Saturday, September 06, 2008

Fake, corny, nice

Do you know the way certain things just jump out at you?

Well lately I've been hearing the word "fake" a lot. Okay, I'll admit that I put myself in that position. After all, I am a reality-tv addict and I've been watching a heck of a lot of reality tv lately. (From G's to Gents, New York Goes to Hollywood, I love Money, I want to Work for Diddy, Making the Band 4...oh do I have to go on?)

This is where I hear the word "fake" a lot. People are always accusing each other of being "fake." The weird thing about this is 1) I never seem to think the person being accused of being fake is fake. 2) It's mostly black folks accusing other folks (usually white folks) of being fake.

Okay, I have to examine this. It is quite possible that I am a supreme wuss who happens to be very gullible. Maybe I can't see through fakeness. I mean I generally don't walk around like wondering if someone I'm talking to is being fake. I don't think I have ever done that. Maybe I should but...why even go there? Many people are pretty fake in something. But I doubt they mean their fakeness for harm. The old fake it til they make it bit. They might truly be trying to be nice.

The next problem is that it's black folks accusing white folks. I find myself thinking, "Is it because we black folks are way too cynical? Is it because we are too frank and that some of us are mouthy and not prone to hide our feelings? Is it because we distrust white folks? Is it because white folks have different communication styles and black folks simply don't trust them?" I mean I cannot count the amount of times some black girl has accused some white girl (who I was thinking was pretty nice or at least honest) of being fake.

I've had an occasion where I was called fake. It was back in 1977 when I was in college and I complimented a (very cynical) white girl on something. She immediately lashed into me and said I was fake. Dang! As far as I knew I wasn't being fake at all. But the girl wasn't used to kindness or frankness.

In my hood, I've noticed that we black folks are such a wounded people that people are always suspecting folks of fakeness. They also use the word "corny" a lot. From what I've seen, whenever someone accuses someone of "corniness" they are commenting once again on the niceness of people. Except in this case, they judge the niceness of the person not by accusing the person of being fake but by accusing the nice of being old-fashioned and too silly and idealistic. At least that's what I think corniness means.

So what's going on, I wonder? Are we in the black community so unaccustomed to sweetness that if we receive it from the wrong people (instead of an old lady who is expected to be nice) we have to say the person is fake or corny? That scares me. Cause -- you know-- I'm really nice. And I'd like our people to be so accustomed to sweetness that we don't slam or suspect evil when folks are being nice.

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