Notes From A Half White Girl

The last time I dated a white person was five years ago, and it was a horrible experience for lots and lots of reasons that I don’t even have to time to write about here. So I’ll keep it focused on one aspect, which is: race. He was Southern Italian, and anybody who has seen a map knows that Southern Italy is very close to Africa. Southern Italians are known for being swarthier and having darker features from generations of interracial families. I, however, didn’t really care about any of that until said ex decided that it would be cute to lord his heritage over me, a Mexican-Filipino-Dutch woman who is the product of second generation interracial marriage. He liked to say things to me like, “I’m darker than you” and “I’m more of a person than you are” because of that. Five years ago, my praxis was still evolving, so I mostly just wrinkled my nose at him and ignored it. But after reading about the recent Jessica Krug scandal, I wish I had punched him in the face.

Apparently this is a fairly common mentality among white people, and it’s something that needs to be actively called out and shamed before it metastases even further. It’s easy for white people to look at the aesthetics of race and think, “I’m not that different from them.” White people can get their tans, get their hair done, put on hoop earrings, get lip injections, and voila! Race is a social construct that can be cosplayed whenever convenient. The lived experience of race in America doesn’t register to white people who can’t fathom that not being white in America is inextricably linked to American racial identities.

When I look at white people dressing up as POC, I realize, oh, shit, as a white passing, racially ambiguous, half white woman: I am the grey area that white people slide through in order to come out the other side as fake POC. This is my territory. It’s my job to hold this down and hold people in this space accountable.

But I am so confused. And I don’t know how to do that. I feel fucking harmed by white women who dress up as people of color. They look like me! In some cases, they look more like a person of color than I do. In doing so, I feel like my experiences as a white mixed race woman are invalidated, and the conversation I want to have with other people like me becomes irrelevant, invalidated and easily cancelled by snakes who want to coopt that experience. But the difference is that they are white and they have lived their lives as white people. We are not the same.

This insidious, snake-ass bullshit undermines the trust that BIPOC can have for those of us who are in the racial middle. I get that being an ally means that every day we have to prove ourselves to be an ally in a renewed way because of people like Jessica Krug. But because of people like her, we have to find new ways to build trust. The only way that we can rebuild that trust is to always give our seat at the table to someone whose voice is more marginalized. It is on those of us who are light skinned or white passing to use the privilege afforded to us by colorism to end the pernicious cycle that excludes our friends with darker skin.

In many ways, my ex was just trying to invalidate me and invalidate my experiences growing up in a mixed race household. Which is, ultimately, the whitest thing he could have possibly done. These small incidents of erasure might be funny to white people who don’t understand the difference between darker featured white people who were reabsorbed into white culture and lighter featured POC who are still not purely white. But for those of us know what the fuck is up, let’s make sure those fuckers know their time is up.

Violation

“Did you say no?”

I finally worked up the courage to tell an ex-lover of mine about a certain sexual impropriety he had a habit of committing against me. For some reason he only initiated sex when I was asleep, and then I’d wake up, getting fucked, but not particularly enjoying it or interested in it because he only did it when he was coming off drugs and needed to cum in order to calm down enough to go to sleep. It sucked. Sure, I probably should have said something sooner, but I’m constantly working on myself, so talking about it a year later is the best I can do right now.

Of course he wants to know if I said no. If I tried to push him off me. If I told him to stop. He wants to know if I’m telling people he raped me. He wants to know if I think he’s a rapist.

But it’s more complex than that. Yes, I could have said ‘no.’ Yes, I should have told him to stop. But I didn’t. Because even then, I knew that it would be easier for both of us if I kept it to myself, if I kept my hurt feelings to myself, like the good little Catholic girl I am. I couldn’t even imagine saying ‘no.’ Because as soon as I said ‘no,’ I would have had to deal with either one of two possibilities: him not stopping or him stopping. If I said ‘no’ and he didn’t stop, then, yes, he would be a rapist, and I would have had to deal with the emotional burden of telling him he’s a rapist. If I said ‘no’ and he did stop, then he would have been a rapist, but with some gray area to it. It was easier for me to not say anything and not have to deal with the emotional pitfalls of accusing him of rape.

Instead, I didn’t say ‘no,’ and I waited a year to talk about it, and, no, he’s not a rapist. But he is the type of guy who likes to fuck unconscious women, and that is its own kind of gross.

Desperate Times Call For Desperate Pleasures

I scoffed at the text message. Which he sent at 1am. Asking me why I didn’t call him.

I got an email from someone who saw me on Tinder, looked me up, found my email address, and entitled it, ‘Dating.’ That was creepy as fuck.

Another text message from a recent tepid hook up, asking me for the opportunity to ‘fuck the shit out of me’ after I stopped hitting him up because he had mansplained to me why La La Land was better than Moonlight. Such cringe.

I did a bunch of ketamine with my local drug dealer a couple weeks ago and then had a panic attack that I got coronavirus just because of course my throat felt a little achey after blowing lines. Duh.

Currently hoarding Viagra and Cialis.

The Menace

I hadn’t been to a bar in months because, y’know, there’s a pandemic and shit, but it was my birthday and my best friend needed to buy me drinks because especially in times like this, tradition is more important than ever. So I did what I always did: put on a tight, short dress, five inch heels, and hobbled over to the bar right at opening so I could drink two bottles of wine and various shots with my best friend. I was very excited to be perched at one of the sparse, outdoor tables at the bar, watching the people coming and going, pretending like everything was fine as we traded stories of our relatively un-debaucherous quarantine lives, when of course people started milling about. Oh, yeah – I wasn’t the only person out there who was desperate for a simulacrum of bar life and socializing. This, of course, meant that all the most lonely, pathetic people were coming out of the wood works. As I sat there, sneering into my drink, I couldn’t help but judge all the people who were coming to the bar for a drink during a fucking pandemic, while also reminding myself that I, too, was there. That being said, it was only a matter of time before someone irritated me, and seeing as I was six drinks in already, I couldn’t help but pop off after this rando who had ambushed our table declared, “I have only slept with two black women in my life!” Ugh, please, I did not leave the house today so I could experience a helping of casual racism. So, true to style, I started screaming at him to shut up! Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! Because it was my birthday, and I was turning 33 years old, and screaming at someone while drunk felt like the appropriate thing to do. However, the people at the table next to us did not appreciate my screaming fit, which then devolved into me screaming at them, so…

*

It sounds like you’ve been in toxic relationships. 

I had been texting the boy du jour about the miscommunication patterns in my two pivotal romantic relationships when he sent me that. Ugh. Gag. I had been trying to explain to him that while, yes, a person’s true nature – e.g. their motivation in life, their character, their core desires – don’t change, the way that a person’s personality manifests varies based on the circumstances, and sometimes their partners create the circumstances which can cause a person’s behavior to change. I don’t know how that turned into him pitying me for having gone through some toxic bullshit, so I let him know Yes, and I am the common denominator in those relationships. Because I was trying to be honest with him because of course I actually like this one, but then again I always like the boy du jour until the jour is over.

Really? Maybe you’re just unlucky.

Ugh. Fuck. Here I am, trying to be honest and vulnerable about the fact that I am an adult woman who consensually opted into long term romantic relationships with people who were no good for me (and for whom I was no good), and this is a recurring theme in pretty much all personal relationships, and I know that I do that, and I’m not trying to stop, and…it just fell on deaf ears. I’m just a toxic woman, looking for love, and I’m trying to be accountable and responsible throughout this process! Where is my BuzzFeed think piece on ethical dating for toxic women, or my Vice News ‘how to’ guide?

My friends pity me for my ‘bad’ relationship choices, too. As though I’m a victim of some extenuating circumstances that have lead me into great love and grand heart break. But I  am beyond circumstance. I have made these decisions, whole heartedly and fully aware of the consequences. I have no problem taking ownership of my narcissistic, self indulgent decisions that have lead to blow up after blow up. But perhaps my friends are just trying to be good friends. Perhaps they are sick of watching me self harm through romantic relationships over and over again. If only somebody knew how to make me stop.

*

I have no desire to be a leader. Or a manager. Or a boss. Or an owner. I am an anarchist, and as such I have a duty to be the most disruptive follower out there. I demand of my leaders that they lead me, that they steer my wayward, meandering ass towards the place where I want to go. I insist that my managers manage me, that they cope with my personal shortcomings, my sloth, my insouciance in order to get the best out of me. To own me is to the do the hard work of making all this potential become worthwhile. To boss me is to labor under the hope that I will be worth it. Being a follower is not a passive, sheep-like occupation. It is a constant act of rebellion. It is a pure expression of selfishness to stray from the pack. I demand to be lead to a better place, and I demand that my leaders take me there. Or I will go there myself, and anyone who wants can tag along, but I will not be leading the way.

Away From Writing

Because it feels so fucking overwhelming right now. Moreso than ever before, it feels futile. I am stranded in the chaos of the moment, and writing these words on this page feels hopeless. An exercise in obsolescence. More moaning in the background. What do I hope to accomplish by writing when the world is on fire. There is no making the world a better place. There is only survival.

BLM for Babies

“I don’t care if I die at this protest!”

I’m driving my teenage niece to her first BLM protest because she’s been radicalized by TikTok praxis and wants to get with the shit. I think it’s cute, mostly because she’s been telling me about how to avoid getting tear gassed and how to film police not protesters. She’s so idealistic about this whole thing, and it’s giving me life, but I also told her: protests are basically just political exercise. We’ll probably walk around for a mile, listen to some speeches, then go home. She thinks that we’re going to get assaulted by the police, but first of all, Oakland on a Friday afternoon is not going to get poppin off like that because these are community events and it seems like there’s a tacit agreement to not assault protesters when the families show up during the day. That’s a night time activity. Secondly, fuck no I am not bringing my niece to one of those legit ass dangerous protests. Yes, they are fun as fuck, but does my niece seriously think I’m going to take her to a protest where she might die!? Jesus, I’m not that irresponsible.

So I tell her, “Well, I care if you die, so you’re not going to die at this protest, but I appreciate the passion that you’re bringing to the table. But, you should know, as a young woman of color the most radical thing you can do to piss off the man is live a long, prosperous life.”

I don’t think that comment really sank in, but that’s okay. Today is the first day of us being comrades in arms, so there is plenty of time for me to indoctrinate my niece with my particular brand of PMA anarchism. Which is weird but also thrilling because I didn’t even realize that we were bringing the next generation of political activists into the fold already! We are bringing these babies into the future!

But also, yes, I must admit it: I am getting old. Which makes me feel slightly self conscious because that probably means that some of my political ideas are likewise dated. My niece is going to take the praxis that me and my friends developed over a decade of BLM and Occupy protests and make it work for their generation. We only accomplished so much in our time, and now the next generation is going to let us know how our ideology failed them.

Whatever. I’m hella proud of my niece for her interest in politics. It’s weird to realize that she’s not four years old anymore. She’s with the shits now, and as I listen to her rant about social injustice I realize, damn, it won’t be long before she’s out there doing the maniest shit possible, just like I used to do, and that scares the shit out of me. I can feel it happening. I can feel myself wanting to say, “Please be safe,” but I can also feel myself screaming, “Safe! Safe!? The world is unsafe so who cares if I’m in danger at the protest!” Oh, god, my niece is going to be out there getting arrested and rubbing elbows with  people who might hurt her. Fuck! When I did that, it was fine because it was me, and no one in my family knew, and no one had to worry.  But know that my niece is doing it, and also because I know exactly how grimey it gets out there, this shit is not cool, guys! Fuck. Women are still out there getting sexually harassed, and now that I know my niece is going to be in the line of fire, I’m experiencing this new, special type of vengeance that I never felt before. Why didn’t I change the world when I had a chance? Now my niece is out there, trying to change the world, and I feel like such a fucking failure. Oh, and that makes me mad. So, to the protest we go.

Sitting in Silence

I have no desire to add to the din of the moment, but the inertia of sitting here and stewing inside of everything that is happening right now is dizzying. Or, it’s not that I don’t want to say something, it’s that my voice isn’t needed here. I have nothing to contribute to TikTok praxis, no release to be had at the riots, no platform in which in my opinions matter more than someone else’s. I’m a grown up now, and as I have grown into this racist, sexist, capitalist society, I have become entrenched in its mores and indebted to the system. But fuck the system. I have always known that, even as I sink slowly into its clutches. This is a racist system, and as someone who has one iota of power and voice in the system, it is now my responsibility to use my voice in my tiny corner of the system to try to change it. Which is why I’m not going to protests with any regularity or fervor. I have been to protests. I know what they accomplish. Or, I know what they’re supposed to accomplish: convincing people like me that we should do something in our own backyards. So while everyone else is screaming, I am sitting in relative silence, although it’s not really silence. I just know that no one can hear me over everything else that is happening.

I’m trying to imagine a better society, one that is not racist and not sexist, but I can’t. I can’t imagine changing this society enough to a point where equality is achievable. This society is rotten to the core. It is corrupt. There are too many people here who have reaped the benefits of discrimination. I could never trust that this society could truly change. It would always feel like a ruse, a trap. In this society, we cannot fight for equality. This society is designed to be ruled by the person who fights hardest for their own supremacy, but whoever wins that fight will always be the villain. Equality cannot be found here. Equality was never supposed to be a part of this society. I have spent too much time in this society to believe that it can do anything other than lie to me. This society will tell me that I am equal, and then sneak behind my back and strip me of rights I didn’t know that I had in the first place. I am afraid that none of this will ever be enough. I am afraid that total destruction is the only answer. Perhaps this is why I prefer to be unheard. I fight like there is nothing left to be salvaged from this society. It is a hellish way to fight, and I hope that no one else has to fight like this anymore. I want to watch everyone else fix the system and succeed so that I can take my cynicism and waste away on my own time.

Man Eaters Have Feelings, Too

Several people have called me a ‘man eater’ which has given me pause. I looked up the definition of a man eater, and it seems that man eaters are considered to be promiscuous, manipulating, cold hearted, withholding, deceptive, and hell bent on under mining men’s confidence and self worth. I mean, sure, fine, ok, maybe I’ve got a touch of all of that in my heart, but, also, um, excuse me! I more than just a cold hearted bitch. I have feelings and needs, too. Just because I have given ‘a chance’ to men who I kinda knew weren’t up to the task of dating me, and just because I walked away from those relationships with no remorse or regret, doesn’t make me a mean person. If anything, I think I’ve been pretty open and honest on a social media level about my expectations of relationships, dating, sex, etc. If someone hasn’t done their research, that’s kinda on him. I do my research. If anything, I yearn for love. I love being in love. I like relationships. I’m open minded when it comes to dating, and I accept that I will make mistakes, and I’m not too hard on myself about it. If that makes me a man eater, then, damn. Fine. I just rue the idea that female confidence is always flipped into a pejorative. But whatever. Anyone who’s worried about labeling me a ‘man eater’ probably isn’t my caliber of person anyway.

BLM Mega Rant

I usually don’t like to talk about my professional life on my blog because it’s not very salacious, but given recent events I have a lot of shit on my mind.

I work in the spirits industry (and, by extension, the hospitality industry). It’s a tight knit community in the Bay Area. With the recent protests and riots, the issue of Black Lives Matter has come to the forefront of the conversations in our community. Given the compounding circumstances of the pandemic, people are more exposed to the message and the urgency of the BLM movement. That’s a good thing! We are now witnessing the biggest civil rights movements in American history.

But this is a rant. There are many reasons why this is a rant. I almost can’t even organize my thoughts intelligently because I’m so angry right now.

I know that today might be the first day that many people have decided that they want to be anti-racist. That’s great for them. However, as someone who has been aware of these issues and been to these protests and participated in activism in the racial justice realm, I am incredibly frustrated. We all know how easy it is for people to post on social media. A lot of people think that they are going above and beyond by going to these protests (although I have a sneaking suspicion that a lot of people are going just because they’re lonely and bored, but, hey, I’m a cynic). A lot of people think that going to a protest is what they need to do in order to take a stand against racism and police brutality. I am here to say: that is not enough.

Protests are for young people and the disenfranchised. Protests are how the powerless people express their power. However, I am not powerless, nor are any of my professional peers powerless. Yet when I spent time this week talking to people in my professional realm about anti-racist solutions, no one wanted to do anything. Yeah, I get it, anti-police brutality is the hot topic in anti-racist circles right now. But I don’t have any power over the police or government policy and budgets that relate to the police. Nor do any of my peers. Yes, we might feel powerless to impact the conversation of anti-police brutality outside of concerted efforts to call our elected officials, sign petitions and donate to bail funds. But this movement doesn’t stop at ending police brutality. It begins at ending police brutality.

Fine, sure, if it’s your first day not being racist, this is probably all pretty overwhelming. But, fuck, why am I talking to people who didn’t know that all this was going on? Honestly, I’m shocked that anyone I know or come in contact with didn’t know about this. We live in the Bay Area! We live in California! I remember the Rodney King riots. Oscar Grant was murdered only 11 years ago. Black Lives Matter protests have been happening across the nation for the past decade. Where the fuck were these people? I guess they were at work doing other things, but, fuck. Having conversations with people about BLM has made me wonder – do these people not have any black friends? It’s super awkward to be around people who need to have their white, anti-racist, day one tears acknowledged and validated. That is not the point of all of this! I am way past the point where I can even cater to or indulge those tears. Because it’s your fucking fault if you didn’t know this shit was going on in the world you live in. It’s your fault you didn’t look around you. It’s your fault you haven’t been paying attention. So sit the fuck down and shut the fuck up.

I guess it’s not incredibly wild to fathom that people who haven’t been involved in anti-racism would bilk at my ideas for the spirits and hospitality industry. I’ve been trying to garner support for any of my ideas, which are as follows:

  1. Kentucky based whiskey companies need to stand in solidarity with protesters fighting for justice for Breonna Taylor and David McAtee. They were murdered in Louisville, a city that is known as the hub of the bourbon trail. Kentucky based whiskey companies need to be held accountable for acting to end racism in their backyard. They need to donate money to bail funds, to Black Lives Matter, or the NAACP. Anything less than a pro-black organization is pandering. I think it would be great for these companies to donate 1% of their 2019 profits to these causes. Brown Forman, the parent company of Jack Daniels and owner of other Kentucky whiskey brands, made $835 million last year. Brown Forman is also the #4 donor to Rand Paul through the course of his career as a senator. As of yesterday, Rand Paul was blocking an anti-lynching bill in the senate. That is unacceptable. Kentucky is a Southern state, and when I visited the distilleries in Kentucky I was shocked by how overwhelmingly white those businesses are. Kentucky based whiskey companies need to take a stand, they need to send a message that they are anti-racist by putting their money where their mouth is. Hopefully their hiring processes will follow suit.
  2. Reparations. That’s right. I said it. Reparations. As it pertains to the hospitality industry, we need to offer reparations to workers in this industry who are at the most risk of physical harm, who are low wage workers, and who are typically passed over for promotions. This is includes bouncers, dish washers, and fast food workers. And, yes, we need reparations! I believe in reparations for all black Americans, but giving out money is a tricky and overwhelming process, so there is where I’ve decided to start. I see people donating money to help the small businesses that were looted and harmed during the protests. It is tragic that this happened to the small businesses. But what about the workers? What about the people who can’t even open businesses on their own? What about people who have worked at these restaurants for years, currently can’t work because of the shut down, are facing a loss of income when the unemployment bonus dries up, and are kept at the back or in the most dangerous parts of these businesses? Where’s the money for them? Where’s the money acknowledging that their work is valued by the community? Reparations are the only way we can ask for forgiveness from the black community and truly heal.
  3. A zoom panel that addresses black issues in the industry. An all black panel. Specifically for black workers in the industry. Let’s give them a space to talk about what impacts their work, what they need, and how things should change. I don’t need to see another white-pandering, anti-racist zoom panel that neatly spells out the ABCs of how not to be racist to white people. Elevate black voices. Give them a platform to talk about themselves, not about white people. I can think of 10 people off the top of my head who would have amazing things to say, whose voices I want to hear.
  4. A mentorship program that matches black workers with distillers, bar owners, bar managers, and brand ambassadors to encourage career growth.

I am putting these ideas out there, and I am super frustrated that within the last week of talking about these things, no one wants to collaborate or use any of these ideas. At one point, someone told me that they don’t want to do this because they’re not sure if it’s what the black community wants. Which flabbergasted me because I know that they weren’t in touch with the black community. Hate to say it, but I was the closest they were going to get to the black community on that call. It’s also ridiculous to think that black people should be seeking out organizations and making demands of them at a time like this. If we want to help the black community but aren’t directly involved with them, then we have to try. We have to have ideas. We have to make bold moves. Yeah, we risk the black community not wanting those resources, but so what? It’s better than doing nothing at all.

This is all to say that allyship is fucking exhausting. Not nearly as exhausting as being a black person in this industry. I just wanted to share with all seven of my readers that while this might feel like a historic moment, behind close doors I as a white passing woman can’t even get my white colleagues to show solidarity. So I’m in a very cynical mood, because we all love to post about ways the make things better. But I have watched people not be accountable all week long. It is making me so fucking angry to see this movement exploited for clout, as usual.

I support black power. For me, Black Lives Matter doesn’t go far enough. I support black people in positions of power in every industry, but especially mine. I have never had a black boss in this industry, and I have had shockingly few black coworkers. I don’t expect any black person to tell me what they need if they don’t want to. The burden is on me to fix this system, and if I get it right, cool. And if I get it wrong, I’ll try harder next time.

The Litmus Test

Now that I can’t use the bar as a standard setting for screening my dates, I’ve decided that I should put more effort into the other aspects of screening my dates. I always like to find out about a man’s relationship with his mother – that’s usually a good indicator of his general attitudes towards women. But recently I’ve found that my favorite, perhaps most important litmus test is: how does he feel about sex workers?

While I have never been a sex worker myself, I have always felt very accepted by the sex worker community for the writing I have done. Several of my best friends are sex workers. I believe that sex workers’ rights is one of the most important new social justice causes of the century. So it’s important to me that the men I get involved with aren’t whorephobic.

I like to bring up sex workers casually. Sometimes I mention my best friend, sometimes I mention my best friend’s sugar daddy, sometimes it’s just random. I like to gauge a man’s reaction to my conversational mention of sex workers. Does he tense up? Is he at a loss for words? Is he contributing something to the conversation? Does he get weird and ask inappropriate questions? Or is he cool?

Nowadays, I find that most men know the correct answer: sex work is real work. Plenty of men know women who are sex workers. Some of them are even friends. However, recently I’ve discovered that ‘not being whorephobic’ simply isn’t good enough for me. Because even if a man can deliver the politically correct answer to, “How do you feel about sex workers?” I find that often times men always like to put a caveat on the response: sex work is real work, but I would never pay for a prostitute.

I do not like this answer. Granted, there’s more context to the answer that makes me dislike it. Generally, men like to say, “I would never pay for a prostitute because I don’t need to/have to/want to pay for it.” Something like that. It’s so condescending. It’s almost like saying, “Paying for a sex worker is beneath me.” Which to me sounds like, “I support the idea of sex work, but it’s for ugly men and beta cucks.” No! No, no, no, no, no.

The idea that paying for sex work is a last resort for desperate men who can’t score pussy on their own is a toxic attitude that perpetuates whorephobia in its own way. First of all, whenever a man says that to me, I always want to tell them: I know plenty of men, some of who are hotter, younger, richer and/or happier than you, and they revel in paying for sex. Being able to fuck women for free has nothing to do with it. I have learned from these ‘plenty of men’ that paying for sex is about having a quality experience. It’s about investing in sex rather than throwing the dice and hoping that tonight’s Tinder date is down for some freak shit.

To say that paying for sex work is for desperate men implies that there’s something shameful about paying for sex, that it’s an act of defeat. Shaming men who pay for sex perpetuates the stigma and shame around sex work, which in turn makes it harder for sex workers to fight for their rights. If the clients of sex workers hide in the shadows, how are sex workers supposed to come into the fold?

Sure, I get it, a lot of men aren’t interested in paying for sex, and that’s fine. I would feel differently about the conversation if a man were to say, “No, I don’t pay for sex, and it’s not something I plan on doing because that’s not where I’m at with my sexuality right now. But, who knows, maybe that will change in the future.” If a man says he supports sex workers, but then turns around and poo poos the idea of paying for sex himself, then he doesn’t really understand what it means to support sex workers. And that’s not good enough for me anymore.

Turns out I love men who love prostitutes.