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Collage of Compliance, Part 2
My second BFF is black, or in her case more specifically an American woman with African heritage born in the USA. This might sound like an insensitive way of placing her, but it's central to the story and is for her too, though she's coming at it from a different angle. Actually we had an in depth discussion about my use of the term black in reference to a person of color in my books many many years ago. I explained that the term was widely recognised and understood, as a shortcut if you will, often in cases where actual heritage is not known. Other terms lacked the same consensus meaning. An immigrant from Ghana may bristle at the term African American, for example.
They seem to be going through these same liberal convulsions over, what is the latest term? It has something to do with XX chromosomes, or female humans. Now we're birthing persons, or people with a uterus, or people who menstruate? All of these terms are essentially offensive to people who didn't birth, or who don't have a uterus (say because of a hysterectomy) or people who don't menstruate (perhaps because they are too old or too young to do so). If we need a new term for that now forbidden terminology, can we just settle on people who need to squat to pee? I hope it doesn't become a numbers based system, as genocidal regimes have so favored over the years, but if it does, I'm proactively calling dibs on number 24601, even if I'm more of a first soprano type. My husband can get 8675309.
This BFF must have thought about what I said because she was very proud to lead a discussion at Black Girls CODE a few years ago. She is, last I checked, the Senior Vice President of Environmental Sustainability and Governance, or is it Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, at some Silicone Valley behemoth (Intel, or Facebook, or Google or something). She is a dyed in the wool technocrat. I have never gotten a real firm sense of what she actually does, other than watch too much CNN and MSNBC, presumably. She is also, of course, a hardcore California liberal bluecheck.
We met at University, where she was a free spirited, artistic 19 year old, open minded and inquisitive and with a knack for interpretive dance. She was also from Toledo, but among me, her, and BFF number three we formed some sort of trio of most likely to get the Hell out of Ohio. Indeed all of us did do that, and lived overseas for a few years, her in Europe (Amsterdam, Italy and Ireland), me in Asia of course, and BFF 3 in Africa.
I met BFF 2s family a few times. They struck me as what is known in Ohio terms as Churchy Blacks, which is not an insult at all. They seemed to tend towards nuclear families, stable jobs, and strong male father figures not marred by drugs or rotations in and out of jail or that type of thing. She showed a disdain for the ghetto blacks she was sometimes confused for. There was not a snowball's chance in hell that gal was going to stay in Ohio.
We became closer friends when we both stayed in Los Angeles as starving artist types during our 20s. I lived in Venice Beach and she was in Santa Monica, Hollywood, and Long Beach for a time. She wrote her own songs, played her own instruments, and sang at a few clubs around Hollywood. I particularly liked one song called "Just Take a Pill" that was clearly critical of the pharmaceutical industry.
I could actually concede a lot of points she made about systemic racism over the years, but I tended to view it as a universally human trait of taking mental shortcuts. After I got with my first Thai husband Oh, this tendency became very clear to me in ways that I could have never seen before. My second daughter got treated differently. The US Embassy needed to prove the bonofides of our relationship twice, even after being assured that we already had the two strongest signs of a "real" relationship (we were already legally married, and had a child together). Frantic stupid human tricks of proving joint financial records, joint utility bills, and lots and lots more photographs of us together with the family ensued. They thought my husband was like my pool boy, or maybe he had money hiding in the background somewhere that he had paid me to get that precious visa to the USA. I was just trying to keep my family together. In one hilarious example, a blond haired woman in Wyoming starting speaking in horribly broken Spanish to my part Thai, part American daughter. Most incidents that were the worst actually happened in Thailand.
My father, always the sage, had explained race to me like this. "Blacks have a different culture. The worst mistake you can make is assuming that they grew up the same as you, or that they were looked at the same as you. They weren't."
As our 20s ended BFF 2 decided to go BFF 2.0 version and went corporate, having given up on her starving artist aspirations. By that point she knew exactly the lingo and how to position herself. More importantly perhaps, she was a black girl coder. Once she had her son her interest in rising the corporate ladder intensified. She had to support herself, and I respected her like crazy for it, even as she became more siloed in her views.
She developed a severe case of TDS, or Trump Derangement Syndrome. In one case she said she never wanted to visit the US states of say, Alabama or Mississippi, because those places were crawling with Trumptards just waiting to abuse her at every turn. She definitely used the word Nazi to describe these people, and seemed to be on some anti white supremacist Nazi crusade for awhile. I found this a little out there, as one can presume that there are black people living in, say, Alabama, who presumably aren't getting lynched every day by white supremacists. But I gave her the benefit of the doubt. Police harassment sucks they will target outsiders (like folks with California license plates) and things can get dicey from there. So, up to you.
She messaged me in April of 2021 asking my opinion about the Covid jab. She said she had an appointment for her first one in a week or two and was curious if I was planning on getting it. I remember my exact message back to her.
"Hell no. I don't trust those bastards."
She thanked me for my opinion and clicked off. Was I playing the race card with her? You're damned right that I was. Blacks are historically distrusting of white man scientist games for good reason, with the Tuskegee experiments and whatnot. I wasn't sure why anyone, least of all people of color, would want to be pawns in this rich white male billionaire game.
BFF 2 did not post a direct photograph of her getting jabbed on Facebook. But I know her well. When she makes some choice she looks immediately for outside confirmation that it was the correct one.
A few weeks later she posted something on Facebook to the effect of "The Science is in. Antivaxxers are idiots." Eye roll she seemed to be putting out a jab (pun intended) at me. Maybe she'd forgotten about our conversation years before, when I'd noted that her son's hospitalization for purpora could be a vaccine injury. She had admitted it could be, but then said she couldn't rock the boat on the jab program with her sons great new school. Sellout once, sellout twice. I figured she had just gone corporate, which is a way of saying that on my own earnings calls these C Suite types were all about the jabs, for themselves and everyone else.
It got worse from there, as we stopped engaging directly with each other.I saw her posts on Facebook. There was a lot of vitriol towards the unjabbed. In one post she was arguing for how the unvaxxed should pay higher health insurance rates. I felt like screaming at her. Yes! Let the insurance companies do some real due diligence on who should be paying higher insurance rates! Hands down it will be the jabbed, in a sane world that follows actual science.
I got so depressed by her virtue signalling that I didn't check her page for months. I was basically off Facebook. Some might wonder why I kept it all. Then I got the thought in December of 2021 to put on my big girl panties and see what she had going on.
BFF 2's father (mid 60’s age) had died a few weeks before, you know the type, one of those died peacefully in his sleep at home things. Her aunt (57) had also died in August, from some cancer. I have no idea if either of them were jabbed, but I had met them and sent my prayers.
Recently I've been lurking on her page again. Another relative of hers has died but she doesn't want to talk about who or the circumstances. I pray it was somebody whose death was expected.
She seems to be chalking all of this up to getting older. Actually she talks a lot about getting older, with some posts regarding menopause (BFF 3 has also posted about this). Okay age reveal. I just turned 43 and BFF 2 is a little younger than me. It seems a little early, but I don’t know their symptoms. She doesn't look young much from recent photos, despite her insistence that black doesn't crack. She was a gorgeous, vibrant woman, especially in her 20s. I can barely see her now.
Recently she posted a Ukrainian flag under her Facebook profile photo. I'm sorry to be finding this strange, that she'd go all in against white supremacist Trump supporting Nazis in Alabama, and then, well, inadvertently support literal Nazis. I never saw an Iraqi or Yemeni flag posted on her profile. Were those people too brown for her?
Lately she made an argument that high gas prices were a good thing. You see cars are an expensive luxury and should be seen that way. She can walk to the local Whole Foods and get exercise.
Eye roll again. I'd respect this point of view more from, say, an Amish farmer, who presumably is too busy plowing his fields with horse manure to really be on Facebook. Plus I don't think Amish people are supposed to use Internet. My point is that her modern technocratic lifestyle out in Silicon Valley is built on a vast and oil dependent supply chain that she seems to be taking for granted. There's this thin crust of civilization over this vast chaos of anarchy.
I sometimes wonder how far she'll go with this. If the Whole Foods stops selling meat, probably accompanied by a cheery press release about sustainability, I can see her posting the health benefits of a vegan diet. If they stop selling other things she'll post about the health benefits of intermittent fasting and how fat Americans could all afford to lose some weight. It's not wrong, exactly. I’ve done both vegan cleanses and intermittent fasting and saw good health benefits. I’m just not sure why I’d support policies that create hardships for myself and billions of other people so that a few sociopathic billionaires can play their God games.
If food rations became worse, I could see her arguing that the unjabbed deserve to starve. She might even be programming all of the CBDC and central jab apps as we speak. Next maybe it would be how our beloved pets are useless eaters, and a luxury we really shouldn't be able to afford. Plus your furry friends make great protein sources in a pinch. Okay that was my modern day take on a Modest Proposal.
I still haven't figured out what she'd do if the Internet went out. I feel like I'm watching a woman who is abused by her husband, who then insists that he's into some weird SMBD thing that is how he shows his love. In this case her husband is named Corporate, Incorporated.
"Whoa! Your husband gave you a black eye! Are you okay?"
"He was just being a little frisky. That's how he shows his love."
"He cut off your pinky finger!"
"That's just him showing he cares!"
"Holy shit! He cut off your big toe! You need help!"
"He Loves me! It's just a little game we play! I DON'T need a big toe, okay?"
Forgive them Lord they know not what they do…