How To Be Black

"Our neighbors love us (to our face anyway), I think because we don’t bring any other black people to the neighborhood."

In answer to the Day 11 Question “Are You The Black Friend?’”

My family and I live in an upscale neighborhood and are one of two black families.  Our neighbors love us (to our face anyway), I think because we don’t bring any other black people to the neighborhood.  They don’t know that it is just circumstantial, our black friends live in a different region of the US and my husband and I don’t usually make new black friends because we’re vegetarian atheists.  I go out to lunch with my neighbors once every three months, and give them vegetables from my garden. I support Ron Paul and in this bastion of Republicanism, it also serves to make me the perfect black neighbor - acceptably quirky while displaying authentic blackness.  My long thin dreadlocks are carefully displayed in extremely neat up do and my home is filled with African artifacts.  My husband and I are writers, adding to the allure. All that doesn’t however, make me the perfect black neighbor, what makes me the perfect black neighbor is that I have the smallest house on the block - my 4000 square feet are not visible from the street, my pool is well hidden and I do not buy the latest vehicles (really a principle more than anything).  Without saying it, my neighbors are pleased that I seem to know my place and am different enough to assure them there will not be an influx of black families as a result of my presence. It doesn’t matter that I write about economic inequality and race, I am still the perfect black neighbor.

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