The Sugar Cycle

Recently, commenter What to Do, a white woman, stepped into the bar wondering about black women being friends with white women.  It's taken me a while to respond to her, because I had to find a way to explain to her what kind of friends white women are to women of color (regardless of which color).

First, there's the Sugar Cycle

In domestically violent relationships, the time period between beatings/verbal abuse in which the perpetrator is on their very best behavior is called "the honeymoon period."  This is when their kindness, patience, and generosity know no bounds.

It's the same thing for when white women attempt to begin friendships with WOC.  Initially, they are SUPER nice, complimenting everything and willing to pay for damn near anything.  They agree with us on everything.  They want to go anywhere we want to go, they want to do anything we want do, and they are just as sugary, syrupy sweet as can be the whole while.

But then the "friendship" actually begins, and there are distinct changes.  Before I list these changes, understand that WOC don't just put up with the changes; most often, we will stop speaking to our white "friends" and terminate all interaction.  And when we do, the sugar reemerges in force, and they are once again seemingly willing to say or do anything to get back in our good graces.  But yet again...once we allow them back in, the abuse - and it is abuse - returns.

The tone change

WOC, have you ever noticed how your white "friends" always seem to be either yelling at or snapping at or dismissing you altogether?  It's like they're suddenly incapable of speaking to you like a normal person.  They don't talk like this to their white friends - just you.  They're constantly rolling their eyes at you.  In the beginning, you were this cool, clever, insightful stranger, but now that you're "friends", you're no longer allowed to speak (and don't expect to be apologized to for anything).

The support change

WOC, ever notice how in the beginning, your white "friends" wanted to hear all about your life, and were willing to have your back in every problem (big or small), but when the "friendship" became definite, you were suddenly on your own?  Your were no longer heard or sympathized with; you became a listener and not just a listener, but a therapist, ATM, court jester, and designated driver all rolled into one.

The alliance change

WOC, ever notice how your white "friends" 99.99999% of the time become insanely furious don't like it when their brothers, male cousins, white male acquaintances, or white exes take a liking to you?  You know...you two are BFFs one moment, but the second Brad or Tyler winks hello at you, you become the enemy?

The humor change

WOC, ever notice how in the beginning, your white "friends" crack jokes about themselves or their family, or white folks in general, but once you decide to become friends, all the bottled-up racist humor emerges, punctuated by some of the most annoying drone-speak of all: "Just kidding!!!"

The social change

WOC, ever notice how in the beginning, "we gals have to stick together" and "racism is stupid" but once a black man becomes president, or Bethany Storro blames an (imaginary) black woman for splashing her with acid, or some random/imaginary Negro is accused of harming a white person...ever notice how suddenly the battle lines are redrawn?

The purpose change

WOC, ever notice how in the beginning, it's all about bonding, learning, and sticking together (and being "sisters"), but once the "friendship" is established, your job is to exist  - and cease to exist - on cue?

Conclusion

I honestly don't think most white women even realize what they're doing throughout the Sugar Cycle, but some do, and they don't care.  Granted, not all white women behave this way, but a crushing majority do, thus either way, WOC and white women aren't about to be "sisters" anytime soon.

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The Black Woman Attraction Paradox

Comments

  1. Boy...I cannot relate at all. O_O My friends have been mostly POC all my life, and that's by circumstance.

    Something tells me that the responses to this post are going to be pretty damn interesting.

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  2. Oops, I just posted a comment for this by accident under "Yes-Yes They Do." Can it be moved?

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  3. Oh, I personally am ready to call it a day when someone starts with the "why do black people do X?"

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  4. Same with me as it is with leoprincess. My "friends," and I can count them on one hand, are all PoC. I've never experienced this sort of behavior or relationship, because I've never gotten that close to a white woman. Far as I'm concerned, battle lines were drawn from early on. This isn't to say that I don't have white female acquaintances, but there is a humongous difference between a friend and an acquaintance.

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  5. @ Nicthommi

    I can't move it. Just copy & paste it from there.

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  6. A friend of mine said it best, just because we're one of the first POCs white folks have dealt with doesn't mean that they're the first white person we've dealt with.

    We've seen the same patterns and the same issues over and over and over and over again. And you're right K, I don't think many of them realize what they're doing.

    We have to see the signs, it's key to our survival. That's why when many of them spit game, they're shocked that we have them dead to rights and see them coming a mile away. But because of their hubris as white people, few will ever step back and assess why we don't trust them goes far beyond us having a chip on our shoulder or simply hating whitey.

    Typically if I achieve something say a promotion, publishing a novel, etc. I usually have my guard up and I'm watching white acquaintances closely because drama and jealousy and petty backstabbing will ensue because how dare the uppity gay nigrah outshine them.

    It hasn't failed yet.

    I do have white folks in my life who have enriched it. They are closer than blood. It isn't because they aren't fallible because they fuck up like the rest of us. But they've had my back when I've needed it. They never tried to play white savior and most of all, they treat me with the same love and respect that they would want to be treated with. When it comes to issues with race, they shut the fuck up and listen and at least try to do it right.

    So while POCs know fake, we also recognize real. And if you have to ask if you're doing it right, you probably aren't.

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  7. A friend of mine said it best, just because we're one of the first POCs white folks have dealt with doesn't mean that they're the first white person we've dealt with.

    Sounds like something I've been saying for a very, very, very long time.

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  8. I loved a comment Javan made on the other post(it may be a bit out of place here). I was just trying to find the words on a comment elsewhere and he/she summed up what I was TRYING to say over there...white women had to "fight" not to be taken care of. When they were ready to work they got to just slide into the best jobs. We were already working but are still fighting not to be left taking care of their kids and cleaning their toilets or otherwise reporting to them.

    They got to jump into the workforce AHEAD of us, and still get promoted when they lack formal education or experience (and can attain excellent white collar careers without going to school), and then they get to argue that when they decide to leave work for 10 years to go back to being taken care of by their husbands, they should have the right to cut to the front of the line in front of everyone who never stopped working.

    That is why I'm kind of anti-feminist on that topic. They always think they should be able to play "cutsies" no manner how many years of work or education they opt out of. And the world is an awful and oppressive place when they can't be an executive who works 15 hours a week from their kids playrooms while getting paid a high six figure salary.

    @Ankhesen, as I get older, I wonder how WW feel about their BW "friends" who still are wrinkle-free and youthful looking and if it plays into the sugar cycle. When I see people I grew up with, I get a lot of "wow you haven't changed" and a lot of questions about my skin which of course isn't changing like theirs is, b/c as we get older the difference becomes more stark. If I take pictures with my former classmates, people don't think that we are all the same age.

    I rarely hear them acknowledge the advantage that we have when it comes to Father Time(yet they'll fawn over some obviously botoxed, silicon filled, plastic surgeried, airbrushed white female celebrity as being "genetically blessed"), but given that they spend their lives being told that we are ugly and they are beautiful, it has to be galling to some of them to realize that their black "friend" looks 10-15 years younger. And I think the irony is that they worship youth so much more than we do. It can't be fun for them when they realize that their "ugly" black friend now looks like she's been frozen in time.

    At this point, I look much younger than non-black women my own age, younger than non-black women who are slightly younger, and usually get "placed" with people who are actually 10 years younger than me. Of course, I look exactly the same as my black female friends who are my age.

    It just came to mind b/c I saw Angela Bassett on TV the other day, looking as glorious as ever(she's a good example of a tiny woman with a big round butt but she never gets complimented for that either), and they did not compliment her looks just once, even though she is 50ish, but of course when I see the obviously knifed up Christie Brinkley, they love to tell her (lie) that she looks 30. Sorry for the long post but I always wonder if it plays into the progression that you describe.

    But it's easy for them to compliment you when they think that they are still the pretty one, and I think it becomes so much harder when even if they believe their looks to be better, the aging process clearly puts them behind you. I think it's why I never hear a peep about how beautiful Michelle Obama or Angela Basset look for women at 50, and how they don't have ANYONE who compares b/c by that point they are held together with plastic and implants and surgical thread.

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  9. @ Nitchomm: "Oh, I personally am ready to call it a day when someone starts with the 'why do black people do X?'"

    I had the worst possible experience with this in high school and that has royally fucked up, or rather opened my eyes, my view of white people ever since. I was at a so-called friend's house and her friend went on a fucking "why are black people allowed to say Nigger" tirade like a mad woman. She just wouldn't stop saying the word. I was so glad to leave her house after that. And then I went to my other friend's bathroom and kinda just broke down. It was too surreal and stressful for me. I mean, I knew it was coming as soon as my friend said "fo shizzle my nizzle" and was asked to explain what "nizzle" meant. Makes me feel that mainstream culture can weaken efforts made to improve the social lives, economic success and prosperity of POC in the US.

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  10. Well this happend to me at one point. Well we both did it to each other. It was horrible.

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  11. I have been waiting for you to talk about this.

    I have had white friends all of my life, but let me tell you what: in my 33 years of experience, white women just don't make for solid friendships with WOC.

    They are fine as casual friends, but true blue friends, no way.

    Yes, in the very beginning, there is the bonding, sharing, praying, spending time together, and the whole kit-and-kaboodle. I think the color difference is naturally attractive to both women. But there are cultural differences that cannot be ignored.

    I think white women are more socialized to need someone to rescue them. Black women are told wer are strong and don't need anybody. The two together form a strange codependent type of bond.

    In just about all of my friendships with white women, it became clear that I was merely the supporting character to their starring role. It was all about their lives, their problems, their man issues, their insecurites, etc. Or on the flip side an overly maternal, patronizing aspect to their friendship would creep in where they tried to tell me how to live my life.

    In my experience, white women really do believe that WOC are supposed to be there for THEM. Not the other way around. Don't you dare have needs of your own, and for God's sake, don't display any weaknesses or insecurities expecting the same empathy and listening ear that you gladly give to them in their time of need. They lose it and think you have betrayed them--by being human! They say things like, "You're a strong woman," thinking it's a compliment when all it does is invalidate your right to vulnerability.

    They expect WOC to be their rock of salvation, their very own personal mammy.

    There is so much more I can say. But at 33, I decided this dynamic does not work for me anymore.

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  12. Or on the flip side an overly maternal, patronizing aspect to their friendship would creep in where they tried to tell me how to live my life.

    Ohhhhhhhhhh, yes.

    There is so much more I can say.

    Say it all.

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  13. “The tone change
    WOC, have you ever noticed how your white "friends" always seem to be either yelling at or snapping at or dismissing you altogether? It's like they're suddenly incapable of speaking to you like a normal person. They don't talk like this to their white friends - just you. They're constantly rolling their eyes at you. In the beginning, you were this cool, clever, insightful stranger, but now that you're "friends", you're no longer allowed to speak (and don't expect to be apologized to for anything).”

    Yes, but I’ve had people try this with me when they thought I was their competition or they felt threatened by me. With white women acquaintances who are around the same age, I get the competition vibe, and hence the inability to speak to me like a normal human being. They tend to get extra loud, extra patronizing, or extra dismissive. They just don’t know how to take a young black woman who is reasonably attractive, poised, and accomplished. They would like to diminish us to loud, angry, and aggressive, but in the end, those are the traits they themselves exhibit in attempts to painting us with the same brush.

    As this relates to friendships, this did happen to me where my white girlfriend of five years (towards the end of our friendship) began to scoff at me, criticize things I said and did, criticized my likes and dislikes. It was weird, but very telling of her character. She had previously admitted that she was “intimidated” or whatever because I had my master’s degree and she had yet to compete her bachelor’s. I think she was always trying to find ways to one-up me, and finally just resorted to criticizing me.

    “The alliance change
    WOC, ever notice how your white "friends" 99.99999% of the time become insanely furious don't like it when their brothers, male cousins, white male acquaintances, or white exes take a liking to you? You know...you two are BFFs one moment, but the second Brad or Tyler winks hello at you, you become the enemy?”

    At a church I used to go to, the white girls didn’t really like me anyway, but once I started dating a white man from the singles group, it was on. First of all, none of those girls liked him. They didn’t do what I did to get him. Yet, they were pissed when I started dating him--and we dated for about two years. Once I started dating him, they behaved very nastily towards me and shunned him.

    The jealousy and insecurity is white women’s Achilles heel. No to toot my own horn, but I am a very creative individual. I don’t boast about it, or bring attention to myself. I just do what I do and let my skills/talents speak for themselves. But just like Neo Prodigy said, some WW cannot stand being outshone by a little ole black girl. Heaven forbid! I remember one time in church, I went up to receive prayer, and this WW who “prayed for me” said something to the effect of “Motherspirit1 is already so gifted and talented. She really doesn’t need any other gifts.” A WW at my job whom I shared some of my creative endeavors with told me that she did not want me to meet her husband, because he would compare her to me and find her wanting. This of course was said in a joking manner, but her insecurity betrayed her in that moment.

    I have begun to find that when some WW attempt to befriend you, it’s not because they are truly interested in being friends. They are scoping you out as competition. They want to see if they have anything to worry about. Will their perceived superiority be challenged by you? They learn enough about you to recognize your weak spots and then try to use them against you later on if the need arises. Not saying all WW are like this, but I’ve been around the block enough times to know that this does happen at times.

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  14. you just summarized the cycle I went through with a former white female coworker where are working relationship went from friendly and approachable to person I avoid speaking to because I'm tired of her randomly going off on me. To me this cycle is extra common with baby boomer aged white women in the work place. Frankly I rather work with white men, at least they are less fake.

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  15. I have definitely experienced the jealousy of white.

    From the exfriends who play the "she thinks she's so smart" game to the less accomplished former friend from high school who told everyone how easy my life was.
    More recently I get the surprised reactions from white women when they learn where I work with the implications of "how did she get a job there!"

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  16. One coworker I was close too...I just got tired of her sometimey-ness. Sometimes she was frosty. Other times she wanted to talk to me. I figure, let's just call it a day and stop talking all together. I'm still polite, but I don't share anything with her anymore.

    Recently, I have found myself becoming more and more distant from my white female coworkers. My company is like 80% white women. I just don't trust them. I think it's more important for me to go out of my way to befriend my black coworkers. Sometimes I think that black people in predominately white environments tend to avoid each other when we should be banding together and building more solidarity. Besides, who's truly going to have our backs when things get rough on the work front? We need each other and need to stop working so hard to be accepted by whites.

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  17. @ Motherspirit1
    Besides, who's truly going to have our backs when things get rough on the work front? We need each other and need to stop working so hard to be accepted by whites.

    This rings so true. I'm twenty-three and I notice older black women are more friendly in a work environment, more helpful, less backstabbing. Younger black people tend to fall for the divide and conquer trap, although not always thankfully. I've been in situations where this unfortunately has been the case, and situations where this hasn't been the case so... it's been about 50/50.

    In my case I'm just guarded, in general but not outwardly.

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  18. I've never had a lot of friends period. I have always chosen the few I do have. I've only had one white friend and she was the most genuine, self-aware white woman, really person I ever knew. She was from the south, catholic and an English teacher. In the years of our friendship I could always talk to her about race, racism etc...She didn't always agree with me, but she always listened with respect and consideration and very often she did come to agree with me.
    I can remember on more than one occasion after we had been friends for some years saying:
    “Mary, ____ was racist.”
    “Really I didn’t think it was.”
    “Well think about this and this and this.”
    And she would really think about it and usually she would agree with me.
    She never said or did racist things that hurt me or anyone and she was also one of the few, honest, straight forward, white women I ever knew. I really and truly miss this woman. She had other white female friends that I never bonded with. At the time I didn't fully understand (I was quite young) that, but I can see now that race was probably a factor. I'm really picky about the people I spend time with and thankfully I've never experienced the sugar cycle.

    I also think from reading other BW's blog that my experience is very different from other BW's. I get nothing, but compliments for having natural hair and my sisters white friends know how to behave. I think it’s because of where I live, but who knows. I'm never surprised, but always appalled at some of the experiences my fellow BW report.

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  19. I wonder do guys go through the samething?

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  20. Javan Nelums said...
    I wonder do guys go through the samething?

    Years ago, I had a white male friend who constantly smiled in my face, but did bad things behind my back. In the beginning of our relationship we did everything together. Loyal to the bone, for all he wanted was my friendship. But like some young white men there was an aggressive- competitive streak to him. Everything became a contest to him. It got to the point where we couldn’t even play cards together. A white female friend (who knew him well) gave me a peak behind his passive-aggressiveness by telling me he was jealous. You see, he had a wife who was 12 years his senior. Left bitter from a previous divorce, she constantly emasculated him in my presence as if he were a child. He was always asking/comparing his marriage to mine; for deep down inside he was simmering with resentment. Moreover, he had no children of his own (his wife had a grown son from a previous union) while I had three girls at the time. So when not in his wife’s presence he was the quintessential alpha-male.

    As a white man, the assumption (in his mind) was that he was naturally stronger, smarter- and wiser than I was. Naturally, he had to win any contest we engaged in. If we played foosball (which he took the time to teach me) he played as if the world was at stake. Course, once I learned the game and started beating him consistently he wouldn’t speak to me for days. He had this habit of reporting me behind my back to get me in trouble on the job, but would feign ignorance when confronted with the evidence. I started believing in the old idiom- “With friends like that, who needs enemies?” It got so bad I literally had to tell him we couldn’t be friends any more. Years later, he divorced and married a little Latina girl, almost half his age. But his insecurities got the best of him and he found himself calling every 5 minutes to check up on her. She was a pretty little thing; thin and frail and I think he had a Lolita thing going on with her. His actions had the result of pushing her into the arms of another man for comfort.

    Sometimes I think white friends have to be retrained. Their ways of thinking, socially/culturally have to be contested if any hope of friendship is to endure. Strongholds and assumptions must be torn down in the white male mind so that he might see things more clearly. Around that same time, I had another white male peer transfer to our department (activity therapy) who was an arrogant, insufferable know-it all. He had some nursing experience (working on an Associate’s Degree in Nursing). He had some theater experience (directing and acting at the Community Playhouse) so again he assumed himself to be the better. He came to our department with the intent of taking over because he had much to offer (so he alleged). But after years of working together, we slowly became friends. I turned him on to jazz and we attended art exhibitions together; all while keeping him in stitches. I think it takes a certain wit to make some white men laugh; because wit is often associated with intellect. Over time he came to realize that I was his equal in every respect; while in other areas I exceeded him. That’s not easy for the white male ego to take sometimes. However, as time went on, it got to the point where we were finishing each other’s sentences. We regularly broke bread together in each other’s homes. He later told me (after presenting my family with a thanksgiving turkey one evening) that I changed him (for the better he said) and that he was honored to be my friend. So here we have two white male friends with two different outcomes. Sometimes I think it depends on the individual; but the similarities in character and preconceived racial biases can be scary at times. But we already know this going in; and that’s what gives us a leg up.

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  21. @mgibson...
    You do realise YOU had to put that energy in. Energy which otherwise could have been spent growing with someone else. I realise that it is your energy to give, but once again a person of colour is called upon to overlook, re-train, give give GIVE.

    For me, I had a bad experience with a friend I gave over 2 years of my life to. I was there for her when her relationship broke down. she called me one day to say she had to go home from work, couldn't move! had to crawl from the door to the bedroom!.
    I called rushed down, bought medicine, food, liquids... only to find out this bitch was faking!. not only was she faking but she told me that she didn't feel like entertaining and hope I don't mind. lol.

    Look, I've learned the hardway... and even after that I still gave another white woman a chance.
    She needed help with a work thing, I gave it. Whilst tutoring her, she began arguing with me. I just sat back in my chair and said.. okay you go ahead. She was shocked, I think she expected a debate lol. She apologised.

    But then she'd do weird things, invite me to dinner, I'd look up and she'd be staring at me.
    Once she invited me to an event and then didn't turn up lol. I just put her on silent.
    At some point she bombarded my mailbox, email e.t.c. asking where I was.
    I understand now, I live in their world. I can't avoid them, but I understand that a true friendship with them is neigh on impossible.
    So henceforth, it will always be a 'quid pro quo' thing.

    You have nothing to offer me, then please go away.
    I don't have time to care for myself and you at the same time.
    And that goes for all women any damn way.
    I'm no ones warrior goddess but my own

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  22. @mgibson...
    You do realise YOU had to put that energy in. Energy which otherwise could have been spent growing with someone else. I realise that it is your energy to give, but once again a person of colour is called upon to overlook, re-train, give give GIVE.

    I understand what you're saying, and its a very good point. I was about 21 then... I'm 53 now. I can count the white male friends on my right hand.

    "Nothing ventured, nothing gained," comes to mind in situations like these. Sometimes you have to give a bit of yourself, even though experience tells you differently. Sometimes you won't grow if you don't try. Wisdom is not gleaned just from the good we encounter in life; but we flourish from the bad things as well. It took over 30 years for my wife to train me (and me her). It wasn't easy, and there were a few bumps along the way. We both committed to putting the energy in and grew as a result. In all honesty I'm a better man for it. So I'm used to putting the work in, so to speak.

    If I may borrow a page from Star Trek: (Because I tend to liken white people to the Borg in how they seem to think and act as a collective.) Hugh was a Borg adolescent taught to think for himself by Geordi La Forge. Geordi was willing to put the time in and never gave up. His persistence paid off when after developing a friendship with the Borg male; Hugh reacts positively; specifically to precepts regarding independence and individuality. Picard later comes to realize Hugh could be more of a threat if he was simply sent back to The Collective (as is). Not as a weapon of mass destruction, but as an individual. Hugh’s individuality would spread throughout the Borg collective; infecting one Borg at a time.

    I’m also an artist. Sometimes a great work takes years to get right before its finished; but the rewards can be great. My white friends were works in every sense of the word. You’re going to have some successes and some failures; but such is life. The only work I really had to do was to simply be myself. Because of the second white friend’s experience with me, he’ll take those lessons back to his family and it will spread; much like it did in Huge and the Borg.

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  23. mgibson...
    I like your analogy..

    Did you ever watch Star trek voyager? If you did then you'd remember how much effort Captain Janeway put into Seven.
    That's the type of effort I always feel is required for my interaction with white women IT IS EXHAUSTING and quite frankly the only people who I should be putting that much effort into are my kids (when I have them)

    I'm just not that benevolent any more, to put so much work into it, where the reward is usually open hositlity and then years later a 'you taught me so much, thanks'. O_O lol

    I tip my hat to you Sir, you have the patience of a saint.

    Unfortunately, I don't see much evidence of white women taking lessons back. what I do see is SILENCE. They rarely speak up when their kin or family perpetuate racism, they do not correct, beyond...
    'I don't think you should say that' because they do not want to be excused from the benefits of privilege.

    i hope your results are much better :)
    Live long and prosper Mr Gibson :)

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  24. Soul said...
    Did you ever watch Star trek voyager? If you did then you'd remember how much effort Captain Janeway put into Seven. That's the type of effort I always feel is required for my interaction with white women IT IS EXHAUSTING and quite frankly the only people who I should be putting that much effort into are my kids (when I have them)

    I think you hit the nail on the head with that one. As a side note: I hated how they dressed that blonde white woman in skin tight threads to give her appeal. I never warmed up to her, but I understand what you’re saying. Janeway clocked many an hour with that rebellious child, only to be frustrated time after time. I raised three girls and a son to adulthood; but it was the girls that wore me out emotionally.

    Furthermore, Whites aren’t even aware of the work that’s being done under their hood to make them palatable. Maybe that’s the difference with women. Oftentimes your efforts are emotionally based. Whereas we men (although shallow most of the time) are direct. We’re capable of acting out on emotion just as women are yes; but the wiring is labeled most of the time. You know where you stand. You know what terminals to hook up, and you’re aware of the polarity; although in some women (not all) you’re not quite sure. You think you’ve made the proper connections until your white friend begins to act contrary to spec. Then you have to pull the wiring out and start all over. In some cases you find that either the wiring was mixed up at the factory; or the instructions were written in Chinese.

    Soul said...
    I tip my hat to you Sir, you have the patience of a saint.

    Lol
    Mercy I'm no saint. My white female friends are just older and oftentimes more weathered than their younger peers. I find them way more tolerable than young white males/females, which still have hopelessly inflated egos. Most of us have more collective experiences with whites than whites do with us. When I was young, my best friend in the whole world was white. This is the reason our racial perceptions are more honed; much like a sixth sense. We can see them coming a mile away, so oftentimes we already know if a friendship is worthwhile or simply a waste of time.

    There were a lot of whites in the mental hospital where I worked. I wasn’t friends with all of them, but I was receptive. You smile at them in the hallways yes. ‘Gracious and cordial?’ by all means yes. But wisdom/experience keeps you circumspect with some and leery of others. It takes but a single infringement to put a potential friend into the stay clear from pile. Such diligence can save you a lot of emotional currency.

    However, on those rare occasions when one or two defy what you know about whites to be true; those are the ones you work on. Those are the ones worthy of your time- your gifts and talents; because they’ll be better people in the end. Only then are they ready to be put into the kiln for firing. They’ll remember you long after you’ve stopped considering them.

    soul said...
    Live long and prosper Mr Gibson :)

    Funny, I found myself parting my fingers in the correct gesture as I read that. Live long and prosper... Soul.

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