Thursday, March 20, 2008

The New Lisa Turtle™ Explained


It has occurred to me that I never actually explained why I am "The New Lisa Turtle™" so I have decided this warrants explanation. To understand, you'd have to understand who Lisa Turtle (the original) is (and I don't mean the actress that played her, Lark Voorhies). For the youngsters and those who just didn't watch Saved By The Bell I will explain her greatness. Lisa Turtle was Saved By The Bell's resident fly, token black chick even when it was Good Morning Miss Bliss. Now, most of what I know of Saved By The Bell/Good Morning Miss Bliss is through reruns (the show aired from 1988-1993 and I was born November of 1986) but I always knew that Lisa Turtle and I were kindred. Lisa Marie Turtle, like most of the Saved By The Bell characters was very one-dimensional so some of the things I will say are somewhat inferences based around what is known about her.

Like Lisa Turtle, I too attended predominately white schools nearly my entire life (only pre-school, kindergarten, first grade, and a partial semester in college were not). I too am used to being the only black girl in my class and often the only black person in my class. This is not to say there were no black people around, I just didn't have classes with the majority of them so it was like I didn't know any of them. Lisa can identify! She only had white friends (you know Zack, Kelly, Slater, Jessie, Screech, etc.). Other black people were rarely seen at Bayside, Lisa didn't even have any black friends (but at least Slater is Hispanic). My high school experience was not too dissimilar from hers, I was moderately popular with lots and lots of white friends. I was quite fashionable, my hair was always white people friendly (either pressed out straight or spiral curls -- you know how mystified SOME white people can be by black people with that naturally curly hair). Our taste in music is quite similar, though my scope may be broader than hers -- neither of us are afraid of the whitey music! Lisa Turtle was mostly single in high school (as was I) but did have small fleeting romances, mostly with cute, preppy white boys. She was, unfortunately, incessantly chased by Bayside's king of nerdom Samuel "Screech" Powers but this was all made okay when she got to have a brief (but cute) one episode romance with Bayside's hottest commodity Zack Morris. In high school I was a "white boy connoisseur," I liked them in all shapes, colors, sizes, types. I had my own versions of Screech but they were mainly obnoxious black boys who didn't get the hint! I (like the best schools, good drinking fountains, and seats in the front of the bus in the first half of the 1900s) was for whites only. Academically, Lisa and I paralleled -- smart but no Jessie Spano. She wanted to become a fashion designer; I wanted to be a patent lawyer. Lisa was accepted into FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) and I... went to community college.

This is where I stop being plain old Lisa Turtle and become the New Lisa Turtle. Beyond her showing up for Zack and Kelly's wedding and flirting it up with an ethnic cutie, we don't know what really became of Lisa Turtle. Maybe Lisa would have realized that fashion isn't what she really wanted to do and just one day quit FIT and come on back to Palisades, CA and mooch off of her surgeon parents (much like I am doing in Maryland -- mooching off my accountant mother and the money my retired father sends me). I wonder if Lisa Turtle's parents would have had the same "insight" my family had and think to themselves, Lisa should really learn to be around black people... LET'S SEND HER TO AN HBCU! Unlike me, Lisa probably would have chosen Spelman instead of the ghettotrocity that is Clark Atlanta University (and maybe she'd last a full semester). You see, I am the continuation of the Lisa Turtle saga; the story that went untold because she's not Kelly Kapowski. I am that girl who is unapologetically a product of her surroundings. Do I still exclusively date white guys? Hell to the no. No offense to my pigment challenged folk, but I am in love with the chocolate these days. Am I still stuck-up? Pretty much. Just call me "The snob of all snobs" (c) Naledge of Kidz in the Hall. Picture if someone took the Lisa Turtle we all know and love and gave her a foul mouth and a Grey Goose habit -- Now you've got the gist of me. Of course, unlike the character, I am multifaceted but I'm giving a general idea here.

I am the result of parents who worked hard to make sure their children did not have to grow up in the harsh world that so many people in my race do and that these children would have a chance at not being another statistic and another stereotype. Unfortunately, I am the new stereotype. They call girls and boys like me "Oreo." Black on the outside, white on the inside... WHAT THE FUCK DOES THAT MEAN? Do you know how many people grew up like me? It would be more phony for me to pretend that I am someone I am not. Everybody's a gangsta... Try being the only black person in your class when discussing A Raisin In The Sun or Native Son and trying to persuade people who don't feel it that racism is forever alive and kicking. The older you get the harder it is to reconcile the "white" world that you grew up in and the black person you are. I am a true suburban gangster; I bask in my Lisa Turtleness and I encourage others to do the same.


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Now playing: Dashboard Confessional - The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most
via FoxyTunes

2 comments:

The Book said...

Alriiite!!

(fŭng'kē) [blak] [chik] said...

I to was a Lisa Turtle!

But I didn't go to an HBCU until grad school!

And yes, after this past experience of dating a black guy...sorry to say...I'm going back to vanilla milk.