Why Self Loathe?
One word: acceptance.
We all do things to make ourselves more appealing to the masses. We shave and wax, we buy exfoliants, we go ahead and have that third Jack and Diet. We blend in so that we can stand out without causing a stir.
They Have You Before Hello
The first thing you think about when you see a stranger is their race. Immediately, thanks to years of programming by the government and media, you determine a new person’s likely country of origin, their race and/or creed. This allows you to make other handy decisions about who they may be.
The second thing you think about is whether or not you would sleep with that person, but that’s for another conversation.
Back to thing one. You might think that if all the information you have about a person is their race, that you’re really in no position to make any sort of judgments or assumptions about that person. But thankfully, we live in a society that takes the guess work out of making decisions.
According to the media and various social assistance programs, people’s behaviors, attitudes, wants and interests can be clearly determined by the amount of and spacing among the melanin in their skin. Thus, strangers become boring, uninteresting and easily ignored. Why bother getting to know them when you’ve already learned what you need to.
Especially if said stranger is black. There are simply too many risks involved in your average black person for the stranger observing one to give them a fighting chance. As an Oreo, then, I have just a few precious seconds to prove them wrong.
The Best Defense is a Good Offense
And to get myself to the emotional place I need to be, my self-loathing kicks into high gear.
First things first. The voice. It’s scary when a black person speaks with slang and vernacular that is out of the mainstream. So I have carefully removed all trace of an accent. When I pitch my voice up and say my name and “nice to meet you,” people are put a bit more at ease. But the work’s not done there.
As we move through small talk to get to know each other, I am careful to go out of my way to prove that I do not related to “black” culture at all.
I’ve seen enough faces barely nod in bored recognition when I say I like August Wilson, but let me pull out a Harold Pinter reference and suddenly those faces are lit and interested in what I have to say. I’m predictable when I say I like The Fugees, but I am fascinating when I say I’m a fan of Big and Rich. When people think my novel is about a black woman, they say I may have a hard time finding a market for the story. When they discover that my protagonist is Greek, they can’t wait to see the book on the shelves. I am boring and a statistic when I say that I thought Girlfriends was an amazing sitcom but I am just intriguing when I say that I was sad to see the controversial FX show Starved disappear after about half a season.
What Doesn’t Kill Us Gets Us Invited to Parties
With a few simple denials of ethnic bias, I have transformed myself into someone safe and memorable. Someone interesting and enlightened. I have escaped my ethnicity and am now in the safe house of blending in.
What I don’t loathe myself for is my self-loathing. Of course I’m embarrassed by the images of myself I see on TV. I’ve watched enough Law and Order to know that while white criminals commit vaguely justifiable crimes of passion, black folks just kill, rape and maim for no discernible reason. I’ve seen the nightly news and I sympathize as the obligatory Oreo newscaster introduces the package explaining how everything was fine tonight in the Valley, in South LA, a bunch of minorities shot some other minorities. I’ve been a part of enough diversity initiatives to understand that we just can’t cut it without a serious stepping stone.
So let me hide who I am by hiding in who I am. Remind me, world, why I am not quite good enough as me.
Conformity may hurt at first, but like a new shoe, the fit stretches and soon it feels perfect.
Ethnicity aside, what else do I loathe myself for?
- The fact that I just giggled at the WWE 25th anniversary commercial.
- That I deleted what was actually item #2
- That I own a surprisingly effective book called “10 Days to Self Esteem.”
JOIN THE PITY PARTY
Comment back and let us know what you hate about yourself. But do it with a smile. We like it that way.