Category Archive: Missteps

Feb 13

Writing “White”

WHAT’S PLAYING: Aloe BlaccI Need a Dollar

I spoke to one of my cousins a couple of days ago, and she mentioned that she found my blog on Google and read a couple of posts.

“Oh yeah?” I said, trying to sound casual. “What did you think?”

She was quiet for a long moment and then, “You sound White.”

Now, this is kind of a sore spot for me because I grew up hearing the same thing from Black relatives. To be fair, my cousin isn’t the only one who has made this observation. No fewer than three people have said the exact same thing to me in the past two weeks, and my response is always the same.

“What the hell does ‘White’ sound like?”

Their response is always the same: a shrug and a sheepish grin. “I don’t know. You just don’t sound Black.”

That’s helpful.

I learned to speak English in school. I don’t use slang very often, not even in casual conversation. I don’t have a Southern accent, and the only inflection to be found in my voice is sarcasm. I couldn’t even begin to tell you what “Black” sounds like.

 

I speak six languages, people. Ebonics is not one of them, and I don’t intend to learn. I don’t know how to be anything other than what I am: a multicultural woman who loves to write.

If that’s not enough for you, that’s your problem. Not mine.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.jacquitalbot.com/2012/02/writing-white/

Jan 30

Social Media 101 – Facing up to Facebook

WHAT’S PLAYING: Alicia KeysTry Sleeping With a Broken Heart

I joined Facebook a while ago, and I’m still not sure if it was the right move. I am a loner after all. Why go looking for more people to “friend” when I can barely manage the friends I have? I’ve been told that FB is a good place to reconnect with old friends from high school and college. This might be true, but if they were really my friends, then I wouldn’t have lost touch with them in the first place. (Some of you are probably shaking your head at me, but you know it’s true.)

I have serious reservations about social media and how it changes people. I’m “friends” with a few of my younger relatives, and they are completely different online. It’s as if they go from intelligent, well-spoken young people to profane idiots who couldn’t conjugate a verb to save their lives with just a click of a mouse. (You know who you are. Now stop it.) Then there’s the oversharing. (FYI: I don’t want to know what you had for breakfast this morning, or how wasted you got last night. And I really don’t want to see pictures.) The good news is that both issues are easily solved. All I have to do is click a button.

Another good thing is, since I’m not obsessed with making new friends or reconnecting with old ones, FB doesn’t take up too much of my time. I check it maybe once or twice a week at most, and I’ve only posted twice in the last six months.

The problem with FB is that it’s turned me into a bit of a stalker. Not a creepy, rabbit boiling, love-me-or-die stalker. I use it to keep track of what my friends and family are up to and how their lives are going. Which would be fine if I didn’t suck so much at actually checking in with them in real life. Sometimes I go months without talking to them. FB provides me with the unique opportunity to keep abreast of what’s going on my loved ones lives without actually having to speak with them. It’s a loner’s dream. All the important info with none of the messy contact.

Sometimes I wonder if this is healthy. Is it OK to allow a social network to maintain personal connections I should be forming myself? After all, the point of this blog, of all my forays into social media, was to connect with other people. Is it cheating to just sit back and watch my loved ones’ lives unfold on the computer screen without actually joining in?

Truth is, when it comes to connecting with people, I’m crap. I forget birthdays. (Unless FB reminds me.) I have no pictures of my friends or family. (Except for those I’ve downloaded from  FB.) And I couldn’t tell you how old my nieces and nephews are. (No wait, they’re on FB too.)

Huh.

Now all I have to do is find an app to take my place at family dinners.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.jacquitalbot.com/2012/01/social-media-101-facing-up-to-facebook/

Dec 19

No Pictures Please

WHAT’S PLAYING:  Bruno Mars “Liquor Store Blues”

I hate having my picture taken. If I had to choose between posing for a camera and putting out an oil rig fire with my tongue, I’d be on the next plane to Kuwait.

 

Lately, it’s gotten worse. Now that everyone has a camera/video phone, I’ve gone from antisocial to downright paranoid. I don’t like parties, but on the rare occasions I attend one, I’m jumpier than a bunny rabbit on speed. I’m a basket case, keeping constant watch for a cell phone pointed in my direction, twisting and turning in ways that would make a contortionist proud, all to avoid having my picture snapped.

Why I hate being in photos is a mystery. Even to me. Whenever I decline to participate in group photographs, my friends sigh in exasperation and point out that I used to be a model. True. But I hated it even then. In fact, the only reason I got into modeling was so that someone not related to me would tell me I was pretty.

Earlier this week, I got some bad news from my Social Media 101 teacher. Apparently, people relate best to people they can see, which meant I needed a photo for my blog, website and social media profiles.

 

(Gulp.)

I calmly explained to my teacher that I don’t like having my photo taken. I’d rather people concentrate on my words rather than my face.

He didn’t budge.

I tried a different tack. My hair looks weird on film. I have acne and braces and I don’t even wear makeup.

Nothing.

As I got more desperate, so did my excuses. My eyes are sensitive to light. Cameras give me hives! Scurvy! Rickets!

His reply? Get over it.

So, that’s how I wound up spending five hours changing clothes, rearranging my hair, posing, and later, combing through photographs until I found one that wasn’t too bad, but still looked like me.

 

(You can check out the full size one on the About Page.)

I have to admit that — while it sucked — it wasn’t the torturous, crawl-over-broken-glass-while-gargling-sulfuric-acid, experience I thought it would be.

But if I come down with rickets, my teacher is in serious trouble.

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.jacquitalbot.com/2011/12/no-pictures-please/

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