October 2, 2013 at 11:10 am #97405
Audrey DJ MelzerMember
I was listening to TWIB the other day and I couldn’t help nodding my head along with everything Elon and Dacia said about being checked out by white community members to see what kind of black person you are. I grew up in the Cleveland, Ohio area (suburbs and city) and that is my reality. My sister, another faithful listener and cubicle Negro, and I talk about how much we wish we could tell you all about the crap that happens out here. I catch myself trying to assert how non-threatening I am in most situations. It’s ridiculous.
I’m married to a very worldly white man. His brother’s wife throws massive birthday parties for their daughters and invites everyone. Like, soccer friends, school friends, etc. It’s like a convention. I hate going but I love my nieces so I usually bring along a knitting project and sit in the corner and wait for it to all be over. One time I got to overhear a lady telling her friends that her daughter was visiting colleges and had recently gone to Notre Dame. I’m knitting away, the only black person at the whole party (if you don’t count our sons who are lovely little bits of caramel),when I hear her say, “Yeah, she was so overwhelmed! There were so many Asians there. She decided she didn’t want to go there because she doesn’t want to be the minority.” Say wha…? Well shit. There’s my reasoning for not going anywhere. Family dinner? Nope, don’t want to be the minority. Work? Ah hell no. Can’t risk feeling overwhelmed.
Just yesterday we were driving through Columbia Station, a rural like suburb. We live on a farm in Oberlin, OH, so I was looking out the window for seasonal items to put in the yard. Pumpkins, farm stands, adirondack chairs… whoa, black face lawn jockeys! We stopped on the way back and took pictures. It was worse than we thought. It was a lawn statue business that makes their own statues and paints them as well. PAINTS THEM! And my guess is they thought, “well, if we paint one black, one brown and one white it won’t be offensive.” Um, no, sorry. The little boy with afrocentric features eating a watermelon will be offensive regardless of what color you paint it. Want to know where the business is? Columbia Station, Ohio. Corner of Royalton Road and Station Road. It has no name as far as I can tell. Google it.
But there are awesome things happening in the MidWest as well. Cleveland is hopping. Chicago is fabulous. And yeah, we have farms, but did you know black folks farm too? When I’m not teaching classical music, I’m chasing and feeding chickens. Cleveland has a huge community garden scene that was started to address food deserts. I really think TWIB needs more of a MidWest presence.
Audrey John MelzerOctober 3, 2013 at 3:58 pm #97513
It’s troubling that this kind of shit still happens and in NE Ohio. I’m originally from Cleveland too and I take pride in that but things like this are beyond embarrassing.October 3, 2013 at 7:28 pm #97523
I love this post. I am from the Midwest, born and raised,only left to go to school, but I came back.
If that woman’s child couldn’t take Notre Dame, then I know the kid is never going to any school in California. Don’t ya love White Privilege—choosing whether or not you want to go somewhere with ‘ too many of them’.
I would love if you’d post your farming stories. How did you wind up on a farm?October 4, 2013 at 11:04 am #97535
Good point about colleges. Most big name universities are pretty diverse and that’s a good thing. White Privilege is a hell of a drug.
Why Does Diversity Matter At College Anyway? – http://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/professors-guide/2009/08/12/why-does-diversity-matter-at-college-anyway
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