A Hooker’s Opinion Of Caroleena (adult language)

Heaven was a 27 year old white woman who said she hailed from Mississippi and came to Hawaii to make money in the Amps or Asian Massage Parlors, which were brothels in Honolulu that offered no massage and employed mostly Asians and a rare white girl, but never blacks for reasons that were never stated but could be guessed. Heaven had the curious tendency I had noticed in white milennials trying to look cool–she utilized rap music to craft an identity of a non-musical white person attempting to imitate the commercial image of black rappers without having to deal with the hardships real black people faced at times. She switched mannerisms depending on who was around. As a mixed race person who had always been identified as black, I did not speak this so called ebonics and I needed the urban dictionary to decipher slang. I always spoke the same way and in a place like Honolulu with it’s low achieving public schools I inadvertantly came off as pretentious. I knew Heaven wasn’t imitating my atypical quirky ways that left me on the outside of every group, including most of the black people in my life. A part of me wishes I too could be a chameleon and greet people with an enthusiastic “What’s up my Niggaz!” The twinge of jealousy gave way to irritation at the reminder of bad times when I was surrounded by the big kids, all shouting that hateful word at me. While they laughed at me, always laughing at me. Could she just stop saying that?

Hawaii ha permanent black population and many locals had little direct contact with people who looked like me. “You’re the first black girl I evah been wit'” I heard time and time again in “pidgen.” There were few hard and fast stereotypes of black women other that we were less appealing than other races especially since we were thieves and came from a place called Compton. Hawaii style racism mainly showed itself in exclusion from social circles and professional rejection. However, it was not intractable like the hatred I had known as a young person. If a black person married into a family s)he was accepted due to that family’s association. Interracial couples were not disowned or denied like my white mother’s relatives denied me. The color line did not exist as sharply as on the mainland. So it’s not like Heaven had a peer group of white youngish hookers or fellow heroin addicts, whose behavior she had to imitate. She had no reason to shout these words into her cell phone “don’t be so niggerish with that weed. You can give me more than that!” while she drove erratically with one hand. I supposed she had to shout to be heard over the squeal of the tires, the honking horn and blasting rap music. I clung to the hand hold when she ran up on curbs and hid my face from the astonished eyes of other drivers. In Hawaii horns were used only in emergencies snd eith great reluctance. Driving with aloha precluded road rage. No one shouted obscenities or blasted music at a deafening volume. I would discover that Heaven could feel my vibe but since she did not mean to be offensive I was ridiculous to take offense. I disagreed. I correctly had her pegged as someone who purposely acts as an irritant, especially if there’s a reaction like my disapproval. Honest communication was wasted on her kind bc once she k ew your buttons, she’d devote herself to pushing them. Picture me in the backseat of a car blaring rap music that’s switching aggressively between lanes. Driving with Aloha was the norm in Hawaii: the horn was rarely used and no one yelled obscenities out the car window. Heaven did not see the shocked looks on the other drivers faces whenever she gave them the finger and cut them off. She looked crazy but she was trying to. Talk about “drawing heat” or attracting the attention of authorities! How stupid when you’re supposed to be delivering “papers.” A paper was $20 of heroin, ice or ma’a (Samoan for “rock”) in a teensy Ziploc baggie. A paper was the smallest amount a person can purchase, and that price set the minimum accepted amount a streetwalker charged, though most said they held out for at least $60. But that night I wasn’t a $20 crack whore, I was accompanying the delivery service, and forming judgments I would be foolish to ignore in the future.

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