Monday, June 1, 2009

"Your Not Like The Rest of Them..."


Tell me what the hell this means?


I was at my brother's apartment meeting some of his friends and one guy (a friend of a friend) in particular (who had a confederate flag bedspread mind you)-got to talking to me about music, political views, yadda yadda. Then rather abruptly he says "You and your brother aren't like the rest of them". I sort of was dumbfounded then a fiery rage starts to bubble in me and I ask "What does that mean?" He sort of shrugs and goes off on this explanation that my brother and I aren't like regular black people. We don't dress or speak like most black people. In his words he says "You dress like us and that's a good thing". I decide to quiet my inner rage and diplomatically have a conversation with him about how that sounded to me and why its a tad offensive. He got super offended and said 'Ah, now your pulling the black card on me. I was just complimenting you.' he said this sort of jokingly but by that time I had enough so I choose to go tell my brother I'm leaving.


First of all-I'm confused on how this was a compliment. Your not like the rest of them...as opposed to what? Meaning that the rest of them (other black folks) are synonymous with something negative. I'm always so flustered when people say this or something similar to me and the countless other black folks that 'aren't like the rest of them'. There are SO many different types of black people out there yet because of media reinforcement and a few negative encounters-others have formed a false opinion of us. I hate feeling like I've already posted about this but its true and it happens all the time. Why are people surprised that I should talk a certain way, dress, be interested in certain things? What it really comes down to is a lack of exposure to each other. There are many people who don't venture out-racially-in terms of making relationships with people. And its not their fault. If they've never been exposed to anything outside of their circle then why would they ever really need to? And this goes for all races of people but I honestly believe that in order to let go of prejudices and false representations we need to try and get to know people of different cultures and lifestyles apart from the media or the few moments of contact we've had with said races.

I absolutely hate that where I live its so segregated (unconsciously mind you). There's the Hispanic, white and black areas of town and there are stigmas in all the areas. I have friends that live all over my town and yet they still will say some pretty nasty things about areas they've never even been in because of what they have HEARD and not what they have EXPERIENCED themselves.

Now mind you, I've met plenty of vile people that have come from all races yet I know that one person does not represent a culture, ethnicity, or an entire race.


*shrug* Maybe its just like that where I live. All I know is that I need to get the hell out of this city-but does it ever really change wherever you go?

10 comments:

RainaHavock said...

You are better than me because I would have told his behind off. Not like all the others? WTF?!

DareDevil said...

Most whites perceive ‘being white’ as something that is so normal that they do not waste a single conscious thought on the whole concept of ‘being white’. This goes so far that even raising attention to the whole ‘race’ question is seen as something that is, or at least should be, out of the norm. This ideology which is marked by a lack of ‘consciously perceived white ideology’ has the advantage that those who adhere to it are usually not prone to ever join a white supremacist group, but it does also have certain disadvantages as well.

One of the disadvantages is the fact that black people, who are usually much more aware of the difference that their skin colour can make, are being criticised for their awareness of this difference simply because most white people do not realise that the colour of one’s skin can make a difference! They hear how black people are complaining about being discriminated, but quite often they PERCEIVE it as black people trying to be consciously and unnecessarily different! This is what most white people mean when they are referring to black people ‘playing the race card’. It is not referring to black people raising attention to problems caused by obviously existing white power groups, it is referring to black people trying to raise attention to issues that most white people do not perceive as being an issue at all!

Black people who are perceived as not trying to be different from the (white) norm are, on the other hand, being perceived as refreshingly normal! I suppose that is what this white guy you were referring to was thinking and feeling when you were talking with each other. You were perceived as a black girl who is refreshingly ‘normal’, but when you were addressing his prejudices you were suddenly perceived as trying to make a big deal out of nothing, i.e. you were suddenly perceived as trying to be ‘not normal’/trying “to play the race card’.

I am afraid that you will experience this a lot when you are dealing with whites. As strange as it sounds, but whites who are totally oblivious to the concept of ‘being white’ are the norm. They may view ‘white supremacists’ as dangerous idiots, but, they have little to no understanding of the fact that their own understanding of ‘normality’ is largely defined by their own (subconscious) perception that ‘being white’ is ‘normal’.

Still, the guy you were referring to was probably an extreme example. I mean, sporting a confederate flag AND having black friends? It should be a no brainer that most black people perceive THAT flag as offensive!

The Black Girl into Heavy Metal said...

@Raina-Lol, it took all my self control not to get all hood in that situation. I think I'm starting to just get tired of fighting.
@Daredevil- Wow, that makes so much sense. We need more people to look objectively at the issue from both sides rather than just their own. Thanks for the insight Daredevil.

Anonymous said...

Luke said...

Normally when I'm talking to people from different cultures or whatever, I don't assume what "the rest of them" are like, I ask...
for example, I share a house with a bunch of people, and I'm the only white guy, one of my housemates is Iranian, I don't say "you're not like the rest of those terrorists" I say "what is Iran really like? Obviously it's not the biased version we get through western media" I like having conversations like that, I don't go in determined to reinforce my already preconceived notions of what their culture is like...

I hope that guy gets a severe beating for being a racist asshole by the way, but then he'll just assume it's because black folks are naturally violent, in which case he won't learn a damn thing.

The Black Girl into Heavy Metal said...

@Luke-Thanks for the comment. Assumptions are stupid and usually false so I thinking just plain asking questions is great if you honestly don't know.
Meh. If I don't give him a beating someone else will or perhaps he will learn from his mistakes.

Anonymous said...

Many people privilege the community on the individuality.
As soon as you don’t make parties of the majority, you are excluded from the group.
It’s a problem and you must know it.

FluffyIsKewl said...

This does change, depending on what place you are at. I have never experienced this (im half black, half indian). It makes alot of sense what that guy is telling you (that you're different than other black people). There is a stereotype for basically all races and the stereotype for black people is not very good. I think that he's trying to say that you're different than them in a non negative way, but i could be wrong. For instance, i think that people stereotype mexicans as perveted construction workers. So someone might tell a mexican: You're not like other mexicans. Well, this is the way i see it.

I dont know where you live but i live in the washington dc/maryland area. There is racial division in my area, the hispanics are mostly in one place, the blacks are mostly in one place. The city/ village/whatever i live in, there are mostly white people, some indians, some asians, no hispanics, a few blacks. I personally hardly even know black people. At the most i have 7 black friends. I listen to black/death/doom metal and no one looks at me weirdly (maybe because im only half black, i dont know). I would actually be more comfortable in a room filled with white people instead of a room filled with black people.



And btw, i don't seem to find a vast difference in terms of personalities in black people; they all come across to be about the same to me.


No white person in the dc/maryland area that i know would say such a thing like that though. I've only overheard black people saying: "Stop acting like a white person", "Why you talking to them white girls", etc. (stuff like that). I really want to know where you live.

The Black Girl into Heavy Metal said...

@Fluffy: Hmm, I seem to disagree. If you don't know many black people (seven admist millions)how can you say that you don't notice a vast difference in personalities? Black Americans differ from Black Brits, Black Africans, Black Indians, etc. Do you see how that statement is a bit misconstrued?
I'd feel more comfortable in a room filled with like minded personalities and interests rather than a single race.
I suppose just because I like many things that white people like doesn't necessarily mean that I would feel more comfortable. I mean, would you feel more comfortable in a room full of Klansmen rather than with black or indian people? Do you see what I mean?

Are you kidding me? I've heard tons of white people (and Asians, Mexicans, etc) say 'Stop talking black or ghetto' or something else to that effect. Everyone does it. Oh, I'd rather not mention where I live on the net (I'm paranoid)so lets just say the Midwest.

Anyways, thanks for the comment and welcome to the blog. I hope you stick around.

Sketch said...

Wow, someone with confederate bed spread that said something politically incorrect...

Viagra said...

There are 2 big issues here. First yes the guy had a bad choice of words to say things the way he said it. I believe the main issue is that most black people behave a certain way and you are not part of a majority. and the second issue was your reaction, I have a big deal of respect towards you but you came a little racial on him, we know we shouldn't lock every black in the same locker but it happens, as with white people are locked in a stereotype.