Conspiracy Theory

So I’m waiting for my friend in DUMBO to do this late afternoon hang-over walk that seems to have become a nice tradition. I’m waiting in a cafe drinking my little iced tea when two men decide to join me.

“It looks like you need some company (smiles). Do you mind (smiles)?”

The man has a Spanish accent, and his intro is so cheesy that I willingly relinquish my solitude. What the hell do these guys have to say?

“I see your button. Have you read his books?”

I’m a little embarrassed, but I pull “The Audacity of Hope” out of my purse and put it on the table. I really only try to read this book at home; the book and button together really is a little much. The other guy starts speaking:

“They’ll never elect him. His middle name is Hussein. After September 11th, Americans hate the Arabs.”

This guy must share his brain with the President.


April 30, 2007. 9/11, Barack Obama. Leave a comment.

Def Jux

This happened a little while back, and I had kind of forgotten about until I met up with a friend of mine the other day who reminded me. My friend invited me to a hip hop show on the Lower East Side for El-P’s album release. The “White Rapper Show” had just ended on VH1, so we were doubly-excited to see the Definitive Jux All-stars.

So the crowd is approximately 95% white guys, which means when the rapper on stages says, “MOSH!” mosh they do. My sixth sense told me something animal like that was gonna happen, so I was safe in the balcony. Not surprisingly there are barely any women at the show. While in the balcony I am approached by a gentleman who wants to know what’s up with the button, and about 20 other things.

“Are you gonna vote for him?”

I hope so.

“I don’t vote because I’m an anarchist.”

That’s rad! I’m excited because I haven’t met an anarchist since high school! This really takes me back.

“Do you like hip hop?”

I do. Why else would I be at this show?

“Are you a feminist?”


“I thought feminists didn’t like hip hop.”


“What do you do?”

I’m a librarian.

“No really? Really? That’s cool. Do they still use the Dewey Decimal System (which is the correct question to ask if you’re trying look like an ass and simultaneously get on the bad side of a librarian)?”

I don’t hide emotion well, and this guy’s gotta know that his time has just about run out. But still he tries some more.

“I’d like to talk to you more about your politics and this Obama guy. Can I buy you a drink?”

Shoot! That line would usually work on me, but this guy messed it up by talking too much in the first place. Besides, what kind of line is that for an anarchist anyway?

April 23, 2007. Barack Obama, New York City. 1 comment.


“Hey you, do you want a free lighter from Kool cigarettes?”   

Its the Kool promo guy at my $2 happy hour last Friday. The promotional lighter comes at the cost of handing over my ID and sentencing myself to a lifetime of junk mail from cigarette companies. Even if I smoked like a chimney, I’d still decline. I can’t kill lungs AND kill trees.

No thanks, I don’t smoke.

“Obama smokes. You know that, don’t you? He’d want a lighter. Anyway, cool button.”

Nearly 100% of young people that I’ve come across agree that Obama is cool. His smiling face + your smiling face + my smiling face = 3 smiles. I’m glad I can still do story problems. 

April 23, 2007. Barack Obama. Leave a comment.

Maybe it’s Maybelline

A friend asked me to watch her class while she went to the bathroom at the end of the school day.

Second-grader: “Who is that, Ms. Green?”

Ms. Green: “Barack Obama. He’s running for president.”

Second-grader: “Why are his lips purple?”

April 17, 2007. Barack Obama. Leave a comment.


“You got the right guy.”


“You got the right guy. They’re all full of sh*t, but you’ve got the right guy. I saw Obama giving Ludicris dap on TV. Maybe I’ll vote this time.”

April 16, 2007. Barack Obama. 1 comment.

One expert’s opinion

Last night I went to to check my email, and found out that there was some sort of live music happening at the cafe that I frequent almost exclusively. It was a spoken word/neo-soul jam session in Fort Greene, BK–maybe you can imagine the scene. I was really minding my own business, enjoying the poetry and feeling acutely aware of my whiteness, etc., when I was approached by the barista with my check.

“Barack’s not really black, you know.”

News to me! So if he were elected he wouldn’t be the first black president of the United States?

“Yeah he would..but his mother is white and his father isn’t American.”

And what? Being born in Hawaii doesn’t make you American?

“No but his father is African. And he was educated all over the world.”

Why do these facts disqualify Obama as black in his mind?

April 16, 2007. Barack Obama, New York City. Leave a comment.

Gum dumb

The night before last I attempted to buy some gum in the West Palm Beach airport, but quickly discovered that “this is a gum-free terminal.” The man behind me wasn’t listening, so he also asked for some gum and got the same cheery answer. I couldn’t help but laugh. I joked to the man (who also happened to be a dad) that the airport authorities must be fascists. I don’t think he liked my joke, because he didn’t laugh, but boy did he have a mouthful to say about my button!

“Don’t you want to give your vote to Hillary? I mean, you’re a woman…”

Really, I must appear to him that my politics must not be very sophisticated, or, he is a digging a hole.

“I think Obama uses a lot things to his advantage, don’t you?”

Like what?

“Like his race, and the way that he talks. He doesn’t talk like a black person. He talks like an educated person.”

(I mean, the things white people say to other white people.)

When was our last African-American president elected? Oh yeah, NEVER!

This dad’s two middle-schoolish kids are our audience for this discussion that has rapidly taken a turn for the worse. I’m sad this guys kids heard him verbalize his inability to reconcile Barack Obama’s eloquence and his blackness. As my blood begins to boil, his his phone rings. I did’t have to miss my plane afterall.

April 12, 2007. Barack Obama, Racism, Travel. Leave a comment.

Confused, polite, or disinterested

Maybe Florida needs to have its collective eyes examined, or maybe folks down here just don’t care about Barack Obama’s image on a button, but all I know is PEOPLE AREN’T TALKING TO ME! I find it a little bit shocking. Florida is extremely air conditioned, so I can wear my jacket with the button everywhere–shopping, dining, etc.–but the same thing keeps happening (or not happening) to me over and over.

The rate of friendliness in Florida is very high, higher than New York certainly, so people generally greet me with eye contact and a smile. After the smile, the eyes may drift down to the button where a look of confusion or befuddlement soon follows. Now unlike many experiences in the past, there has yet to be a verbalization of the name to face connection. No “Bingo/Obama!” What’s up with that?

I am starting to get the feeling that Floridians adhere to the old adage–“If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Well that’s nice, but it makes for boring blogging. So I’m getting ready to head back home where almost everybody wants to give you their two-cents, and where a lot people have to be told to shut up.

April 10, 2007. Barack Obama, Travel. Leave a comment.

Red State

The pilot of my flight down to Florida asked me about my button.

“Who is that? Osama?”

Then he snickered.

April 5, 2007. Barack Obama, Travel. Leave a comment.

On wax

Tomorrow I leave for Florida, so I made sure to make an appointment with my aesthetician in order to wax and polish away a whole winter’s worth of New York City. So why as soon as I am in a sufficiently uncomfortable position with my legs over my head does my Israeli aesthetician ask, “Who is the guy on your jacket?”


“He’s running for President.” Really, that’s about all I can muster. Who can talk any sense during a Brazilian wax?

“Is he against the war?”



“That’s good. George Bush is an idiot! I don’t know anyone who elected him.”

April 3, 2007. Barack Obama, Beauty. Leave a comment.

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