Thursday, September 30, 2010

5 Reasons to Date a Black Man

I was a little conflicted about writing this, because people often assume that when you proclaim your love for one thing, you are simultaneously stating your hate or dislike for another. But, the article written by Lashaun Williams forced it out of me. She wrote an article entitled. "8 Reasons to Date A White Man." I don't disagree with the premise; I am open to more than just my own ethnicity/racial background. But the "reasons" she listed are an explicit summation of gross, hyperbolic, and racist generalizations about a rather large demographic.

Here's a brief overview of why Ms. Lashaun Williams believes Black Women should date White Men (direct quotes!):

  • 1. Gay White men are more forthcoming about their homosexuality. (Translation: More Black men hide their sexuality than White men.)
  • 2. Black men have backwards expectations when it comes to romantic relationships, and are looking for someone to take care of them. White men come from "stronger family structures."
  • 3. In White culture, education is valued and expected, while Black men continue to drop out.
  • 4. White men at least attempt marriage before making babies; "White men don't have children sprinkled around the world like Black men."
  • 5. "White men have a firmer grasp on what really defines manhood.They are smart enough not to act out rap music."
  • 6. Black men are always trying to shine, spend more money than they have. White men make better decisions when it comes to managing money.
  • 7. White men have no problem turning a ho into a housewife. They have the ability to look beyond our past.
  • 8. White men don't take everything as a challenge to their masculinity. As a result of their insecurities and low self-esteem, Black men are intimidated by the strength of an educated and ambitious Black woman.

Whew. Is your blood pressure up? Mine is! But despite what Mrs. Williams thinks, I was raised to fight ignorance with eloquence and a touch of wit.

So here we are...
5 Reasons A Sister Should Date A Black Man.
(Or at least not be opposed to the idea)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Please Stand on the Right (And other Public Transit Etiquette)

As the capital of the United States and home to over 60 museums, dozens of monuments, and 954,327 skinny jeans, Washington DC is a tourist town. And I'm fine with that. I like discovering cool things in the city too. However, tourists are a huge proponent of my Angry Woman Syndrome that usually comes into effect when I ride Metro. Here are a few guidelines for tourists and DC residents who just don't know any better.

1) STAND ON THE RIGHT. And walk on the left. (During rush hour, please jog on the left). I know... the view of DC from inside the metro is spell-binding (blatant sarcasm), and you just want to leisurely take it all in, but... the rest of us have a job! We scheduled just enough time to stop for fruit and a bagel, grab an Express newspaper, and slide into a seat headed towards Metro Center. So for you to stand directly in front of me on the escalator, and take a photograph of my train as it flies past (THANKS, I JUST MISSED MY RIDE TO WORK), drives me wild. I can't deal. Do all your dawdling, amateur photography, and mock awe on the right side of the escalator.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Freedom of Speech for All (Except the Gays!)

What is Don't Ask, Don't Tell?The full name is "Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Harrass, Don't Pursue." It is commonly referred to as "DADT" and is a policy barring openly gay, lesbian, and bisexual people from serving in the military. You can be a closeted homosexual, but you can't "demonstrate(s) a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts." Yes, we are still talking about the United States. I promise!

Don't Ask: The military will not ask you if you're straight or gay. This is the only part of the law that makes sense. Someone's sexuality is no one's business but their own and their partner's.
Don't Tell: You most certainly will not tell them. You will not chat with your bunkmates about your partner, although they are more than welcome to chat about their husbands/wives/boyfriends/girlfriends/lovers. You will not even mention intent to engage in homosexual acts.
Don't Harass
: This part of the law was enacted after Barry Winchell was killed because his fellow service members thought he was gay, and after Winchell sufficiently beat the brakes out of one of them for harassing him, Calvin Glover attacked and killed Winchell in his sleep with a baseball bat. Some people may say, "Seee! This is what happens when people in the military are gay!" Nooooo, this is what happens when the ridiculous DADT law creates a Salem Witch Trials type atmosphere for people seeking to find out who's gay and who's not. For the record, Barry Winchell never said he was gay, it was just a rumor, and he was infuriated by the accusations. But who wouldn't be? If the accusation had been made to the appropriate person, Winchell would have been discharged. #epicdontaskdonttellfail
Don't Pursue: This part establishes what is minimally required for an investigation to be initiated. The Army and other branches even provide a training guide on how to report homosexuals and what qualifies as credible information. In other words, they say, "Hey just because someone has a light pink polo
doesn't mean they're gay, but... if a lady says, "Me and my girlfriend are in a flag football league," then report her!

In short...
You are more than welcome to be gay and serve. Just keep it a secret. You are more than welcome to defend my heterosexual right to the freedom of speech, but you may not practice it yourself, when discussing your love life. (This sounds familiar huh? Like when Blacks were fighting for freedom for others in previous World Wars, but had no freedom here in the States, and were liable to be lynched if they looked at a white woman for too long.)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Why DC is Cooler Than Your Town

As the child of two parents in the Army, I've lived in several states and overseas. I went to high school in the booming metropolis of Boiling Springs, a suburb of Spartanburg, South Carolina. (Sidenote - we were just in the news!) I went to college in DC, spent over a year in Los Angeles, a summer in Chicago, a summer in Philadelphia, and visited a lot of major cities in the U.S. (Minneapolis is extremely underrated by the way.)

I think it's safe for me to say that I know a little bit about places in DC and outside of DC. I've come to the conclusion that aside from Los Angeles, Washington, DC might be the coolest place ever. And the only reason LA trumps DC is because LA is not susceptible to things like Snowpocalypse and Nike boots.

Why does DC rock? So glad you asked.

1) The diversity of the nightlife here. On any given night, yes, including Monday - Marvin Mondays!, you can find live music, spoken word, an open club, several bars, 24 hour diners, great food, and a stimulating conversation. The South has great sweet tea, but so does Eatonville on U Street and Horace and Dickies in NE.

2) It is the cheapest place to go on a great date. And when I say cheap, I mean FREE. Especially in the summer. Between Screen on the Green, (free movies on the National Mall, Jazz in the Gardens, countless exhibits in the many Smithsonian museums (there is not one Smithsonian, tourists, the Smithsonian is an Empire of Museums), cute coffeehouses and cafes in every other corner, the monuments, and parks galore just begging you to lay out a blanket and whisper David Banner and Ying Yang Twin tracks into a lady's ear, DC is the winner for free things to do.

3) It's a college town. And who doesn't love a college town? They bring a certain vitality to any city and ensure that there are always drink specials, impressionable men and women with the desire to change the world, and a free "intern" to make copies at your office. Just kidding.... (I love you Sarah! Just leave them on my desk, I'm at lunch.) The colleges include American, Catholic, Georgetown, George Washington (with an Ivy League price tag for reasons I don't understand), Howard, Gallaudet, and the University of the District of Columbia. There's also a few others just outside the District like the University of Maryland and George Mason.

4) Barry and 'Chelle's live here. Excuse me, the President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle live here. I can call them Barry and 'Chelles 'cause we're neighbors.

5) Driving is a luxury you don't need. Public transit here is great! Even though the trains aren't 24 hours, many of the buses are 24 hours, and plus... I'm glad they shut down the train system to clean it. It's pretty safe - even the cursed Red Line- and it goes almost anywhere you need to go. Everyone rides the trains from engineers to lawyers to students.

6) It's a big small city. Similarly to LA, DC is made up of a lot of smaller neighborhoods. Eastern Market, the U Street Corridor, Dupont Circle, H St Corridor, Chinatown, Capitol Hill, the Waterfront, Columbia Heights, Adams Morgan, Georgetown, etc..... The difference is you could walk from one neighborhood to another without catching a charley horse. DC is pretty small, geographically speaking, which makes it convenient when meeting up with friends. (Try telling someone in Pasadena to meet you in Santa Monica... they'll look you at like you're crazy).

6b) Everyone knows everybody. Or, everyone knows someone who knows someone. I doubt that there are more than 3 degrees of separation between most folks in DC, outside of the hermits and members of the Secret Service who aren't allowed to make friends. This is goo, if you like to network but bad if you're promiscuous. You will get caught.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I'm Liberal Because Jesus Said So

A few weeks ago, a person dear to me suggested that I write about being a liberal and being a Christian. I thought it was a great idea, but I didn't know where to start, and because it's something important to me, (my faith and my political beliefs), I wanted to do it right. So I waited for the right moment.

Interestingly enough, the inspiration came over the past couple days. Before I share my story, I'd like to say something extremely important:

No political party, entity, or leaning has the exclusive rights to a specific religion. More specifically, the "Religious Right" or supposed "Moral Majority" does not even come close to representing all Christians. In many ways, I believe it operates in direct contradiction to what the Bible calls us to do. More on that later, right now... back to my anecdote:

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Can T.I. save Clifford?

A few nights ago, I was talking to my happily married cousin and she claimed to have the secret to all of Black women's dating problems. "Date a White man." Although she's married to a Black man, she stressed that Black women could not depend on their male counterparts to provide them with the stable family life they were looking for. While I am open-minded in this regard, I believe everyone is entitled to their preferences and it makes complete sense to prefer to date someone of a similar culture/ethnicity background as yourself. So of course I defended Black men and will continue to do so.

Interestingly enough, about 6 hours later, I heard on the radio that TI and his wife Tiny were arrested for a controlled substance. I shared the news with my cousin, and she proclaimed, "See!!! I told you! You can't depend on them!"

I simply refuse to believe that T.I. is representative of Black men everywhere. That would mean that I think Black men everywhere are irresponsibly stupid, ungrateful for the blessings God grants them, poor stewards of aforementioned blessings, and possibly addicted to living life illegally and without any regard for the consequences of their actions.

As we all know, T.I.'s sentence for federal weapons charges was drastically reduced from 10 years to 1 year and a day. This wouldn't have happened for Clifford Harris. Cliff would have been hit with 10 years and forced to accept the fact that his wife had moved on to probably his best friend. But T.I. , entertainer, rapper, and actor, with Billboard Hits on the Pop Charts, was blessed to resume his role as husband, father, and member of the unprisoned society much earlier than traditionally deemed appropriate. And truth be told, T.I. has the kind of charisma, acceptable amount of remorse, and intelligence that made us all believe he deserved it. We forgave him. We truly believed that he was on the Road to Redemption. Even my dad,who is decidedly conservative on these issues, said, "That T.I. is a good brother; he deserves a second chance... he just had a rough start."

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Friends... How Many of Us Have Them?

Friends... how many of us have them? Because I know what it feels like to stand alone, I work to be a great friend. I don't always succeed, but it's something I take seriously. Sometimes, it isn't always reciprocated. There are some folks you call "friends" because that's what Facebook calls them and your mom told you if you don't have anything nice to say... Anyway, I've got new titles for you to use for these friends. Read on.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I Don't Know What to Do With My Hands!

My name is Crystal Marie, and I'm a BlackBerry-aholic. I have 6 email synced to my phone, 200+ BBM contacts, and I tweet more from my phone than anywhere else. But I am not alone. One of my friends, owner of the G1 (I pity her) consistently cries, "Where's my phone?!" and all the while it's in her hand. I know people who can pick out the sound of their phone's ping amidst a riot at a live rock concert.

A few days ago, I left my charger at the office, and because my phone died, I was essentially without a phone for a full 16 hours and 32 minutes. I reminded myself that for the vast majority of humans' existence, we survived without telephones, and cell phones only as of late became a "necessity." I should be just fine! And yet, like the Internet, flat screen TVs, and Starbucks, the cell phone has changed the way we do a lot of things. I've listed a few that came to mind during those 16 hours:

1. How did you coordinate picking up someone at the airport without a cell? Few things are as unpredictable as flight-related changes. Gates change, flights are delayed, luggage goes missing, baggage claim gates are moved, and the list goes on. Without a cell phone to instantly communicate this to the driver, what did we do? You may say, "use a pay phone, duh!" Well... what if your driver is picking you up from Dulles airport, which is the most inappropriately placed airport in the country, and they're fighting traffic on 66 when you realize that you're actually going to be at Gate ZZ34 versus A23? You're calling an empty house!

2. What did awkward/asocial people in the club/lounge do without a cell? We all do it, but some are worse than others. We're out on the town, and conversation with your cohorts is almost impossible unless you want to ensure that you'll have no voice the next day. So, you scroll through your phone, send a tweet, write a text, and update your Facebook. Every time I go to a certain venue on 14th and K NW, I see members of the 9-5 crowd with their eyebrows furrowed as they tap out a supposedly extremely important email in the corner. I don't really understand why people go out amongst people to talk to a completely different set of people. What a waste! But I've digressed... What did we do with our hands in the club when we had no telly?

3. Speaking of the club, how did you ensure that the number you received was actually the giver's number, without a cell? How many times have you exchanged numbers with someone, and one person said, "Alright, I'm going to call you right now, just to make sure I have it." This method has certainly deterred a lot of fake digits and ousted many former "555...."ers.

4. An idea like Twitter or Foursquare would have never skyrocketed without the smartphone. I rarely use the Web for Twitter and at any given time, scrolling through your timeline, you see statuses that list, "via Ubertwitter, Twitter for iPhone, Twitter for BlackBerry, Twidroid, echofon, etc"

5. What was our getaway before the cell phone savior? Say you're on a first date and you realize... "This guy/girl is mentally insane!" What do you do? Fake an emergency of course, via a phone call, and you're saved by the ring! Note to those who do this: If you're going to pretend your phone rang, make sure you have it turned on silent, so that in case it does actually ring during your fake convo, your plan isn't foiled. I've been there. Smh.

What else do we absolutely need our cell phones to do?