away from her, you little bastard!") and then she hopped off to watch the birds flying by the window. This isn’t the first time one of the boys has tried to get some hot kitty love – one night a few weeks ago, I heard a bitchy meow from Spanky and turned to see him nipping at the back of the kitten’s neck, trying to get her to stay in one place while he straddled her. I didn’t think cats did such things once they were fixed. Did y’all see Dateline NBC last night? They were talking about "hidden prejudices", and a "Race Implicit Association Test" developed by researchers at Yale and the University of Michigan. Fred took the test last night, and was informed that his data suggest a strong automatic preference for white. This morning I took the same test, and to my surprise got the same result. I was unhappy, I was confused, and then I stopped and thought about it for a minute. Of course I’m going to have a strong automatic preference for whites. I’m white. To put it bluntly, how am I supposed to identify with a black man when I’m a white woman? It’s a given, isn’t it? I told Fred in bed last night that the more interesting question is, Which of your attributes is more important in your self-identification – male, or white? His knee-jerk reaction was male, but when I asked him who he identified with more, Jane Pauley or Bryant Gumbel, he discovered otherwise. On the other hand, when I asked myself whether I identified more with Stone Phillips or Oprah Winfrey, the answer was Oprah Winfrey. But I identify even more with Jane Pauley. What can you expect? I grew up in a solidly middle-class, very white, neighborhood in Maine. I’m going to show a preference for women; I am a woman first and foremost. I’m going to show a preference for white women, because I am a white woman. I am going to show a very, very big preference for white middle-class women in their late twenties and early thirties. Of course I am; it’s what I know; it’s what I understand and identify with. That is where my comfort level is, and why do I need to feel bad about it? I’m having a hard time writing this. I’m afraid y’all will read this and see it as a very lame attempt to justify racism in this country and in my family. Your opinions do matter to me, and I don’t want to offend anyone. But that said, I have to be honest. Strange black men scare me. I would be terrified to be walking down the street at night and have a black man begin to follow me. On the other hand, I would be just as terrified to have a white man following me. I’ve heard, read, and experienced too much about the random violence of men to feel safe with men I do not know. It’s the unknown, I guess, that makes me uncomfortable. I’ve never been around a lot of black people, and thus I’m not at ease when I am. The spud, however, has three best friends; one is black, one is white, and one is guatamalan. And the spud is far more comfortable around people of diverse nationalities than I could ever hope to be. I don’t know what the answer is. I don’t know how to change my attitude, how to make it so that I’m as comfortable around people of other races and nationalities as I am around whites. I don’t know if that’s a possibility, and I don’t know that I want to change my attitude. At least part of my fear of men, black, white or other, is simple self-preservation. Isn’t it? Or am I trying to justify my actions? I can say that I don’t avoid black men or women in situations where I feel safe – in stores or restaurants. But neither do I seek them out. I would never be rude to someone due to their race, nor would I deny someone a chance at a job or housing based on the color of their skin. I feel like this whole entry is a mishmash of senseless yammering, and I don’t feel I made the points I meant to, but I’m giving up for the time being. Y’all have a nice evening. —–]]>