Friday, March 09, 2007

Ms. White Folks

Lord Jesus protect us. There’s a new white girl in town.

Patty Cake has moved to South Shore with her man and her baby.

She was formerly a Hyde Parker but she and her man took the plunge and became home owners with the arrival of the little one.

Loving a good deal and not afraid to be a minority in her own neighborhood, she and her family moved to 76th & Essex.


Child, please.

Patty Cake can literally roll with anyone. She is one of the few white people that I know that will actually live in a mostly black neighborhood and not think that it was odd.

Hell, Patty Cake might even have an afro pick somewhere on her dresser.

While she’s a down ass broad, don’t mistake her coolness for either liberal guilt or an attempt to launch a career as a white rapper. She knows she’s white.

No disaffected speech, no baggy clothes and thank God she hasn’t french braided her hair.

She keeps it real Patty Cake style.

Last Sunday another mutual friend Nasir and I stopped by the Cake’s house for a chat and to see the new digs.

Unfortunately we dropped by too late to see the baby but Patty Cake’s fish out of water stories did not disappoint.

“You know Woody the kids have kind of adopted me around here and shepherded me through these first few months.”

“Ya don’t say?”

Did I mention that the ‘Cake is an educator so she has a natural rapport with the pre-teen set.

“Yeah, they’ve told me to stay out of the Family Dollar and off of Hamilton street.”

Now I don’t know jack about the South Shore neighborhood so I generally accepted this as wise decisions from the tykes.

“It’s like my neighbors have adopted me.”


“Why do you think that is?”

“To keep you safe. Everyone knows if something happens to you and that baby the police will be all over this neighborhood like stink on shit.”

Patty Cake shot me a quizzical look

“Heavy police presence will disturb the ebb and flow of the streets. No one will make any money. It’s just easier to keep you and the baby safe.”

She then told of how the older women across the street advised her to make a small slice in her city and license plate sticker.

‘Cause everyone knows that if you put them in you window or on you plates intact they’ll both be gone in less than 24 hours.

Well everyone knew that except the ‘Cake.

God bless her.

She also told of the helpful police officers and random people who stop and ask her if she wants a ride back to her car or if she needs any help.

They stare in amazement when she tells them that she lives in the hoody hoo.

As our conversation wore on and we talked on various subjects, Patty Cake would remark: That’s exactly what the ladies across the street said!

I told her that I’ve been at this black thing for a couple of years and might have learned a thing or two.

Nonetheless she was perplexed at why her repeated calls to her management company to fix the front gate had fallen on deaf ears.

I told her the answer was simple, “They think you’re black.”

I hated to tell her that in 2007 laws have changed but many things are still the same.

I further stated that they either think you’re black or that you’re not a very respectable white person.

“Why would they think that?”

“Cause what type of white person would live in a neighborhood with all of these niggers?” I replied.

You could hear Patty Cake and Nassir suck the air out of the room as my last comment caught them off guard

“I’m just telling you how it works ‘Cake. Your best bet is to take you and your baby down to the management office and present yourself.”

“Why bring the baby?”

“To show that your living at 76th and Essex is not the result of a mixed marriage. In my opinion they’ll take you more seriously if they know an honest to god white couple with a child lives in the development.”

Such is the state of things in Chicago these days.

“Cake, it doesn’t phase me anymore when people meet me after they talk to me on the phone---they’re totally expecting a white woman. I just use it to my advantage.”

Speaking the King’s English is not necessarily a bad thing.

When I mentioned to my friend Rita that I was in her old stomping grounds and told her where I was she whipped around and said, “Why were YOU there?”

“Visting a friend”

“I didn’t know you rolled like that over in Terror Town.”

“Oh no Rita, this a friend who just bought a condo.”

“At 76th and Essex? Are you bullshitting me?”

“Nope…And she’s white.”

“What did she do that for?”

I generally took this as a sign that perhaps Patty Cake hadn’t moved to the Gold Coast. From my limited observation I can tell you that Jamba Juice has yet to scout locations close to her house.

In parting I told her that I would visit more often as her everyday life would be better than any admission based entertainment currently offered in the city limits.

Think about it, Patty Cake sitting on a folding chair eating watermelon (no, I’m NOT making this up) with mature black women on a hot summer’s day.

Pass the salt, child. Pass the salt.

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