Hey Oakland,

Well, we’ve been together for a long time now. Years, really. And we’ve had such good times. Remember when we first met? The day I was born? You were so good to me then, and while we were friends for so long – I would come visit you, look at the water, hang out at Fairy Land, drive around with my mom – I can still remember when we first fell in love. Even though it was years ago, I still remember discovering all the strange and beautiful things that were wrapped up in your streets. Meandering around on the bus, peering out at new sites. I remember when we first started going to parties together, deep down in warehouses and drunk together as we’d roll around. So many good times, such fun. Sure, at some point it got a bit intense. And I left for a while to hang out with your older brother, San Francisco. But you know me – you were always the one who was dearest to me in my heart. So I came back. I always come back.

And we’ve been together for quite some time now. We’re both growing older, both changing. We’ve known each other for our whole lives, and now that we’re living together, paying rent and waking up in the same bed every day – I mean, I don’t know if you’ve noticed it. But I certainly have. And it’s not that I don’t love you anymore, because I will definitely always love you. But…where did the magic go, Oakland? Where are the sparks and the wonder? We don’t even have sex anymore, you and me, and on the rare occasion that we do, it’s dry and perfunctory.

Sometimes in the middle of the night, I wake up, and I see you there, wheezing in your sleep in the dark, and I remember how beautiful you were the first time I saw you. And I look at your face, and I see how much you’ve changed. It troubles me.

Oakland, I’m not saying we should break up. Or move apart. I mean, we have so many mutual friends – I don’t want to go through the whole dividing camps thing. But I just have to admit – maybe we should just be friends. When you fuck me, I can see that there’s no feeling in your eyes. But maybe that’s just what your eyes always look like nowadays. It’s that thing called money – it’s changed you. You’re no longer the same. And while I always wanted you to be successful, to prosper and to thrive, and what cost has it come? When I look at you, I don’t see Oakland anymore. I see some strange new beast, in nice clothes and new condos.

I mean, we all know that it’s not even that much money, but it has still managed to change you. And it’s not a small change, an isolated change. It’s a cancerous change, one that will metastatsize all over your body. Sure, there are still parts of you that are rugged and rough, untamed and wild, but how will it be before you cover up the East with the same pretty Downtown fluffiness that has gripped everything in the North, and the West, and Downtown? Sure, I know that some people say that’s impossible – the East will never fall. But I know you. I might know you better than most, since I’ve known you for so long. Oakland, you’re greedy. And, sure, that might be the essence of the capitalist spirit, but at this point I think that this greed is not for your own good. All the people who have loved you forever, who have been with you since day one, who have stood by your side through the riots and the depression and the violent nights – you’re pushing them away. There’s no more room for us anymore. Because this is what always happens – as soon as someone gets money, it’s time for new friends and forget the old.

Maybe I’m afraid that you’re going to dump me before I dump you. You’re going to push me out, kick me out, and leave me destitute. You’ll be that ex-boyfriend that was too good for me, and too good for himself. And then one day, I’ll be walking down the street, keeping to myself, and there you’ll be: wearing those nice clothes, smoking nice cigars, with a new girlfriend on your arm, and of course she’ll be white and pretty and young and have rich parents.

Oakland, I know you have all these nice, cool, new white friends. And I know that if you could have it any way, you would probably just hang out with rich white people all day long. But there’s one thing that you’ll never be able to change about yourself, Oakland, and that’s the color of your skin. At the end of the day, you’re just as dark as the rest of us. It doesn’t matter how many white bitches you fuck. You’ll never be white.


Anyways, Oakland, I love you. I always have, I always will. It doesn’t matter what happens between us. I’ll always be here for you. Even if this doesn’t work out. Even if we break up. Even if we don’t live together anymore, and I go through a short period of hating you. You’ll always be a part of me. I guess…Oakland, you’ve changed. And I don’t think you’ve changed for the better. I guess we’ll just have to see what happens next.




Cross posted from FUCK FEAST 


Editor’s Note: This piece reflects an individual opinion and is not a reported story from Oakland Local. Oakland Local invites community residents to share their views about events and issues in Oakland. See our guidelines.

About The Author

Pilar Vree is an East Bay native who bartends at Penrose. She runs the blog Oakand Alcohol, Fuck Feast, and the Instagram account @oaklandalcohol.

28 Responses

  1. KL

    Wow. This is my story!

    I thought about fruit trees and summers in East Oakland. I thought about the old raggedy houses with so many stories to tell.

    It was a wonderful place to be a child.

  2. Jonatton Yeah?

    Later, Pilar! You and your race-baiting, urban decay-promoting, internet-troll-poorly-masked-as-journalist-driveling-self won’t be missed. Maybe you can start “dating” San Leandro. Or possibly Antioch. They might “rough” enough for you and your entitled perspective of what they’re supposed to be. They might be ready for a fake relationship with a person who defines a City by their own wants and needs of funemployment and manufactured, self-defined “edge.” Moving away will probably do you some good. Maybe it’ll give you some fucking perspective outside of the O/L chamber of echoes and your Oakland “native” faux-gutter punk social circle. Good luck! Or not. Don’t care.

  3. Joke

    Here we go again- let me get my racial perspective in and purport how great oakland was…before the influx of those devilish ghost faces. Old and played out. I’m already anticipating the thread to move forward with some lame argument on the voice of how oakland was/could be better if it were only brown again. Weak.

  4. PRE

    “It doesn’t matter how many white bitches you fuck. You’ll never be white.”

    This has got to be one of the most vile, racist and just plain ugly statements I have ever read on any Oakland blog. I can’t believe this sort of garbage makes it on this blog. Is there an editor?

  5. Veronica

    This is awful and runs contrary to everything that Oakland stands for.

    I love Oakland because it is a community based on acceptance and open-mindedness. Pilar clearly would do much better in a small-minded and homogeneous town.

  6. White trash

    If oakland were only largely white again. Those comments would bring a uproar….but it’s perfectly acceptable to assert ones preference for people of color to be of dominance. I know I know “thank you for telling our story and giving us a voice”. What BS. Your whinny ass story can’t be silenced soon enough. Look around…things are changing and reminiscing about oaklands past is counterproductive.

  7. Wade O'Connor

    When you go would you be so kind as to not leave your dead furniture under the overpass on your way out of town .

  8. KL

    White Trash,
    I appreciate your honesty. I’ve heard much of what you’ve said before.

    I always remind them that the point of telling our stories is not to agitate them. Telling our stories isn’t just for their benefit or entertainment or sympathy (or whatever reactions they think we’re trying to evoke from them).

    So if you don’t read it, it doesn’t mean we’re silenced.

    It’s for us and those who want to share with us.

    We might even have a positive dialogue.

  9. Jonatton Yeah?

    It’s all about you, right, KL? It’s all about your story and the stories that matter to you, right? The people who move here have no stories. None that matter, right?

    Nobody is trying to silence you. Nobody. You thinking that really speaks to your arrogance; as if your voice is the most important and when your voice is not ubiquitous it’s somehow “silent.” Oakland is not brown. It’s not white. It’s Oakland. It’s defined by a fucking species of tree.

    The reality is that Oakland is not yours. It is not. And it never has been. Opinions, so-called stories, like Pilar’s, are silenced and should be silenced because they’re a load of revisionist, self-absorbed shit. The sooner your type and your “me me me me me” attitude leave, the better we’ll all be. You don’t want a “positive dialogue.” You want a dialogue that caters to what you want. You don’t care about Oakland. You care about yourself. At least own. it. Maybe then people will “listen” or whatever it is that you need to feed your faux-native ego; that’s assuming you actually have a point other than incessant whining about a history that only exists in your head.

  10. KL

    Please re-read White Trash’s comment. That is what I responded to. Perhaps it applies to you as well.

    First you say nobody’s trying to silence Pilar, then in the same comment, you say her opinion should be silenced because you don’t like what she says. Well, that’s her opinion. Too bad.

    You moved here in her city. Now you say that she should be silenced in her own home. Who do you think you are? You think your voice is better and more deserving to be heard? It is not.

    Obviously who you think you are is different than we think you are. Maybe that’s where the problem lies.

  11. charlie s

    This is, to put it bluntly, hate speech and should not be published on the blog. The editors of this site, if indeed there are any, ought to be ashamed of themselves.

  12. KL

    How do we determine “hate speech” from dialogue?

    I’ve read someone post that people in Oakland don’t care about their neighborhoods and that by his moving in, he brings up the neighborhood. In fact, I’ve heard this several times in several different ways. Yet they moved here for the same reason others lived here, because it was all they could afford.

    Someone also wrote that they recently moved to Oakland because it is better. How would he know if it is “better” if he was not here before?

    These comments are rarely challenged. They are “understood.” Yet to Oakland natives, these are offensive “hate speech.”

  13. Jonatton Yeah?

    Offensive hate speech. Wow. Calling some faux-native nincompoop out for her racist, backward, boring revisionist bullshit is now “hate speech.” Nothing she “wrote” (a liberal use of the term) is hateful at all. No chance. Why? Because you are as single-minded and simple as she is. You’re saying the “native voice” is important regardless of the content. You’re excusing overt hate and racism because it’s not directed in your direction and it reinforces what you think matters. You should read up on this same debate going on in Berlin. Your “voice” is not far from the neo-Nazi hate speech against the “swabians.”

    Nobody moved into “her” city or your city. You don’t own it. You never did. And since you’re so into how “native you are,” how do you excuse the crime, the urban decay, and the poverty that has happened under “your” watch? Like it or not, it’s all disproportionately higher than the rest of the Bay Area and if Oakland is “yours” you are to blame. I’m sure you’ll have some excuse for that too. Or some justification of how those negative attributes are somehow positive because they’re personally meaningful to you and your story (the only thing that matter, apparently).

    Not that it matters. Oakland is changing. For the better.

    Oh, and Oakland isn’t turning white. It’s returning white. If skin color is such a big issue to you lot, you should probably try and get your history right (and not the propagandist type).

  14. Kipp7

    With this second bite at the apple for Ms. Pilar Reyes, Susan Mernit has become Oakland’s Official Racist propogandist. And it’s good business for her. She earns quite a nice living on the clicks she receives from her racist posters from her advertisers. Let me see if I can translate this: “Wah! Wah! Me! Me! Me!” Look kids, as has been pointed out to you: You don’t own Oakland. It is not YOURS. Oakland is “owned” by everyone who lives here. Everyone. It’s not a black city. It’s not a white city. It’s not a brown city or a yellow city It’s a city. Whether someone came here 30 years ago, 30 minutes ago or comes here 30 minutes from now – the stakes are equal. And frankly, the vicious, hateful, destructive “stories” of Pilar and her ilk are simply not interesting. Not only has Pilar NOT been silenced, she’s been afforded TWO opportunities to spew her race hate in Susan Mernits “salon.” You certainly have a right to express your opinion Pilar. What you don’t have is a right to a captive or appreciative audience. I think you are a vulgar, threatening, hostile and destructive person. The sooner you leave Oakland, the better for all of us. I’m not even the slightest bit interested in “dialoging” with you or anyone who supports you and I don’t give a shit about how you feel or your stupid “story.:” Everyone in Oakland has a “story” and most of them are much more compelling than yours. You want to leave? Then leave. Don’t let the door hit you on your vulgar, destructive ass on your way out.

    And Jonattonn? You rock. Thank you for taking the time and making the effort to challenge this idiocy.

  15. Susan Mernit

    How many people here are using their real names and owning their words? You, Kipp7? I think not. OL is a platform that allows locals to share their views, and the rants about silencing voices are one of the reasons we started OL in the first place–so people could share diverse viewpoints,
    You don’t like it? Fine.
    You don’t agree? Fine.
    You think a poster is an idiot? Your choice.
    Silence her. NO.
    Everyone is welcome to share their views, and obviously, some are able to it more in the spirit of dialogue than others.

    We welcome more views and posts on Oakland, so feel free to share, Also, Klipp7, we don’t sell on clicks, so we don’t need to pander for page views, we just want to give multiple perspectives a voice. Including yours.

  16. Phillip

    Susan, I don’t think it’s fair to criticize someone for not using their full name in this case because of Pilar’s allusions to violence in her past post (e.g. “snitches get stitches”, “you’ve been warned”).

    I really appreciate having this venue where I can read the opinions and responses of my neighbors, especially when it can be difficult for any of us to pop out of our bubble and meet the people next door or across town. But, I’m really confused about what, if any, standards and guidelines are in place to maintain this as a safe and constructive forum, particularly the “Community Voices” section.

    As well, are there any selection criteria for “Community Voices”? If folks are getting frustrated with Pilar, perhaps they should write their own.

    BTW, the link that is supposed to have the guidelines for Community Voices doesn’t work.

  17. KL

    Thank you for not letting yourselves be bullied by name-calling and personal attacks.

    Obviously, this is a subject that needs to be discussed further.

  18. Kipp7

    Susan, thanks for your reply and the information. In the first place, you have HARDLY silenced Pilar. In fact, you’ve prominently posted two of her hateful, racist rants here on your site and for the life of me, I am struggling to see how this meets Oakland Local’s non-profit mandate of a tax exempt orga

    naization that contributes to the “community.” Also, I can’t seem to find your 990 filings on Guidestar for 2011 and 2012. Can you please provide a link ?

  19. Jonatton Yeah?

    Susan, I really like this site. I check it almost every day and try to contribute via commenting as much as a can. But to put Pilar’s juvenile rants under “Community Voices” is disingenous.

    Definition of COMMUNITY
    1: a unified body of individuals

    Do you really think, “snitches get stiches” (okay, thanks, Carmelo Anthony), “watch your back” (no), and “no matter how many white bitches you fuck you’ll never be white” (untrue and as daft as it is vile) fall under that banner? It’s anything but unifying and it has nothing resembling the promotion of community.

    In all, the hypocracy is just amazing. This rant-as-letter could easily be written by someone leaving San Francisco to come to Oakland because of high rents and demographic changes. And if Pilar follows through with her threat to leave, something it appears most would be gung-ho about, would she not be doing the same thing she’s moaning about here? “Invading” another City, ruining it with her Pilarness? Did she not live in San Francisco for a time? In the Haight, maybe? How dare she.

    And, KL, if you were to move, how would you react if a local blog said that no matter how many black sluts the City fucked, the City would still never be black. Or if black people were to go to the cops when they’re the victims of crimes, they should watch their back because they could get lynched for stuff like that. I can’t imagine your reaction would be, “meh, they were arbitrarily born here like a whole, whopping 20 years ago so hammer away with the xenophobia and the racism!” No. Your reaction would be, “that’s utter balderdash!” And you know what!? You’d be right! But in this echo chamber, you’re perfectly willing to accept xenophobia and racism as long as it reinforces your idea of what a discussion about Oakland should be. You’re fine with hate as long as it’s directed against the other.

    But I’m done feeding the troll. Anyone who writes such baiting nonsense and has a blog called “Fuck Feast” is painfully in dire need of shock-driven attention. She’s basically Gwar; “Well, we can’t seem to make it with our talent or ability so let’s just shock people to see if that will garner us the attention our id so painfully needs.”

  20. Susan Mernit

    I appreciate the respectful and thoughtful conversation here, especially the comments by Jonathan and Phillip. I also hear that Pilar’s writing upsets and offends some of the readers and I am listening to what you say. But I am concerned about the comments about silencing Pilar–I think everyone is entitled to share their views, within a framework of owning their words and not slandering, libelling or threatening others or using hate speech. What I hear from some of you is that much of this essay from Pilar feels like hate speech to you even if it doesn’t fit the traditional views and language of hate speech, and I am thinking about that.

    However, I will restate that I strongly disagree with the people who insult Pilar for her views, and who threaten her and/or OL for publishing writing they don’t like. Especially when those people don’t use their own names, and when they try to act like bullies. I’d like to think Oakland is a place where people who disagree can have a discourse–we’ve certainly had lots of these kinds of discussions on Oakland Local.

    Kipp7, you’re one of the people that I question as a bully. It doesn’t sit right with me that you take a threatening tone toward Oakland Local for publshing a piece of writing you don’t like and yet, you don’t use your real name. We don’t even know if you live in Oakland, who you are, or what your agenda is.

    Kipp7, I am not sure why our 2011 and 2012 filings on Guidestar are not published; we’ve filed both years on time and have a 2013 letter from the IRS that verifies we are in good standing. I am going to check with Guidestar to find out why the are not visible on the site, they should be.

    PS Oakland Local has a long history of publishing diverse voices, particularly people sharing feelings about living in Oakland.

  21. charlie s

    As you think about these things, Susan Mernit, perhaps you’ll realize how patronizing your comments sound. And if you’re not able to recognize this as an instance of hate speech, then I have to wonder whether you’re really qualified to edit a website:

    “But there’s one thing that you’ll never be able to change about yourself, Oakland, and that’s the color of your skin. At the end of the day, you’re just as dark as the rest of us. It doesn’t matter how many white bitches you fuck. You’ll never be white.”

  22. Alejandra

    Thanks Pilar! To all the people offended out there: just because an author mentions different ethnicities and races in writing doesn’t mean that the author doesn’t belong to those groups or have family and friends in those groups. If you truly believe that the author lives in such isolation from other groups, then it is you who are the bigot. Namaste.

  23. sjb

    Pilar – just a quick question: As a white woman who lives in Oakland, am I one of those “white women [who was] fucked” by the presumably “not white man that is is Oakland” and am I therefore disposable and insignificant in your worldview; or do I also have a voice in our city; or am I simply irrelevant to the future of Oakland?

  24. sjb

    correction to my post to Pilar: please excuse me, I meant “am I one of those ‘white bitches'” that was fucked by Oakland


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