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I don’t like Girls. Revolutionary thought, right? I know. Since the HBO show’s premiere two weeks ago, I’ve read all types of moaning about the show, the story of four twenty-something brown-haired white women making a way and doing slightly better than Florida Evans in seemingly homogeneous Brooklyn. The prevailing complaint about the show has been about all those people of non-color living, mating, and getting by in America’s biggest melting pot of a city. How could it be, many, many (too many) people have wondered, that they couldn’t find any color in Brooklyn?! I mean, besides the homeless Black guy that yelled at “Hannah” to “smile!” (There are people of color in Girls’ world, they just, well, color the margins life for the people of non-color.)

In all the Girls talk, there’s emerged a prevailing ideas that New York City proper, with inhabitants that undoubtedly rep every country and city on Earth’s face, is this place where people of all cultures gather around the Empire State Building and do some sort of collective kumbaya chant where we express tolerance for every race, religion, and creed. Nightly.

I’m almost certain where this lure of the New York melting pot came from. It’s a bunch of people from everywhere, living in close quarters, and so in theory, they would all intermingle on more than public transportation and then find common human interests like, you know, surviving this city and become friends. Surely that can happen, but what’s been my experience in application is it doesn’t for a lot of people. Of course, there’s potential for New York to be a melting pot, if you prefer it that way. But it can also be as segregated as a Jim Crow Mississippi, complete with the crazed police brutality, but without the separate but equal signs.

The crowded streets of Times Square look like the figurative UN (all tourists, so you know) and by convenience and for time efficiency, you’ll see people of all colors, including the Mayor, smashed together on the subway come rush hour. But for, dare I say, many New Yorkers, sharing a knowing eye roll across an empty aisle to whomever from wherever when the inevitable kid enters the subway car to sell M&Ms and recite the scripted speech about hustling on the train–“Not for no basketball team, but to have money in my pocket so I won’t be robbing you”–can be as meaningful as your NYC encounter with another race gets.

I will have lived here ten years come late August, and I have just one non-Black friend. She’s Puerto Rican, from The Bronx. Unlike Zoe Saldana and LaLa Vasquez-Anthony, she doesn’t claim “Black” even if she could be mistaken for such. I rarely see her, maybe once a year, as she’s a workaholic and a mother. We met when her husband was still her boyfriend, and clicked. End of story. Everyone else who I could call at 2 AM in the midst of a crisis and actually expect to answer and care is Black.

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  • TheBestAnonEver, Part 2

    Agreed. I have, and have had, acquaintances, work/school friends of all stripes, but those I would call my friends in any meaningful way are all black. I grew up in predominately white cities, went to predominately white schools, and currently live in an overwhelming, predominately white city, but my closest friends are still black. They understand me and how I perceive situations intuitively; understand me in a way an overwhelming majority of non-black people can’t. Once I was past 25 years old, I was too damn old for buddies, I needed friends.

    I don’t understand the gripe with the show. This is one particular woman’s story and possibly she doesn’t have any close non-white women in her life. Do we really want to encourage people to accumulate friends of other races as trophies?

    • Insight

      No, but have you ever met anyone that hasnt encountered (or made friends) with black people or any minority? T

    • Insight

      No, but have you ever met anyone that has no friends that are minorities? They are usually very stuck in their own ways and are not open to new cultures (i.e. that guy/girl that says there’s “I dont like the curry smell” or “eewww sushi?”, or “I dont eat anything spicy becuase I love mayo on everything” kind of people.

      Sorry I used food as an example (I’m hungry and I want sushi and Indian food) :)

  • Unknown

    I do relate to this! I’m not looking to only have black friends but I just do. I even have siblings married to mostly white women and I swear we are like strangers. I tried; I did but I’m past that age where I’m yearning for friends. I would not say no to a genuine friendship but I would not force one neither. My friends just happen to be black ( from different countries ). No racism here just it just happened that I connect the most with some people. Coming from a cultural background where we were very friendly in school ( west Africa) I was extremely chocked when I came to study here. People act as if you were the best of friends in some situations and the second you stop taking a class or working together they stop saying Hi. So I have adapted and now I considered most people ( for some reasons there are always non-black ) I associate with whether in school or @ work just as acquaintances, business partners… I learned the hardway. At least I could be charming and courteous at work while canceling everyone out when I leave the professional place…

    • kimkam

      OMG! you have basically described my life lol. I didn’t know people were such users until I got to grad school. You’re in a group with them and they can’t say hey when you see them outside of class SMH. I need to visit west africa again to get a feeling for where people are truly nice just because lol.

    • So Over This Ish

      @ Unknown…I find your attitude very refreshing. I agree with you. That has been my experience, too.

      But it’s not something that only white folks do. I find that many people can be phony like that. They will be nice when they want something and when you have to work together, but they would never really be your friend otherwise.

  • QueenofNew

    Where I live its impossible to have black friends especially black girls friends. There are just so few here and the ones that are here are not in my age range. My BFF is Chinese. We clash about so many things but we are still friends. She gets me as a woman but she doesn’t get me as a black woman. I sometimes long for a black sister friend. There are just so many conversations that I want to have but I just can’t have them with anyone else besides another black woman. I think thats why I spend so much time on Clutch.

    • CHE

      L.M.A.O.

      *Choking*

      R.O.T.F.

    • http:www.chicnoirhouse.blogspot.com Chic Noir

      QueenofNew & QCastle are the same person?

    • QueenOfCastle

      @ChicNoir

      Its the same person. I use different vairations of my screen name to get past moderation. Its a shame.

    • LemonnLime

      Seriously? What is funny is you are the same person who comes to this site everyday with something negative to say about black women. I can’t even remember you writing something nice and yet here you are talking about how you want a black female friend to talk to. If you plan on talking to your black female friend in the same way you do I the women on this site you will NEVER have any female friends whether you are living in the whitest town on earth or DC.

  • tisme

    I heard their adding a black girl to the show Girls.

    Here’s her description “23-26 years old. Adam’s best friend. A tough, tiny lesbian. RECURRING. Likes: biking without a helmet, making her own soap and preserves, bar fights, Brigitte Bardot. Hates: needy girls, most of Manhattan, the messages her mom leaves on her machine, when Adam lames out and stays home.”
    Courtesy of Jezebel.com

    I think black people should be careful and stop expecting white people to include us in everything.

    The black girl on this show likes to fight.Are any of the white girls on the show violent?
    I also think it’s interesting that she’s a lesbian.
    I wonder how many, if any, of the white girls on the show are lesbian?It would come as no surprise to me if none of them are.Though I am happy for lesbian black women to be portrayed on television in my opinion them adding a lesbian black girl is a way for them to hire a woman of color who will not be a threat or competition for these girls in regards to men.I believe it was probably done to protect white womanhood and maintain white women’s desirability among the male population.

    I wonder how masculine will they make the black woman character in relation to the other women?Not all lesbians are masculine.

    Any way I think the responses to the show introducing a black girl will be interesting.

    • tisme

      *they’re*

    • Kacey

      “Though I am happy for lesbian black women to be portrayed on television in my opinion them adding a lesbian black girl is a way for them to hire a woman of color who will not be a threat or competition for these girls in regards to men.I believe it was probably done to protect white womanhood and maintain white women’s desirability among the male population.”

      BINGO!!

    • http://museandwords.com NinaG

      “I think black people should be careful and stop expecting white people to include us in everything.”

      ITA. There is a downside to integration.

    • http:www.chicnoirhouse.blogspot.com Chic Noir

      What I’ve been saying tisme. Who knows what we will wind up with since they don’t have a blk writer on staff. One of the staff writters(Arfin), seems pretty darn insensitive.

      NinaG, the photo in your gravie is stunning.

    • So Over This Ish

      I agree with tisme and Kacey, re: the lesbian situation.

      There is nothing wrong with being a lesbian, IMO, but I will find it odd if they throw a token Black lesbian character into a show with heterosexual white females.

      Even the main character, Hannah, is considered relatively chubby and plain…yet she still gets plenty of play from guys. So why can’t they also portray a Black woman as being equally desirable to men, if they must include a Black woman at all?

  • Kacey

    I’m so glad you wrote about NYC not being the melting pot people think it is. Yes there are people here from everywhere, but that doesn’t mean they mix and blend freely. Matter-of-fact, I explained to someone not too long ago that I’ve experienced more overt racism in NYC than I every did when I lived in the [very homogenous] midwest! And, guess what: most of those incidents were direct at me from other so-called minorities who, operating on the racial hierarchy that inevitably springs up in places of extreme diversity, tend to look down on blacks as being at the bottom.

    • Kacey

      *ever

    • Mercedes

      OMG. Same here. The most racists comments I have heard have come out of the mouths of West Indians. As a Detroiter, everyone is just Black. But, in NYC there are levels of Blackness. I stopped telling people I was African American until after they met me so they wouldn’t judge me.

    • The Comment

      Same here. I live in SanFrancisco and yes it is diverse but we have liberal racism; we accept you if you u are in dire need of food, shelter or drug intervention. In otherwords you have to be a victim of some sort.

      But my best friends are not black.

    • So Over This Ish

      Same here in Miami. It is very sad. Hispanics are typically the racists in my neck of the woods.

      @ Mercedes…my mother is West Indian (Jamaican) and despite living in the US since the 1970s, she still has a certain mindset about most Black Americans. It hurts me to hear my otherwise kind, intelligent mother saying certain things.

      But I believe that it all comes down to internalized racism. I won’t lie…some Black Americans have treated me very poorly. But I still find so much beauty and positivity in Black American culture and in Black Americans themselves. I’ve never agreed with anyone, West Indian or otherwise, bashing Black Americans because it is pure ignorance.

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