Thursday, June 19, 2008

Guess what . . .I have a BLACK CARD

Tonight sitting in my den as I do every night, I’m sitting and pondering what to write about for tomorrow. I have an idea but the words won’t come to me the way that I need them to. I’m so passionate about the subject of blackness and being a black woman, I took for granted that all of my readers were African American. Ignorance on my part. I’ve learned that I have some regular readers that are not black, which I think is phenomenal. Still I refuse to sugarcoat a thing. I don’t regret a word I’ve spoken about racial issues. Because black or white – racism still exists. My initial intent was to try my hand at explaining blackness to my white readers. Then I thought to myself, “Ashley, that’s like a dog trying to explain to a cat what it’s like to be a dog.” They don’t speak the same language. That cat will never understand the dog’s plight. People automatically having an innate fear because the dog barks and doesn’t meow. People thinking that it’s sharp teeth are merely for ripping flesh and not for eating plain old dog food. Now don’t misunderstand me. I’m not in any way likening BLACKNESS to being an animal – although we’ve been called animals for centuries, but I believe the same issues apply.
I’ll start with the fear scenario. A couple of days ago I emailed a young lady that had posted a listing that she needed a roommate. She immediately responded to what I’d said to her. I gave her the spill – 25 year old, college grad, professional job, looking to attend grad school in the fall, the whole nine. Person to person. Not black person to white person. Just simple human conversation. She seemed pleased and excited to meet with me. It was very urgent to HER that we get everything squared away, come see where I’d be living, discuss when she needed the security deposit – brass tax, basically. So I pull up to the house, knock on the door, and she opens it and her eyes become the size of baseballs. “You . . . you’re Ashley?” (No exaggeration) I wasn’t invited in. I had to ask if I could see the space that I was to be occupying. She reluctantly let me in and did her best to get me out of that house as soon as she could. I was fed the line . . . “Oh I have six other people that want to take a look so I’m not really sure what we’ll decide.” After having told me that it was mine for the taking. She was threatened by the fact that I didn’t look like her.
FEAR of the dog. The cat will never, never, never understand what that dog goes through. I can’t and never will be able to explain to my white readers what it means to be black. At first when you think about it, it’s frustrating. “You don’t get it! You just don’t get it!” But I stepped back and thought about the BLACK CARD. Yeah, that’s what I’m gonna start callin’ it. Let me explain really quickly. I’m sure you’ve heard of millionaires – namely celebrities acquiring Black Credit Cards – credit cards with no limits. This is a privilege. Credit companies don’t just hand these out like candy. You’ve got to be able to handle (from a financial standpoint) what possessing one of these cards comes with. The responsibilities that it brings. You gotta protect it so no one else gets their hands on it. It’s a prize and you often hear people that have them boast about the fact that they do. On February 12, 1983 I was handed a BLACK CARD, a card with no limits and endless possibility but a hell of a lot of responsibility. Being black is a prize to me. Something to brag about. I take pride in my BLACKNESS. I was worthy enough to be dealt a BLACK CARD . . . because I can handle it. It’s a privilege to be black. I’ve made it big because I have a BLACK CARD. Call it an opinion if you want . . . but it’s my truth. Thanks for reading.


True Menfese said...

DAMN!!! The story sad, but the closing was triumphant!!! Hell of an ending

Ashley M. said...

I think that it is a gift to be able to live in this world as not just a black but a black woman. Whoopi Goldberg said something so profound yesterday, she said to Michelle Obama "thank you for representing us well, usually when I see one of us on T.V. we don't have any teeth and our hair isn't combed, and we can't complete a sentence, thanks for not just being black, but a dark black woman." I heard the crowd (predominate not black) burst into laughter, but suddenly hushed when she concluded, "I'm tired of us being branded as ignorant and not being able to have sense and being ignorant, and you are black, dark black." Media is something because they portray us as a bunch of ignorant, do nothings, with millions of kids, no education, bad credit, and no money. I beg to differ, I believe, we are an intelligent people, and it is hurtful however, how in just common conversation with the majority, how we are not expected to have intelligent conversations. A girlfriend of mine and her husband have been having problems conceiving, she called an adoption agency in Iowa, and she was told that black babies are much cheaper than white babies, white female babies are more expensive than any other child. I was stunned. I just recently got married, and you'd be surprised at the looks I get when I go into the jewelry store to have my ring maintaince, they look at me like what are you doing here in Helzburg diamonds, and with a smile I have to say "I'd like to have my ring cleaned please" It's weird how we are branded, but I learned a long time ago that if you don't answer to what you are called then that person isn't talking to you. I wear this dark, black skin with honor, I'm not ashamed, I'm not embarrassed, I know that until Jesus returns I will have to work my tail off just to be, but that is what I'll do................I'm a success story, I have so many shades to make up my complexion, but I am so thankful to God for every shade, for my full lips, my behind, my culture, my heritage the Aikens and the Mcgechan's (oh yeah my ancestors on my father's side had to change their name to McCann by yup you guessed it the majority) I love what I've been through, I love me, I love my creation, I have purpose, I have destiny, and in my closing I think what makes us so damn awesome, is that we were not, are not, given a silver spoon, every last one of us have to earn our place in this society, and even Barak Obama, he earned it, Michelle earned it, Hanah Bell earned it, Eugene earned it, Viola earned it, John D. earned it, Rockwill is earning it. Hell yeah!

Submitted by RockWill

Big Jerz said...

The Power, conviction and eloquence of your words leave me to humbly say... 'Nuff Said !

Big Jerz said...

Damn Man, the McCann Girls (Williams) are putting down today ! Thak you both for your power and Wisdom. I pray my Little Black Girls group up to be powerful women of color like their Mom and Like their Aunties !

Ashley M. said...

OMG! Phenomenal! U should be a writer! Get it carrie!!!

Submitted by S. Todd