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Bill Jones

I was the only White Girl in the Room

There are moments in your life that can’t be ignored. If you want to say that you don’t see color, good for you. I see color. I don’t judge people on the color of their skin but to say that I don’t see it would be patently dishonest.

Last night I went to a wonderful viewing party and panel for Braxton Family Values and had an experience that most of us seldom do. I was very clearly the only Caucasian woman in a room that was full of mostly African Americans.

As is the case with many dinners, panels and parties I didn’t know anyone in the room. I did what I always do. I found the best possible seat (I am not afraid of the front row) and plunked myself down in it, and then I tried to introduce myself to the women at the table.

It went over like a lead balloon. Not only did they seem annoyed when I asked them what they did for a living but then three of them went on chatting and introduced themselves to a fourth talking about how important bloggers are. Ummm… okay.

Mercifully the presentation began just as I was finishing my first glass of wine. The food was catered by Bazaar, which I’m pretty sure I’ve already warned y’all to not bother eating, right? It had the makings of a pretty rough evening for the old gal.

I was stunned when Mr. Bill Jones the iconic photographer sat down across the table from me. My hands were trembling and my photography skills are limited but I was able to snap a (sort of blurry) picture of him. My anxieties melted away, but like any good anxiety they popped back up again later.

We watched an episode of Braxton Family Values and it was fabulous in so many ways. These sisters love each other. It’s clear when you’re in a room with them and it’s clear when you watch them on TV. There’s a lot of fun to be had when you watch people interact who genuinely want each other to succeed.

The episode was punctuated by uproarious laughter and I must confess that I didn’t get it sometimes. I was painfully aware that I was odd man out and talk of hair and weaves went right over my head. When the sisters talked about “oral transactions” I laughed so hard I cried. At that same time they were talking about oral as something that white girls do. My crotch and I felt a little ashamed when a few eyes turned our way.

It was good for me to sit in that room and be alone and unappreciated. My site has as much (or more) reach as any of the other women there, but I was dismissed because of my ethnicity. I won’t forget how that felt and I’m going to let it make me a better person.

The sisters had some amazing insight that everyone can benefit from. If you’re a blogger or a kid with a few Facebook friends this is equally relevant.