousin.”

A beat.

“…so what you’re saying is that she’s not taking the dog…”

I turned around to reply only to come face to face with the pup, who had decided to settle down on Obi-Wayne’s head. Pups blinked back sleepily before closing his eyes, unaware that his new bed was my husband’s face.

“No, she’s not,” I finally replied.

And with a half-shrug of his own, Obi-Wayne went right back to sleep, his snores echoing off the walls within minutes of dozing off.

I closed my eyes, but didn’t sleep. I though about what my mother had said, shifting every so often so that I could lovingly elbow my husband in the ribs to get him to wake up long enough for him to shift to a position less conducive to snoring.

“Where are the real men”? “Women are the new men”? What the fuck does that even mean? And is that necessarily a bad thing?

Well okay, I mean, yes, of course assaulting a person would definitely be filed under behavioral “no-no’s”, but why does the idea of a “manly” woman equate with an aggressive woman? And why is the idea of a girly (re: “wimpy”) man automatically equated with timidness?

And what the hell was up with the implication that it was mostly women that engaged in this kind of shitty behavior anyway? The idea that men no longer have a monopoly on Stupid Fights is laughable.

I came to the conclusion that this isn’t about men versus women. No, this is about an epidemic of stupidity. Shit, I’ve seen two dudes get in a full-blown fistfight over which hockey team is better the same weekend I witnessed two chicks beat the ever-loving crap out of each other over who spilled what on whose shitty fifteen-dollar Forever 21 duds.

Still, all that said, I have to admit that there has been a noticeable rise in female aggression in the last decade and a half or so. Am I missing something? Did I not get the memo? Maybe it’s the same one that’s been floating around with the picture of the faked moon landing and the gay agenda, because Lord knows I haven’t seen shit.

Maybe we are all being secretly taped for a season or five of Real Housewives of Blaggedy Blerb, and only a select few of us know and are just trying to get the most air time?

the_real_housewives_of_orange_county-13341

Secretly the illuminati.

If that’s the case, I feel sorry for whomever has been filming me during any point that I am getting my vag lasered (re: hair abortion). And if it really is true, I want my cut of the revenue, damn it. Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure someone’s already cornered the market for torture porn.

Such is life.