Where Have All The Black Folk Gooo-ooone?

I have to tell you a secret: I think there are Black people in Charlottesville, Virginia. And I think they are hiding from me.

This is different than what you’re thinking. This isn’t the thing where I think dentists are putting video cameras in my fillings so Rick Santorum can find me and make me shop with him at S & K Menswear. This is real life.

Maybe I was naive, but I thought I’d find plenty of my skinfolk around here. I’ve heard the Shenandoahs called “Atlanta only with mountains” before.

In any event, I’ve written a letter. I’m asking that the media re-print this letter and help me in my search to find anybody in the area who uses cocoa butter on their skin. And the letter goes henceforth and as such:

Dear Skinfolk of Charlottesville:

Where are you? Is it too late for me to join SNCC?

I just moved here, and apparently my GPS only directs me to places in Charlottesville where White folks gather. I ended up at Whole Foods, Barnes & Noble, and Starbucks. Okay, I found one Black guy at Starbucks. But he was a Republican. With squirrely eyes.

I’m not saying this city should be the Black mecca. I’m not looking for the next Soulja Boy, Cornel West, or even Colonel Sanders. But there must be a descendant of a sharecropper here somewhere. Please? Look, even if your family was the bougie kind that owned slaves, call me. We can talk this out. Final offer: I’ll settle for a White girl who eats corn muffins.

Maybe you’re angry that Thomas Jefferson’s university wouldn’t let us in until a few years ago. But I don’t think that was racist. I’m sure U.Va. was just waiting on results of those cranial measurement tests. And they had to make sure we didn’t have extra ligaments in our feet. Is that really too much to ask? I think not, considering how well the Kenyans do in marathons.

This isn’t all about me. I’m asking you to come out of hiding for the sake of my daughter. She needs friends who use hair milk. She’s just a year old, and I took her to the park the other day. Total white out. I’m talking fleeces, clogs, and BOB strollers everywhere. It was winter, and people were picnicking! What was I to do?

I’ll tell you what I did. I searched every inch of that playground with my eyes. And when my melanin detectors finally spotted two Asian children, I considered inviting them over to watch the next “Black in America.”

I am desperate.

And like the Black church secretary would write, Please Advise.

–Taylor Harris

5 thoughts on “Where Have All The Black Folk Gooo-ooone?

  1. LOL. Hi Tay, I totally feel you. I felt that way when I was living there and working for the University. C-ville is totally different when you are a black/negro/colored/african american non-student (lol). It is tough finding a circle of like-minded, supportive, culturally-similiar good folk. It was a tremendous blessing when I found mine. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers that you will find a great circle of skinfolk to befriend. In the meantime, you could consider adapting to becoming like the Huxtables…their fictional house was always filled with kids from many nationalities. That could be cool too. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Brandi! You’ve explained it so well. I try to keep things light in the blog, but I am considering doing some more serious work on the issue while we’re here. I think there are a lot of layers. And like you said, in college, it seems you could always find folks that looked like you. But you are right about the Huxtables–I would love to have kids from many nationalities around:) And I want Elie to grow up being able to talk with anyone. I also always have said I want her to grow up having some black friends b/c I found it so difficult to be one of the very few in my suburban neighborhood.

      1. You are so right! I love my playgroup but there are so many issues I want to discuss and then I realize that they will either have NO idea what I am talking about or have TOTALLY different views. When you find some, let me know! 🙂

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