Originally posted August 2019.
I went back to the Silver Lake sand dunes for a photo shoot with 4 other black women and one Asian. We just so happen to be there during the free ORV weekend. What does that mean? A bunch of predominantly white Americans in their Jeeps, dune buggies and dirt bikes riding around by lake Michigan. We rolled up in one of the model’s 4 x 4 Jeep ready to drive through the dunes.There was jubilation when we spotted the only other black group participating in the activities; two older couples driving by. HEY KINFOLK!!
At a point, one of the photographers and I had to hitch a ride with anyone who would give us a chance. Luckily this older man and his young daughter gave us a hand and took us on a fun ride!! At another point when we had to pick up a recreation passport (required to enter state parks), things got interesting as we pulled up to the scene blasting something along the lines of Meg Thee Stallion or Lizzo; my memory fails me. Anyway, the intensity of the stares we received was like no other. I honestly think it was mostly out of surprise and confusion. A bunch of black girls and an Asian, half of them dressed in gowns, blasting hip hop, about to ride sand dunes in a Jeep. It’s obviously not common.
I hoped out of the vehicle with my bubbly energy and made my way to the front to purchase the passport, the whole time feeling the eyes following me. I wasn’t even phased by it. I thought it was hilarious. I was like, “Yeah, we also came to have some fun like everyone else!”.
I’m a very curious lady. I’m the type of person that will try almost anything different. If it looks like fun, I’ll be there regardless of the people I see doing it. Because of this I was called an Oreo or similar for majority of my life. I still didn’t and don’t care. Looking at the demographics chilling by the beach and driving through the dunes, I was reminded of the time I went mud riding in the middle of the woods in God Knows Where In South Alabama with a couple strangers I met in the city. PLEASE DON’T BE AS DUMB AS ME!!
So I definitely was not surprised to see the characters we came across.
When trying to define American culture, things can get complicated. The united states of America is a gargantuan machine built with so many different yet opposing parts. In this day and age, thanks to social media many Americans are beginning to see the different sides, shades, thoughts, opinions…cultures that make up this nation. For some it is the realization of an ugly truth, for others it is relief that their truth can finally be heard. In my honest opinion, from what I have observed from reading American history, this country has thrived on culture clash; Native Americans, slavery and African Americans, Japanese immigrants, Catholics, Jewish immigrants, Muslims, Hispanics, white nationalists…the list goes on! But this is America. This has always been America. And guess what, ish like this goes on in most if not all other countries. I’m not sure why we all expect better from America. My guess would be because America is where the oppressed run to for freedom.