Thursday, November 16, 2006

Maybe This Post Proves I'm A Racist But....

Today was one of those days that I sometimes have that just trip me out.

I work in corporate America. I'm a "suit chick". Everyday, I get up, I get dressed in corporate gear I simply can't wait to discard as soon as my "9 hours" are paid to the man, and I go to work. I spend the bulk of most days moving in and out of healthcare establishments in and around the St. Louis area where I try to convince healthcare professionals that I am a value-added resource in their offices. Most days, I truly enjoy what I do; and in actuality, today was one of those days. At the same time, today was ALSO one of those days that just trip me out.

With the ground breaking ceremony this week for the first memorial to an African-American on the National Mall, maybe I'm just a little more likely to notice what I will term "racial oddities" for lack of a better term. Today it seemed was a big day for me for noticing just such things.
It started while I was in a conference in one of the cancer centers in which I work. Very often, it comes to pass that I am the only African-American individual in any room in which I happen to be. Such was the case this morning. About midway through the conference, I looked around and realized that in an auditorium in which approximately 40 people were gathered for a conference, I was the only black person present. Now this is as I have said, often the case; and more often than not, it does not even enter into my conscience thoughts. However, as I sat in that particular room this morning, I realized that the Cancer Center in which this particular auditorium was housed was smack-dab in the middle of a residential area of St. Louis that has historically been predominantly African-American, and here I was sitting in a wilderness of white folk. I had an overwhelming urge momentarily, to stand up, interrupt the presenter's lecture, and point this fact out to the crowd at large. Somehow, as most of us seem to do whenever this feeling hits us, I contained myself. Still, it tripped me out....

About two hours later, I found myself at another Cancer Center located in the heart of St. Louis, another predominantly African-American populated area of town, when a similar situation presented itself. I was taking the elevator to the 14th floor to call on an account. Upon entering the elevator, I became conscience of the fact that I was once again the only person of color [read: BLACK] in the elevator. This time, I could not contain myself....I don't know why. First, after the realization hit me, I laughed out loud. I truly could not help myself. An older, white woman smiled at me when she heard my laughter. This prompted me to ask her if she wanted to know what had made me laugh. She nodded, and so I explained, "It just occurred to me that I am the only black person in an elevator filled with 9 white people. None of you seem to have noticed, but for some reason I did. I find it funny that even fifty years ago, I would not have been allowed to consider entering this elevator with the rest of you, and if by some chance I had chosen to enter anyway, the trip down would have been much faster for me than for the rest of you." Maybe it was mean on my part to remind them of their ancestors' ugly past. Maybe it was racist of me to trap them in my own brand of racial ugliness. Maybe it was just stupid, or a combination of all three. Whatever it was, it was as if E. F. HUTTON had spoken in that elevator....everyone was listening, and a pin dropping would have made a deafening thud.

I have often wondered if white folks ever notice it when there is only one black person in a room filled with them. I wonder if they ever wonder if we feel out of place or uncomfortable; and if so, if they ever make any overtures to try to alleviate some of our discomfort. Now I will be the first to admit, that most of the time I DON'T EVEN NOTICE; but still I wonder, do THEY ever notice at all. Being a woman who has many close friends who happen to be Caucasian, I have often considered how they would feel if invited to personal events/celebrations of mine [i.e. family picnic, wedding, etc.] where they would be the only or one of few white folks present. Usually, I invite them anyway; and whenever I do, I make a concerted effort to make them comfortable and to include them into a welcoming group. I don't know if the same consideration is given to my comfort or inclusion when the situation is reversed.

Well, to finish relaying today's adventure:

At this point, the doors opened, and though we had only reached the eighth floor and there were several other floor numbers selected between the 8th floor where we were, and the 14th floor where I was headed, all but one of those people got the hell out of that elevator on the 8th floor [including the woman who had been so charmed earlier by my laughter]. Hmmmmm, I wonder why? Maybe, I'm not the only one tripped out by these racial oddities sometimes....I guess I tripped them out too!

Oh well, what the hell....maybe this post proves I'm a racist but I wonder....

Friday, November 10, 2006

The Muse Is Alive And Well!!!

NOVEMBER IS HERE, and that means two things....and neither of them revolves around Turkey Day, even though I'm about as thankful as one can possibly be this Thanksgiving, but that's a story for another post.....

  1. It is the one year anniversary of the month I began blogging. That's right fight fans, Ms. Just Write Now is one year old this month and to honor this momentous occasion, I will be taking suggestions from you on what I should do on/to/with this blog in the future. I am currently working on a "100 Things You Might Not Know About Ms. Just Write Now" list, and I'm finding it very difficult as I have discovered in this exercise that I just might be Ms. Too Damned Open and Forthcoming as it seems I have few secrets left ;) However, I will forge ahead and come up with some truly useless information about myself that the mass majority of you never ever even hoped to know because afterall, that's what I do ;)
  2. NANOWRIMO month is here! For those of you who did not pay attention last year, or simply didn't care, NANOWRIMO is an achronym that is short for National Novel Writers Month. This is a month of madness that if it works, results in the creation of the skeletal outline of what might with just a bit more work, become my personal contribution to the body of literary work that will one day truly produce the ever elusive Great American Novel! NANOWRIMO challenges writers to just forget about plot plausibility, character development, hell, even grammar to produce VOLUME. The premise is based on the belief "dirt will wait until you get around to it so go on and make a big mess...." [note....that is my personal interpretation], so the primary goal is to get it down [50000 words or more in 30 days], and cleaning it up (so to speak) can occur later. So, this is the exercise that I have submerged myself into for the second year running, and it explains that link on the left margin of my site that so many of you never ventured to click in the last year, thereby foregoing the pleasure [or tragedy depending on your tastes], of having read the excerpt from my last year's submission "Motherless Child". Though it is too late to read the excerpt from that venture as it has been removed to make room for the newborn, those of you with any curiosity about some of the madness that circulates and eventually has to be released from Ms. Just Write Now's tragic mind can find a short sample of said madness if you click the NANOWRIMO link to the left. If indeed you do decide to click that link, after you have read what is there, I would appreciate it immensely if you would come back here and share your thoughts about what you read there.

So that's what I'm up to in a nutshell, that and planning the wedding of the millenium. I have been writing posts for this blog and storing them to be uploaded about every three days or so as I am just about ready to go back to posting regularly. So please come by regularly fight fans as I do so love your company. Wish me luck as I tackle the mountain of words that must be compiled to satisfy the hunger of the NANO monster; and if you have the time and/or the inclination, click the link to the left and read the excerpt of my latest literary attempt "DIVERSE DISCRIMINATION".

Ms. Just Write Now out.......