So, She’s Down With The Swirl…And So Is She…And So Is She…And So Is She…And So Is She

Bradley Cooper and Zoe Saldana Have a Night Out at the Theater

I’m going to assume that the 25 to 40 year old Black people in my sphere of influence probably aren’t that much different than than the type of Black person a typical reader of VSB interacts with regularly. (Basically, the n*ggas I know are exactly like the n*ggas the rest of y’all n*ggas know.)

Why does this matter? Well, the statement I’m about to make is completely unscientific, completely unresearched, and completely dependent on anecdote and observation. You could even argue that I’m pulling it completely out of my ass. But, I doubt you’ll make that argument because, since the n*ggas I know are likely to be pretty much exactly like the n*ggas the rest of y’all n*ggas know, you’ll probably agree. You may not want to agree, but if you’re smart—and, if you’re reading this, you probably are—you will.

While the vast majority of the Black people I know date/marry other Black people, I personally know more Black women my age with White boyfriends/husbands than Black men my age with White girlfriends/wives…and I bet most of you do too. Actually, for me, using “more” is somewhat misleading because, well, I don’t know any. I mean, I know they exist. I occasionally hear about them on NPR, and sometimes I’ll see one or two waiting for jitneys outside of Giant Eagle, but I do not personally know any urban, educated, and employed Black guys—basically, Black guys like me—who date White women. Not one. But, I know at least 10 Black women with those traits who are currently dating or married to White men.

I’m not pointing this out because I think this is a bad thing. Or a good thing. Or an inbetween thing. It’s just a thing I’ve noticed…a thing that basically goes against everything we’ve read, heard, learned, and think we’ve seen, but just a thing nonetheless.

I’m going to leave you all with two questions, one I think I already know the answer to and another that still escapes me somewhat.

1. If you took a quick survey of the Black people you happen to know, could you have made this same observation? 

2. Why do you think this is? (I have my theories, but since I spent all weekend moving, I’ll let you all do the heavy lifting today.)

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

10 Things a White Guy Has Always Wanted to Know About Black People

After a few hiccups, yesterday’s “10 Questions You’ve Always Wanted To Ask a White Person” provided a day of insightful (and occasionally hilarious) discussion of a few of the genuine curiosities we’ve had about white people.

(Among the more interesting things I learned: Apparently many white people have no idea what it means to “code-switch”. Also, Larry the Cable Guy was the white man’s Tyler Perry. Who knew!)

Blogger (and VSB fan) TDHurst posted his own answers to each of the questions, and followed with “10 Questions I’ve Always Wanted to Ask a Black Person”.

Of course I had to reply.

1. Are you really friends with people just because you’re all black? I’m going to assume that you must have more in common than skin color, but I sure as hell don’t know what it is.

No.

I am friends with people just because we both played basketball, though, and since being black (probably) had something to do with me playing basketball, I, um, wait…what was the question again?

Seriously though, we start and dead friendships for the same reasons everyone else does: Someone slept with Gloria James.

2. How much does it suck to be a poor athlete? Seeing as how most of society expects you to be able to dunk, what’s it like being an average athlete?

Seeing that I can still dunk a basketball (on a 85 degree day and after approximately 31 tries, but still) I wouldn’t know. But, I’m assuming it doesn’t suck as much as it would to have a tiny penis (I wouldn’t know that either), a flat butt (still don’t know), or a complete inability to do more than two dance moves (no comment)

3. Do other black people really look down or shun you because you talk white? You know what I mean here. Is it really even talking or acting white?

All intelligent and educated black people have the ability to talk “white” in a way that would completely fool most white people, and we usually do so if needed. That nice, New England-area waspy sounding women you spoke to at Apple when you called to replace your Iphone last week? His name is Latavious Jenkins, he’s from Gary, Indiana, and he’s a Hebrew Israelite.

What we find odd is when we meet a black person who’s completely unable to code-switch, but it’s more of a “What? They still make you?” than an actual shunning.

4. What the hell is up with Ebonics? Was that planned? Uh…seriously. WTF.

Ebonics is the same as any other regional or cultural deviation from perfectly proper English–which no one outside of Michael Caine and Jeffery from “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” actually speaks, btw.

The only thing separating Ebonics from, I don’t know, suburban Memphis crystal meth head dialect is that Ebonics has an actual name. (and a wiki page)

5. Do you actually like white women or do you like that they like you? Again, broad assumption here, but it seems to be true more often than not.

While the vast majority of us would prefer to be with a black woman, like all other men, black men like attractive and available women who are into them. If they happen to be white, so be it.

And, like all other men, we also take pleasure in sticking it to the man. And, since the man is usually inaccessible, we settle for the man’s daughter.

6. Does it ever piss you off that you have to shape, rather than style, your hair? While this seems convenient, it seems that it would get old after a while.

“Your daddy watching?” “Yes” “Good”

There are actually many black men who need to “style” their hair. With braids and dreads there are literally thousands of different (and daily) variations.

With that being said, for those of us who keep a shorter and relatively low-maintenance cut, the hair continuity is a good thing. I’ve personally had the exact same haircut for 15 years now. With all the stuff already on our minds (racism, Rihanna, David Stern, etc) it’s one less thing to worry about.

7. What is the f***ing deal with you and ice or water? From what I gather, black people tend to use lotion more often than white people, meaning water SHOULD bead off a bit more. This obviously doesn’t matter in a pool, but why are you so afraid of it? Why no hockey? There are black people in Canada, right?

This is the first I’ve heard of an issue we have with ice (Maybe it reminds us of Vikings? I don’t know), but in regards to water and swimming, it’s a very complex issue topic that I don’t feel quite comfortable speaking about. (I know this is a bullshit answer, but my complete response will probably get me Drop Squad-ed)

As far as hockey goes, you can’t expect us to get all gaga over a sport involving three of our least favorite things. (coldness, fast moving white men with sharp sticks, and fast moving white men with sharp sticks and masks)

8. Are barbershops as cool in real life as they are shown on TV? I really don’t know. Help me out here.

No. They’re at least 10% to 25% cooler. Seriously. If you knew how cool barbershops were you’d all have caesars (closely cropped hair) with waves within a week. And, you all would definitely start to appreciate the intellectual and creative capacity created by reading a Smooth Magazine and The Final Call within two minutes of each other.

9. Why are you so concerned with your blackness? What does it even mean to keep it real if you didn’t grow up in the ‘hood or in a gang? Is that even a part of being black?

Because of that whole annoying slavery thing, we (African-Americans) are an extremely unique and extremely lonely people. The uniqueness is something you’ve probably read/hear about myriad times, but the loneliness isn’t something most whites are privy to.

To expound, while many of us feel a kinship with the idea of Africa, the fact that the majority of us can’t pinpoint exactly what part of that big ass continent we’re from makes that kinship somewhat superficial. Put it this way: Most of us don’t have the luxury of going to, say, Denmark and finding the village our great-great grandfather came from.

Anyway, when you combine this with our, um, “complicated” relationship with America, you start to understand how isolated we (generally) feel and the “circle the wagons” collective mentality cultivated by this isolation. We’re staunchly protective of anything African-American, our images, our culture, our creations, ourselves, because (for many of us) that’s all we have, and if we’re suspected to have relinquished or renounced that in anyway, it can make you feel like Judas.

Oh, and Al Sharpton told us that we have to be.

10. Why do none of your TV shows have at least a token white guy? White shows are careful to have token characters from every race, but most black shows star only black people. Are they really places where you NEVER interact outside your race?

Don’t know if I can agree with that. Aside from the Tyler Perry TBS shows (which I haven’t watched enough to comment on), all of the most popular “black” shows in the past decade (ie: The Wire, The Game, Girlfriends, The Evening News, etc) have recurring white characters. Whereas, entire seasons of “white” shows set in the biggest and most diverse city in the country (ie: Friends, Seinfeld, Sex in The City, etc) went without any relevant (or even speaking) non-whites.

As far as your second question, of course! In fact, I bet if you randomly polled 60 blacks and 60 whites, asking them to name the 10 most dialed numbers in their address books, 90% of the blacks and whites would list nothing but people who checked the same “race” box on the Census. There’s nothing wrong with this, but the fact remains that the vast majority of us intentionally self-segregate when we want to let our hair down (or, if you prefer, nuts hang)

Plus, as far as tokens go, we’re still letting both Eminem and Steve Nash eat. Is that not enough?

—The Champ