Tag: Caucasian

Asians Don’t Experience Racism. Or Do They?

Are Asians the “model minority” or the “ignored minority”? In this country discussion on race tends to be about African Americans & Caucasians even though Asians represent approximately 6% of the population. America’s worst times involved slavery and the civil rights movement orchestrated by African Americans. There’s a lot to be said about our resilient nature (African Americans, that is) although we still struggle with racism.

But what about Asian Americans? Where do they fit in with these discussions about race?  I mean I’ve written about racism before between African Americans and Caucasians, but I’ve never written about how racism affects people of other races/ethnicities. African Americans have been hit the hardest by racism in this country not to mention the whole historical aspect of it all, but people of every ethnic group have experienced racism in America in one form or fashion.

Asian Americans are probably one of the most forgotten about ethnic groups in this country. I think there’s an underlying assumption that all Asians are smart, non-aggressive people and do pretty well for themselves once they come into this country. But what about those that already live here or were born & the U.S.? Surely there are stereotypes but are they ever ostracized, or discriminated against? The article below talks about all of this & more from an Asian American perspective.

asians 6

The Asian-American Awakening: That Moment when you realize you’re not White
by Connie Zhou

When I was five I was put in a different school because there was an ESL (English as a Second Language) program there. You may be wondering, “what’s wrong with that?” Well, for starters, I was born in Ohio and English was my native tongue. I was reading novels by kindergarten (totally spelled that wrong the first time, fail) and I prided myself on the fact that I had an extensive vocabulary for a toddler. I had been speaking English with exquisite finesse up to that point in my life (okay, that may all be a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the point). So I didn’t know why I was being put in an ESL program, but I didn’t argue because who’s going to listen to a five year old? At that age, you don’t question things, you just accept. I carried forth with my days throwing raisins at the teacher and drawing cartoon characters on the desks. It wasn’t until later in life I tried to analyze the situation and came to this conclusion: I was put in that program for one reason, I was a shy Asian girl and everyone jumped to the conclusion that I couldn’t speak English. I know I tend to joke about this story, but there’s a lesson to be learned.

As a young child, I didn’t understand race or skin color. I assumed everyone was white, including me. I hope I can speak for most Asian-Americans here, but there is that earth-shatterning moment in our childhood when we realize we’re not white.

You can take it two ways: embrace that you’re not white or try everything in your power to become white.

You start to realize that wearing shoes in the house wasn’t that big of a deal and not everyone ate rice for every meal. That when some people speak slowly to you, it’s not because they’re trying to be articulate, but it’s because they think you don’t understand English (as if speaking English slowly to a non-English speaking person helps). You notice that not every grocery store carries Pocky and not every family speaks a different language at home. You also realize that it’s not that common to call everyone who’s older than you Uncle or Aunt. When you learned about the Civil Rights movement again, you start to wonder what happened to Asians during that time or when people are describing you, the first thing out of their mouth is that you’re “oriental.” (On a side note, I hate being described as oriental. It makes me feel like a spice or dish).

Being Asian-American has always been a difficult part of me. I was (and am) proud of my heritage and how far my parents have come, but I had a hard time feeling as if I belonged somewhere. Experiencing first hand segregation and racism has made me despise my race for many years. I was trapped between two worlds.

Racism isn’t just black and white. In my experience, all my classes about race are taught by a black professor. I remember sitting in one of my media classes discussing race; we had spent weeks on how blacks and whites are portrayed in the media. As my professor went on and on, I sat there wondering when she was going to bring up Asians, Hispanics, or Middle Easterners. Finally, as if God had heard my plea, a thankfully inquisitive student in the front raised his hand, “What about Asians?”

There was five minutes left in class, and all she said was, “Well, they tend to be the ‘model minority,’” and carried forth with the discussion on blacks and whites.

Model minority?!? What about the shocking statistics of 1.3 million Asians that are undocumented or the fact that Southeast Asians have the highest high school drop out rate?

I’m not going to lie, I was flattered in high school when people I’ve never talked to asked me to be part of their group for a project. I felt included and thought they wanted to be friends, but I soon realized that many of them only picked me because I was the “Asian kid,” and instantly categorized as the smart one. My favorite (sarcasm) was when my peers would ask me how I did on a test expecting me to say “A,” or ask me to help them with their math homework… and most of the time I was just as lost as they were. But none of that mattered to me, I liked the attention and appreciated that people thought I was smart. It wasn’t until I couldn’t live up to the stereotype that the pressure truly manifested. I wanted to write stories and make music for a living or design t-shirts and play soccer, not become an engineer, doctor, or lawyer.

Now, I understand why the discussion on race tends to be about blacks and whites. America’s darkest days were about slavery and the civil rights movement. There’s a lot to be said about the resilient nature of the African-American people. Schools teach to let us never forget where America came from and from the mistakes of our past, we can learn justice and tolerance. However, even to this day, as sad as it is, we still struggle with racism among the two.

But if race is such a huge topic in American studies, why is it that I never learned about the Asian & Chinese Exclusion Acts in my classes or the fact that we only briefly touched on the Japanese Internment camps?

Why is it that after the Virginia Tech shooting there was a huge controversy and focus on the shooter’s ethnic heritage. With racists slurs and comments being brought upon Asians in that time. Whereas race wasn’t ever thought about in other horrific school shootings committed by white people?

The very first day of college a young and bright lad who is going to go far in life (sarcasm again) asked me, “Why do Asians always travel in packs?”

Literal face palm. I snapped back with “Because of people like you. Let me ask you, why do white people always travel in packs?”

We’re not friends.

I digress. Let’s shimmy back up to the beginning. How did I respond to that decision I had to make during my life-changing epiphany? Growing up as a child of immigrants I felt trapped between two worlds. I guess for me, I tried both. I ignored the fact for much of my early life, just living life colorblind. But for a brief (let me stress brief) time in middle school I embraced my full on “Asianness.” I hung out with mostly Asians, I watched Asian dramas and listened to Asian music. I got bangs and camera-whored with a peace sign. That quickly ended when I realized the facade of it all. Yes, ethnically I’m Asian, but culturally I’m not. I can squeeze my way into that culture by learning it and copying it, but I’ll never truly be it because I did not grow up in it. Visiting my parents’ homelands was a huge disappointment because people there did not accept me as fully Chinese. They could tell I wasn’t local just by looking at me. I had all the stereotypical facial features, but my composure, dress, and attitude was basically the equivalent of me wrapping myself in an American flag. Even my extended relatives joked about my American accent or lack of cultural respect. I’m Chinese, but I’m not.

After that heart-wrenching revelation, I betrayed that identity and landed myself on the flip side. I stopped speaking in Chinese, tried my hardest to erase my memory of those embarrassing Asian-washing times, and tried my best avoiding all FOBs (for you politically correct people, it’s a slang, and actually somewhat offensive term for immigrants: fresh-off the boat). I would tell my parents to keep quiet in public in attempts to save my face and stray from being different because I was scared their accent or what they say would embarrass me. My dad caught on to this pretty quick. Before I left for college he told me, “Hey, be nice to the international students, I was one of them.” It got to the point where I was making fun of the FOBs (but of course only Asians were allowed to make fun of Asians).

I thought this was all going well for me until one day in college, my friend runs up to me saying, “Connie! I just met the Asian version of you!”

After a few giggles and punchlines, I started to wonder. Why is it that I had to assimilate myself to become “white” in order to make friends and not the other way around? Why do people say “it’s ok, you’re so white-washed” as if it’s a good thing? Why do my friends and I think it’s funny to speak in an Asian accent? Why is it that the “tiger-mom” parenting tactic is so-called “bad”?

I believe that as Americans, we’re scared to accept difference, even in this day and age. We tell ourselves that we are more tolerant and accepting, looking to how far we have come, but in reality, we’re currently stuck in a rut. The ones who fall victim to this hallucination are actually the young people. We think we are America’s next great hope, blaming the intolerant ones on the older generation, when in reality we’re just as foolish as the generations before in relations of race.

All this is so counter-intuitive. America prides itself on being a melting pot (or for those who are really specific, tossed salad). So why is it that the whole image of the “ideal American” is, dare I say, white? I’m tired of taxi drivers asking where I’m “originally” from. If we’re being truly honest here, a white or black person may say they’re from Chicago and that’s the end of that, but I always get the followup question… “but where are your people from?” and then they go on forever about how much they love China. Let me ask, if a foreign European were to walk the streets of America how many times would they be stopped or stared at for being “foreign”? How many “Go back to where you came from”s would they hear? Just because I don’t look Anglo-Saxon or black, I instantly get an extra inquiry: immigrant, foreign, or native?

It’s no wonder Julie Chen felt the need to undergo the knife to advance in her white-male dominated industry. Which, by the way, I totally understand her decision and don’t expect her to have to apologize for it. She did what she had to do and by coming out about it, she opened many more doors to the truth about racism toward the Asian-American culture.

In the end, I’ve decided that being Asian-American is all together another race and culture. We are the ignored minority. We currently don’t have a place in middle school textbooks or in sociology. Not enough people walk on eggshells when talking about the Asian race. I’m not going to apologize for the scent our food makes when we’re cooking (which is heavenly by the way), or that we do get a little overly excited when we interact with our loved ones. On one side, the Asian culture has taught me respect and honor for authority, to be self-less and encounter a holistic approach to life. I have learned to value education and diligence, to be resourceful and never wasteful. On the other hand, the American culture has taught me independence, consideration for even those I don’t know, and the importance of having goals in life. It has introduced me to diversity and faith into my life (but I’m not saying those who aren’t Asian-American haven’t learned this). Being Asian-American, is a world all in itself, and since we are a fairly young race, we’re still figuring things out, I’m just asking for a little acknowledgment from the rest of America.

So to the Asian-American awakening, Let this be the moment when you realize you’re not white nor are you solely Asian, you’re Asian-American (and cue cheesy sap music).

Help Me! I’m White; How Can I Stop Being A Racist?!

I came across this article & thought that it was quite interesting. A White man, a self-proclaimed racist, is seeking advice on how not to be. He claims that he is particularly uncomfortable around African American men even though he can’t quite articulate why.

Perhaps he thinks that most African Americans are dangerous, are loud & mean, or even harbor some ill-will towards him, even though he’s the one harboring ill-will towards us. Perhaps he’s afraid of what he might find by getting to know us individually instead of stereotyping based on what he sees on television or hears on the news. After all, if that’s all you choose to see then that’s all you choose to know. Especially if you don’t take the time to seek out people of a different race/ethnicity to get to know them for yourself.

I wonder how he would feel if the tables were turned. Unlike him, I’ve never had the opportunity to “evade” White folks my whole adult life so I have been forced to interact with all types of people. I wouldn’t dare think that all White people are as messy as the Kardashians or as dumb as President George Bush or as crazy as the Real Housewives of New Jersey, even though that is what’s shown on television. No, I have gotten to know people outside of my own race/ethnicity to see who they were as a person not just treat them a certain way based on what I think they would be like.

How many people do you know who are like this: racist, but unwilling to openly admit it or carry around prejudices against a race or a group of people with little to no merit?   I know quite a few, as I’m sure you probably do too. Sure, statistics may tell us one thing about a group of people but statistics can be skewed, or more importantly, misinterpreted. Take for instance the war on drugs & how it affects the African American community. According to the Sentencing Project, African-Americans make up 12% of the nation’s drug users but represent 34% of those arrested for drug offenses. More than 80% of those sentenced under the federal crack cocaine laws were African-American, even though African American drug offenders have a 20% greater chance of being sentenced to prison than Caucasian drug offenders. For many reasons, including from financial to accessibility, the majority of crack users in the U.S. are and always have been white.

Anyhow, read his letter below & the advice that was given to him –

“I’m a racist, and I don’t want to be. I’m a white man in my very early 40s, and for years I’ve been extremely awkward and anxious around African Americans, especially men. At some point in my early teens, I became very self-conscious about the racial divide. And about that time, I moved to a much more homogeneously white area, and I guess gradually black people became abstractions to me or something. When I moved back to a more mixed neighborhood in college, I found I was afraid of them. Horrible thoughts and associations — of crime, violence, whatever — would spring to mind.

“Now it’s reached the point where I can’t encounter any African-American person without these thoughts cropping up, along with this seizure of panic that I’m racist, I’m giving off a funny vibe, I’m making that person feel uncomfortable and he or she can see through me and knows what’s going on. It’s a complex of shame and humiliation and fear that for two-plus decades I haven’t been able to think my way out of, and if anything, it’s only getting worse with age.

“When I look for some suggestions online, they recommend going out and meeting the people I’m afraid of — trying to make the abstract particular, humanizing who I’m imagining, etc. But come on. How is that not just turning people into my little self-betterment project? It’s hard for me to imagine something more condescending and objectifying. Of course, I’m also just flat-out scared of being exposed, of being seen for who I am.

“I have no patience with apologists who would argue that there’s a legitimate justification for being racist. But I also have had no success in eradicating this side of my personality that I find so repellent.” –Ready to Get Rid of Racism

I love this question. But I know from the reactions to my one little tweet seeking an expert on “how a white person can shed his racism” (Summary: “Is this serious? Get over it, jerk”) that some people are going to hate it. So before I get to my advice, I want to make my pitch for why it’s great that you wrote in.

I understand that hearing someone admit to “horrible thoughts and associations” when it comes to black people makes those of us who are sick to death of racism want to vomit a little. I get it.

But aren’t we the same people who believe that white supremacy is deeply ingrained in our society and affects so many people (to say nothing of institutions), from the most hateful and outspoken to the well-meaning but ignorant “accidental racists” and “hipster racists” of the world?

If so, I don’t think we can really be mad at a person who proactively admits — and hates — that he or she has absorbed all that nonsense. Isn’t this exactly the type of question we wish Paula Deen had asked herself back when she was known more for butter than for bigotry? Aren’t these ideas about “crime, violence, whatever” just what we wish George Zimmerman had begged for help eliminating before he shot and killed the “up to no good” Trayvon Martin? Exactly. I thought so.

That’s why I decided to answer this question and to seek the best-possible advice for you.

I spoke to Dr. Mike Likier, a cognitive behavioral psychologist who conducts diversity and anti-racism trainings. His answer to my first question — whether you have some actual phobia of black people and need to get yourself into therapy — was a no (although he said that talking this through with a carefully selected and social-justice-conscious professional wouldn’t hurt).

So, good news: You won’t have to pay a copay to banish your bigotry. Here’s what he suggested you do instead.

The first order of business is to stop freaking out. “Normalize this,” says Likier. What? Racism? Normal? That sounds like a bad idea. But, he explains, “It actually makes perfect sense to have these thoughts, given that you’re 40 years old and grew up in the United States.” He encourages you to “have a little empathy with yourself,” adding that, in a racist society, “we all get gamed,” and whether we’re carrying around internalized oppression or internalized superiority, racism robs all of us of our humanity.

Second, recognize that this anxiety you’re feeling is actually kind of good. It’s healthy to be troubled by the fact that you were socialized against your will to have racist thoughts. “If more people felt as bad about that,” Likier says, “we’d be able to organize and mobilize and deal with these things.”

Third, seize the moment and all the angst you’re experiencing. According to people who study stages of racial-identity development, it means you’re at a critical juncture here. Likier says that most white people experience some kind of crisis when they become aware of racism and even their own role in it — and it’s uncomfortable. You can deal with this cognitive dissonance by pushing it back onto people of color (blaming, hating, demonizing, etc., and all that stuff with which we’re way too familiar), or you can do something different.

Lucky for you, doing something different starts off pretty easy: Read. And then read more. History. White privilege. Black writers. White anti-racism writers. Information about the history and operations of not just individual but also structural racism won’t just make you smarter — it will also help you harness all the energy that’s currently wasted on panic attacks over your own attitudes.

Of course, Likier has advice for where you should redirect all that energy, too. (No, it’s not “make black friends.”) He says that there are plenty of white people out there who are committed to anti-racism. And you need to find them. There are conferences and alliances and everything. In these spaces, “work out some of your own stuff before you try to have meaningful cross-cultural conversations,” he advises.

Chances are what will come naturally from this experience is looking at how racism is operating in the spheres you walk around in every day and what you can do about it, he predicts. You’ll focus less on suppressing your bad feelings and more on how you can take positive actions.

But what about the short term — when you run into a black person tomorrow? Likier says that his advice is similar to what he would offer a client struggling with public speaking or any other unfounded fear: Acknowledge that you’re having negative thoughts, challenge yourself to articulate any real basis for them and let them go. He even offers a simple little mantra — one that could eliminate so much harm if people would embrace it (Can we get this to go viral? Does the Tea Party have a group email list?): “I’m having racist thoughts, but I have an opportunity to do something different. I want to be on the right side of this.”

I, for one, believe that you do want to — and that you will be.

racism 2

What Do You Mean My Name Is “Ghetto”?

I hate when people refer to certain names as “ghetto” because it usually has such a negative connotation.  When I first heard the word I thought it was referencing unusual-sounding names but now I know that it is referencing difficult-to-pronounce names. I’ve written about pronunciation before, but now I would like to talk about so called “Black names”.

Some African Americans have chosen to give their children some very unique names. Some of these names I can’t pronounce nor would I care to, however, I do applaud their creativity. Some argue that Black people shouldn’t name their children “crazy names” because that automatically sets their children up for failure – failure to have a meaningful career or to be taken seriously in life. Many studies have shown that job candidates who submit resumes with “Black-sounding” names have a significantly less chance of being interviewed than candidates who submit resumes with “White-sounding” names with the same credentials. But whose fault is that – the job candidate or the racist person that’s reviewing the resumes? (I think you can tell my answer on that one)

There are so many people in this country with different names. Indian names, Hispanic names, Italian names, Armenian names and the list goes on & on. Don’t think so? Here are some examples of what I’m talking about:

Indian names: Chapataqua, Malik, Rajevnder and Tatianna

Foreign names: Gerard Depardieu, Ken Watanabe, Sinead O’Connor and Etienne

Designer names: Hermes, Versace, Giuseppe and Monique Lluhllier

But nobody thinks that these names are obnoxious. Nobody questioned why Sarah Palin named her children Bristol, Trig, Willow, Track or Piper Palin. And nobody questioned why Mitt & Ann Romney named one of their sons Tagg, or why Demi Moore & Bruce Willis named their daughters Talluluh, Rumor & Scout. So if there are so many unusual sounding names from non-Black parents, why are so-called “Black names” always picked on?

What’s wrong with Black parents naming their children what they want? Why should they have to conform to the social norm by using plain “White” names? Not being able to pronounce a name doesn’t make that name stupid. My name is part of my identity & if someone thinks I have a “crazy” name then that just shows how ignorant that person is for several reasons: 1) I didn’t name myself, so if you have a problem with my name that should be taken up with my parents, 2) Just because you’ve never heard of something before (like a name) doesn’t mean it’s a bad name, that just means it’s different and 3) There is no law saying that names have to make sense phonetically, have historic or family value or follow the rules of English.

I’ve said it before & I’ll say it again – Get used to having to learn difficult names, America. Immigrants are moving to this country in droves. Over 10% of our nation is comprised of immigrants, many of which may have difficult-to-pronounce names. So as our country grows & people from all over the world continue to move here, names like “John” and “Ashley” are becoming less & less popular. I thought the whole point of living in America is to have freedom of choice, right? Well, freedom of choice includes people naming their children what they want to name them.

Children of color are unfairly judged based on the name their parents gave them. If you think little “Jamal” is not going to amount to much it’s probably because of how people treated him based on a  name which he had no control over. (Jamal, by the way is an Arabic name, not a Black one)

So before you judge someone named Trayvon or Shantal, just remember: “No one has the opportunity to give an opinion on the name they are given.”

black names3

Below is an article from the Daily Beast that speaks on racially charged names. Check it out –

Are Black Names ‘Weird,’ or Are You Just Racist?

by Jamelle Bouie

Reddit isn’t just a clearinghouse for interviews, animal pictures, and crazy stories. It’s also a place where people ask questions and have discussions. Yesterday, one user wondered about “black” names, posing a question to the “Black American parents of Reddit,” as he put it. “Before racism is called out, I have plenty of black friends,” he noted, raising the question of why he didn’t ask these alleged friends. “[I’m] just curious why you name your kids names like D’brickishaw, Barkevious D’quell and so on?”

Setting aside the many problems with this question—for one, “Black American parents” aren’t a monolith–there’s an actual answer here. In a 2003 paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research, economist Roland Fryer found two things. First, that names like Reginald and Kiara are far more likely among black children than names like Jake and Molly, and second, that this is a recent development. In the 1960s, Anglo-American names were common among African American children. It wasn’t until the 1970s and the rise of the Black Power movement that this shifted in the other direction. ”The underlying philosophy of the Black Power movement,“ writes Fryer, ”was to encourage Blacks to accentuate and affirm black culture and fight the claims of black inferiority.” The adoption of “black” names is consistent with other cultural changes—like “natural hair”—prompted by the movement. African Americans wanted to distinguish themselves from whites, and naming was an easy means to the end.

Of course, there are plenty of African Americans who give their kids Anglo names. The idea that they don’t—that all black parents use the same naming convention—is ridiculous. And popular culture notwithstanding, these distinctive names aren’t especially common. The most popular African American baby names—Aaliyah, Gabrielle, Kiara, Cameron, Jordan, and Nathan—are perfectly ordinary.

If there is a question worth asking about race and naming, it’s not “why do black people use these names?” it’s “why do we only focus on black people in these conversations?” Indeed, there’s a whole universe of (hacky) jokes premised on the assumed absurdity of so-called “ghetto” names. Derision for these names—and often, the people who have them—is culturally acceptable.

But black children aren’t the only ones with unusual names. It’s not hard to find white kids with names like Braelyn and Declyn. And while it’s tempting to chalk this up to poverty—in the Reddit thread, there was wide agreement that this was a phenomenon of poor blacks and poor whites—the wealthy are no strangers to unique names. The popular Netflix show Orange is the New Black, written by a Jenji Kohan (a white woman), was based on the experiences of a Piper Kerman (also a white woman). And in last year’s presidential election, nearly 61 million people voted for a Willard Mitt Romney, at the same time that the current head of the Republican National Committee was (and is) a Reince Priebus.

On Twitter, riffing off of the Reddit thread, I mused on this double standard with a comment and a joke. “Seriously, I will take your ‘questions’ about ‘weird’ black names seriously when you make fun of Reince Priebus and Rand Paul,” followed by “White people giving their kids names like Saxby Chambliss and Tagg Romney is a clear sign of cultural pathology.” If names like “DeShawn” and “Shanice” are fair targets for ridicule, then the same should be true for “Saxby” and “Tagg.”

Most of my Twitter followers got what I was going for. But after it was retweeted by a widely followed conservative, I was deluged with angry complaints from a host of people—mostly white men—who didn’t get the punch line. “So, names like Jamelle, Mo’nique, [and] Trayvon are normal?” asked one self-proclaimed conservative. Likewise, another asked if “Jamelle, LaShonda, Trayvon, etc. are signs of advanced, successful, economically stable and crime free culture?”, which was followed by someone wondering if “names like LaShaniqua, Jamal, Porsche, Mercedes” would be our “future leaders.” Each illustrating my point that unusual black names are treated as evidence of cultural inferiority in a way that isn’t true of unusual white names.

But these responses are more than just the angry comments of Twitter racists. They underscore the extent to which our ideas of normality are tied closely to socioeconomic status. If we focus on “weird” African American names in jokes and conversation, it’s because blacks remain at the bottom of America’s racial caste system. “Hunter” is just as unusual as “Malik,” but it’s understood as “normal” because of its association with white men. It’s arbitrary, yes, but it reflects who holds power. Indeed, if the situation were reversed, odds are good there would be plenty of jokes about “dysfunctional” white people who name their children “Geoff.”

It should be said that this has material consequences in the real world. Research has consistently found that job applicants with “black-sounding” names are more likely to be rejected, regardless of qualifications. If races are our castes, then this makes sense, since—in a caste system—your status is mostly a function of your position. “Latoya” could be well-qualified for the law firm she applies to, but there’s a fair chance her “black” name marks her as undesirable.

Men Just Don’t Dress Up Anymore On Dates

Recently, I’ve been out on a couple of dates and noticed that men don’t seem to get dressed up to go out anymore. Even when I’m out with my girlfriends, I’ve observed men on a date who aren’t dressed up. Of course what you wear on a date is entirely dependent on where you’re going but have we turned into such an informal society that even going out to eat doesn’t merit wearing anything more than a pair of jeans?

If a couple is just hanging out and going to the movies then wearing jeans & tennis shoes is totally appropriate. However, if we are going to a play, a museum, an art gallery or dinner then I expect a man to dress accordingly. For some strange reason, a lot of men tend to think that wearing a sweater (or a nice shirt) makes wearing jeans more acceptable. I don’t understand this logic – that’s like me wearing a silk blouse with a pair of shorts. The two just don’t go together!

And don’t even get me started on men who wear tennis shoes or sports paraphernalia on a date. Wearing shoes with laces should not be worn on a first, second or third date (again, unless you’re going somewhere casual like the movies or an actual sports outing). There is almost nothing worse than seeing a 45-50 year old man wearing a sports jersey, a pair of jeans and tennis shoes on a date. I’m not saying that men should put on a pair of Kenneth Coles or a button down shirt every time but at least wear something that is age appropriate & more importantly date appropriate. A man is supposed to put his best foot forward on a date. But if his best foot has on an Adidas, then I’m not impressed.

Now, I know the way a man dresses isn’t everything and certainly doesn’t provide any insight into his character or whether or not he’s a good man, but if I’m turned off by your appearance then getting to know you becomes a little bit harder. Men are visual and enjoy being with a woman who is dressed nicely. I just don’t think it’s too much to ask for men to dress as nicely for us as they would like us to dress for them.

I was told to always dress nicer than the guy I am with, and these days that’s getting easier & easier to do.


Two Black Parents or One White Parent – Can Biracial Kids Really Relate?

The discussion of Black versus Biracial really bothers me. We live in a nation where people who have any percentage of African ancestry are considered African American. And before I go any further, let me state that I am proudly African American – both of my parents are full Black (as full as one can be in this country).

I say all of this to say that while I accept people who are biracial, quarterracial or whatever they may call themselves, I honestly do not believe that they carry the same burden that I do. There have been hundreds and hundreds of discussions about complexion within the African American race. I’m not talking about light skin versus darker skin Blacks. What I’m talking about is the upbringing and background of people who have a parent that is non-Black.

I had this discussion with a colleague of mine who fathered a child with a White woman. He told me that his daughter was Black and would be treated as such in this country for her entire life. While I did not disagree with him, I did bring it to his attention that his daughter will have many advantages over a child who comes from a household where both parents are Black (like mine). He maintained that his daughter will still be treated the same, regardless of what race her parents are. And that’s where the conversation got good!

You see, having a White mother (or father, for that matter) makes things a little bit easier. It allows for far greater benefits than to have a mother of “ethnic origin”. That White mother, on average, will make more money for the same job, won’t face racial discrimination (which is still alive & well), be afforded better opportunities and probably came from a more privileged background herself – just because of the color of her skin. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, but those are the facts. So while the biracial child may be treated the same as any other person of color, they still came from a “better” foundation (read: having a White parent).

Well, one of these days day we’ll all be mixed anyway….