Thursday, May 03, 2007

Learning Curve

Young Mr. Whitefolks has now lived with and by us for the last six months.

By “us” I mean black people.

I’m sure being a minority in a minority neighborhood makes for some interesting stories for the relatives back in Wisconsin.

While Young Mr. Whitefolks enjoys Bronzeville, I’m sure he might still have some questions about black culture at large.

If he were going to ask questions about his neighbors and his neighborhood, this is what I’d imagine he’d say:

Why do you stop the car in the middle of the street to hold a conversation?

Where exactly is this Moo & Oink?

Bud Billiken? Who is Bud Billiken?

So what’s with the spinners?

Must there be two beauty supply stores per block?

What exactly is a square* and why would I have one?

Why does a straight man need a roller set?

So the CTA doesn’t run on time down here?

Despite the questions, I would imagine that Young Mr. Whitefolks has learned two important things about living amongst the peeps.

The first would be to try and buy stock in Newport cigarettes.

The second (and most important) would be to never, ever question a black woman about her hair.

Don’t ask why it’s long one day and short the next.

Don’t ask why some black women’s hair will be colors not found in nature.

Don’t ask about the package of hair.

Don’t pull an Imus.

Don’t ask why you’ll see some black women give the appearance of hitting themselves in the head. She’s scratching her head but is doing so in a manner that won’t mess up the hair style.

Just trust me on this one.

But Mr. Young Whitefolks may have also learned that if you ever touch a black woman’s hair unsolicited may put his physical being at risk.

I can’t wait to talk to him to hear his reflections on six months of south side urban living.

*A square is slang for a cigarette


ChiKat said...

Two years living here and I still can't answer why perfectly good doorbells are not used. Instead, vistors simply stop their car in the middle of the steet and lay on their horn over and over. Often late at night.

I can understand a quick horn tap, but after the 20th horn blast, I want to scream, "THEY DON'T KNOW THAT IT'S YOU OUT THERE BLOCKING TRAFFIC! USE THE DOORBELL!"

The Woodlawn Wonder said...

Oh yeah I forgot that one.

Young Mr. Whitefolks has mentioned about the horn thing. I'm not quite sure why we do that but it is annoying as shit.

kblog said...

Other questions he may ask

"Why do people wash their cars out on the street?"

Why do people hang around outside of liquor and convenience stores?"

Why are all of the young boys (and grown a#$ men) wearing white Fruit of the Loom t-shirts?

Why do people insist on washing my windshield when I stop at a red light?

I can go on and on!

The Woodlawn Wonder said...


With the exception of the windshield washing all of those action could (and are) taking place on college campuses (frat boys) small towns and large suburbs. Those actions aren't limited to black people.

Substitute movie theatre or McDonald's for liquor or convenience store and you've got a typical weekend night in Highland Park.

kblog said...

Sorry, I disagree on the Fruit of the Loom shirts. I live in Hyde Park. Those shirts are worn by the gangs so that it will be difficult to identify someone in a lineup. A police officer told me this. Can you imagine if someone snatched your purse and they were wearing one of those shirts? I don't know about you. But I see so many young men wearing these shirts that I can see how it would be difficult to describe the person.

kblog said...

Sorry, I didn't mean to say that I disagree. I just wanted to make that comment. If the boys in Highland Park or frat bros are wearing Fruit of the Loom shirts, it's unlikely that it's because they're in a gang.