“How long are you going to hate on me?”

This from the White girl who’d just finished complaining to me about how loud and obnoxious Black people were, especially on buses. We were out on a Friday night, and apparently I was giving off “you’re so smart, and like choral music, and speak well, and went to Harvard, so you must also hate and be ashamed of ‘real’ Black people” vibes.

On hearing the bus comment, I was incredulous, and intoned mildly: “Did you actually in real life just say that to me? I just told you I was on my way home; you couldn’t wait until the only Black girl was gone to start on the ‘many fails of Black folks’ jag?”

I said it like a half joke — shaking my head and giving a gurgled chuckle. I immediately unfriended her (in my head, where it counts); A few prior incidents had seen me rethinking our not even budding friendship, and this sealed the deal.

We were ending the night at one of her coworkers’ houses and I was waiting for a cab. The wait was long, because this was pre-uber and taxis were/are the worst.

With each minute I waited, flitting around from one person to another, flirting, eating mini pretzels, making jokes with the few other people there, ignoring her, she grew more and more agitated.

“Ugh, Dara, when are you going to stop hating on me?! I’m sorry OK!”

I hadn’t been stony or cold to her; hell I hadn’t even really been mad at her. I was more wrapped up in thought about what kind of life I was living that people felt comfortable badmouthing my entire race to me. This wasn’t the first time it had happened, and just what the eff was I doing to be complicit, I wondered.

I *hadn’t* been mad at her. Until she asked me to stop hating on her.

“UGHHH That phrase doesn’t mean what you think it means!” I spat out at her. “I don’t even care about the other stuff, but God, if you’re going to appropriate, at least get it right! ‘Hating’ on someone means talking bad about or to someone with the guise of disdain belying one’s envious nature. You have NOTHING I want. So… I couldn’t hate on you if I tried.”

She was unfazed – “uhh you knew what I meant” she gurgled happily.

I had neared the door, and heard two guys deeper in the room exclaim:

“Dude… Maybe not… But dude…That chick just fuckin’ quoted Princess Bride right now dude.”

“Sheeeit… That’s dope my son!”

My eyes were wide and twitchy as I walked out the door.


 

Credit: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

Credit: Andrew H. Walker/Getty ImagesThat twitchy feeling has returned to me because of more and more instances of appropriation and ignorance that just won’t seem to go away.

It is exhausting feeling moved to defend and/or explain things I at best dgaf about, and at worst have a very complicated relationship with. I don’t want to talk about basic b*tches and bae and fleek and Renee and twerking but y’all just mean to work me into a tizzy by getting just about everything wrong.

Imma sit here and watch Miley waggle that flapjack and let you call it twerkin’? Hear her announce that the year old Nae Nae dance is the ‘new thing?’ Hear you lambast Beyoncé for “twerkin‘” because her sexuality is anti-feminist?

When I’ve been watching Black girls twerk in videos since I was twelve, and silent women under the male gaze didn’t sit so right with me, but maybe Lil’ Kim really was taking agency over her sexuality, and I wonder if you’re mad or mad as hell at Beyoncé because she isn’t “feminism-ing” right or really because she made your man’s loins wiggle. And yours. And she giggled in your face with those dolphin teeth while she did it?

Imma let you make “basic” about uggs and PSL’s and then FLOOD my TL with idiotic, wrongheaded think pieces complaining about class ostracization?

When I don’t like what Kreayshawn stands for, and damn she spell her name too hard, but that song goes, but her definition of basic was at least on point, and now your J. Crew feelings are hurt, and I’m supposed to put my Blackness down for a second so I can climb up to Solidarity Plateau to coax you into realizing that yes, you’re basic, but not because of what you drink, but because you are so, exhaustingly, mind-numbingly, generic, only to get accidentally –
“oh I didn’t see you there!”
– knocked back down to my and Scar’s den when you swing your Hermes around you without looking?

Imma let you shame me for saying ‘damn. Renee Zellweger got a new face‘ when Renee Zellweger HAS GOT A BRAND NEW FACE? Imma let her say it was health and rest that did it like we ain’t seen Rip Van Winkle’s after photos?

When I don’t want a woman to think her worth is wrapped up in her appearance and the media is stuffed to the gills with images of women with physically unattainable bodies, but your money and your heart is your own and if a new nose makes you happy then maybe you should do what makes you feel good, and who are we to judge when we already called you ugly, BUT if it was a Black girl chopping up her face and getting harangued for it y’all wouldn’t be making a peep. Where’s the ‘In Defense Of Lil Kim’ articles?

Oh

Imma let Iggy Azalea …?

No, that’s the end of that question. Are we really going to let Iggy Azalea?

It is exhausting because the shit is complicated, and I’d just almost gotten my head around it when you inserted yourself and made it about you, with your prideful misunderstandings and gleeful indignation. Now I have to fight you on your appropriation before I can get back to delving into my own intersectionality.

It is frustrating because you have inevitably taken something beautiful and complex and troublesome and stripped it down to some inane banality. You take something like the appendix out of a luscious, artful, dancing woman, and have the nerve to call it Josephine.

You make it basic.

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