Today’s Word is… GASWHITERS

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So there’s a clip from The Daily Show going around, a Roy Wood Jr segment on Boston’s racist reputation.  In the video, Wood goes around asking white Bostonians if they feel Boston’s racist and of course they all responded no only for him to ask black Bostonians and get the real.  What also stood out in the clip, was this one black woman’s answer where she said black Bostonians know where to go and not go around the city, which is something I’ve articulated on this here blog.  The opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s indifference and to me that encapsulates the Boston experience.  Boston racism is not overt Confederate flag waving “you in the wrong town, boy” racism; it’s a downtown bar with little to no desire to diversify it’s happy hour crowd.  It’s me having to tell someone that “yes, I’m in line” or having to check some dudebro at the gym because he’s working out right in front of me like he didn’t see me in the mirror.  It’s a conversation I had with a friend about how uncomfortable she felt with a bunch of white people saying nigga at a Childish Gambino show.  Yes, white people aren’t beating minorities blind with a 2×4 like Mark Wahlberg (anymore), yes they tend to vote very liberal but they’ve also ran out of any fucks to be more inclusive and like that video showed, they are ready to argue the hell out of any black person who tries to point out any sort of racial inequality.  It’s a special brand of gaslighting, I shall call it “gaswhiting”.  Merriam Webster, holla at me.

How do you make someone fix something they don’t even think they’re doing wrong?  A few years ago we had a black Governor and a black President at the same damn time; you couldn’t tell a white person shit about racism.  Their acknowledgment of racism is blackface and n*gger and you still might get Bill who “doesn’t have a racist bone in his body” complaining about how we say it and it’s just a Halloween costume.  Tell a gaswhiter that they have white privilege and they’ll tell you how they too grew up in a single parent home in the ghetto without recognizing that how easily they equate blackness to struggle. Challenge a gaswhiter too much and they’ll turn heel faster than a “nice guy” who gets turned down after a 3rd date.   Gaswhiters love to compare and contrast,  especially to extremes because that absolves them.  Trump, nazis, the south, slavery, those are easy things to point to and say Boston isn’t THAT.  Then you look at the numbers that say black families have a median net worth of $8 and it’s, well the whole economy is failing us, OCCUPY WALL STREET again pointing out an extreme and not what’s right in front of them.

I don’t necessarily feel unsafe in Boston, but I surely don’t feel welcome.  As I’ve alluded to in a recent post it feels more and more likely that if I want to own a home in a black middle class community it’s probably not going to be here.  I meet new people all the time who echo that same sentiment.  That harsh reality of you can’t grow here is as glaring as a whites only sign but to gaswhiters they don’t/won’t understand that.  It’s not like the mobs are bombing businesses (anymore).   Gaswhiters see Boston as a liberal utopia, far removed from it’s really racist past, at worst it’s no more racist than any other major city in America, and ain’t like it’s Mississippi.  To them, it’s not broke so why fix it?  To acknowledge racism is to be divisive, we need to come together at times like this.  Gaswhiters are tired of everything being about race, they just want to watch the game and the ensuing highlights on Sportscenter without being reminded of it all the time.  It must be nice to live in such a bubble.   Meanwhile, what’s actually more annoying than discussing racial inequality all the damn time?  Living it.

-Stan-

 

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Today’s Word is… HOMEGIRL

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It’s a common dating app trope; let’s start as friends first and try to build from there.  It’s something we say because it sounds good, if someone out the gate is like, I want my eggs CRACKED, meaning I want a child… I want my name DROPPED, meaning I want to be married (h/t New York the Lash Gawd), that’s a swipe left.  Even if ultimately that is your goal, that’s a lot to ask of a stranger with a couple selfies on an app.  Friendship is the softer approach, even though you both know you aren’t on this dating app to make friends.  So, you play along…you have a few conversations, you ask them out and suddenly the secret’s out, you are trying to pursue them romantically! *Crowd gasps*.  Turns out, they too aren’t actually looking for new friends they are also looking for a romantic partner…just not you, sorry.  *Crowd awws*.   So, then you continue a friendship with them.  You become vulnerable with them,  they become vulnerable with you.  You know each other’s favorite foods, colors, books, Netflix series.  Now that a relationship is off the table, there’s no need to be guarded.  You see them for who they truly are, they see you for you.  You learn what they look for in a partner, it’s someone just like you.  You think about what you look for in a partner, it’s someone like them.  Then one day, you just decide to shoot your shot again,  the secret’s out again you weren’t really trying to be their friend you were trying to pursue them romantically! *Crowd boos*.   They trusted you, confided in you and all you was doing was gathering intel for a better shot.  Sounds gross out loud, doesn’t it?

Unless of course, they are with it and then you live happily ever after. When it works out, no one looks back at how weird it is.  The Flash and Iris West get married and have kids so then in retrospect, him pining for his foster sister for over a decade doesn’t feel as gross.  For me, the closest would be my longest relationship.  There was no happily ever after obviously but we were together for several years.  She was a hippie dippy homegirl who I never thought I would be with.  I don’t know if she ever saw herself with me either, she would always poke fun at my dating life and the “saditty” girls I would chase.  But life happened, we fell in love yada yada yada.  I didn’t feel like she crossed a line in our friendship, but once we were together I knew that we could never just be friends again and we haven’t spoken since. C’est la vie.

There’s a vulnerability with friendships that differs from that of a relationship.  Doubly so with men/women friends. Women having an even bigger struggle because if we’ve learned nothing else from #MeToo, it’s seemingly impossible to exist anywhere without a man trying to fuck you.  It’s something I’m cognizant of in my own friendships; that if we are friends, we’re friends with no ulterior motives or secret desires.  I’m not the same way with my female friends than I am with women I’m pursuing.  My friends see me for who I am, partners see who I am trying to be.  Not necessarily in a dishonest way, just different.  My friends see you for who you are, dates see who you’re trying to present.  They see the outfit you picked out, not the 5 other ideas that got dragged in the groupchat.  They don’t know that you weren’t blown away by the 1st date and had to be urged into another.  (It’s why I don’t think you should follow s/o on social media, but no one hears me).  You’re so unfiltered with your friends that when they then turn around and shoot their shot, it’s so startling.  I’ve had female friends pursue me romantically and I struggled to process, feeling like our friendship has suddenly become conditional, wondering if there’s even romantic feelings to return and if not, the guilt of having to hurt someone you care about.  It’s not necessarily their fault if they’ve developed feelings for you but it makes the entire friendship look funny in the light.  Particularly for someone like myself who doesn’t open up that much.  And once it’s out there, its out.  You can’t pretend they don’t have feelings for you, and now you’re left wondering if it was ever a friendship or just a dating internship?

It was a question I had to ask myself concerning someone; if we were actually friends or was I waiting for a better shot?  I knew firsthand how disheartening it can be to have someone you trust cross that line and maybe I was being a whole hypocrite.  When it works, it’s no harm no foul but that mostly happens on rom coms and TV shows.  When it doesn’t you blew up a friendship for no reason.  I had to think about what I actually wanted, I have her already; in an intimate relationship but not a romantic one.  Maybe too much time has passed, we a little too close, maybe she’ll never see me differently.  Is it worth the risk?  Can I handle the rejection?  Was I ever her friend?  What kinda friend even does this?  All the questions and pro/cons, there was only one way to find out for sure, and so I shoot…miss. Fuck you, rom coms. *Crowd sighs*

So exceptions aside, people don’t date their friends.  (Maybe sleep together but that doesn’t end well either) Yes, over the course of a relationship your partner does become a friend but that’s not quite the same thing.  Aside from that one relationship, the women I’ve dated, from jump knew I was stepping to them as a suitor not a friend.   Make your intentions known, early and often so there’s no surprises and no mixed signals (and no one claiming y’all “used to talk” simply because they got your number).

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… COMMUNITY

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I remember way back in the day, me and my friends were walking home from school and the police roll up on us. They had said something about thefts in the area and needed our information. We were in like 4th grade none of us had IDs. So one of boys immediately lies about his name the officer picked up on it and then demanded we empty our book bags for something with our names on it. An older black woman pulls over and asks what’s going on, the officers explain they are investigating something and she’s like, well I don’t know what’s going on but I was just headed to get them from the bus stop and she tells us to grab our stuff and come on. We’ve seen her around but didn’t know this woman but in the moment we knew exactly what to do,

“Yes, Auntie”.

We grabbed our bags and got our asses in that car. She spoke with the officers a little longer and she drove us around the corner to my house. It’s what my mother would’ve done, what any of my friends mothers’ would’ve done. We all we got.

There’s plenty of things I don’t miss a out living in the “hood”, the aforementioned police harassment being one, but I do miss that particular sense of community that came with it.   The neighbors, the corner store that would let you pay them back on Friday, block parties, basketball tournaments, simply being able to go outside and all my friends were there.  For the reputation Boston had as a racist city, I lived in a bubble.  I didn’t see the 900% income difference in neighboring towns outside of Halloween.  As an adult, I read more about Mandela, Massachusetts; a proposal in the late 70s that would’ve had my neighborhood of Dorchester, as well as the predominantly black nearby areas of Roxbury and Mattapan simply secede from Boston altogether and form it’s own municipality.  The city never came into fruition but existed unofficially, as black people in Boston largely lived in our own bubble until one day, white people realized they were commuting 30+ minutes everyday and we lived 10 minutes from downtown with 2 subway lines.  Fast forward to now, I live 30 minutes away from my childhood home which would cost at least $650,000 if I was ever feeling so nostalgic.  Jesus be a GoFundMe.

I think about all this as I see more and more news stories of ________ while black and having the police called on them.  It’s what happens when there’s no community; Susan and Spencer just moved a few weeks ago and doesn’t get how and why people are just on the stoop all day kicking it, or why it’s 9pm and they’re still barbecuing, or they see me walking home in a hoodie and feel uneasy.  They don’t even attempt to ingratiate themselves into the community they’ve moved into, they try to force into it’s own likeness.   So Fernandez Grocery is turning into a Trader Joes (Full Disclosure, I love Trader Joe’s but that’s not the point).  That Jamaican spot that only has oxtail from 11-2:30 on Wednesdays but you love them anyway…now it’s a coffee shop.  Didn’t that used to be a dollar store? Well now it’s a froyo spot.  And those black people that were on the stoop, well they just keep getting harassed and arrested until they just stop coming around.  Now that 3 bedroom that had a family of 4, now is being rented to 3 rad professionals, that totally like the work hard, play hard.  One guy cycles a lot and another is in a band.  No worries, he doesn’t practice at home.  They come, Thanos snap, turn us to dust and brew cold brew with it.

Then there’s me, middle class? Eh, let’s just go with “mid” class black man who can’t afford to buy, can’t afford to rent but can make just enough to get the hell out of there.  There’s no soil to sow roots, Boston is becoming more and more the city you just spend your mid to late 20s then go.  Racial AND income inequality is a mighty strong cocktail, and so you have a major metropolitan city where the median net worth for a black family is $8.00.  Eight.  Yes, one digit.  Leave or struggle, such a far cry from the city my parents moved to and started a life in in the 80s.  I long for the Dorchester that once was, and the Mandela that could’ve been.  Where I’m not the only black person on my block, where the corner store at least has a cat.  Or maybe we should just all move to a city in Montana and don’t tell *them* about it.  What the weather hitting like over there anyway?

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… FORGIVE

 

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Adulting trash, B. Ain’t nobody ask to be grown with bills, in the working class no less. The working class?!? You know how damn brilliant I am?!?  I need to see a manager, someone get a sorting hat, reset the game.  I have to get up go to a job where I’m well aware that I’m underpaid just so I can pay other people for survival essentials like food, shelter, and Netflix.  It’s something you can’t possibly understand until you get *there*, especially not as a child. To work all day, come all the way home and the chicken isn’t thawed. To spend your hard earned money on clothes they gonna tear up playing. To pay for them to explore passions and interests and having to be just as supportive when they  end up quitting. Failing a marriage and feeling like they resent you for it. (okay, maybe I don’t want kids, not without like a 100% pay increase, or a wife that makes way more than me.  I’m walking in the spirit of a Stedman.)

So on my birthday last month, I took a vacation. My father called me to wish me a Happy Birthday and we chopped it up for a bit.  He reminisced about where he was when he was my age; Married, working 2 jobs and they just had me even after wanting to stop at 3. (he did have 3 more kids after, and I mean…yikes.). Now that the youngest is grown and he’s nearing retirement he’s finally at a place where he can live his best life and even better he’s happy to see that I am.  After that talk, I decided to go visit.  He usually flies up to see his grandkids but we rarely bother to go see him, especially me. Our dynamic has always been a little strained.  Still a little strained, really.  Not much unlike him and my grandfather.  Even while you “get it” as an adult, you still become indifferent.  Forgiving parents isn’t easy, but sometimes necessary.  They affect our entire lives even subconsciously, the adults we become.  Me and my father are a lot alike; intuitive, reticent, stubborn.   It’s perhaps why we butt heads so much as adults.  We both recognize there’s…something wrong here, while also feeling like it’s the others’ to fix.  He’s not getting any younger, I’m not the one who broke it and so, stalemate.

As I approach the steep hill that is my 30s, part of me worries I’ll be him.  From our eerily similar decor choices, to my approach in relationships.  He’s a lot more expressive and open in his later years but that wasn’t the man I grew up knowing.  His love was assumed, shown through a roof over my head and Jordans every first day of school.  I was too young to really remember my parents in love, but with my step mother it always felt like, service.  They were together for 10 years because they were together for 10 years, in hindsight it mirrored my longest relationship.  We been together this long, why not see this through.  More recently, I had someone I’m with ask me that if a complete stranger was watching us right now, would they think we were in love?  I couldn’t answer.   I did love her, but clearly I sucked at showing it.  It wasn’t being expressed, it was assumed. Damn, I am him.  He lived through the civil rights movement, the military and having a whole ass family in the Reaganomics era, I can’t possibly be this way already.  I won’t allow myself to be.

Maybe, it starts with forgiving in the first place.  That’s a journey in itself that I’m still working on.  Without going too deep, there’s a lot about my childhood that I’m still processing but as an adult I at least find myself at a place where I see and empathize with him as a man; imperfect but steadily trying to grow as he prepares to embark on the next phase of his life as just as I’m trying to do with mine.    I usually try to end posts with a pretty little bow but there isn’t one, at least not yet.  All I can do in the interim, is work on improving our relationship and myself to become a more open, vulnerable man that believes in accent colors.  Oh, and no babies til like, 33?  35?  40?  Yeah, maybe 40.

-Stan-

 

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Today’s Word is… PICK

Now, we all know the “pick me” girl aka “This generation” girl aka “Y’all females” aka “not me, tho” aka the princess of the patriarchy. Pick me’s place all their stock in being better than the alternative, instead of what they actually want. Pick me’s tend to boast about cooking, sex, and being low maintenance because that’s what they think men want, without much regard for their own identity. By and large, pick mes are typically harmless, their sirens are met with groans and eyerolls as the men they are bending over backwards to impress are a) usually dudes no one was even competing with you for. Or b) pick hes.

Now, we all at least know of the “pick he” dude aka “These girls want thugs” aka “employed, no BMs, no arrests” aka “Favorite artists are Drake and Bryson Tiller” aka “I live just outside of DC” aka “I learned rape culture in the last 2 years so I’m basically a feminist” aka “I make 75K and have a car how dare you swipe left on me, Ma”. Pick He’s are productive, functional members of society, but that’s not good enough… They are also entitled to a baddie. They lament being undervalued and unappreciated for simply not being that terrible.

So if pick mes have low expectations and pick hes have low output, why don’t these two people simply find each other and leave everyone else alone. But that’d be like Drake and Nicki Minaj finally getting together because they really are just vapid facsimiles of each other. The answer is because the pick he doesn’t want to pick, the pick he just wants to be wanted. Men being the traditional pursuers, the pick he can easily go get that good nerdy low maintenance girl he claims he wants. He could just stop seeing where things goes with the girl he’s been kinda dating for years. Maybe stop being the 145th “hey” in the same IG models inbox and maybe be the 5th in someone else’s. Pick me’s are sitting by the dock at the bay, hoping and wishing to be picked; pick he’s are just circling around being indecisive about something they swear they want.

I’ve had pick he moments. I think it’s natural to make a few shots and feel like you’ll never miss again. I’ve had what I said I wanted right in front of me only to be like…am I sure sure, I’ve been hurt before, I just need more time, you know all the Drakeisms. Instead of actually picking, you long for someone who just ain’t checking for you like that. No matter how much of a good man™ you are. So while pick hes think they’re being indecisive, ironically enough they are just waiting to be picked too.

For what it’s worth I don’t think there’s anything wrong with actually wanting to be picked, even if I roll my eyes and judge them. I just be judging and shit. However, the common thread between pick mes and pick hes is entitlement and entitled people can be insatiable. Pick mes get picked and now they need you to know that they have the best marriage, they are the happiest family and now they are just as annoying as their thirstier days because all they truly wanted was validation.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… CIVILITY

It was just about 2 years ago, when MY First Lady (had us all believing she was finna run in 2020) delivered the what I guess now is the “When they go low, we go high” speech. It was a display of grace and class as we’d come to know from the First Lady. While I didn’t care for the line that much (I’m petty), white people ate that shit up like it was kale flavored gluten free hummus. It was a precursor to their present favorite buzzword, civility. Fearful that the oppressed would stoop to their level, this idea of civility is largely just a fear of retribution as if we have the power to in the first place. We’re in different leagues, black people have a median net worth of $8 and being murdered by the police, white people get really bothered when you tell them to season their food or cast a minority in a Star Wars movie. Someone throws a water at Tammy Blahren, or refuses service to Sarah Huckabee and it’s being treated on the same level as Jim Crow. If I’m refused service at a restaurant, I maybe could start a hashtag on Twitter, meanwhile they have the President of the United States clapping back on their behalf. The caucasity it takes to even cry foul or to pretend these are equal sides is maddening.

Yet as these white liberals are wyling out, the onus turns to black people to go high, be better, turn the other cheek, be Martin… (who white people think died for their sins)

Fuck that.

I’ll quote their First Lady… I don’t really care, do you? Black people too busy trying to survive to worry about answering for the angry white liberals and definitely not worrying about placating conservative white feelings. It’s hard to muster a fuck to give about some bar banning MAGA hats when that bar probably had a whites only sign when it was founded. Stop asking me to have a dialogue, black issues have been well documented its not a matter of simply misunderstanding at this point. You try to compromise they’ll take what you gave and gaslight you, saying they never got anything. The Red Hen LGBTQ staff handled the matter privately and with civility, Huckabee runs to Twitter and now a bunch of conservatives are calling THEM the bigots. That’s what happens when you try to reason with the unreasonable. There’s no path to racial equality that doesn’t have white discomfort and it’s why I don’t believe this country will ever get there. When you have one side actually doing harm and the other dissenting but being treated as both sides need to come squash it in the name of civility; that’s not civility, that’s compliance.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… INDISTINGUISHABLE

I have a confession to make that may forever change how you look at me or SFW again. I can already sense the judgment, I can audibly hear the “yo, who’s mans is this?”. But it’s time I live my truth; I like turkey bacon. I might even prefer it to real bacon. I know it’s not really bacon, to even name it bacon is appropriation, but give me the choice, I’m possibly going turkey bacon. Bacon ain’t got no meat, especially at restaurants they gonna give you salty bacon shaped crackers. That being said, if someone ordered bacon and got turkey bacon, someone might be attacked and no one will say they were wrong for it. If you ordered bacon you want bacon. If you ordered turkey bacon you want… kinda bacon. It’s one of those cases where unlike New Amsterdam and Ciroc, most white actresses and all these new R&B singers who look like Denise Huxtable and do bad Amy Whinehouse impersonations, some things are truly indistinguishable.

Two things I also thought was indistinguishable, enter two people recently out of relationships but just enough time has passed where they’re supposed to start acting like they want to date again. Both of them probably a little too woke, both incredibly smart and fluent in sarcasm. They have great chemistry and make each other laugh. Both of them kinda hate dating, it’s trash. They like each other so they date, except one person is dating for companionship and the other is dating to be with someone. On the surface it would seem like it’s the same… but it isn’t. Bacon. Turkey bacon.

Dating to date vs dating for purpose; I’ve been on every side of these. Dating aimlessly to purposely, dater to datee. Of all, just dating to date is the simplest. Dating because there ain’t shit else to do, dating because I like you but I kinda suck at relationship stuff so let’s keep it right here in the safe zone, dating because a fly outfit is a terrible thing to waste. Dating is social, dating is networking, it’s troubleshooting. How do you know what you want if you don’t try some shit. other people and feelings involved so being open and honest about intentions or lack thereof is key. Then there’s the fact that people who date to date aren’t completely opposed to something more… Maybe something happens, maybe it doesn’t but ultimately they are in it more for themselves than anything.

Then there’s dating for purpose, where you have or think you have a good idea what you want and now it’s time to just find them. A trap I had fell into jumping from relationship to relationship because that was what I thought I was supposed to do. I look back at my college years and my early 20s and wonder about the people and friendships I’d still have in my life if I didn’t force the issue. “They just wasn’t ready”, I would tell the next one, looking at her with the same level of naiveté and ignorance. The reality was I didn’t even know if that was what I even wanted yet I was just following a recipe without any idea of what I was making.

Two date to date people can get along great, just enjoying each other’s company and most importantly managing expectations. Two date for purpose people will gladly pair off and get out of the wretched dating game. One of each? Well, its bacon and turkey bacon. You have one side ready to cuff up and delete their Tinder while the other just wanting them to enjoy what this is. Maybe one side concedes what they want for a moment, or two, or three but eventually they’ll come back to that fork in the road and someone will have to choose between what and who they want and it doesn’t end well. C’est la vie.

Whether you’re dating casually or really trying to be chose, it’s far easier to just find someone else who is also bout that life rather than trying to tell yourself that turkey bacon is just like the real thing and vice versa. You want what you want…as long as you own it. Like turkey bacon.

-Stan-

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