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Rap Music And Other Rants

Several things have happened this week that made me wonder: do I look like a pushover? Like a woman who wouldn't tell you exactly what is on my mind?

I share an office with a great woman and we get along swimmingly. She teases me about not liking country music (ahem. She teases me. Ain't that a kick?) because my officemate from two years ago told her to do so since she, too, likes country music and used to play it in our office.

There is a radio on her side of the office that is far enough away that I don't hear it, but the other day when there were about 5 other people working at the tables in our office (it's a Professional Development room for teachers where we both have our desks) the music was up louder and country music was blaring.

I jokingly groaned when I walked in and one of the other teachers said, "Oh, Kelly. Someday you'll be able to appreciate good music and have taste in it." and another chimed in, "No kidding. How can she think that rap music is any good?"

It should be noted that I was minding my own business at this point and literally walked into this shit. Let me just say that for all the race issues that I notice and point out, this would not be a perceived slight. This was overt.

"EXCUSE ME??? What do you know about the music I listen to? Do you hear me driving up in the parking lot with rap music blaring? I BEG YOUR PARDON, but you don't know shit about me and what I listen to AND IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE MORE TASTE THAN ME FROM LISTENING TO ONE TYPE OF MUSIC then I want to know what drugs you're on because that. is. whack."

So at least three people from work haven't spoken to me since then. No loss for me, but I did play some really good Miles Davis after work. You know. For some c-u-l-t-u-r-e.
Nothing pisses me off more than assuming that all black people listen to is rap music. As if there is nothing else out there for us to listen to! I'm not a teenager for crying out loud, but seriously. I get so sick of being lumped into one category to define my music when I know for a fact that a few of those people never listen to anything BUT country music.

Something else that totally chaps my ass is the whole Women Are Sensitive At Work And Must Be Handled With Kid Gloves Because They Might Cry. It's particularly annoying when they try to use my FEELINGS as an excuse to get by with bad behavior.

Wait. Something else DOES piss me off more than assumptions of Black music listening choices.

Wednesday of this week I had to run these Walk Throughs in our building and met with the entire staff (minus the math department) each hour to tell them how it would work and what we were looking for and then do the de-briefing afterward. One teacher, a man, doesn't want to do it. He's made it known that he is unhappy about doing it and being forced to have this meeting together. He stomped into the room late (interrupting me while I was leading group discussion) and said this was "crap" and he didn't want to do it and we were doing it all wrong because HE'S done it before (oh, he's also a Know-It-All on all things education) and he went on and on and on...

Others at the table looked uncomfortable and I tried a "Ok, but let's move on to the business at hand" line a few times until we muddled through and finally did the walk through. I was disgusted by his behavior and planned to deal with him later. The only reason I didn't engage him was because the other people there didn't need to be dragged into his drama. Before I could go find him, he came back to my office and offered this:

"Kelly. Don't take it personally."

My mind works fast. Very quickly, several thoughts went through my brain: I thought that it was interesting that he should caution me about taking HIS tantrum personally. That I was going to be subjective rather than objective about his rant. And it occurred to me that he thought my feelings were hurt and that maybe, just maybe, it was all because I was some sort of sensitive woman.

I said that my mind works fast. So does my mouth. My mouth works in a fashion that makes me wonder if it isn't in conjunction with my mind.

"I don't take it personally. I take it professionally because I am a professional. And when you come into this Professional Development office, I fully expect you to behave like a professional."

After I spoke my mind I turned and walked away. I wasn't going to stick around to hear more lame excuses from him. I didn't need to hear anything else and I didn't care if he needed to say anything else. Hopefully, he wasn't crying when I left. You know how sensitive men can be.
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Reader Comments (35)

We just let them think they run the world....

I listen to pop, Classical, smooth jazz (even some West Coast jazz), country, Godsmack, and Slim Shady has been know to give the Bose a workout. I think having a broad music library makes you appreciate styles of the age. I absolutley adore Vince Guaraldi, Stan Getz, Dave Brubeck. There's that sounds that oozes coolness.

Swing by sometime for my caption contest!


September 15, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterVENTL8R

Yes, Kelly. All black people like rap music. Just like all black people like fried chicken, watermelon and drinking cristal. Duh. Oh and exactly what is that your real hair? Can I touch it? What's a weave? How do they put it in? What's a relaxer?


I feel better now.

September 15, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterHeather B.

That man was so unbelievably unprofessional, not to mention rude and disrespectful. Not because you're a woman, but because you're a PERSON. Sounds like he's got some issues there. Excellent handling of the situation though.

As for the rap music comment, I say what the HUH?

September 15, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth

Try being a 40 year-old white guy from rural America who likes rap. Well, actually, I like just about ANY kind of music except country and opera, but there are definitely times when I'm in a rap kind of mood and like to load up my iPod with tracks from G-Unit, DMX, and the like. This gets me labeled a poser of the most hypocritical kind, because there is simply no way "somebody like me" could ever really be into rap. This kind of thing doesn't bother me all that much. What DOES bother me is that there are people who never venture out of their music "comfort zone" to discover other genres they might enjoy, simply because they fear what other people might think of them.

September 15, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterDave2

Some. people. are. stupid. nuf said.

can't blame you for taking some heads off!

September 15, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJenna

Damn girl. This is reason a million and one that I love you. It's something about the way your mind works and your ability to be straight, real and decisive.

I've missed you. Will write later.

September 15, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterfizzle

i have been stewing over this...stereotypes make me so mad!

if all black people like rap=all people who like country are inbred rednecks


September 15, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJenna

Assumptions -- The dangerous playground of the unintelligent. Interestingly enough as I make this statement I find myself conflicted. I always assumed you were "Mocha Momma" because you loved coffee, I never even stopped to consider your racial background. Never even popped into my head.

The question is -- does that mean I am enlightened or just another dumb ass who made an assumption? Hmmm... Sorry you had to go through this.

September 15, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterBrotherhood of the Bean

Ok - I have to run home now and check what my hubby's real race is! I thought I married a white man, but apparently since he listens to rap he is black. Darn, now I have to go and change all the kids records and mark them Bi-Racial. LOL

I just love to read your posts.

As far as that MAN goes, I work with a bunch of them and most of the time they are easy to work with, but there are days when I wonder who the girls is!


September 15, 2006 | Unregistered Commenter-S.

Don't take this professionally, Kelly -- I personally found that to be a very zesty post. You're on a roll. (There! I hope I got this right. I was trying to follow "The Care and Feeding of a Kudo Ho* Handbook")

You mentioned Miles Davis. I like him, too, especially his bebop stuff with John Coltrane. "Kind of Blue" is a classic. Are you familiar with his collaborations with Gil Evans? There are elements of the big band sound, but with distinctive, modern arrangements. "Miles Ahead" is one of my favorites.

* I have a weakness for great phrases like the one you used the other day -- "comment whore". Among the other twists I considered as a tribute were ovation vixen, flattery floozy, pump strumpet, tribute trollop, and puff momma. Kudo ho has the best ring to it, though, don't you think? (BTW, lest anyone get all sensitive about it, I don't mean to feminize the concept of comment whore. Kudo gigolo may not roll off the tongue as well, but we're right there with you.)

September 15, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

Kelly LOVED your post today LOVED LOVED LOVED!!

and I wonder if Heather B lives nearby me or knows some of the same people I've come across b'cuz I hear those commnents all the time...

Ok gotta go...going to Ezell's for chicken, have a relaxer at 2pm, meeting my drug dealer at 5pm and hitting up the rap show at 9pm.

oh don't worry ...2 kids are going to their daddy's and the other one is at Grandma's...

September 15, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterBree

Ah, musically illiterate people remind me of children (and adults) who only will eat their mother's cooking and McDonald's.

and they dare to tell you that stuff your eating looks nasty.

September 15, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterBecky Kemp

I'm not a great rap fan. I liked Grand Master Flash cos there was some music in it. The thing here at the moment is the Streets. I can appreciate the skill and cleverness, but it just doesn't do it for me.

I had a friend who's dad worked at Ronnie Scott's. They had Miles in and he got tickets. They skipped the first set cos traditionally Miles didn't do much on the first set, and came in for the second. Apparently, he played a blinder of a first set, then did just two notes on the second set.

Ah well!

September 15, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterTim D

I think your reply to that teacher was spot.on. Is this, by chance, a......seasoned teacher? Not that I want to stereotype seasoned teachers, but some tend to get stuck in ruts and are unwilling to change. Of course, there is a teacher I know who is in her 5th year of teaching and hasn't changed a lesson plan in two years. See? Stereotype debunked.

Shame on him for not only assuming you would take it "personlly," but also for his lack of professionalism.

September 15, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterBetsy

WELCOME BACK MEN! I didn't see very many comments from the men yesterday. Did you know Kelly is on her period? I bet she still is today, ooops wait, that would be an assumption. Nevermind, I'll just go back to my cave. :)

September 15, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterTom

Good on you, Kelly. I always think of what to say after the fact. I admire people who can say what needs to be said when the situation demands it.

September 15, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterColleen

Why do people have to be so stoopid? Even the ones we work with? Sometimes it's enough to make one want to bash one's head against the cinderblock wall in the hallway. Why should you not want to listen to country music, it seems to be what everyone listens to! Not. Thank god I can't get radio reception in my cell, so I bring in CD's, mostly compliations that I have burned. None of it country. Can't say there's any rap either but I've got some Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Cranberries, Scorpians...a real mix.

So do those women line dance too?

And, I've never heard the expression being "on your period" before. Makes it sound like you're on drugs. Thankfully I haven't had one since I was 39 (hello hysterectomy!). Hehehe I sound like such a white, country music lover bitch!

September 15, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJanice

PMSFL... I don't know what was more enjoyable today Kelly, the post or the comments. So I am going to assume I am a music whore/slut! Seeing as I listen to just about anything. What I listen to depends on my mood. I like classical when I feel mellow and calm. Rap when I want to wake myself up. Dance/techno ROCKS for getting my blood pumping and cleaning house double time. Heavy metal is reserved for days when I am in a foul mood and wish to drown myself in drums and bass. I have never listened to much blues, but will listen. I like a couple of country singers. The only music I have never taken a liking to is opera. If they sang in English... might be ok. But they just sound like they got their privates caught in a zipper to me.

Seeing as all these people are annoying you lately (are they insane or what?) How about we wave our magic mummy wands, and shrink me down to pocket size? That way you can just drop me in their bag and I can go on an evil rampage on your behalf?

So much anger to be addressed. My family suggested I get a therapist. I don't need one. I just need someone to sharpen my claws on :)

Much love hugs and kisses for you. Love Yvonne

P.S I had a HEAP of smartarsed remarks, but most sounded way to racist... so I was a good girl and shut up! Must leave now before they fall out of my mouth :)

September 15, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterdragon-mum

I'm applauding you for saying what you thought to that guy. GRRRR. I hate when people do that crap! Good for you Kelly!!

September 15, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterDana

Wow. You need to school me on the fine art of handling one's self in similar situations. My girls MUST be self assertive like that. I'd probably just silently stew about it, I'm such a wuss---unless I'm REALLY pushed.
You rock, Kelly.
*high fives*

September 15, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth

This is my first visit to your site and I'll definitely be back. So funny. Too bad you had to deal with that today though. Know the feeling.

September 15, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterTina

So, let me see if I've got this right. I like rap so I'm black (won't my mom be surprised?); I like country so I'm a hick (I even have the Southern accent, y'all!); I like jazz so I'm cultured (guess I can't split those there infinitives any more..hyuck, hyuck...); I like Celtic so I'm what, Irish? (huh?); I like House, Dance and Electronica so I'm gay (I can hear all those ex-boyfriends in the background screaming, "I KNEW it wasn't my fault!"); I like Folk so I'm a hippy (pass the weed, dude); I like Heavy Metal so I must be an angry, black-wearing biker (Metallica forever!)...I could go on, but think I'll stop there. But to recap I'm a Black Irish cultured gay hick hippy angry, black-wearing biker.

I'll pause to let you all recover from stereotype overload.

And on a side note, STEVE from Contemplaydoh!!!! You mean you're still ALIVE?! I've miss ya dude!.

Oh and Kelly, you tell 'em. ;-)

September 15, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterCaffeinated Librarian

Oh and did I ever make burn you a copy of "Alabama" by John Coltrane, Mocha? (pssst - he was a native North Carolinian, dontcha know!)

September 15, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterCaffeinated Librarian

I bet your "telling off" speech to ol' dude was awesome! What a shame that, as you were walking away, he was probably thinking, "Hmm. She must be on the rag."

September 16, 2006 | Unregistered Commentermizangie

Good for you for speaking out!

September 16, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSuburban Turmoil

Ok. I SO feel for you on the country music. I would NEVER force my music on to other people at work. It's just not right. Why don't you start playing "Wicked" all of the time. Maybe they will get "What is This Feeling?"

About the man - I am SURE I know who you are talking about. He came into my room bitching about the walk-throughs. I just sit and take it. I say little things but I do NOT say anything to piss him off. Been there. Done that. Don't want to see that ever again.
Good luck. Got to run to the football game.


September 16, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJ to the Wall

love your spot i'll check back often!

September 16, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterImSortaBusy

I don't listen to anything. More accurately, I don't LIMIT myself to any variety of music. Lately, I've been OD-ing on Radiohead. I need a lot more Radiohead variety, though, I've decided. Admittedly, I don't care for most (most!) rap or country.

In any case, I would expect you to listen to pretty much everything as well based on that varied nature of your posts. I would think anyone who knew you at all in person would expect the same.

Yeah, I fall victim to my own stereotypes at times, but I try to keep them in check. Mine are generally more complex, though, than "dark skin = rap fan". I hope people finally get the fact that you're YOU, not "a generic example of a black woman". This from a "skinny little white boy"! Love that, too -- I'm not even skinny anymore!

September 17, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterEricAtRandom

grr... hate unclear thoughts. "(Most!)" in that last comment meant "most as opposed to all". I like a few rap and country songs.

September 17, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterEricAtRandom

Well...I live in Cowboyville.....some people call it Cow Town. And I. Hate. Country Music. It makes me gag.

Personally I like the folksy stuff! Like Xavier Rudd...or Micheal Franti... LOVE Micheal Franti!

Give'm hell Kelly!

Jennifer :o)

September 17, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

I don't even know what to say about that, other than that I am beyond impressed with your ability to not take them down with some flying ninja kicks.

But, oh, wait - you're NOT Asian. Guess you can't do ninja kicks.


September 17, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterHer Bad Mother


I saw your comment and did another post. I felt I owed you and Cher an apology and an explanation. I was in no way having a go at you guys :) I was in agony, hurting and angry. So I posted it instead of taking it out on the kids and Justin. When you have some time to breathe... come read the apology and explanation post. Much love to you and the family. Try not to do too much okay? Sorry for posting a totally unrelated comment.

Love Yvonne

September 17, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterdragon-mum

First, I want to say how awesome it is that you can keep your cool while still letting people know you mean business. I don't know if I would have been able to respond to that music comment without spitting nails. My. gawd.

Second, what makes me insane is when some men(notice I say some)feel the need to talk down to you so that you won't take things "personally". I prefer the straight shooting myself. Working in finance has allowed me to work in a male dominated field. Mostly, I love working with men but there is always one who has to talk to me like a child when they are upset with something I did. Give it to me straight, boys, I can take it. Even if I can't,I promise, you won't see tears.

September 18, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterPlunky(Deb)

“I don’t take it personally. I take it professionally because I am a professional. And when you come into this Professional Development office, I fully expect you to behave like a professional.”

God but I LOVE that! Holy shit! I would have given a testicle (sokay - I'm not using'em anymore anyway) to see the look on his face!



September 21, 2006 | Unregistered Commentersteve

I am thinking that underlying that last line is a wink and a nod to all the gals about how men are. Like, um, insensitive.

September 23, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterDavidShag

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