Thursday, January 5, 2012

Lone Black Woman

I’m driving through my neighborhood with my daughters. At a distance, we see three people walking toward us.

“Girls – black people,” I say.

Two seconds later, I say, “Oh, that’s just the Jantranias. Correction girls – brown people.” (The Jantranias, who are our friends, are Indian.)

My eleven year old asks, “Why’d you say ‘black people’ Mommy?”

My sixteen year old and thirteen year old know why. They are aware of the limited amount of black people in our neighborhood and county; my youngest has yet to notice these things.

Lone Black Woman, hereafter known as LBW, derives her title from the phrase, “I was the only black person there,” something that she’s said many times in her life, especially during her twenties. As she matured, she didn’t feel the need to say it anymore because it began to have little or no relevance.

Still, at 54, she notices, but doesn’t care. If she is uncomfortable somewhere (which is rare), it is because of the culture of the environment; not because she is LBW. But even so, her discomfort doesn’t last long if she is unfamiliar with the topic being discussed or the activity going on. She will ask questions. People love to talk about themselves.

The LBW title was born when she wrote an email to an author that resulted in an exchange of fairly lengthy emails. For some reason that LBW may never remember, she let the author know that she was the “lone black woman” in her book club. The author was an Obama supporter at the time, and it may have stemmed from her wondering about LBW’s political views.

LBW wrote to another author whose speaking engagement she went to. Because of the limited amount of people who were at the reception after he spoke, she felt that he’d remember talking to her; especially because he also posed for pictures with her and her husband. In her email, she described herself as LBW – and he remembered her.

Both authors were kind and indulgent to “Author/Book Signing Groupie.”

It’s been said to stay away from topics of race, religion and politics when you want to play it safe. I’ve talked about my race here; however, this post isn’t necessarily about race. It’s more about being secure enough to relate to people as people.

How often are you the lone (fill in the blank)?

Examples: male, female, Jew, Muslim, Catholic, person without children, old person, young person, person without a college degree, southerner, northerner, heavy person, thin person, married person, unmarried person, etc.

Is it ever uncomfortable or a problem?

Like my image? LOL
Photographed by me.