When Interracial Dating Hits Home!!
"My Son is dating a white girl!!"
"I'm so torn. I've always thought that people should be with who ever they love, no matter what color, religion or regardless of what other people think or say, but..." This is what I heard after I answered a phone call. If it was anyone else I would have to wonder if there was some prejudice in their heart that they just haven't come to grips with. But, we're talking about my oldest dearest friend. Her comments and my reaction was an eye opener for us both.
Let me start by telling you a little about my friend. She was the one person in high school that everyone knew and liked. Like many schools then and now...the cafeteria was indiscriminately segregated with black students at one table and whites at another. She was the lone little chocolate chip sitting in the middle of the vanilla wafers. While many where out there enjoying the sounds of hip hop and R&B, she would be listening to the Eagles, Barry Manilow and Elton John. She has dated more white guys than black, although she did end up marrying a brother, twice. Even now she lives in a predominately white neighborhood and her children attend a predominately white school. So, tell me why was she surprised and dare I say upset, when her sixteen year old son started...dating a white girl?
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After I got over my initial shock and reminded her of ALL the white guys that she dated (by name and physical description...cause that's what good friends do). I asked her if she would feel the same if her teenage daughter were to date or even marry a white guy and her response surprised me. She said "NO"! Huh, why the double standard? Why would her daughter dating a white guy be okay, and her son dating a white girl be so troubling to her?
Well, as a young girl she spent the majority of her childhood in mixed company. However, her parents, grand-parents, aunts, uncles, all of their friends were all in relationships with people of their own race. In fact, she was the first one in her family (that she knew of), that ever dated someone of a different race. She grew up seeing, hearing and feeling the joy and pain of those relationships. When she looks back all she remembers is that "ALL" the men had affairs and outside children, and most of the women were not very happy. It was if they all had "settled".
Somehow, she translated this to if her daughter had more choices she would have a better chance at finding the happiness that eluded her mother's generation. As for her son, honestly, she thinks that he is such an amazing young man, with so many great characteristics like loyalty, honesty, and gratitude. He is such a first-class "young man" that in her eyes; it seems unfair that yet "another" black woman may not have the opportunity to know the love of a strong black man.
It's not that she has a problem with the young lady being white; it's just that she know what it's like to be a young black female and not have AS MANY choices when it comes to dating black men. Immediately I think of the young girls in Africa that were selected to attend Oprah's school, created especially for them. I wonder about how fortunate they all are to receive such an amazing life-changing gift of knowledge, education and opportunity. Then I think about our young black, well educated American women...who will they love? Who will love them?
There is no secret that we have more black men in prison than in college. More are killed than live to retire. My friend wants her daughter to be able to select the best man for her regardless to what color he is. See, I think that sometimes prejudice isn't about hate for another race, but the love of yourself and the deep desire to want the best choices for the people we love...regardless.
The truth of the matter is..."my friend", doesn't really care who her son dates as long as she cares for him and treats him and herself with respect and dignity. She's not expected to "make" him happy, but, add to his happiness. In the big picture, her race isn't important, it's just another aspect of a young relationship that may or may not make it to prom season.
The big eye opener for me was learning that somewhere inside us all is that little boy or girl that's holding on to past feelings, regrets or hopes that if we're not careful, can manifest themselves in unhealthy and unproductive thoughts and actions that we pass on to our children. In my perfect world we would all love each other with no regard to the color of our skin. I just hope that we are around long enough to live there...in my perfect world!
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