January 30, 2014
Black woman shows up to hipster yoga class, typical hilarity ensues
And here I thought the Internets this week might have peaked with Macklemore more or less sweeping the rap categories at the Grammys and then issuing a private apology to Kendrick Lamar via his very public Instagram.
I couldn't fathom that a nutty CAC hipster broad would experience profound emotional distress due to the fact that a black woman showed up to her yoga class, and that she'd write an essay about it for xoJane.
I didn't even realize something like that could happen, though I guess it makes sense that if it did, someone would write an essay about it for xoJane. That's a career now, plumbing new depths of ridiculousness in your personal life and then sharing the grim details on the Internets for money, a sort of low expectations version of Lena Dunham's job at HBO.
It'll be difficult for them to top this one. This might honestly be peak #WhiteGirlProblems. The only thing that could possibly make it worse/better is if it somehow involved Starbucks, and that may have been a little bit too "on the nose," as they say in Hollywood. It would strain credibility, and because there's no sexual assault involved, we're not morally obligated to just go along with it regardless.
In the essay, the author, "Jen Caron," who comes off like a living, breathing Portlandia sketch, first meditates on the fact that yoga started in Asia somewhere, thousands of years ago, only to be co-opted by rich, skinny, freshly highlighted white women. But the yoga studio she attends has egalitarian values, and so it's attended by an assortment of broke hipster kids and people who don't have anywhere else to be in the middle of a weekday, presumably not by choice.
She excels at yoga, she says, because she has what she refers to -- over and over again -- as a skinny white girl body. In her defense, I bet her body really is awesome. Naturally skinny white chicks forever. (Just typing "skinny white girl body" caused me to pop a semi-, and I might have to "finish myself off" when I get done typing this, if my metabolism permits. #fyi)
The problem with attending a yoga studio with egalitarian values is, what if one day a black chick shows up? It takes extreme concentration to contort your body into unnatural positions for no apparent reason (I really do believe that there's a health benefit, and I also believe that playing video games is a sport), and how are you supposed to concentrate with a black chick in the room?
The black chick is described as being "fairly heavy" and apparently new to yoga. She attempts a downward dog or something (as they say on Reddit, the only yoga pose I know is downward doggie), but obviously that wasn't about to happen, so she spends the rest of the session just kinda sitting there.
It's not clear whether she was staring at "Jen Caron" the entire time, or if that was just the way her head was facing. Since there was no way of knowing what was going on short of attempting communication with the black person, or as I like to call it, tempting fate, "Jen Caron" was left with no other choice but to assume that the fat black chick was sitting there the entire time resenting "Jen Caron" for her skinny white girl body.
"Jen Caron" somehow managed to finish the session, and then she returned to her home, where she promptly broke down in tears. Later, she wrote what might honestly be the best blog post in the history of the Internets on it (or the worst, depending on how you look at it) for xoJane.
The thing is, there's no way that fat black chick wasn't sitting there the entire time resenting "Jen Caron" for her "skinny white girl body" (so sexy). I'd be willing to bet you a steak dinner that "Jen Caron" was dead on in her assumption, and I can't afford to both buy you a steak dinner and pay the mortgage on my house in a shanty town, which, coincidentally, costs about the same as a steak dinner, and is coming up soon. Basically, I'm willing to risk homelessness on this.
People were so upset with this essay, in part, because they could hardly imagine a scenario in which the fat black chick wouldn't have been resenting "Jen Caron" -- even if there was a puppet show going on on the other side of the room. "Jen Caron" comes off as a racist (albeit a benign white chick sort of racist) and a total yahoo, but she also gets at a certain uncomfortable truth about black women.
No matter what the fat black chick was thinking, which, again, is impossible to determine, it's likely that she appeared to be upset, because roughly 90 to 95% of black women suffer from what's known as resting bitchface. Not only do they appear to be upset when you see them in public (because of course they'd be upset to see you), but if you were to observe them from a distance with binoculars, in their natural habit, they'd still appear to be upset. They don't do the whole "pleasant" thing. And they hate nothing more than to be told to smile, which they consider a form of "street harassment."
Truth be told, I can kinda see how "Jen Caron" is the victim in all of this. Maybe I'm biased in her favor because skinny white girl body, but I'm at a loss for how she's the only one in the wrong here. She was wrong in that she was disturbed in the first place that someone in her yoga class could possibly not be white (though I'm gonna have to insist that black people shouldn't be doing yoga), let alone the stereotype-informed fantasy interaction she then proceeded to construct, but I'm gonna go ahead and argue that if she was made to feel uncomfortable to the point where she went home and broke down in tears, there may have been something wrong with that black chick. It wasn't her mere presence, it was the vibe she was giving off. Presumably, "Jen Caron" has been other places where there was a black chick and didn't start crying.
Also, it's foul how xoJane did her. Clearly, "Jen Caron" is insane, and whoever assigned her such an asinine topic for an essay did so knowing full with the derision and mockery with which it would be greeted. This was a setup. And then they ran another piece, in which (what I can only hope is) their most rabid black female writer read "Jen Caron" the proverbial riot act -- and not in a way that could possibly be construed as constructive, mind you. This was a straight hit piece. Even if "Jen Caron" had beaten the fat black lady with a rolled up yoga mat, it would have been a bit much.
Since the article went live the other day, "Jen Caron" has retreated from the Internets, deleting her Twitter and setting her food blog (of course she has a food blog) to private. It could just be that she's getting a lot of hate mail from angry hoodrats, and she's afraid she'll get Sharkeisha'd, but she could be under the impression that she's on the run from the government. I'm honestly concerned for her mental state. xoJane went and changed her byline from her government name to "Jen Caron" without indicating that they'd done so or that "Jen Caron" is a pseudonym. Between this and the issues I laid out in my post the other day about the Conor Oberst rape allegations, I would never believe anything I read on xoJane. Having said that, I'm definitely adding it to my bookmarks.
Byron Crawford a/k/a Bol is the celebrated author of several books, most recently NaS Lost: A Tribute to the Little Homey.
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Posted by Bol at 01:17 PM | Permalink
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