So, my LJ Buddy Stagger Lee has a post up about her adventures, as a Black Woman, in Texas…at a fast food joint, where she dared to sit down next to a little white kid while his mom was in the bathroom and ask about the video game he was playing. Heck, Lee has lots of posts about these sorts of things, a series which she calls “Adventures in Blackness” (which is a title I love, btw), and while reading, I started to wonder if the Wierd Looks and stuff Lee was getting were not only due to her Blackness, but her also overall non conventionality and conformity? Because sure enough, Lee marches to her own drum….and well, frankly, we have both often wondered if we are actually TWINS, separated at birth…but like different races and totally built differently and not looking a like at all….because well, yeah, in lots of other ways? We could totally be related.
But yeah, I did wonder about that…because I know as a non-conventional white gal, I get looked at funny a lot. I am a surly, inked up, scar having, not so nicely dressing sort and sure enough, if I am with a kid (relative, friends kid, so on so forth) people will take one look at me with said child and give me the “get away from them you scumbag” look more often than not- even if I am doing something like, oh, helping them get their bike outta a bush or giving ‘em a bandaid or something. So I know how it goes with people looking at ya funny due to not being what…well…folk think you should be.
BUT, add to this that Lee is Black, and it is Texas. One, I think conventional or not, Black Women have it tougher when it comes to this sorta thing. A White Lady sitting down and asking a little black kid about a video game? Most folk would not bat an eye if the White Lady was, well, conventional. Prolly would not bat an eye AS MUCH at a non conventional white lady as non conventional Black Woman….and well…TEXAS. Which IS in many parts VERY multi-cultural, but I do think A LOT of those womenfolk down in Texas take their feminine beauty rituals and all VERY Seriously. The Beauty Queen with the Shotgun thing? Texas. Totally. So yeah, I think Lee had both being black and Not Texas Conventional factoring in when she got the weird looks….
Which of course begs questions of race, class and location. You know, I kinda think that Lee and I, what, with our tattoos and weird hair and all, could prolly stroll down the street in LA or NYC or Chicago or lots of other places and no one would look at us oddly except, well, shes like a foot taller than me. We could prolly be tearing apart an engine together in New Orleans or Atlanta and no one would pause to take a second look. I also think if we were in parts of DC, Lee would not get a second glance but I sure as hell would, in Charlestown WV I wouldn’t and she would, and well, in LOTS of places the fact that she is black and I am white would not raise as much dust as, oh, ewww, look at those two WOMEN in their grease stained jeans and with all those tattoos, oh heaven for fend!!! Never mind Lee is ex Army and defended the US and is, well, in Law Enforcement Now, and never mind that I have whenever possible been the first person to help out folk simply because they needed it- fixin a tire or mowing a lawn or whatever….well, we dress funny and have tattoos and swear a lot and party hard and all that stuff. We’re not…very ladylike.
So yes, I do think race absolutely has something to do with it, and I do think a non-conventional Black Gal is gonna have it worse period than a non conventional White Gal….but this other stuff fascinates me too, the class aspects, the location aspects, the what women are supposed to be like aspects, ALL that….
Eh, ponder at will.