Do Black People Always Assume “The White Person” Is In Charge?


*Names have been changed for privacy

Last spring I found myself on the other side of the conference table for the first time in my professional career when I sat beside management and interviewed potential spring interns.  One of the perks that came with my recent promotion and new position was that I got to coast in this grey area of professional purgatory. I was the only full-time worker at our small non-profit besides management so although I didn’t get to make any serious managerial decisions, my opinion and input was considered when those decisions were made.

When Jen* walked in she appeared to be your typical college senior.  She was bright-eyed and optimistic about her future, all passionate about the fact that soon she’d have a degree and could make real change in the world.  She rambled off all of her qualifications from being Vice President of an academic sorority to the fact that she was applying to this internship for the experience and not just because it stood between her and that graduation gown.  She was so perfect it almost made me nauseous. In fact I never even realized her slight speech impediment until our administrative assistant questioned, “How did you sit through that and not go insane?”

Many of the interns we interviewed would have been a great addition so as I shook her hand I couldn’t make heads or tails of whether management would offer her an opportunity.  My only worry was that she was suburban and white, which wasn’t a problem for me, but I thought some of our inner-city students might completely tune her out and assume “she wasn’t about that life”…kind of like I just had which was completely unfair.

Jen wasn’t about that life, but she turned out to be pretty cool and down-to-earth.  During her internship she assisted with classes and seemed down for whatever was asked of her.  She wasn’t afraid to go into schools in dangerous neighborhoods and she treated the students with respect and listened to them which was more important than being able to relate to them any day.  Most importantly, just like the menial tasks like copying or sorting that interns are often assigned, she never looked down on anything or anyone like it was beneath her.  It was refreshing since sometimes you get those interns who feel like a B.A. is a Chance card in Monopoly that sends you directly to CEO (They’ve got a rude awakening coming).

I give you this background to tell you that I’ll never forget the day when Jen accompanied me to a new site to assist. We were beginning a class at this site where our main contact would was an older African-American building manager.  As he showed us to the room we would be using and other logistics like the location of the bathroom and the codes we could dial on the phone to reach him, I couldn’t help but notice he was only addressing Jen.  I had clearly introduced myself as the instructor and Jen as the intern.  I had even spoken to him previously over the phone.  I was professional and polite, but for some reason as he explained everything he couldn’t seem to address me.


There’s a Thin Line Between “Thick” and Fat


There’s a dangerous epidemic hitting black women across the country that’s been put into play for some time now: Fat women masquerading themselves as “thick”.  Now before I get the “this bitter skinny bitch” backlash, let me attempt to be perfectly clear: I acknowledge there are plenty of beautiful, sexy, big women in this world, but as far as I know when it comes to the definition of thick there’s a point when a woman goes one chicken cheese steak past Amber Rose and straight into Precious territory.  The truth is if you are battling high blood pressure and diabetes, have to lift your stomach to “trim the hedges” and have wings that Popeye’s Louisiana Fast has nothing on, then you’re probably seeing a Weight Watchers endorsement before an Outkast video in your future.

Let’s just call a spade a spade.  I remember a phase when I referred to my “big forehead” as a glamorous Tyra Bank’s inspired “high hairline”.  But the truth is I have a big ass head.  On a scale of one to ten, I’m about a Rihanna and on really self-conscious days I swear you can see my thoughts scroll across it like the Nasdaq stock ticker.  Sometimes I want to dive into life head first with my forehead loud and proud and other days I wear my beret a little bit lower or let some blunt bangs hang over it like vertical blinds.  In any case, if I can own up to my Imax forehead, I think those questioning where their curves fall on the thickness scale need to be more honest about their choice of adjectives.

8 Things I Vow To Never Let Happen When I Get Old


By the end of the year, I will be 30 years old.  I won’t exactly be calling up Alex Trebek on my Jitterbug to discuss my Colonial Penn coverage anytime soon, but I am slowly realizing the mortality of my youth and thinking about the type of old person I’d like to be.  I’m noticing more and more I’m switching the station when the beat of anything involving twerking or popping drops, when not even 5 years ago I’d be turning it up making a music video in my vanity mirror.  I dread getting on the bus between the hours of 2:00 and 4:00 because the school kids will terrorize harass passengers who really just want to get home without being surrounded by the incessant need to be seen and heard.  I’m becoming conscious of the fact that I sound more and more like my mother when I say that most of these kids need their asses whooped.

There’s nothing wrong with growing a little older and wiser and finding all those things you once thought were really cool suddenly annoying and kind of pointless.  That’s what’s supposed to happen when you grow up. And while there are a few elderly people who make evil look adorable, some just grow up to think their age gives them a buddy pass to be judgmental, condescending assholes.

The day I become someone’s mom I’ll probably put an end to my purple highlights and replace my Kendrick Lamar callertune with a safe default ring.  I don’t even have to be called the “cool” mom, but if you see me doing any of the following just because I’m that much closer to filing for Social Security, put me in a assisted living facility with a nurse with unresolved mommy issues.  Trust me, I’ll deserve it.