I’m Not Socially Acceptable

My wife and I recently started a business. More accurately, she started the business, and I was intrigued enough to jump on her bandwagon. She’s smart-as-fuck and highly computer-savvy, traits that will no doubt lead to success in our endeavor. I didn’t exactly have FOMO, but I maintain enough common sense to recognize a good thing when I see it. I’m smart like that.😁

The process of starting a business, in our case Mystical Gifts For You, requires a lot time, money and effort. And if you have the resources, it’s immeasurably beneficial to have guidance from those that have been there and done that. Why reinvent the wheel when you can use an existing profitable and efficient template?

Sarcasm Sunday, Bitmoji? I’m glad you enjoy sitting on the sidelines, criticizing those that are actually playing the game. Sounds like a rewarding life, asshole.

Maybe now you’ll leave me alone, Bitmoji?

As I was saying, starting a business is a lot. It just is. Facts. In truth, we can use all the help we can get. And that’s what we’ve been doing. The result is that I n less that a few months, with many super-late nights and the help of others, we’ve got a fully functioning e-commerce business. And after about ten days of marketing, we actually have a few thousand in sales.

No. And thanks for pointing that out, Bitmoji. Actually making money is gonna take a bit longer. Ever hear of startup costs, Mr. Dickhead?

I’m ignoring that. Well, after I tell you to fuck off, Dickmoji.🖕🖕🖕🖕

Back to the blog:

Rest assured, Dear Reader, this site will not be a format for marketing our business. In my mind, they’re two separate and distinct entities. I’m just trying to tell you a bit about it for perspective when I ultimately get to the point of this post.

Yes it takes time, and yes it takes money and blah, blah, blah. But after a few months? To have this?

Honestly, I’m proud. Even though I’m sure my wife could’ve done this entire business by herself, there is no way I could’ve done this without her. Well, maybe I could’ve if I had 20 thousand sitting under a mattress and a few computer gurus on retainer. So I acknowledge my shortcomings, but I won’t dismiss my effort. I have done a lot to help get this off the ground. I have.

Kinda, Dickmoji. Because I am proud. Given my educational background, I’m not where I expected to be in life—or with this adventure—but I’m excited and confident in where we’re going.

Now, the real reason for this post:

We were at a stage of marketing that didn’t make sense to us. The advertising metrics were ambiguous and the recommended methodology for reacting to those numbers was a little confusing. We needed advice.

The counsel we received was multidimensional, exceptional, and much appreciated. it made sense on all fronts. “Cut that ad. Tweak this one. Up the budget for this. And here’s why. The numbers show this, that, and the other thing.”

Check, check, check. ✅ ✅ ✅ Made sense. Thanks so much!

“Oh, one more thing. When you re-do the ad, Mark should be holding the project, not Nikki. I know it shouldn’t matter, but it does. Our country has a ways to go. Black people in video ads don’t sell. They just don’t.”

I was shocked, but my wife took it in stride. As a black woman, she’s fully aware of the pervasiveness of racism. It’s just part of life, part of living in America. She shrugged it off; just another discriminatory slap in the face.

Finally a good question from you, Bitmoji.👊 Look, I get it: marketing is definitely targeted towards certain demographics, with the intent of selling more product. If you’re pushing a Valentine’s necklace with a card that says, “To my beautiful wife,” you’ll probably do better focusing on a male audience. Similarly, you’d likely have a better hit rate selling that same product to people over 21 years of age; most 15-year-olds don’t have a wife, nor do they typically have the disposable income to be buying pricey jewelry as a gift.

But this was different, Dear Reader. This was an acknowledgment from our business mentor that white people wouldn’t buy product associated with a company that has black people in their ads. It wasn’t targeting a specific audience; it was tailoring the advertisement to ensure acceptance within a predominantly white population. The mentor is black, and she doesn’t have black people in her advertising for the exact reason she mentioned. While it might make good business sense, it’s still pretty fucking sad.

I tried to process this with my wife. As a white man married to a black woman, I was ashamed. I know I’ve previously blogged about the racist state of affairs in America. But my eyes are constantly being opened wider, seeing up-close, daily evidence of discrimination.

For her part, my wife kinda just shrugged it off with an “it is what it is” sorta attitude. Then, she said, “I’m not socially acceptable.” What the fuck, world?!

That comment from Keeda stung. It fucking hurt and it made me profoundly sad. I try to stay positive in life. I try to look at the glass with half-full eyes. But even though the civil rights movement was a bit before my time, 2023 suddenly felt like it would fit right in that era.

Now I know that we’ve progressed since the 50’s and 60’s. How much? That’s a topic for debate. I’m not suggesting things are as bad as they were when segregated schools, lynchings, and “Whites Only” water fountains were the norm. What I am suggesting is that the feeling Keeda expressed, that she wasn’t “socially acceptable”, would be similar to what was felt more than half a century ago. There would certainly be variations in the severity of that sentiment, I’d expect. It’s likely the emotions felt back then were also laced with a heavy dose of fear. But the basic perception you’re not welcome, that you’re a societal outcast? That would be similar. And it pisses me off.

You’d be scared if we were face-to-face, Dickmoji. It’s easy to have courage behind a keyboard, but…Wait, I’m arguing with an inanimate cartoon character? You’ve got a few issues, Markie.

It angers me—and makes me gloomy—knowing a small portion of the weight my wife carries. In my own life, I struggle with depression and insecurities, some of which originated from childhood. I was unloved and told I was ugly and unintelligent. This, from my mother. Later in life, I was completely discarded and my parents wrote vicious letters, wishing I were already dead. I was an outcast in my family. Keeda, on the other hand, is made to feel like an outcast in the world.

Agreed. No joke, it’s pretty bad being made to feel that way by the people in your life that are supposed to love you the most: your mom and dad. But to feel that way every time you step out the door? That’s some next-level bullshit.

Imagine every interaction you have with the general population. Now imagine that every time you have any interaction there’s a certain probability you’re going to be considered less-than-human, simply because of the color of your skin.

“I’m not socially acceptable.”

How does that feel? What does that do to your confidence? Your self-worth?

“I’m not socially acceptable.”

That constant mantra, drumming in your head. It has to change you. At your very core, do you become hardened, do you become jaded? Do you give up? Or do you resist the evils and oppression that surrounds you?

“I’m not socially acceptable.”

What would you do? How would you respond? How would you manage day-to-day life, with the constant fear and concern, not just for yourself, but for your children growing up in those same conditions? Do you feel terror letting your kids fly out in the world, knowing the statistics?

“I’m not socially acceptable.”

For me, those words are stunningly brutal. They challenge the essence of who you are, at your core. And despite how far we’ve come, they’re an indicator of how far we have to go.

The thing is, how do we respond to those words? How do I respond? While I can firmly say she’s leaps and bounds beyond being socially acceptable to me, I can’t really say the same for the rest of society. I’ve seen the sideways glance of scorn, I’ve witnessed the racist comments, and I’ve felt the hatred directed our way.

But if you only knew, society. If you only knew this woman.

If you only knew this woman, you’d realize that she’s not just socially acceptable, she’s an example of what society should strive to be. She’s smart enough to be an astrophysicist, yet spiritually wise enough to teach you the lessons of life. She’s a mother, a soccer coach, a daughter, a friend. She’s kind, caring, funny, and lovely. She’s all I’ve ever wanted. Can you say the same, society?

We have this vision board hanging in our room. It’s our North Star, guiding us towards our future. The places we’ll go, the things we’ll do, the people we’ll be. I think I’ll add to our board the vision of a world without judgment. A world where all people, of all races, genders, sexual preferences, religions and opinions, are treated as one. What do you have on your vision board, society?

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