by Jeremy Carden
In no way, shape or form am I trying to offend African Americans (because I am one) or white people. I see no color barrier when it comes to making friends with people, finding a woman that I am in love with or anything of that nature. Honestly, I can admit that most of my friends happen to be white or Caucasian if you want to use the “politically correct” phrase.
The reason I am writing this blog is to answer a few of questions that I’ve been asked by some of my white friends from time to time. Sometimes they ask me right early on in our friendships and others wait a little longer until after we become good friends to ask these questions. If I had to guess I would say that they ask these questions in order to understand black people a little better.
Well, I’m going to try to answer these questions to the best of my ability. I am not speaking for ALL black people when I give my answers, I’m just going off of my own experiences as a black person and how I feel about certain things.
If you have a different opinion about my statements that is fine and that is addressed to any black people who read my answers and feel that I am wrong. I wouldn’t say I gave an answer that was wrong, I suppose we grew up differently and despite us both being African-American, we’ve seen or experienced the world in a different light.
As Linus stated in the Charlie Brown Halloween special; “There are 3 things that you should never discuss with people; religion, politics and the Great Pumpkin.”
I’m going to be talking about 2 of those 3 topics. I don’t normally state my opinion regarding those topics but a few of these questions deal with religion and politics.
This list is made up of the “Top 15 Questions” that I’ve been asked the most by white people concerning black people.
Question #15; Why can’t most black people swim?
Answer: I’m going to say this right from the start; I CAN’T swim. Put me in the shallow end of the pool and I’ll be having the time of my life! But move on down to the deep end of the pool or the diving board, you can hang it up and call me later because I’m not messing around with that!
I guess it stems from my childhood when I used to go to the public pool at the park. You know when you were younger and your parents would tell you something that keeps you from wanting to do something?
I had one of those experiences when it came to swimming. I remember going to the pool with my church during the summertime or one of my relatives would take me to the park for a swim. My parents NEVER took me to the pool. They took me to the park a couple of times, but not the pool.
The reason I didn’t like the pool anymore was when my mom told me about how some people pee in the pool. When you are a little kid that kind of messes with your mind especially if you can’t swim that well and when you get out of the pool you burp a couple of times because you accidently swallow some of that pool water.
Have I ever tried to learn how to swim?
Yes, in 10th grade P.E. at the YMCA pool. However, I could never get over the whole “putting my head underwater” thing. I don’t like water in my ears or nose.
People ask me; “What if you are on a boat and it is sinking, how are you going to swim back to shore?” I can’t swim and I know that I can’t. That means I have enough common sense to not get on a boat or get in a pool; unless it is the shallow end of the pool or a boat with some lifeboats onboard.
When it comes to black women and swimming it just doesn’t mix especially women with those weaves and fake hair. As much time as they spend in the hair salons and the amount of money they pay for it, the last thing they want is to get into a pool and get their hair wet.
Question #14; Why do black people love fried chicken so much?
Answer: Let me say this from the get-go, I come from a predominately black family (yeah, just let that sink in for a moment).
I remember as a kid, we would have “Chicken Sunday.” After church was over, we would go over to “Big Mama’s House” (White people translation = Grandmother’s house) to have a dinner and of course the main dish would be fried chicken!
Well for my Big Mama and I think the same can be said for most black folk’s grandparents along with some of their aunts and uncles they had to have baked chicken instead. What can I say? Blood pressure, high cholesterol and all that stuff will catch up to all of us sooner or later.
There is just something about fried chicken that just makes black people go crazy. It isn’t really right to pin the love of fried chicken on JUST black people because almost everyone loves some good chicken. However, you could argue that black people love it the most.
Kentucky Fried Chicken! Back in the day, that was the best thing your mother could bring home for dinner. I don’t know why but somewhere down the line, it lost that “finger lickin’ good!” slogan and taste in their food. Most likely due to the chicken being manufactured or processed. In any case, it just isn’t the same anymore.
Question #13; Why do black people love Kool-Aid?
Answer: Same as #14, who doesn’t?! If you don’t like or drink Kool-Aid, I don’t know what to say for you. It is sad because you are missing out on a real treat.
For some reason black people just have a natural desire to want to use an entire bag of sugar for one pitcher of Kool-Aid.
That is why if you go to a restaurant and you see a black person order a cup of Kool-Aid, Country Time Lemonade or Sweet Tea and it isn’t sweet enough; they’ll use every pack of sugar or Sweet N’ Low in the restaurant for that one cup of drink.
I like mine sweet, but I don’t want a cup of Jell-O either.
We all know when it comes to black people and Kool-Aid flavors we don’t use the factory names; Wild Cherry, Grape, Lemon Lime, Raspberry Red, etc. Naming off Kool-Aid flavors for us is color based.
I’m sure you’ve heard at least one black person in a restaurant or in the grocery store saying “Do you have red Kool-Aid?”
Question #12; Why do black people love that “purple stuff?”
Answer: Must be something in the drink…
I remember last year one of my roommates got me a 12-pack of Fanta for my 21st birthday.
Want to take a guess at what flavor?
Seriously, if you don’t get it right on the first try I don’t know what to say for you…
I don’t know if it was a racial joke meant for a laugh or just harmless fun. I’ll tell you what, I lived in the same room with this guy for 2 semesters and I never once felt like I was the “outcast” in the room for being the only black person rooming with 2 white guys or anything like that. It was a gift for my birthday! And I enjoyed every drop of those 12 cans of purple stuff!
Ever since then I’ve had a craving for Grape Crush, must be in my genes.
Question #11; Have you even been followed around in a store before? How did that make you feel?
Answer: Yes, I remember it happened once when I was 12 and again when I was 18. I won’t name the store because I’ve been in multiple stores of the same company and it only happened at one particular store.
How did it make me feel? Angry because someone would think that low of me just because of the color of my skin.
While the store clerk was looking at me when I wasn’t doing anything wrong, someone else wandering around the store without someone staring or following them around could be taking something and then leave unnoticed.
Question #10; Why are black people good at sports?
Answer; Newsflash not every black people is good at sports. I know because I’m one of them.
The only “sport” I’m good at is dodge ball (well at least the dodging part, I don’t have the arm strength the throw the ball very far let alone throw with accuracy) and to a certain extent volleyball (when it comes to serving the ball).
Football and basketball seem to be the primetime sports for black people. Sadly, I wasn’t blessed with that talent. I’m more of a bookworm myself, but I’m cool with that because we all have different talents that make us special.
Question #9; How come black people have rhythm?
Answer; This is related to black people clapping on beat to a song, beat boxing with their mouths, beating on their tables with their hands making a catchy beat and of course dancing.
I’ve seen some black people dance before and it looks like that couldn’t follow a rhythm if you tied it to their feet. I’m in the choir at my church and some of the black people in the group can’t keep up with the clapping or the swaying back in forth (this includes some of the adults not just the little kids).
Well most of if not every single black people that I know can dance pretty well. I suppose it is a natural thing for black people to just dance good because we can follow a beat and go with the music.
When it comes to white people…I don’t know. Do you all follow the beat/music or just do your own thing?
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen some white people who can cut a rug like a hot knife cutting through butter. I remember being at a dance spot a couple of years ago and there was this white guy who could break it down!
Question #8; How come every black person can rap?
Answer; FALSE, I don’t know where you’ve heard this or if you have gotten this stereotype from seeing black rappers on TV but not every black person can rap! Trust me I know…
Can I rap?
Well yeah, I can freestyle (I do it for fun), make up rhymes and create parody videos just for a laugh. I don’t think I’m the best rapper in the world or think that if I put out an album it would go double platinum or anything.
If you don’t think white people can’t rap I don’t know what is wrong with you. Have you ever heard of a rapper named Eminem?
Question #7; How come black church services last so long and why do the people shout, dance and scream?
Answer: Religion and church have somewhat of a different meaning when it comes to black people and white people. Don’t get me wrong, both races LOVE us some God! It is just that we worship in different ways.
Black people go to church and just give it up to God! When black people go to church it is like we can let our hair down. If we’ve had a tough week full of stress, pain and struggle it feels kind of comforting to be around some other struggling folks as a reminder that you aren’t the only one going through something.
Now, I’ve been to a white church before. Things are a little different BUT the reason for the people gathering is the same; praising and worshipping God. White people just do it differently and that is ok. For example, if the preacher says something soul-stirring that would make someone in a black church shout no one shouts at the white church.
At the black church, again we just let it all out. In the middle of a sermon and especially during a song, if that Holy Spirit manages to be caught by a few people, then you can just shut the place down because there is an earthquake of stomping, a hurricane of praise in the form of shouting and the thunder of clapping going on.
Are all white churches like this when compared to black churches?
Of course not!
Again, we just worship differently and some churches aren’t even divided by race on Sunday. There are churches around the country and the globe where all races come together to praise God.
But why does a black church service last so long?
Um…that is a question with no solid answer. It is just one of those things that just happen, but we just don’t know why it is the way that it is just like how black people love chicken. We just do there is no scientific or logical way of giving an explanation for it. Just go with the flow on this on; it just happens.
It could be the same reason why we love coming to church; to praise God and be around other people with troubles of their own to know we are not in the struggle alone. When you are in that kind of atmosphere in the sanctuary, why would you want to go back to the world on the outside of the church where troubles and trials await you once you step foot out of the door?
If it was a really great church service, then your spiritual tank should be filled enough with the Holy Spirit to make it another week until the next service.
Some preachers either have something very important to speak on when they are led by the Lord to “feed” the Word to the “flock” and when it comes to God’s work there is no time clock to punch. Of course there are other pastors who just love to hear themselves talk. Sad but true.
I will say this about white churches; they start and end ON TIME. That just comforts me a bit to know that I won’t be in for a 7 hours service especially if I have to go to work the next morning or get some homework done. At the latest during a morning worship service at a white church, I can expect to get out by 11 AM or 11:30 AM at the latest.
The only services that I’ve been to at a white church that went on longer than planned were worship concerts when the people wanted the band to do encore performances.
Another thing that I appreciate about white churches is that very few of them have a building fund. That is usually because the building is already paid for, renovations have been made and if there is some fund or offering aside from the regular offering it is to raise money for a family in need or a food drive.
Question #6; Why are a lot of black people lazy?
Answer: This is about white people’s perspective on the stereotype of most black people living off of food stamps and welfare.
It is a sad and painful truth that a portion of black people do just sit around refusing to work and instead opting to get government money to pay for their lifestyle. Now I understand if you have a legit disability or reason for not being able to work for a living. However, for anyone not working just because they don’t feel like it or since they get “free money” because they can then shame on you.
You are just living up to the stereotypes that we are labeled with. I’m working on finishing my education so I can rise above the stereotypes and make something out of myself to become a productive member of society in whatever career path I choose to take.
I’ve heard a few black people say this; “Well our ancestors worked as slaves breaking their backs in the cotton field and didn’t get paid nothing except beatings and being sold on the auction blocks without seeing a penny of the money that they were sold for! I say, there is no shame in laying around now and living off the white man’s money!”
Get real! Our ancestors broke their backs in the field and even after the slaves were free they really weren’t “free” due to equal rights still being an issue. Many of them risked death for going to school to get an education. Nowadays we can go to school to get an education with the only difficultly being the rising cost of college tuition. Our ancestors didn’t work hard for us to just sit around refusing to make something of ourselves.
The people who give the excuse about slavery usually say that they were not smart enough to finish high school or go to college. If you could remember the information from your other classes as well as you remember that much about slavery from your history class then there is nothing you shouldn’t be able to pass.
Stop blaming “The Man” the only man holding you back is the man you see whenever you look into the mirror.
Question #5; Do you believe that racism still exists?
Answer: Yes, it’s sad but true. Despite it still being around, I’ve been blessed enough to have people in my life as friends who look at me as a person not a color. I know when some of my white friends ask me why I think it still exists; the only way to answer is basically that I just know because I’ve experienced it and sadly I still am.
As I said before, even though I have met people who are racist I’ve been privileged to know people who are not. I see people through eyes that are “colorblind” but in the world there are still some people who only see things in black and white.
Question #4; Why do black people vote Democrat?
Answer: I don’t know why do some white people vote Republican?
This answer is going to be short and sweet; if you automatically think it is because of Barack Obama you better think again.
Before he took office, black people were voting democrat. Also keep in mind that not ALL black people vote democrat. Some vote Republican, others are conservative and some just don’t vote at all.
So, don’t let what Kanye West said about George Bush cloud your judgment about black people and how they feel about Republicans.
Question #3; Why do black people support President Barack Obama?
Answer: It is not just black people who support the President, just saying.
As a whole, black people were excited to see one of our own running for a role in the White House that hasn’t been achieved by an African-American before. That was a big moment for us!
Many assume that every black person voted for President Obama in both elections and that is just false. It hurts my heart for people to just assume that because he is black that every black person who is able to vote will vote for him and it isn’t true.
Let me just say that no matter who is in the White House no matter what race or political party they are from that person is going to be the Commander & Chief of this country for 4 years (or 8 depending on if they win a 2nd term in office) so just get over it!
It makes me sick to hear people just complaining about the person who is running the country (and this goes for any president not just Obama). If you think you can do a better job then maybe you should run when you are able to meet the qualifications so until then just get it a rest. Also remember that it isn’t the president who runs the country it is the people. Yes the people, that means YOU and everyone else in the United States of America.
If you want to make a change take a look at the “man in the mirror” and do something about it. No matter who is in the White House, Congress, the state governor’s office or whatever that shouldn’t stop you from doing something to make this country better than it was before.
Question #2; Do you think Michael Jackson molested those kids?
I don’t care what social class you fit into or what race you are because this is one question that has been brought up in conversations before MJ died and the debate is still going on even today.
Let me tell you that I don’t think he did it in either of the situations where he had to go to court or be investigated. You have to understand that MJ wasn’t a “normal” guy who had a “normal” childhood.
Here is MY reasoning behind it; growing up in Gary, Indiana with his family in a small house having to sleep with all of his brothers in the same bed and then moving around the country going on tours with the Jackson 5 in hotels and whatnot wasn’t really something that did him any good in forming a normal perception in how the world works especially when it comes to sleeping in bed with another person.
So, to him when he “was in bed” with the kids it wasn’t anything sexual he was just in bed with them but that doesn’t mean he did anything “adult like” to those kids.”
I’m not saying I would sleep in the same bed as a kid let alone another person’s kid because well I just won’t do it. Now, I love MJ and when I say that I mean that I love him for his charity work, music, dancing and anything else he did in order to contribute to the field of entertainment especially when breaking down barriers and paving the way for other black artists.
We have to look at the word “love” a little closer because that word can have many different meanings. I’ve never met him while he was alive, went to a concert or anything like that so I didn’t know him as a person, I just knew him through his actions. I feel that anyone who would do so much for the world especially to help the children would NEVER do anything to hurt a child (except for holding Blanket outside of the hotel window dangling him for the fans to see…yeah that is kind of like walking on thin ice if you want to talk about that) and that is really all I have to say on the manner.
Just saying that is my opinion and you are free to have your own.
I’m the type of person who generally doesn’t judge or hate other people since I know that everyone has their own opinion about certain things but if you tell me that you don’t like MJ, you can just get out of my face because I don’t want to hear any of that!
And here is the final question that is the icing on the cake. This is #1 question that nearly every single one of my white friends has asked me before at least once in the time that we’ve known each other.
Question #1; How come it’s ok for black people to use the “N-word” but they get mad whenever a white person uses it?
Answer: It depends on the black person. That is probably not the answer you were looking for but that is my honest answer regarding that question. You will get a different reaction from different black people it is as simple as that. Why? Not every black person uses that word.
I DON’T use that word and I don’t care if it is the N-word that ends with the “-ar” or the “-er” it is still offensive. I really don’t know why anyone uses that word anymore.
Some of my friends use it and go; “Oh nah man, I don’t mean it in an offensive way. That is just what I say whenever I see ANY of my friends (no matter what color). I see them on the street and I go, what’s up my ______!!!!!”
This isn’t Rush Hour and you’re not Chris Tucker or Jackie Chan so just give it a rest…
However, just like curse words it is something that is not going to go away. Some of the most famous comedians like Chris Rock and Eddie Murphy (during his Delirious and Raw days) are known from their use of the word many times during a standup routine. Just take a walk down the street past a group of black people talking and you’ll probably hear the N-word used 42 times within 5 minutes.
A good number of my white friends have asked me this question but not EVERY white person I know has asked me this question.
Does it annoy me whenever one of my white friends asks me that question?
Well yes and no. Whenever they ask me that question in the back of my mind I kind of process and evaluate WHY they would ask me that question to begin with;
- Are they asking me because they’ve been around black people who use that word a lot?
- Have they had another white person ask them about why it is alright for black people to use the N-word but not white people and maybe they came to me looking for a little bit of guidance?
- Was there a time when the word “accidently” slipped out of their mouths when they were around black people and they got chewed out for it?
- Are they just curious?
And here is the reason behind their question that makes me a bit uncomfortable just to think about it;
5. Perhaps they WANT to use the N-word but don’t know when they can use it.
I can’t and I won’t try to tell people what they can say and when they can say it because that is not my job nor can I fight their given right of free speech. Just know that the word itself is just not cool.
Now when it comes to why it sometimes annoys me when a person asks me that question is because not too long ago one of my white friends just asked me out of the blue. We were hanging out off campus just checking out some stores like Wal-Mart, the mall and Barnes & Noble just to get out of the dorm on a boring day.
We were driving from one of the stores and then he just asked; “Hey man, how comes black people get mad when white people use then N-word but they can just say it all the time and nobody feels offended.”
That just caught me off guard because I’ve known the guy for like 2 ½ years and he has never once asked me about it. True, he waited awhile longer than most of my other white friends before he asked me but still it just came out of left field. We were out having a good time and it was quiet in the car and then the question just reared its ugly head. I didn’t get mad at him or anything like that I just simply said that I don’t know why and that was the end of that.
This is one of the questions that didn’t make my Top 15 but I felt it was good enough to make the Honorable Mention category.
Question; Is it ok for me to say the word “black” when referring to an African-American?
I’ll have to admit I do find it a bit humorous whenever I’m with some of my white friends and they want to tell a story about something that happened to them. They’ll start it off by saying; “Ok, so I was in class and there was this black guy…”
They would just stop mid-sentence and go; “Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry!!”
And then I’ll ask them what’s wrong and they’ll tell me that they didn’t mean to offend me by saying “black guy.” Usually, I’d just start to laugh because I would find it funny because they were being sensitive to my feelings (and that is cool), but a bit too cautious about it.
I respect that but I don’t want them to feel uncomfortable around me having to watch EVERYTHING that comes out of them mouths in fear that I would find it offensive because I’m black.
My guess is that they thought that I was going to say; “Hold up, why does it have to be a BLACK guy?!”
So, there you have it! Those were the Top 15 questions and I hope now that you’ve read my answers maybe you will know a little more about black people. I hope you enjoyed it and if you have any thoughts feel free to leave them in the comment section below.