I know this may sound strange and keep it real, I've said some strange things before. But I'm feeling extra Black these days. I mean, I felt this way before, but lately, it's extra Black. There have been other times, like when I won the Gift of Blackness award in the third grade. That was definitely a Black moment. Or when I ran faster than my peers because, according to my teammate, Black people's muscle develop larger and much earlier. Extra Black that day mostly because dude had his thesis so laid out, I was starting to believe that ish! Feeling Black isn't part of the daily since I don't walk around with a mirror in front of my face. I notice other people who aren't Black and that almost seems stranger to me: it's raining, why isn't his hair curling up? I gave that "you know what I'm saying" look and didn't get a response--what a weirdo! Things like that.
So I know it might seem like an obvious statement to say that I feel like that mirror is being held in front of me every time I step foot in Marin county. Marin is an interesting place. As you enter from the East Bay, you have to pass Chevron oil refineries, San Quentin on the left and the canal (home to the immigrants who clean the houses, mow the lawns, and mind the children) on the right. Next, you go over this hill and there it is, like you just came up on the Emerald City, Marin County. You can spit in any direction and find a multi-million dollar home, with the CEO of some mega-company or super celebrity or some other new money. Your sad face doesn't have to be too sad to get one of them to cut you a check for five figures. Their concern for the [insert one: whales, bald eagle, grass, or wind] is only matched by their concern for the mad obscure village in South America they just happened to visit during their last family vacay to Machu Pichu. I know I sound bitter, but the means-well set gets on my damn nerves, especially when I have to interact with them everyday. They don't make it a secret when they meet me and ask for my pedigree. When I tell them, there response is "oh, okay" and they proceed to introduce themselves. They'll write a check for education having gone to college just to meet their future husband, knowing jack shit about pedagogy, only that their bleeding heart needs some healing.
The one thing that could possibly we worse than the mega-rich in Marin are the regular folk in Marin, the regular middle class folks, with a chip on their shoulder bigger than Mt. Tamalpais. Imagine being the school teachers, grocery clerks, pizza delivery people to the mega-rich, having to interact with their arrogance all damn day. You might sound slightly angry, annoyed, bitter...you might sound like me. But at the very least, I get to drive back to the East Bay, over a bridge with San Francisco on my right, the Port of Oakland in front of me, polluting the beautiful Bay in between. I've really been bitter for years: pissed off that I have to shop at Whole Foods for some decent food so I don't get some mystery cancer; angry that I have to travel hella far to get my hair products; annoyed that the "Obama is my homeboy" t-shirt only comes in 3X...but I used to have people around me who can share in this...and they aren't in Marin.
9 months ago