Thursday, May 29, 2008
Do you have a disability? Check the 'no' box.
Are you a veteran? 'no' Box
What is your race?
Ay yo La, wtf is your race!?! Pick a box! But you can only pick one.
White. A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa. It includes people who indicate their race as "White" or report entries such as Irish, German, Italian, Near Easterner, Arab, or Polish. (how many white people do you know that would shit themselves in this Post 9/11 political climate to be lumped in with Arabs?)
Black or African American (not Hispanic) A person having origins in any of the Black racial groups of Africa. It includes people who indicate their race as Black, African American, or Negro, or provide written entries such as African American, Afro American, Kenyan, Nigerian, or Haitian." (If you think the fact that 'negro is included on this form is offensive, try the fact that the term wasn't officially done away with by the OMB until 2000)
American Indian and Alaska Native A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America) and who maintain tribal affiliation or community attachment (so I'm only considered American Indian if I maintain tribal affiliation? Screw the ancestry?)
Asian A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam. It includes Asian Indian, Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Other Asian. (So if I'm Asian Indian but don't maintain tribal affiliation does that mean I just drop the Indian? And is Other a country in Asia I am unaware of?)
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands. It includes people who indicate their race as Native Hawaiian, Guamanian or Chamorro, Samoan, and Other Pacific Islander. (So does this mean Obama has to check this box? Or no? Because he's black? And White?)
Some other race Includes all other responses not included in the White, Black or African American, American Indian and Alaska Native, Asian and Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander race categories described above. Respondents providing write-in entries such as multiracial, mixed, interracial, Wesort, or a Hispanic/Latino group (for example, Mexican, Puerto Rican, or Cuban)
Ok. I mean, I can read. But here's what throws me...
Black or African American (not Hispanic or Latino) But...
"...who maintain tribal affiliation or community attachment..." Oh...
And sometimes they get fancy...
Two or more races (not Hispanic or Latino) Um...
Or they get very specific...
What is your ethnicity, regardless of race?
Hispanic or Latino
Not Hispanic of Latino
(These are the only divisions of ethnicity?)
So, what ARE you, La?
Melungeon. Redbone. Quintroon. Mestee. Mulatto. We-Sorts. Zambo. Moreno. Quadroon. Octoroon. Afro-Latin American. Baster. Cholo. Creole. Pardo. Colored. Marabou. Blatino. Brass Ankles. Half Breed. Blaxican. Castizo. Multiethnic. Griqua. Amerindian. Taino. Biracial. Multiracial. Blaxica. Caucindiblack. Boriqua. Hexadecaroon.
It is any wonder I dunno what the fuck to check on these little boxes?
Of course if you're not multiracial, or biracial, or whatever the hell it's called this minute, you don't really understand my pain. Or the guilt I feel when I can only check one box. Or the mini-identity crisis that ensues every time I read the ifs ands buts and what ifs that are supposed to quantify my racial and ethnic identity (which can apparently only be Hispanic or Latino or not Hispanic and Latino). I certainly don't propose a laundry list of race friendly terminology on every self identification form or any foolishness thereof. But here's what I DO recommend...
Stop telling me I have good hair.
My hair is a constant struggle. Sure, it looks fantastic when I leave the house, but I more than likely spent 2 hours wrangling it into some form of presentable. Maybe it's curly. Maybe it's pressed straight and hanging down my back. Either way, it's a pain in my racially confused ass. It wouldn't hurt for you to acknowledge that.
Don't look at me like a race traitor because I don't use Fashion Fair makeup.
Or any "ethnic" product du jour. It breaks me out. And I guarantee you that 99% of makeup of minorities don't have not no parts of foundation that matches my skin. Nowhere. I put $100 on that.
Don't ask me how I "got my skin so light" or any variation of the theme.
You haven't lived until someone has wandered up to you and asked you what bleaching cream you used.
Don't give me the confused head tilt and ask me, "What ARE you?"
The answer will always be, "I are about to kick your ass."
Don't call me "high yellow", "Redbone", "Creole", "Mutt", "Hybrid" or any of that other shit.
I'm La. It's nice to meet you. My mother gave me 2 names. You may feel free to use either one. I won't answer to any of those above.
Assume that I think I am better/smarter/prettier/likely to be more successful than my darker counterparts.
I didn't even realize people still bought into this bullshit until someone assumed that my life goal was to be a video ho... because "isn't that what your type like to do?"
It goes all ways though. White people could...
Stop trying to sell me Estee Lauder.
And most other typical "white" makeup product. It dries my skin out. And without fail makes my skin so pale I look like I am preparing for my funeral.
Not see me and my daddy together and rudely assume I'm not his.
This is my daddy:
I realize it would be foolish of me to believe that all people would automatically assume I'm his kid. Just please also recognize that it is foolish of you to pull him over, Office Dumb Ass, because you think he has kidnapped me.
Stop assuming you can guess my ethnicity... and start telling racist jokes.
That goes for you, former employer who got a little too comfortable and started telling racist jokes about Black people... and for you Ivy League guy who was trying to impress me with talk of your travels to Latin America and the Caribbean and found great humor in telling me that Puerto Ricans and Dominicans are "dumpster races and cultural bastards" and then being shocked when I curse you out.
And Hispanic/Latino (so sayeth the Census Bureau) people could...
Stop sneering at me because I don't speak fluent Spanish.
Or because I don't understand Cuban Spanish. Or because sometimes I call them chickpeas. Or because despite my penchant for paella, I try not to fuck with starches (i.e. tortillas and potatoes.)
Not assume I am ashamed of my heritage.
Condemn me to the fires of hell because I am not Catholic.
I'm not Catholic for many reasons outside of the fact that my mother is black(ish).
With the inevitable (despite what Hillary says) nomination of Barack Obama as the democratic nominee for president of this country, the issues of mixed raced citizens are becoming a popular point of interest for various pundits and social critics. (By the way, don't you love how Obama is always the 'first African American nominee'? No one ever says, "If Obama wins he will be the youngest Caucasian to ever hold office." I guess if you have to leave out something, it would logically his mother's whole side of the family, even though that's really the only one he's ever known. Go ahead and tell me the one drop rule is dead.) It isn't a new issue, it isn't even an issue wildly unique to America. (I have a Dominican friend who will NOT admit to her friends that her mother is a Spaniard.) There are support groups and articles and essays and new awareness about the fact that, while a small group, multiracial/ethnic people are a substantial one. And one with unique perspectives on what it means to try and delicately straddle the definitive fences between cultures and races without damaging your most delicate parts. It's probably not quite as hard for me as it was for my mom, won't be as hard for my kids as it was for me. But the fact that so many people still feel the urge to quantify some parts of me and disregard others, lends itself to a certain kind of unique identity crisis that you can't know unless you've lived it. Yes, I know you've heard it all, blahblahblah not black enough or white enough, yadda. But what about the gray areas? And what about a world, and a country more specifically, where who you are is so tied up in your color? Imagine if the very ancestral strand that you prided yourself on and built your identity around was questioned because you are somehow less than. I remember having a woman tell me that I couldn't really be outraged about slavery because I "woulda been a house nigga anyway."
About 2 months ago.
For most people of any race, they check a box and deal with the apprehension of whether or not they will be discarded because they aren't the particular entity that company needs to fill a quota: white men wonder if they'll be passed over for a Hispanic woman. Black and Hispanic people wonder if they'll be discarded just because they are Black and Brown. Women wonder if they won't get the high paying executive job dealing with finance because "women aren't good with numbers." It's a crap shoot really. You could be helping yourself or shooting yourself in your affirmative action foot. Some people always wonder if they got the job because they deserved it or because there weren't enough Asian people or women or Hispanic people working in that particular company or department.
But what if you, like I, constantly wonder if you are discounted because they, like the rest of the world, have no idea what to do with you?
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
I'm sitting at my desk at work and I can barely function. Even my eyeballs hurt. This is not a good look.
Apparently the rumor is that it is stress...?
I need to sit and be still and not talk to anyone cuz I'm not so good at it.
But alas, I must go to the store and clean my house and wash one more load of laundry and go get my toes done and do my hair and pack because I am going out of town this weekend.
I need a drink.
I know you can't take nail polish and shit on planes, but how do we feel about a couple miniature bottles
I'll just get fucked up before I get on the plane.
Will someone wake me up if I pass out in the airport?
(Not to self: do not wear skirt lest you pass out all sprawled and shit)
Why is everyone (but me) plotting on my hypothetical uteran invasion? I'm not feeling the baby tip. Please leave my feminine inner workings out of your conversation about the supposed inevitable female bearing of fruit. You want one? You have it. Ass.
I wish Hilary Clinton would shut the fuck up. No one is discriminating against you cuz you're a woman. People aren't voting for you because you're a
I need to take 6 pairs of shoes with me for 5 days. WHAT?!?!? I DO!!!! Stop judging me!!!
Is it wrong that I wanna do some tequila shots... just to lick the salt? Damn PMS.
I might be kinda cranky...?
I should probably take a nap before I tackle any of the stuff I have to do this evening. Picture me laid out Blanche DuBois style, curtains drawn, arm flung over my eyes and drink in hand.
Hey... that's just my swag.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
I snap my head around. This nigga is talking to me for real. For real? For. Real. Niggacoon?
I can't stand how every new popular song becomes the new pickup line to antigame activists everywhere.
"Nah. *updown like he's small* From the looks of you I'd do better going home and getting it juicy by myself."
And so I left.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Just a stream of consciousness for lack of any real post of any kind...
Ever since Ortho Doc told me I'd be getting my braces off in a few weeks, I've been
even more obsessed with my teeth. I'm constantly checking my teeth in the mirror. I brush them all the time. And I TALK about them ALL.THE.TIME. Surely everyone I know thinks I'm a lunatic. Take for instance this whiny diatribe convo that I had with The Notorious B.O.B....
Me: Baby something is up with my gums.
B.O.B.: What do you mean mama?
Me: Like, (insert long ass incoherent explanation here) I guess I'm just paranoid or something.
B.O.B.: (not wanting to state the obvious) *blink*
*sigh* I want them OFF.
I love Britney Spears' latest album. You can start judging me now. Fuck you in advance.
I've decided on my next tattoo. "Dios conmigo y yo con El" across my back like where my bra strap goes. And then my sunflower on my hip for Joy. And then I'm (probably) done with tattoos (maybe).
Am I the only person for whom discussing salary expectations is REALLY uncomfortable?
When you have random discussions about personal lubrication preferences with your co-workers, you are far too comfortable.
Also, I should really stop calling people all kinds of offensive, inflammatory shit.
And wasn't I supposed to stop fucking cursing.
Wow. I knew it was bad. But not that bad. I'm glad I don't have to deal with it anymore but I'm sorry you have to deal with it at all.
Honey ate my breakfast this morning. I am STARVING. lol
Burberry The Beat is what's been missing from my life. It's the new summer scent.
Speaking of summer, WHY on EARTH am I getting so hot in the ass?!
Sometimes I hardly recognize myself in how far I've come.
When I say something about me, it's not a lead in to a convo about you. I don't care how relevant your story. Pass it on.
Omg please someone find me a sexy pair of black strappy sandals so I can stop bitching about it.
I need cable. Yesterday. But since I don't have it...
Please someone tell me they're obsessed with Deal or no Deal like I am.
I need to do something with my hair. No scissors involved. Maybe summer highlights? Discuss.
Dear Mrs. Aguilerra-Bateman, I respectfully request you stay off my damn shuffle on my ipod when I'm at the gym. "Fighter" will make me kill myself. You too Kanye.
Run Fatgirl Run
That's all for now. Anybody wanna interview me? Elsewise you might never get a real post, lol. Have at it in the comments!
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
This is why the wife and I need our own op ed column...
Shanio: 2 percent! Does that even count as a win??
La: Hahaha no!
La: I neeeeeed her to drop out
La: I mean, she's not of course
Shanio: She's ridiculous.
La: She is!
La: So much so that I've actually been considering voting for McCain if she gets the dem slot
La: Unless she takes John Edwards as her running mate
La: In which case I'll be so confused
Shanio: There is no way in hell I would vote for her.
La: I just don't want her to "misspeak" on something else and we end up in the middle of WWIII
Shanio: I feel like McCain is a known quantity
Shanio: You know what you're getting
Shanio: Clinton is just so disingenuous
La: So true
La: At least McCain is somewhat consistent
La: As much as a politician can be
La: And isn't so conservative that it makes me uncomfy
Shanio: I'd rather have a president who is a known racist and anti-humanitarian
Shanio: Than a woman who pretends to be whatever her current constituency is
Shanio: _____ outta here with that ____! (words edited to protect the Ivy)
La: I don't need a political chameleon
La: I need to know exactly what I'm getting
La: Even if I don't like it
Shanio: Obama is the most consistent
La: And wtf is it w/this elitist thing?
La: Jesus I'd hope my president was among the elite
La: If he's gonna speak for me and all
Shanio: It's that obama is an uppity negro
Shanio: And 'elitist' is the 2008 way of saying that ___ (edited to protect the Ivy)
La: Well then shit I'm elitist too
La: So ridiculous
La: I'm sorry as much as I'd love to go have a beer w/average joe plumber down the street
La: I don't want him deciding if I can get birth control, lol
La: And fuckin Clinton hollering about him being "outta touch"
La: When has she ever been in touch?
La: Her father owned his own business
La: She went to ivy league schools on her parents dime
La: Got into politics on her husbands dick
La: What exactly is she in touch with?
Shanio: His dick?
La: Yeah right ;)
La: She's not dropping!!!
Shanio: We knew this, honey
Shanio: And then go to slate.com
Shanio: Because ____ it, the numbers aren't adding up
La: *stomping my feet and cursing*
Shanio: Take comfort in the math!!
La: Ok I'm in love w/the Hilary Death Watch
La: "Willing suspension of disbelief"
La: Ahh slate :)
Shanio: I know
La: Why the hell do people keep pretending like black people are the only ones voting for Obama?
La: Blacks make up barely a third of registered voters
La: Who are they kidding?
La: Come on Clinton
Shanio: I KNOW!
Shanio: Chick loaned herself 6.4 million dollars over the last month!
La: I read that!
La: That's elitist!
Shanio: The Obamas can't even afford to do that mess, and they're elitist?
La: Do you have 6.4 mil to loan yourself?
Shanio: (Not that they need too!)
La: Do the Obamas?
La: Hahahaha get outta my head!
Shanio: Best comment on the story about her loaning herself money:
Shanio: "I was going to post here to encourage Hilary to step down, but now that I think about it, there's a certain symmetry to her borrowing herself into financial bankruptcy to match her new political and moral ones."
Shanio: That person is my new best friend.
La: Can we throw them a party!
La: I *heart* them
La: This coverage is so hilarious
La: Everyone else knows Hil is out
La: Why doesn't she?!?
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
we knew from the start that things fall apart, intentions shatter...
I'm all confused when the phone rings because it's late and I just got off of it and nothing that needs my attention at this time of night is a good thing.
I've literally never heard someone crying so hard. If I wasn't already familiar with the New York exchange, I probably wouldn't have even known who it was.
"Ella what's wrong?"
More tears, sniffles, and mutters under her breath that sound like grunts. She is speaking in patois, and I know from that cue that she is angry. I have no idea what she's saying but it isn't good.
"El what happened babe?" I ask in my most tender voice, my heart literally breaking at hearing how distraught she is.
"We've just been fighting. Bad. All the time. About stupid shit. Constantly. And you know that's not us. And I just got so tired of not saying shit to keep the peace. Earlier this week she called the doctor and told them we weren't going through with IVF. Without even telling me. She came home, announced it all proud like she was making some kinda grand declaration, said it all flippantly while she was looking through the mail. I just...lost my shit."
I love my friend, her lover and partner of (seven?) eight years. But she's an asshole. Plain and simple. And this doesn't sound completely out of the realm of probable.
"I accused her of not wanting to go through with it because she didn't wanna have to deal with explaining it to work."
Because she likes control. Because she is a do-er. Because Mariella is the type of woman that doesn't believe in closed doors, only things she needs to tear down. Because she doesn't believe that anything can or should stand in her way. Least of all the things she creates herself.
"I mean it's like she only wants me in her life the way she wants me in her life. On her terms. The way she shapes it. And I guess when I was younger that wasn't a huge thing but now... I dunno. Do you know she wouldn't even let me take that job in Europe? But she doesn't make it home before midnight. Works at least 6 days a week if not more. Even when she is home she's always on that goddamn Blackberry."
and that's when she flip and get on some 'ol another lonely night seem like I'm on the side...
"You think there's someone else?"
The phone grows silent.
"You do not think she's fucking somebody else. Y'all have been together for (7?) 8 years. She wouldn't just throw that away." Right?
"Not her. Me."
She tells me about her, this other woman, this yoga instructor she met uptown. That nothing has happened between them but she's been there for her. A friend. Kept her from being lonely. Listened to her. Talked to her. Wiped her tears. Held her hand. Made her smile.
Easily found a way to fill the gaps left by the one that shares her bed.
"You fucking her?"
"No. I wouldn't cheat. But I feel...something. For her."
"You think it's just because you're lonely?"
"I met her last fall. When we first moved. Two days after we first moved."
"WHAT?!?! This has been going on since LAST YEAR?!?"
"Not like that. It's just been... building."
but yo I need some sort of love in my life, you dig me? While politicin' with my sister from New York City, she said she know this ball player and he think I'm pretty...
It's always been amazing to me the person you can turn into when faced with the alienation of affection.
"You told her?"
"Yeah. Last night."
"She said she didn't care. That she didn't have time to hold my hand every little time I felt lonely because she had a real job that didn't involve being responsible for my insecurities."
Knowing them, knowing Mariella as I do, I am pretty sure this a direct quote from her lips, probably spoken in her rapid fire intelligent way and followed with muttered Spanish underneath her breath.
"I think she's just checked out."
How does it feel, I wonder, when you recognize that the life you had built with someone is just an illusion?
I know, of course.
Most marriages don't even make it 8 years. 43% of all marriages that fail do so within the first 2 years.
"I left my key on the table by the door. She went to bed on our argument. Just stopped talking. Went to sleep. I left in the middle of the night."
"She bought that place for you. You know she wants you there."
"And my ring."
That makes us both go silent. I imagine Mari waking up, finding the apartment cold and quiet, seeing Ella's keys laying next to her thick platinum and diamond band by the door. Despite her faults, my heart breaks for her.
For them both, really.
"I bought a ticket home to Jamaica. One way. Gonna stay there for awhile. Yoga Chick wants to move back to Cali."
"She asked me to come."
I don't have it in me to judge her. I can't. I know what it feels like to want to build a life with someone and knowing that maybe the whispered desires you express in the safety of the sheets at night, might not be what actually comes to be when the moon becomes the sun and it's time to act on it.
And I can only imagine what I would do if someone stretched out their hand to me when I was feeling alone, offered me the life I wanted and needed.
"So maybe you should go," I say quietly, and I hope that between this moment and the next time I speak to Mariella I can find a way to eloquently explain why I would say such a thing so she won't hate me.
"I've been considering it. I like her alot La. She's dope. You'd love her."
"And she's...kind. And thoughtful. And stable. And emotionally available."
"All the things Mari is not. Got it."
"It would still be over even if I'd never met the other chick."
"It's not me you have to convince."
I hear her sigh on the other side of the country. I wanna hug her but I'm sure I've already overstepped my boundaries and betrayed some loyalties.
"(7?) 8 years is a long time to throw away."
"I know it is. I love her. But I stayed about 5 years too long. It got comfortable. We chose to try and just bear the fundamental differences about us and the way we choose to live our lives rather than having a frank and honest conversation in the beginning about what we were willing to tolerate and what we wanted and needed."
"And I'm not 18 anymore."
I remember not too long ago having the conversation with First Love that he could never love me at 24 as he did at 18. Because I am not that girl anymore. That we are strangers to each other now in a way we never have been. Not because we are no longer together. Only partially because we have lived apart so long. But mostly because we have changed so much. Because we have grown. Because we are not who were were back then. Because we will probably never be those people again. Because that person has rolled into the larger picture of who we are becoming and transformed and molded itself into different shapes in our lives. I understand that.
But I guess it is different seeing it in practice.
And with a Yoga Chick involved.
"I wish I'd loved smarter," she says to me, wistfully. "I'll call you when I get back from Jamaica."
And then she is gone.
Monday, May 5, 2008
I don't know why I'm shocked at all. This is the same country that will try and convince me that we don't live in a racist nation and then pretend the Reverend's views, for better or worse, whether I disagree or not, are "anti-American" when what they really mean to say is that it's "anti-White people", because, you know, that's bad. Especially considering how much white people have done for us, right Pat?
I, for one, am not buying it. Especially living here in the land of mega churches that allow racist, offensive, bigoted and narrow minded white men like John Hagee to reach millions of people everyday on various platforms, not just from within the confines of a church in Chicago. It's astounding to me that he can rant that Hurricane Katrina was sent to punish the city of New Orleans for a "homosexual parade there on the Monday that Katrina came” and yet no one puts any political pressure on John McCain to denounce this bigot as they did Barack Obama with Reverend Wright.
Actually, no. I'm not astounded.
Because many people in this country would stand in my face and try to convince me that Mr. Hagee doesn't think the people of the Jewish faith are born of whores.
Or that he wouldn't look at me and think, nigger.
And next time... Why La Doesn't Go to Church.
You can forward to about :58 to really get to his "views"
This is a good one too. Here Hagee "defends the Jews" by claiming Jesus wasn't the Messiah. Has conservative, Christian, Middle America seen this?
And this isn't anti-American? Oh I guess not because he blames immigrants, and they aren't Americans, yes?