Friday, October 12, 2007
Its okay to be white...really
First, disclaimer: I have a genuine passion to see people of all races, colors, cultures, socio-economic backgrounds and creeds united as one under the banner of Christ. My heart is for reconciliation for all peoples. My wife is a living example of that being someone who is Black, Irish, Native American and Portugese. I love all people.
Now, let's begin.
If you are a Caucasion, let me tell you something you don't usually hear from us people of color: Its OKAY to be white, really! Allow me to explain.
It seems that EVERY, and I mean EVERY, job I've been at there is the one white guy who feels the need to "act black" (notice the quotations. I don't think the actions truely reflect the actions of black people, but its the way they see us act...I guess). Keep in mind, I left Detroit when I was 19, from there I lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma and now Newport, RI - two places with Caucaisian populations greater than 80% of the total population. BUT, in all of these places, there is the ONE guy who sees the need to switch his style up COMPLETELY and starts to throw around words like "Hey brotha!" and "What's hapnin man!" or "Waddup!" Meanwhile, he begins to walk with a quasi urban swagger somewhat of a blend of how Ice-T walks on Law and Order:SVU and the way George Jefferson from The Jeffersons.
And usually, its the whitest of white guys that do it. They usually are one step away from wearing horned rim glasses, short-sleeved buttonup shirts and Member's Only "leather" jackets. Its never the white guy that grew up in urban areas around people of color their whole lives. Its always the one's from places like Bangor, Maine or Plaino, Texas (for those not in the know, Plaino is a REAL town in TX. But don't mess with Texas! I mean that! Except for when the Pats beats up on Dallas this Sunday ;-) )
And it never happens when I look my most "hood" either. Like when it happened to me yesterday. I wasn't wearing my Tigers fitted hat or my Timberlands or my really baggy jeans. I was wearing an Express Men's polo shirt, Express Men's jeans (NOTHING baggy about those by the way) and a Gap sweatshirt because it was cold in the building. And yes, I wore express. My wife gets a KILLER discount there and the stuff is pretty decent. I may be one of a handful of heterosexual, african american males under the age of 30 to wear Express jeans, but I dig 'em! WHAT!?!?! There is NOTHING "hood" about Express jeans. But here he comes, "waddup brotha?" Immediately I cringe and respond in the corniest stereo-typed nerd voice I could muster and just say "I'm doing well today. And yourself?"
So let me go on record to say, while it may be "cool" to be black (I know I love it!) ITS ALSO COOL TO BE WHITE...REALLY! Be yourself. Don't put on heirs for me. I won't like you more and I won't think you're cool just because you gave me a "pound" by the water cooler. If you listen to Big and Rich and doing anythign more than a handshake confuses you - THAT'S FINE! REALLY! We can talk sports, coffee, art, music (I like stuff other than rap. I think John Mayer is the MAN and Citizen Cope is criminally slept on.) and whatever else floats your both. Just be you. If you try to be someone you're not, I will probably respect you less and I may have to repent for poking fun at you with my friends.
Just be you. Its okay. Its okay to be white. So just shake my hand and say "how's it going?" Now shut up and pass the David Crowder CD, please!