Wendy Jane’s Soul Shake Disclaimer
I realize that every time I say, “I like black people because….., or “I like soul music…” inferring that that connects me to all black people,..that I am generalizing, stereotyping, maybe patronizing, idealizing, and exoticizing (okay, so that’s not a word), too. I know not all black people like to, or even can dance, and I know not all black people are uninhibited extroverts. I know this, and am poking fun at myself, or maybe really experiencing white guilt, for entertaining such thoughts and feelings. Please forgive me. Thank you.
Go Ahead, Girl!
My younger sister noticed at her last high school reunion that the white people looked rigid and bored sitting at their dinner tables. She admired her black classmates who she said laughed, danced, and seemed like they were having a good time.
I admire black people, too, for showing a zest for life, or at least seeming less inhibited than white folks at times seem. I admire that quality because I see myself as outwardly reserved and inhibited. When someone is demonstrative and enthusiastic, I feed off of their energy. When they’re up, I’m up. Sure, I know there are shy black people. I’ve met some of them. And, I know there are exuberant white people because I’ve met some of them, too (though I can’t say I met many of those when I lived in the Midwest for a couple of years. White people there did not seem to like to show their feelings).
While I’m happy to be around black people when they are demonstrative, I also worry that I’m going to be called out to display some white woman zest, to show that I’m a sister in my own right. What if I’m hanging out with some black folks and they say, “Go ahead, girl,” and I can’t go ahead, and instead give a weak smile and stare at the ground? Sometimes I feel like I’m a black person trapped inside a white person’s body. I want to be able to throw my hands up in the air and wave them around like I just don’t care when prompted, but I was born shy, and my body freezes when the spotlight is on me.
But, one can still hope, right? That the next time a black person says to me,”Girl you put on a little weight–you look good!” that I can show off, and break into a sassy model’s pose. And, that when I’m asked to appear on the reinstated Mo’Nique Talk Show, or The Ellen Show because Wendy Jane’s Soul Shake has gone national, that I can get down like a white sister who is obsessed about race relations should, and just maybe I can make black people proud of me for trying.