We still hadn’t met yet, but this was the first night we spoke, aside from our cordial, yet topical email correspondence. His name was *Bryan, a Segment Producer at CBS Radford Studios. We bonded over our love and incrementally rewarding pursuit of the beast that is Hollywood. We both set up LLC’s for our very own production companies in 2017. There was enough commonalities to serve the tennis ball that is conversation, back over the net. All of which came to a fiery wreck when the topic switched to upbringings.
If you’ve ever met me, you know that I don’t have a representative that I send to scout a date. I don’t understand hiding who/what you are. I’d rather scare a guy off than mislead him to thinking I’m submissive in exchange for his company. Bitch please.
We both agreed that politics was too weighty a topic, so he asked about my “great” state of Virginia. I struck down the guise of pride he assumed I had for my homeland with the comment, “I’m from middle America, the same middle America that is impeding our progress. ” I said it jokingly, but I was serious. We continued talking for another 40 minutes and said our goodbyes.
Flash forward two days, I had texted Bryan asking when’s a good time for us to reconnect later in the week (since he made the first move and called me prior). He replied: “I’m going to end this right here. I can’t get out of my head what you said about middle America. I’m from Indiana. Your comment was beyond ignorant.”
In under 120 characters, I reminded Bryan I was from below the Mason Dixon, and have had beers dumped on me for going to the wrong bars, been spit at. All that, and yet I’m still attracted to white men. If I’m ignorant, what do you call Charlottesville?
Middle America is often not the safest place for blackness to thrive, and the fact that I had to explain doesn’t prove incompatibility, but there’s too much schooling necessary and the curricula is on the evening news. Every damn day.
After stewing a bit, recognizing that he still is a potential colleague if all interest fades, I replied: “We live in a world where the government will take your taxes and not investigate your homicide. Ask why people think the way they do, rather than come to any conclusion about who I am based on one sentence.” Bryan partially redeemed himself, he did ask why I felt as I did… I explained that I don’t hate anyone, and I’m not a victim, but blackness isn’t universally welcomed.
I shouldn’t be hard pressed to get an amen. It’s not a revelation that black women, can’t live their fullest, most avaricious lives in the closed-minded cornfields of fly-over-ville. Some do, I know. The essence of my rebuttal is not that small towns are lesser than, instead, that it’s not safe to be black everywhere.
Bryan will likely never be ready to face the HEAT that comes from having a bad black woman on his arm. If he hasn’t already sought to understand the stark realities of dark skin in America, is he worth entertaining? Yes, his credentials are on point, he’s ambitious, but he’s asleep at the wheel. Wake up.
Bryan is my new word for Becky.
*Names were changed to protect the culpable.
Carrie is a screenwriter and kick-ass accountant living in Los Angeles.