Thursday, October 9, 2008

Black People Love Me, Obviously

I'm editing this paper right now for one of my classes, and one of the authors I cite is namd Siobhan, a name which always reminds me of this story:

I was at school in LA, where I was an editor on the school's newspaper. I was proofing a story that had a mysterious quote that was unattributed to anyone. I asked the author, and they told me it was from a girl named Siobhan. Remember, this is spoken, not written. Then everyone starts talking about how one of our other editors used to date Siobhan and how it was so odd because Siobhan is Black and this kid is a White Republican, yadda yadda yadda.

We used Facebook to get info on people, because what people put on their Facebook pages is the way they identify themselves, rather than how the school's records identify them. So I'm searching all over Facebok for Shavonne. I look for ShaVonne, Sh'von, Shavann, and so many other configurations. Finally I yell to the room of editors, "How do you spell Siobhan?!" They answer with the spelling that I had only ever seen associated with pale, freckled girls.

It was kind of an embarassing situation, and when I explained why it was so difficult for me to find this girl, I yelled, "I'm from Illinois, where Black girls named Siobhan are named ShaVonne!"

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