In the early years of the 21st century I was in my late 20’s half black/white graduate of an ivy league university who turned to working as a prostitute in Honolulu gritty downtown area. Adjacent to Honolulu business district and Chinatown, “downtown” was and is a hotbed of drug activity. The only tourists to venture to an area close in distance but far in spirit from the wealth of Waikiki were tourists devoted to seeing the “real” Honolulu. Downtown street prostitutes worked 24/7, the women and the men dressed as women habitually choose the same spots on the “backstreet,” or Kukui Avenue, a narrow mixed residential and business half mile area. Previously I spoke of pimps. There were no pimps downtown because we spent all of journey on drugs and drug related expenses necessary to acquire more drugs. Someone read my earlier post and thought it was full of platitudes. I could lie to you dear Reader, and pretend I meant to do that to surprise you with blunt honesty. But the truth is I did not want to tell the truth so I resorted to platitudes hoping the subject mattet would be so interesting you would forget you knew the story of the bkack pimps keeping watchful eyes on the workung girls. But alas, you noticed that I did not say how it felt to see that all of the Waikiki pimps were black. In truth, I was embarrassed because they were the epitome of every stereotype. Street thugs with no respect for women, especially not if a woman looked like him. O had light skin so I was more desireable to men who valued this trait. But overall, I was not a competitive threat. Any girl who was not black was held in higher esteem than me. It was just like the lady who adopted me always said. Nobody cared how smart I was. No one was more rejecting of black women than black men. I considered myself very attractive but to many I barely rated a look, certainly they did not look twice. Humiliating.
Pimp rejection was not my only source of shame. I was plagued by thoughts of what others in my graduating class of 1995 were doing. Not blowing…kisses… for a saebuck I was sure. All four years at Harvard student run periodicals were devoted to proving affirmative action didn’t work. It was widely believed schools had seperate standards for black students which meant we only competed against each other. The best of the tiny pool of good black students was still inferior to the Asian powerhouses And, secondarily, the white students. I had worked to prove I belonged there, graduating with high honors. And now here I was living a street Life I had never known in suburban foster care. I felt like My spot in college had indeed been wasted on me. Blood will tell alright–I had reverted to type and lived very much like my mentally ill white birth mother who had seen the lower 48 states by travelling between homeless shelters, mental hospitals, and housing for the disabled. I knew then (And I am just as sure today) that very many people would look at me and shake their heads in mock sorrow and genuine triumph. I had turned a racist lie into the truth. “I knew affirmative action didn’t work.” Believe me, the only time it is nice to hear “I told you so” is when you are doing the talking.
But I did not let thoughts if reality get in my way when it took 30 minutes to get a date on Kukui Street day or night, instruct him to drive to a secluded area in that urban region, and racewalk with my $20-$100 to the nearest ice-smoking Samoan crack dealers. Then I was off to one of five residences where crack addicted men allowed me entree and a safe place to smoke, for a price. Intrusuve thoughts were cast down whenever I reminded myself that “in 3 minutes none of this will matter,” after I take that first hit. And I was right. Nothing else mattered but the drug and getting more. I told you so.