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-The Five Spot

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Dance I Say!

So I went to a thirtieth birthday party on Saturday and was once again reminded of the ugly American institution of slavery. Yes, I’m weird like that. I know this is not the typical thought of a partygoer on a Saturday night, but I wasn’t drinking, so it is what it is. As Flo Rida blared off the iPod and a circle formed around the spastic gyrations of the birthday girl’s coworker I couldn’t help but laugh at the irony. Here was a white woman dancing and singing for the entertainment and enjoyment of a room full of black folks.

It was a spectacle, a la this right
here. Dance white lady, dance!

My friend who invited me to the soiree wondered how anyone could face Miss Sally on Monday morning. Miss Sally, who was constantly mistaken for the birthday girl’s supervisor (thank the Lawd she wasn't). Miss Sally who had Supermanned, had gotten low, had bumped and grind and saw nothing wrong with any of it. Personally I can’t imagine seeing any of my coworkers on social level…a happy hour? Sure. But inviting them to my birthday party? Hell no! I mean how would you react if your Miss Sally type coworker (and older white woman) asked you the status of the Jackson Report after you watched her essentially make a fool of herself in front of your friends and family? Cue side eyes and suppressed laughter. It’s easy to blame general debauchery on the rain and the Vodka. And I know liquor makes folks have a good time, for some it's a basic requirement. But I’ve always been of the thinking that alcohol just brings to light the desires that have been latent but always there, which made Miss Sally’s singular dance party all the more scary. Alcohol lends balls to people as it takes away their inhibitions, but sometimes it goes even further and robs folks of their shame and embarrassment. Two essential things necessary to save face…or at least tiny shreds of dignity.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I laughed my buttocks off at Miss Sally’s expense. But then felt bad as people encouraged Miss Sally to keep shaking her tail feather. Miss Sally surely thought she was doing something, yet we were all laughing at her and not with her. Even as she sat down to rest the crowd wasn’t through. We wanted more good times, more giggles, more off beat movements, and exclamations that Miss Sally sure was one crazy ass white woman.

And then I thought of the numerous black folks who’ve had to play Miss Sally’s role in this American drama, only sober and painfully aware. How circles of Anglo faces encamped them to be entertained by our dancing and singing for hours on demand. The irony then made me sad. The dancing made still me laugh. Our collective demand on Miss Sally also made me scared. And when Miss Sally said she was ready to go home at 2:30 am…the party ended. Why? Because there was nothing left to entertain us, not even ourselves.

See You in Seven


IntrospectiveGoddess said...

Well I can see the parallels,but I cant say I pity the woman...in comparison her humiliation is but on a small scale to what Blacks have had to endure. But I am in no way placing blame cuz we make fools of ourselves for the right price a la BET

Amaretto said...

@Goddess: I agree with you 100 percent. Miss Sally's blues ain't nothing like ours or our ancestors...at least she was drunk and probably hardly remembers. But given the history of black folks, our "egging on" and "entertain us" behavior was ironic as much as it was scary considering...

mjr-banx said...

I say dance Miss Sally dance!