Can Women of Different Races Be Real Friends?

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So several months ago I caught an episode of Hollywood Exs. This is a reality show on VH1 with a diverse array of celebrity ex wives. They are black, white, Hispanic, biracial. For the most part everyone seemed cool. Until one woman said white women and black women can’t really be friends. The woman who said it was white and she shared it with the other white woman in the group who of course shared it with everyone in the group. Of course drama ensued. Some were angry, some were hurt, some just ate popcorn and watched the show.

To defend herself the white woman said she had said it in a moment of anger to the other white woman in the group after a black woman (not in the group) had been nasty to her upon seeing the white woman with her black boyfriend. In that moment she didn’t focus on the fact that she had a circle of friends who were black. She was wrapped in her feelings.

So this got me thinking about race. Is race an inhibiter to developing deep meaningful friendships? I strongly think not. I think “walks of life”, class, and neighborhood are bigger denominators for friendship. As long as you are able to have open, honest conversations with your friends then there is no reason why you can’t have friends of different races. It’s when we put up walls of our own making that inhibit real friendship.

If I think I can’t talk about race with a friend then it’s already going to  be a problem. As a woman of color, race is going to play a role in my life in some manner. If I can’t mention to a white friend that I am frustrated by something and get either her sympathy or at least open to real and respectful conversation about it then we have a problem. I think this country has to get past the idea of airing dirty laundry to people of other groups. I think we have to stop lumping races in categories based on a negative experience. The reality is, in our history, without the support of people outside our own groups who is to say we would be where we are now?  Truth be told, you don’t need to be a part of a group to have a human connection with a person of another race.

Sure TV shows us that real friends are typically of the same race but why? Even if that is the norm, TV is fiction, lets buck the trend. Would Sex and the City, Girlfriends, Friends or Living Single be less effective if there was diversity in the cast? All I know is, I don’t want a friendship that is not authentic, open and honest and it doesn’t have to be with a person of my race to have a true blue pal.

 

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The Timer

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I recently watched a movie called Timer about a world where you could get an implant that tells you the day you’ll meet your soul mate. And most people pretty much abided by it regarding when and who they married. In the movie, one sister’s timer was blank because whoever she was meant for did not have his timer implanted. The other sister’s timer said she’d meet her soul mate when she was 43 (the women were 30 and you get your timer at 14). I won’t go more into the movie in case you do want to see it (and it’s a cute little movie to see on a weekend afternoon on Netflix).

However it got me thinking the following:

How would you live your life if you knew the date you’d meet the person you’d marry?

If you weren’t meant to meet your soul mate for many years to come how would that change the way you live?

Would you even get something like the Timer?

Would you work harder at your marriage if you knew the person you were with was your soul mate?

How would you live your life if your timer was blank?

I think, as women at least, we spend a lot of time thinking about “the one”. We are kind of programmed to. The older we the less people care about us as individuals and more as being without if we aren’t married. Family members often ask me, after asking how I am, is “are you seeing anyone?”. Nothing else matters. Not work, not hobbies.  So no wonder we are filled with the stress of finding Mr. Right. So I wonder if the worry we sometimes feel about meeting our future Mr. would be resolved if we knew when? Then I wonder if my behavior in how I lived my life would change depending on the date? One message of the movie is to live in the now which is hard for a type A gal like me. I pretty much plan just about everything. I’d plan what I dreamed if I could . So the idea of having a set time when I’d met the man I’m to marry would work well. I’d focus on other things until that time arose.

But then that gets me to think on the big picture. People make a living telling men and women how to find the one. But is it about living your life in a certain way with hopes you’ll attract the one? Or should it be about living your life in a way that brings you the most fulfilment and meeting the one along the way? I would not want to drive myself crazy or into depression because I had a blank timer or late date.

I’ve made plans around what I expected my life to be at a certain age and things did not turn out the way I had planned but then again, I don’t run the show. All I can do is make sure I’m living the here and now the best way possible and to be open to the one whenever he comes. That’s kind of foreign to type A gal but I’ll give it a try!

Aggression and Dating

I wrote this post some time ago after watching a segment on The Today Show which I will discuss later in this post and recalling a random incident of aggression.

Let me explain, I once met this guy, gave him my number, he called on a Saturday, I was out and about and missed the call. He didn’t leave a message. Mind you when I first saw the missed call I didn’t realize it was him because I didn’t have his number. He called again a few hours later but I was still out and about. This time he left a message. I was with family/friends so I didn’t have time to chat and I texted him to explain. I was out of town and was just going to call him when I got back the next evening. Turns out, he proceeds to text me the next evening  as I’m walking in the door finally home and he asks me if I was free. I tell him that I was just coming home and was wiped out and asked if we could hang another day that week. I had assumed he was asking if I was free to hang.

He first responds, okay. Then he follows up with saying that he’ll pass on me and he’s moving on. I’m confused and annoyed. Does this guy think I am at his beckon call? The arrogance. I tell him glad he didn’t waste my time. This apparently sets him off because he proceeds to go on a tirade about black women always being too busy and if we were really interested we’d make time. He calls me ugly and the b word etc. and it goes on and on.

Obvious morale of the story is to be careful who you give your number to but in a deeper sense it got me thinking about how some men present themselves to women. This guy obviously had some issues (particularly with black women) and he felt he could freely say what he wanted. But I don’t know him, I didn’t know if he was going to try to find me and hurt me because I dared to not jump when he called.

This is funny but it’s also true.

So to the today show segment: they aired a video of an NY woman walking the streets receiving all sorts of verbal calls, some incidents very personal space invading. I’ve experienced this and so do many women on a regular basis. I really wish these men would take a pause before acting or speaking. What may seem as innocent to you may come off threatening to a woman who doesn’t know you. What she knows is that you are a stranger who could possibly overpower her and hurt her. A guy friend said that men are very instinctual and sometimes when they see a woman they don’t think before saying or doing something (like grabbing her butt). This is not an excuse and it is not okay. This reminds me of the ban a sorority placed on it’s members at UVA from attending certain frat parties for fear that things could get out of hand.

I have had guys follow me when I am walking on the street, put hands on me when I am out ( and in some cases when I asked them to stop they would not or they would laugh at me).

Soo if a guy feels comfortable putting hands on us what’s to make him stop from doing something further? Why are women forced to accept or take responsibility for some men’s “inability” to control themselves? The women’s equality movement did not release men from acting like gentlemen and keeping their hands to themselves.

Love it or Hate it: Empire

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So I’m a sucker for a new show that has a diverse cast or cast of color. I’m even more of sucker for musicals. And when I watched Lee Daniel’s Empire I had big expectations. After all, I really enjoyed The Butler. And I must say, the show didn’t disappoint, entertainment wise.

However, I am really surprised at the amount of clichés and stereotypes that are on this show. I think I expected more from someone who did The Butler. But hey we love a good urban drama now and then and the music, I think, is good. So what, you ask, caught my eye as clichéd? Here are top things I noticed that make me clutch my pearls in disapproval:

·        Ghetto fabulous, angry black woman- Now Cookie (Taraji P. Henson’s character who makes this show I must say) was angry for good reason. And I get why the conflict is needed but it could have been done differently with still the same outcome.

·        Black men with money gravitating to women who are “light” or white (especially blond) – It happens many times in Hollywood but it felt so formulaic or expected here.

·        Feminizing the gay man- The middle son doesn’t even strike me as the “stereotypical” gay man. Why make him walk around in heels as a child? That didn’t fit what I saw of him. He’s a normal guy who happens to like men.

·        Ghetto rapper- The younger son is an animal to me. Like was he raised at all? How did his brothers get so put together and we have the wannabe thug? Is that real? He clearly didn’t grow up struggling. Probably had the best education. So where is this coming from?

·        Politically incorrect comments going unchecked – This is especially true towards the Hispanic boyfriend of the middle son. Lets not ask him why he isn’t cleaning up the place. Let’s not call him Dora. Ok thanks. I know it’s entertainment but would we be laughing if a white woman was calling a black female Precious (and no worries, I won’t touch Gabby Sidebe’s character, I like her)?

·        Women fighting over a man- Yes Terrance is good looking but the cattiness is not needed. This is not Love and Hiphop- wait, it kind of is. Well, here’s to hoping Taraji’s and Malik’s or even Cuba’s characters get together (that would be cute, no?)

·        Women laying down with a man without so much as a date- So the youngest brother gets the girl he’s eyeing by doing…? Nothing! Literally, not even a date and some roses. She wants to hook up with him simply from seeing him rap. Guys, for a lot of us, it’s not that darn easy!

·        Men disrespecting black women- I get that Cookie is aggressive and hood but I am so tired of men just casually calling her the B word and coming at her like they are about to fight her. My stomach rumbled when her son threw the B word at her. Where do they do that at? I don’t condone violence but I kind of approved her hitting him with the broom.

·        All black people know each other and will “go off” on one another- Sooo, the young son says something wrong about Obama. Are we really to buy that Obama is the type to call a record mogul and actually curse him out because a random wannabe thug has some bad words for him? Can’t we have a more respectable image of the president? Lee….c’mon.

I get what Lee Daniel’s doing. Who is to say that this isn’t really what goes on in urban music settings? And as “rachet” reality TV has shown us, well, people in real life are willing to fulfil roles that most of America already thinks we own. But I just need more shows that show my reality instead of glamourizing stereotypes. I’m not Scandal, I’m not Empire. I love both shows and know their role isn’t to represent us all. But it’d be nice to find a show that shows another side (I think Blackish is on its way to doing that).  So Empire makes for an entertaining show but it sure does have me popping antacid with all the cliché foolishness and the shots it takes on the black image.