Wednesday, December 05, 2007

bless his heart...
he must have been an ugly baby

my life has been going at its usual hectic pace. kids. jobby jobs. freelance work. writing. car trouble. and everything in between. i’m not complaining. just testifying because i am shaking my clothes dry and now feeling the warmth of sun on my face.

this week, my jobby job has been the usual reception/admin gig at an office with heady types, mostly white men, who have been very kind and accommodating to the “temp.” (“you’re so good. very professional,” they remark, surprised like the job is… hard. some hover with eyes that languish in their bland other lives, in exchange for pleasantries with the new “pretty” face in the office.) i was supposed to be with the firm through the end of the year. but yesterday morning, i got an email offer to work on a dream of a project that is most certainly more interesting, more worth my time and a more dynamic career opportunity. (don’t get me wrong… i am humbled and grateful for all of the places and spaces i have been. i appreciate all of the kindness and the “friends” i’ve made.) but this… this is the one i’ve held out for. (allahu akbar. thank you universe!) but here’s the kicker-in-the-asser… at the height of my internal celebration, i shared with a few of the guys that i would not be here next week.
yt: well, congratulations but you have demographics on your side.
i hesitated, knowing full well what he meant but not wanting to go there.
me: you mean because there are so few people in the field?
yt: no, because you are a Black women.
he goes on to say that he’s basically just a white guy and that technology is filled with asians and white guys.
yt: so you should be a shoe in.

(i pause.)
me: oh, yeah… and because i’m qualified.
i made as graceful an exit as i could but i was suddenly nauseas and sweating under my clothes. in my "temp" skin, i couldn’t find my activist spiel about the changing face of racism and how his certainty about this "affirmative" action negates all of the work and study and natural talent i have as a writer and as an industry professional and that i was insulted at the insinuation, at the implication that i, a Black woman, did not earn/deserve my new position, that i was somehow chosen for reasons other than the one that mattered. i wanted to go against all of my positive energy training and call him out of his name. but i resigned to a “bless his heart” (what myval and i say when we see babies who unfortunately aren’t edibly cute and to people who can’t help their ugliness). so bless his heart.

the hater-guy's mexican counterpart came to me later, after overhearing the conversation. he congratulated me and shared that he would experience "the same thing" when he was coming into his own as a business man. "next time one of them says something like that to you," he smiles and says, looking me more square in the eye than even my father has, as he raises both fists in victory, "just look at him and say, well, yeah! and it's about [damn] time!"

anyway, i start monday! i think i'll take the kids to a movie to celebrate!