Sunday, July 09, 2017

Oreo Has Left The Building

Its happened again...I'm 30 years out from leaving Montbello High School, and I swore I wouldn't let myself feel like this again.

But here I am, back to the Oreo of old.

Long story short, I belonged to a Facebook group about food, started by a person I knew in high school. Mostly, pictures of food and recipes are standard posts, but occasionally a question about food is posed for others to chime in an opinion. Sometimes the questions are about Black food and culture, but today it was even more specific - are there foods that White people cook better than Black people?

The responses were not unexpected for this Oreo.

Back then, as I do now, I lived in a world where I wasn't "Black enough" for my own people and, well...a person who didn't belong with White people because of her Blackness. I enjoy all kinds of foods, but I prefer Italian. I listen to most kinds of music, but I'm still a Durannie at heart and will most likely pick Barenaked Ladies over Kanye every day. I didn't reject the advances of boys/men based on whether they were the same race as me or not - they got rejected because they were jerks, not my equal, or just not attractive to me. I married a man who made me laugh, was my intellectual equal, was kind and loving, and happened to be blond and blue-eyed. That last part - not a prerequisite.  And I was recently told that I had that last "prerequisite" in high school...that I rejected Black guys for White guys. Huh. I think I remember dating exactly 1 guy...he was Mexican.

But, I digress. I watched as people responded. Most answered "nothing." There was one "air." Someone actually put down a food. Then one person said they didn't know because they had never eaten "White people food." Man. I finally answered there were a lot of things and, as a matter of fact, my husband can cook the shit out of soul food. And then I left the group.

After I unfollowed and left the group, I thought I should have said that no group makes a food better than any other group. But then, that wasn't the point for me. It was a reflection, an opinion, on my choices. And not a very good opinion. Someone had said White people might be able to make a version of Black foods, but it would not be the same or better, ever. That made me angry. My man, with all of his imperfections, does everything. He cooks, he cleans, he parents, he loves me for who I am, with all my imperfections. Who are you people to say, because he is White, that he is less-than? In any respect? And that I am less, because I chose him?

There is a line between Black pride and being the racist you profess to fight against. I refuse to participate, especially when I get to look into a set of blue eyes, a set of brown eyes like mine, and a set of coffee-colored eyes that are a perfect mix of the two of us.

This Oreo has left the building.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Enough With The "Liberal Snowflake"

Stop. Just stop.

I'm getting really tired of this...the "you lazy liberal (or "libtard," which gets me more) snowflakes need to stop marching and protesting, get a job, and get over it!" diatribe.

Well, fuck you and the horse you rode in on, Range Rider.

I am about as liberal as they come. I have had some kind of job since I was 12 years old, when I had to prove I could ride a horse (no saddle, the wrong way on the trail, on a barn-sour horse - not an easy task). Day care, 2 pizza joints, a halfway house, an insurance company, a mortgage company, probation, social work....I have put in my time, and I still do. My parents - also liberal. Also worked. Hard. Really hard. My father also served this country, HIS country, in the Korean War.

Actually, all of the liberals I have ever known have had a job. And if they didn't have one, they were actively trying to get another one. And eventually did. Really, all of the conservatives I have known are hardworking people with jobs too. We all work. And its also true that some don't and sponge off the system. But to listen to these new-age, Trumpian conservatives tell it, only liberals are on welfare, have several children, and are not at all interested in working.

That's not my experience, nor is it the reality, so stop.

Marching and protesting got you the freedoms and protections you enjoy today. That 40-hour work week? Someone protested for that. Vacation? More protesting. That clean air you breathe, clean water you drink, uncontaminated food you eat? Someone marched and protested and fought for that too. Even those precious guns...that Second Amendment you like to pull out and wave in my Liberal Snowflake face - someone marched and protested for that.

As far as being a "snowflake"? Well, maybe I wouldn't "whine" if people didn't keep trying to take away the stuff that was "important" to know, women's rights, minorities' rights, environmental protections, a right to affordable health care...I would think everyone would want those same things. Instead, I get called names - names to go with the racist ones I already live with.


I'm going to continue to be the hardworking, employed, protesting, marching, migraineur, wife, mother, sister, friend, liberal, social worker, college graduate...or elitist, libtard, baby-stealer, snowflake, wagon-rider, welfare queen, pickaninny, n----r...depending on who you are.

And based on THAT...fuck you and the horse you rode in on,  Range Rider.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

The First Man In My Life

People say that your father is the first man in a girl's life...and they are right. Emmitt Harris was the first man in my life, and to be honest, the most influential one. My daddy left me on Thursday, January 30th, not two hours after I kissed his forehead, patted his hand, and told him I would see him the next day.

See, my dad has been battling Alzheimer's Disease and dementia for the last year or so. He fell down Thursday morning and, as we found out later, broke his hip. We took him to the hospital, they did X-rays, and the doctors told us that the only way it would heal at all was if we agreed to surgery. The sticking point was, Dad was in hospice and we had decided we were not going to do any surgeries. Long story short, we were going to forgo surgery, hospice was going to oversee pain management, and Dad was going to spend his days at home in bed or in a wheelchair (if he could handle that, because he would not be able to walk on a broken hip). Looking back, deep down, I don't think he wanted all that.

But that is not what this post is about. This is about who my dad was. He was a quiet, simple yet smart man. He kept things to himself, almost to the point of being secretive. It will be interesting to see what we find when we start going through all of his things. But some things my father was for sure - he was loyal, he was loving, and he was proud. Even if he didn't tell you directly.

Once I told my dad that the tires on my car were bald and I didn't know how I was going to find the money to pay for them. I was newly married, just started a new job, and really strapped for cash. I hung up the phone from talking to him and after about an hour, he called me back and asked what size tires my car had. He also asked if there was a particular tire store near my apartment. He hung up again and after about another half-hour, called back again and said I could get new tires for my car at a tire store near my home and he would pay for them. He used to tell me after that I still owed him for those tires, but he would have this tiny smile on his face...I knew he did it to help his baby girl.

My dad taught me football...he loved his Broncos and his Oklahoma Sooners (it irked him that my brother is a Texas Longhorns fan!) He showed me the difference between an eye formation and the shotgun formation. He told me what a post pattern was and "if a ball hits a receiver in the hands, he damn well better catch it!" He let me know that the Oakland Raiders were the worst, most hated team in the world. We got in trouble my first weekend away from home when I went to college because we spent an entire Bronco game on the phone, long distance. Mom was not pleased.

He taught me how to install ceiling fans and a ceramic tile backsplash for my kitchen. Dad finished an entire basement, from the electricity to the drywall, wet bar, and flooring - with no formal training in any of those things. A man of many talents.

He showed me how to make the perfect charcoal briquette pyramid to barbecue with (which translates into making the perfect firewood pyramid for camping).

Dad liked his cars...he was an admitted Chevrolet man. I remember he had a '76 Impala, metallic midnight blue with a white top. When he drove downtown, he would go down 18th Avenue, where the side streets come in and make a big hump - which makes the ride in a car like the Impala more like a roller coaster. I would tell him, "Go faster, Daddy!" And he would, because I asked, and I squealed like crazy. Maybe he liked that sound. One time, he came home with a Datsun 280Z - a tiny little sports car. Mom was not pleased. But my brother learned to drive a manual transmission on that car, when he was 3. I think that's when John's love of cars actually started.

Until the end, I only saw my dad cry 3 times - when I graduated from high school, when I got married, and when he saw his best friend in a casket. Dad was not one to show a lot of emotion...although you always knew if he was mad - that brow would furrow, his jaw would get tight, and you knew you'd better vacate the area. I see that same expression in my daughter (probably because it's mine, too.) Don't get me wrong, Dad had a sense of humor too - he'd get that little smile, that "heh-heh-heh" laugh...but it was rare to see a true belly-laugh. That wasn't his way.

See, Dad was an Aries, the sign of the Ram. His birthstone was the diamond. He very much embodied both of those things - he was not big in stature, but he still had great heart, stubborn, and could hurt you deep if you pissed him off and got in the way of those horns. Dad also had many facets, like a diamond, with flaws that could be seen by the naked eye and ones that were small and secret. But he was still clear and handsome, and the hardest substance you'll ever run into.

I'm glad I married a man who is a lot like Dad. I'm glad my children had a very close relationship with him and were old enough to remember him before he left us. I'm glad I got 45 years with Dad, because some of my friends lost parents way too soon.

Daddy, you have fun up there in Heaven. I hope it was Ed who met you at the end of the light, and maybe your mom. Pat all my puppies and Bender on the head for me. I wish there was a phone so we could watch our Broncos in the Super Bowl today, but that would be one hell of a long distance bill, and Mom would not be pleased.

I love you, Daddy.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Highs and Lows (or why a 16-year old made me cry)

Election Day was supposed to be happy...a "high", if you will. The man I voted for and hoped would be President for a second term", in fact, was voted in by both the Electoral College and the popular vote. I planned not to watch any of the Election Night poll returns because I knew I could not handle the anxiety of the 'back and forth' of the returns or the constant commentary of the punditry. So I was prepared to watch the Nuggets and reruns of 'Criminal Minds' (you can never see Shemar Moore too many times) until something was decided and just let my friends on Facebook keep me relatively informed. Facebook wall was covered in such hateful, misleading, negative, and downright racist rhetoric that I spent over an hour deleting the posts, I defriended 2 people who were just "over the top", and restricted the posts of 2 others. But that wasn't the "low"...

My niece (the 16-year-old mentioned above) posted some things that made me pause. One she attributed to her father, essentially stating "Those who vote for Romney are wagon-pullers, those who vote for Obama are wagon-riders." So, am I to believe that the country is being supported by only 47.8% of the people? Or closer to home, I don't work as hard (or harder) than you? But I digress... The other thing was also a repost of one of her friends - a hate-filled, racist diatribe against his own family members that voted for Obama that ended with him telling those people that they were "un-American", could lick his balls, and "fuck off", among other things. My niece reposted it with the tag "Love this...." I could not stand by and let this one go, so I asked, "You don't really believe this, do you?" to which she replied that she loved and respected me, but she could not talk to me about this because our political views were different. Then, before I could tell her that there was a difference between political differences and racism, she defriended me.

I told my hubby about it and he gave me a lame apology. My co-worker showed me some sympathy...she seemed to understand the gravity of what I was feeling...1) my niece was agreeing with hurtful and racist ideology, knowing who was in her family, and 2) it seemed as though she was getting some of the "Fox News" idea of what a Liberal/Democrat is from her dad and/or mom. The hurtful thing about this is that I have known both of them for almost 20 years and count them as my friends and family. However, they still say/teach their daughter these things, knowing that they have family members who "lean" that way AND are people of color? I know that we try to teach our children our liberal point of view, but we certainly don't condemn our conservative family members for their point of view.

Now, I have to figure out how to go through the holidays and look all of them in the face, wondering how they truly see me.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Show Me Your Papers - An Angry Rant


You're going to try and tell me that this whole issue with Obama's birth certificate is only about his eligibility to be the President of the United States, right?  It's a good thing that I'm writing this days after this happened, because this rant may have been more raw and vitriolic that it's going to be.

So, with that being said, I'm going to get right to it....don't try to tell me that this issue, or anything else that the Birthers, some of the Republicans and conservatives in this country, or some of the Tea Party ("Tea-Baggers?" Pick something else, just makes you a big joke) is nothing more than thinly veiled racism.  These people just can't accept, almost three years later, that a Black man is the President of "their" country, that millions of people had the nerve to vote him into office.  And now they spend their time trying to either prove that he's not really the leader of this nation, not really an American citizen, not really worthy of the highest office in the country, instead of trying to fix what is really wrong with this country (a lot of which was caused by the last few White guys that held the office - Democrat included, so don't go saying that this rant is about that either).

I cannot believe that, in the 21st century, our President was actually "asked" - using the term loosely - to show us his birth certificate, proving that he was born in this country.  Oh, that's not racist, Nichelle, here you people go again, using the race card to cry foul!  Well then, tell me - when was the last time a president was publicly asked, repeatedly, to produce his birth certificate for all to see?  That would  So then he gave us the "short" form - the one that looks like the ones I got for my children when they were born - issued by the state of Hawaii, and all the crazy people yelled, "It says, 'Certificate of Live Birth' not 'Birth Certificate' (or some other official bullshit) so it can't be real!"  What!?!?!!?  Really.  I looked at my own birth certificate, given to me by my mom a few years ago for me to keep track of, issued by the grand state of Colorado, and guess what it says on the top? "Certificate of Live Birth".  Does this mean my birth certificate isn't legitimate?  No, it means that the crazy people are trying to use any excuse possible to turn back the clock and make it so Obama wasn't declared the winner.  So last week, Mr. President had Hawaii release his "long" form - which I realized later is what my birth certificate looks like - for all to see, and maybe have everyone move on to other, more important, things.  There are several things that happened (or didn't) that evoked several feelings.

First, I was crushed.  Did this just happen?  Did our President, my President, just have to prove for the second time, that he was born in the United States?  Why is this happening? 

Then I got angry - oh yeah, I remember...this is happening because I still live in a racist country, whether or not anyone wants to believe that, this is still an incredibly racist country, and it took the election of a Black man to the highest office in the land for my country to show its real face...the one that still sees me (and my son) as "less than" because of our mocha skin.

Third, I started looking for validation that, maybe, my angry reaction was wrong....and I got a little of both.  No surprise, though, that most of the validation came from people who look like me and the friends of people who look like me. The Donald said that he was "friends with 'the Blacks'." I'm here to tell you - anyone who is friends with "the Blacks" don't call us that. Bigots trying not to look like bigots call us that.

Now that Obama has produced the very thing Trump and the other haters asked for, not only does he refuse to look at it, but he has moved on to questioning his qualifications for acceptance into Harvard Law, Occidental, and Columbia. This isn't any better - now this tiny man is questioning the intelligence, not just this very important Black man, but every Black person that ever went through the doors of any of those institutions.

I did end up getting some vindication - after all of this, while Trump was claiming victory saying that he forced Obama to produce the birth certificate, he then got "informally" roasted at the Correspondents' Dinner while the President was multi-tasking and planning the death of Osama bin Laden....and never let on that he was doing it. Bam!...take that, little lame-ass man! While you were pretending to be important, Obama IS important, and did something that none of your compatriots could do, and Obama's predecessor even said that he "didn't think about bin Laden that much; I don't spend that much time on 'im." Thanks for getting your priorities in order...

But back to my original angry rant - I'm tired of people saying that everything that is happening in this country has nothing to do with race, and everyone is so afraid to talk about it but okay to let others get away with questioning the President's citizenship, or parading around with signs or pictures of him looking like an ape with a turban on, or making statements like, "What planet have I landed on? Did I slip through a wormhole in the middle of the night and this looks like America? It's like the damn Planet of the Apes." (Thank you, Glenn Beck, for that brilliant statement) And with the kinds of laws states like Arizona and Colorado and others are passing (or trying to pass), it won't be too long before everyone with skin darker than 2% milk will have to "show me your papers."

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Honesty Is The Best Policy

New Thing #5: I'm going to be more honest with the people around me. This doesn't mean I have been lying to the people in my life, but I most definitely have not been honest with myself and have not said what I really feel out loud. So I walk around feeling bad because I just "let stuff go" and no one around me knows what I'm really feeling. As far as everyone is concerned, I'm just happy and content and "oh, don't won't matter to Nichelle so we'll just go on this way" or my opinion on some subject is overlooked or even devalued. My not being honest and up front leads to me getting overlooked or ignored.

I suppose I've been too afraid of making people walk out of my life if I'm too honest, and that possibility does exist....but there is a fine line to walk, and as someone once told me "You can't change others, you can only change yourself, which may or may not make others around you change." So I can't worry about people leaving me...I feel like my true, lifelong friendships should be able to handle more "edgy" honesty than the superficial or short-term ones. And it doesn't mean that I can be brutal and cut people down or hurt them - that isn't the point of this either. But this is supposed to help me be healthier and, subsequently, the relationships I keep healthier too.

So, change #5 - be more honest. Be more upfront and stop hiding my feelings to the detriment of myself for the sake of the feelings of others, but still temper everything I do and say with compassion and empathy...the majority of the people around me are still my family and friends, and I love them.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

I Believe In....Something...

New Thing #4: I'm going to be more spiritual.  I don't plan on going to church every Sunday, and it definitely won't be something that everyone will "see" on a daily basis.  But I do believe in a 'higher power', and, most of the time, when I ask for things (be it a solution to a problem, peace of mind, or even a 3-Story Barbie Dream Townhouse) I get them.  I wouldn't call it 'prayer' in the normal sense of the word, because I don't kneel and close my eyes and clasp my hands and implore God for whatever it is I'm struggling with at the time.  I do, however, concentrate on the outcome I wish to have, think positively that my outcome will happen, and then release that thought - that energy - into the universe, to that 'higher power'.  And, most of the time, what I want will happen.  Sometimes, it doesn't quite work out the way I want it to, or it doesn't work at all, but then, maybe what I wanted wasn't really the right thing in the first place and I'm really better off with the outcome that ended up happening.

I've had discussions about religion with a bunch of different people at a bunch of different times in my life, and I've come to this conclusion (strictly for myself, only my opinion) - no one's religion is completely right, nor is it the only one that 'works'.  Which is why I say that I'm going to be more 'spiritual', not more 'religious'.  That statement will probably make somebody angry, no matter how I try to explain myself, so I'll just keep going.  In being spiritual, I can take what works for me and not be bound by anyone's rules about how I'm supposed to worship; I don't have to be restricted in only 'believing' in God or Buddha or Jehovah or The Green Man or Allah or Earth Mother or anyone else; I don't have to go to a specific place or wear specific things.  There is one thing that does run through all religions, and that is treating your fellow man like you would like to be treated - that I can also do in being more spiritual. (Which also goes back to New Thing #3 - treating myself nicer!)  Now, I'm not slamming anyone else's religion or how they choose to practice - I think that everyone should live their lives as they see fit, and if something works and makes your life better, do it!  I think there are good parts to every religion...I just don't want to be restricted to just one - call me a rebel!

So, change #4 - be more spiritual.  Meditation. Quiet the mind.  Settle the body.  Let the thoughts flow.  And, somehow, things will be alright.