As my readers and intimate friends well know, I suffer greatly from an identity crisis. Half the time I do not know what I am or what I am supposed to be. Are we to be as we are born? Or has some mistake been made? No, I should never question God and I do not now, but perhaps somewhere along the line in my raising up I got things twisted. Why else would men have operations to be women, and vice versa?
Of course, it isn’t my sexuality that I question.
I am here, a simple square peg trying to fit into a round hole and failing miserably. I don’t identify with my black sisters and brothers. Most of the time I’m left bewildered. They understand me even less. Despite the confusion I feel at having been born black, I have no desire to become white. I do not think any one race is better than the other. Becoming white will not solve the distress I feel at being black. The white race is cursed with its own fair share of problems, and I daresay that I would still suffer some crisis, even if I were white.
Perhaps I should have been Chinese.
At any rate, I have a strong objection towards black people in general, and it’s a funny thing especially when I am black and very obviously black. I’m not light skinned and thus, I could not pass well. Am I a racist? Can you be racist against your own kind? I don’t know the answers to these questions. I just know that I have serious issues. I get worried when there are large groups of black teenagers near me. I don’t go into neighbourhoods that are largely black. I don’t patronise black businesses. I would never consider a black doctor. I’m concerned if someone links me to a group of black people.
I worry about looking too ethnic… too black. Not in skin colour, mind you, but I wouldn’t come out wearing Mother Africa colours. I don’t like to be called African-American. I wouldn’t wear cornrows because I think it looks too prison like and prison is where a lot of black people hang out. I want to loc my hair but then I’m concerned that I might look too “Fight the Power.” It’s like I want everybody to know I’m not one of them.
See how stupid I am?
Some days I have a good reason, and some days I’m just stupid on principle.
Today, I went to Safeway to pick up a few things for supper. I always rear park my car because it’s easier, and I go inside, get my little items and when I come out I find that a black family is loading their groceries in the soccer mom van next to mine. Nothing wrong with that except for the fact that they had their cart propped up against my car.
Now, I don’t drive a Mercedes or BMW, or even a Honda. I drive up a beat-up five year old Hyundai that hasn’t been washed in three or four years. It’s been banged up. The side fender is hanging off. There’s bird shit all over it. I’m not one for the outward appearance of the car; as long as the engine is running properly I could give a shit less what the car looks like. I was just never into that sort of thing, but don’t you think it’s appallingly rude to have your cart on someone else’s car?
As I approached my vehicle, one woman was shouting down her cell phone in that typical fashion of most black people. Why do you have to scream into the phone? Is your other party deaf? Are all black people talking to deaf people on the other end? The woman and I lock eyes. I look at my car. I look back at her.
She does nothing.
I have an exceptionally rude mouth and I can say some of the most horrid things imaginable, but I didn’t do that. Well, I was rude but I didn’t make a comment about her wide spreading ass. I simply said, “Could you get your cart off my car?” It’s not just the fact that the cart is on the car, it’s also that I can’t pull off because the cart is IN FRONT OF the car.
The woman’s gargantuan mother was in a store-provided Hoveround and she was looking at me like I’m the one doing something wrong. I was headed towards my driver door and the woman still made no move to get the cart off the goddamn car. So I said a little louder, “Do you think you could stop screaming into your phone a moment and move your goddamn cart? K, thanks.”
Yeah, I’m sure there’s way of doing things and if I were a weaker willed woman I might have been polite and ingratiating, saying please and thank you. But why should I? Her cart is on my car?
There is another fat woman inside the car and now all three fat black women are staring at me as if I’m the rude one. When she still makes no move to the cart, I went back around, moved the cart off my car and pushed it into the street. While she was screaming, I got in my car and drove off.
Yeah, I know, this could have been anybody. These people could have been Portuguese. They could have been Australian aborigines. I’m sure. Whatever. They weren’t. They were black, and I’m always have altercations with black people. Maybe I bring it on myself because I have such a huge chip on my shoulder. It’s possible. Maybe my sour disposition attracts negative things. Who even knows?
Every time I try a little bit, something happens to shove me right back down.
I don’t want to be white. I’ll settle for plaid or stripey, something interesting. Then I would not have to fit into anybody’s neat ideals of what a [insert any race here] person should be. I can be anything I want and nobody would know the difference because they’d never met a plaid person before.
I make life so difficult.