Interracial Relationships

A friend requested my next blog be on this topic, so I felt honored that he wanted to hear my opinion.  The funny thing is over the years my opinion has changed dramatically.

Prior Thought Process

I used to be very militant and against the whole mixing of races concept.  I guess growing up in Massachusetts (in my opinion a very racist place) defined my militant persona over the years.  It was covert racism but very much present.  Here’s where it all began.  I was bussed to a white suburban neighborhood for school by the METCO program (Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity).   In the sixth grade I first began to experience the idea that I was not an equal when a white student told me that all black people lived in the projects.  I argued that I was black and I lived in a house and not the projects.  I was allowed to go to my white peer’s homes to hang out; however they were never allowed to come to mine for fear of the dangers of urban living.  In college during a lecture on slander, as an example my professor called me a nigger bitch which she felt wasn’t offensive.

With all these experiences under my belt I had to come up with a method of combating the racist world, so I took pride in battling them with intelligence and research.  I soon found out that you can’t fight ignorance with ignorance.  Through my research I developed a sense of pride in being a Black American and what we have done for this country.  I have never allowed the harsh reality of the racist world we live in to hold me back in any way.

It’s almost funny now that I live in Atlanta when I meet other minorities that have visited the Boston area.  A few people have mentioned the racism they experienced during their brief visits to the Boston area.

My thoughts opposing the mixing of races started very young.  To fully comprehend my rationale, I will have to begin by explaining my cultural background.  I’ve always hated when black people recited a laundry list of all their nationalities.  I believed it was a way of distinguishing themselves from being what the world saw them as, just black.  For the purposes of this blog my nationality is important.  My mother’s family is from Petersburg Virginia.  As far as I know we are descendants of slaves.  Obviously as with most black people there are probably other cultures that could be mixed in, but I have no direct knowledge of that on my mother’s side of the family.  My father’s side of the family is another story.  My grandfather was half white and half black.  My great grandfather was a black man who married a white French Canadian woman and had a lot of children.  I’m not quite sure how many.  My grandmother is from a chain of islands off the coast of Africa called the Cape Verde Islands.  Massachusetts has a big population of Cape Verde island immigrants, so I decided to research culture since it is my heritage as well.  These African islands were taken over by the Portuguese and approximately 71% of the population is considered Creole, meaning a mixture of black African and Portuguese descendants.  People have always tossed around the word Creole, so I wanted to figure out what exactly the word Creole means.  I discovered that Creole is defined as a person of mixed Black and European ancestry who speaks a creolized language.  My grandmother clearly fit this definition because she spoke creolized Portuguese and was a translator for the court system in Boston.  Her position was very important because of the increased population of these immigrants.

Around the age of ten, my race defining moment occurred while visiting an older cousin on my father’s side of the family.  I’m not sure how we got on the subject, but she made a negative comment regarding the huge number of people in the family that married white people.  Although her husband was black, she felt the family believed marrying white was better.  I also noticed that there were several of my many family members that never claimed to be black.  They always referred to themselves as Portuguese.  Usually we stereotype black men when it comes to marrying outside of their race, but on this side of my family I had just as many female cousins in relationships with white men.  I’m sure my older cousin didn’t realize what she was saying to me would impact my life in such a great way, nor did she understand how much her negative comments of the family belief system would stick in my brain for years to come.  My loyalty to my mom was great and having the family look down on her because she was black made me believe that if we stuck to our own race this would not occur.  I’m not saying my father’s entire family adheres to this belief system.  I haven’t asked each member their opinions of the subject.  This was just a defining moment in my life.

Evolution

When I finally reached college I still held onto my races should not mix beliefs.  When I got back to school to start my sophomore year, I learned that a friend of mine had dated a white guy over the summer.  I blasted her for doing such a thing because I was so strong in my convictions.  After I finished blasting her she looked wounded by my tongue lashing and I could tell she wished she had never mentioned it.

Life went on and I started a business management class.  I was sitting there minding my own business and this guy walked in.  To say he had traffic stopping good looks, doesn’t come close to doing him justice.  He introduced himself as John and I was so attracted to him I could feel my heart thumping.  Now this was an unusual feeling for me because John was a blond haired; blue eyed; white guy.  I really didn’t know what to do with these feelings, so I kept them at bay despite his obvious flirtations throughout the entire semester.  I shrugged it off as him just being nice.  I told my friend about my feelings and she was in disbelief since I gave her a verbal beat down earlier that year.  John was a real cool guy and I started to rethink my position although I didn’t just have my thoughts to contend with.  Remember, I was still in Massachusetts at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.  There were a lot of other racial issues on campus that I didn’t even want to get into dating outside of my race.  A year later a black girl on the track team started to date a White guy.  I mulled it over and thought that if she can do it, then so can I.  It took me several days, but I called John and admitted to having a crush on him.  He admitted the same, but he was now dating someone else.  We both got a good laugh out of the fact that neither one of us had enough nerve to confess our crush the year before.

During that year before my confession to John, I had to rethink why I was so opposed to interracial relationships.  I came to the conclusion that if interracial relationships did not exist I would not exist considering the racial makeup of my family.  Now I was open to date a man of any race, yet another defining moment in my life.

Reality of Choice

Even though I am very open to dating outside of my race now, I do have hang-ups that don’t make it an entirely easy process.  When I was in high school I did some volunteer work with a fellow classmate.  Since I went to school in the suburbs (remember I was bussed) this friends’ father offered to drive me home even though my neighborhood was considered “not so safe” by suburban folks standards.  He was a black man married to a white woman.  He was very militant in his beliefs which shocked me considering his choice to have a white wife.  His son and I were in the backseat on the way to my house and since I was young and had no tact, we got on the subject of his marriage to this white woman.  This was a very sensitive subject since his son was in the car and this was his mother we were discussing.  He admitted that if he died he would want his children to go live with his family because he didn’t feel his wife could raise black children.  His son was floored because he never heard something like that come out of his father’s mouth.  His statement piqued my interest so I had to ask him, then why did you marry a white woman in the first place?  He said you can’t control who you love.  I found his confession very interesting and I didn’t press the issue further.  It was obvious father and son were going to have a major discussion once I was dropped off.

Now that’s a good subject to discuss.  Can a white person successfully raise a black child?  For years this issue has been fought in many court battles all over the country. Considering the disproportionate numbers of unwanted minority children I feel it’s better to be raised in a home surrounded by love than for those children to be raised in the system based on the principle that black people should be the only ones to parent black children.  My belief is yes white people can successfully raise minority children.  They just have to be aware of the realities of the world and teach the realities of the world to their children.  Racism is very much alive and well in the United States.  Yes we have made a lot of progress but racism is real.

A few years ago a black teenage boy that was adopted as a baby and raised by a white family was jailed for sleeping with a teenaged white girl.  Even though there was only a few years age difference they through the book at him under some antiquated statutory rape law.  Even the white girl’s family thought the consequences were too severe, but that fact was never acknowledged.  It was obvious that if that teenage girl had been black it would have not hit the front page of the news and he probably wouldn’t have even been arrested.  Having sex with a white girl caused a major life changing experience in that young man’s life.  His parents fought the good fight and stressed the racial injustice behind their son’s incarceration and he was eventually set free.  What stayed with me about this situation was what his parents said to him during a press conference upon his release.  They apologized to their son for not teaching him the harsh realities of being black in America.  I believe they loved this boy as if he was born from their own flesh, but not teaching him the realities of the world is what they apologized for.

Both the father and son exchange I had in high school and this wrongfully accused young man have caused me to think long and hard about interracial dating.  Marrying outside my race and having children does present issues that would have to be dealt with.  A while ago, I went out on a date with a white man I met in my travels.  The date started out great.  I asked him specific questions to see if I would be comfortable venturing beyond friendship.  I said that if I had children with a man outside my race I would have to teach my child the realities of life.  I then went on to explain in depth what my realities were, specifically even if a person is half white society will always consider them black.  He disagreed and politely told me racism doesn’t exist and that black people were too dramatic with their thoughts on racism.  When the words came out of his mouth I was in shock.  I told him that it doesn’t exist to him because it doesn’t affect him. I’m not in the business of changing anyone’s mind, so after our debate that evening I knew we would just remain friends.  He could live in his bubble if he wanted to but I couldn’t share the space with him.  Not to say that he wasn’t a great guy.  I have met black people that share his same beliefs.  I totally disagree and feel racism is alive but his opinion is just like mine, an opinion.  We had a non argumentative debate and we left it that. I’ve learned over the years that I’m not a lawyer trying to argue my case and change anyone’s mind.  We respected the difference in our views and let it be.  I knew with the depth and weight of my perspective on life, he was not someone I could seriously date.  He lacked understanding of my point of view regarding the challenges interracial children may face.  I don’t suggest everyone should share my belief system; however, for me to venture outside of my race there has to be a shared understanding of being black in America today.  Yes as a country we have jumped over many hurdles since slavery.  I personally never thought I would live to see a black president, but in all fairness, our president is not just black he is half white.  I have yet to hear an interview that defines him as a white man.  They focus on his African lineage.  He is interracial but in this country he is a black man regardless of the fact that his mother is white.  Maybe one day we will look beyond definitions of skin color and just call ourselves people.  Who knows what the future holds.

If you have a suggested topic please feel free to leave it in the comments section of this blog.  I love to hear your opinions of my blog good or bad.  This is a forum to exchange opinions.  Anyone whom shares my same opinion or is strongly opposed, I would love to hear from you.  Leave them in the comments and I will post them.

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November 7, 2009. Tags: , , , , . Dating, Friends, People Relations. 4 comments.

The Dating Wars

I was told dating is a war and you have to try and avoid the bombs.  I feel like I have been dating my entire life.  There are different forms of dating.  The process can be excruciating and painful depending on what you are looking to get out of it.

The book Men Are From Mars Women Are From Venus…I have to say, that man could not be more correct.  We are definitely different creatures with different thoughts and feelings on a lot of things.  Women are emotional thinkers and men are logical is another line that has been thrown at me.  Now this does not hold true for all men and women.  I have met men who will take on what is traditionally a woman’s role in a relationship and a woman who takes on the man’s role.  For arguments sake I am just going to stay on the traditional men and women.

The Double Standard

Men can sleep with as many women as they want and he is “the man” or “a stud”. A woman, on the other hand who does the exact thing, would be labeled a whore or a slut. Then men wonder why, when women are asked how many men they have slept with, the answer is usually a lie.  Woman does not want to be judge by her past. Nor does she want to jeopardize any future relationship by telling the truth.  The funny thing is men will ask this question and usually don’t want to know the answer. Just like that famous line from the movie A Few Good MenYou can’t handle the truth.  It’s funny; an ex-boyfriend of mine said to me, he didn’t want the truth. He wanted to live in ignorance and feel like he was the only man I had slept with. I found that to be an interesting concept. I just let it be, if that helped him sleep at night, then so be it.  Most women have a sexual past.  In fact, some have a very extensive sexual past.  I also hate this particular question “Was I the best you’ve ever had”?  Men, do you really want to know the answer to that question!  This is one of those times where the answer could make or break a relationship.  And it all really depends on how good he was.  If he rocked your world, then your answer would stroke his ego, but if he didn’t…your answer would crush him to smithereens.  And of course he’s probably going to say “that’s not what I wanted to hear”.

Now it is true, a lot of men can separate sex and love.  Sleep with a bunch of women and not think twice about it. But they have that main one who they would cross heaven and earth for. Now there are women out there that can do the same thing, and of course, men don’t like them because they can detach themselves from the emotional side of sex just like a man.  Then there is the other class of women, the ones that give their whole being to the man in a sexual way and then afterwards feel there should be a relationship that follows.  In dating this is a big issue.  How early do have sex?  Is it 3 days, 3 weeks or 3 months?  Now I know many people who have different perspectives on this particular subject. I’ve met women who are adamant about the three month rule and some who don’t care and the first date is all that it takes.  Neither will guarantee a relationship.  I have a friend that married a man she slept with after knowing him for three hours. Lucky devil.  When you sleep with a man quickly, there’s a 50/50 chance that you will be put into the whore category.  Even though he sleeps with you just as quickly.  Double standard.  If you don’t mind that risk then go for it.  If the thought of this puts you into emotional turmoil then I would suggest that you wait. In no way do I feel that all men are out for only sex.  Some actually would like to be in a relationship.  You just  don’t know his intentions yet, especially if you just meet him. 

The Womanizer or Manizer

These are people who are dating a lot of people at one time.  I’ll refer to them as serial daters.  Now if that is your thing no problem. Honesty is the best policy if you are living your life in this manner. If you are upfront with the person(s) that you are seeing it will reduce the amount of drama in your life.

If a man is dating a woman who has several men she is dating. You can always use the don’t ask, don’t tell scenario.  If no questions are asked no answers are needed.  If you are dating someone and it isn’t serious then you really don’t owe anyone an explanation of how you choose to live your life.  If the subject comes up, then you can always state we are just getting to know each other and I feel that it isn’t proper conversation at the moment. Now if sex has entered into the situation, any man that is truly interested in you is going to want to know. He most likely is going to confirm that he’s the only one that you are sleeping with. Now, I know a couple who got married and they were both sleeping around and knew it.  They became serious and got rid of the other people involved in the triangle.  I feel there’s no right or wrong way to handle a relationship. There are general standards, but you will always find the exception to the rule.

Women tend to believe, that when sex seals the deal that they are the only one. That’s usually less likely to be true.  It spares a lot of hurt feelings to not assume anything.  Unless this man comes to you and says I want it to just be us, or if you have some sort of conversation that you are in a relationship, never assume you are the only one in the equation. 

The Person Trying to Buy You

There are men and woman who try and buy the person they are interested in.  I have seen it on both sides. They’ll buying clothes, vehicles, and even paying bills. All to keep the person they are interested in.  This is futile.  The people you are spending your hard on money on usually have no interest in you beyond what they can get out of you.  If someone spends more time spending your money than they want to spend with you, there’s a problem.  There are several T.V. shows that show this very clearly. Such as Snapped on the Oxygen channel. Now I know men reading this is like oh lawd she is talking about a women’s show. But wait, hear me out, it will enlighten you also.  This show is very informative, so men you should check it out. The premise is usually the same; it’s about some off balance woman that was in the relationship for the money.  Then wham, bam she offs her husband to collect some big payout. Word of wisdom…You never know what anyone is capable of, never underestimate anyone. Especially when they were not in it for you in the first place.

Jealousy

I know everyone has been in this type of relationship, men and woman alike.  If someone has to question your every move, always has some paranoid notion that you are cheating on them, always want to know who you are talking to.  Sound familiar?  If this is a constant in your relationship, there are some trust and insecurity issues.  My feeling towards this is if you don’t trust someone, just move on. Why do you have to be inspector Gadget and investigate everything?  Believe it or not, there are many people who stay in relationships just like this, for reasons I don’t believe they even know.  The truth is, these issues never seem to go away, and they just linger on and on and on.  But on the other hand, if you the right to be Inspector Gadget. The person is displaying behavior that you know they are cheating.  Then drop them and move on.  Or let’s say the person isn’t cheating.  Then drop them. Even if they are not cheating you still do not trust the person. You will always be on guard that they are not being honest with you. Why put yourself through this in either circumstance.

The Bad Relationship

There is usually nothing redeeming about this relationship but you still won’t leave it. Now this is for men and women.  There are countless situations when someone really needs to walk away from a relationship.  There are also countless reasons why people stay in a bad relationship.  Such as:

A)   Can’t be alone. This is the worst one I believe. You would rather be miserable or abused than to be alone. I feel anyone in this situation really needs counseling.  You need to work on your self esteem. We all have friends that fit into this category. They only leave someone when they have someone else to replace them.  Usually the replacement is just as bad as or worse than the prior person. 

B)   You have children. There are a lot of people who will stay in relationships because they have children.  I understand this concept but don’t agree with it.  Being unhappy for the sake of the children is not the best idea.  Kids are not stupid. They can tell you are not happy and most times, if they are old enough, they can figure out the problem on their own. Or if the house if full of arguments and drama that is even worse. You really need to re-evaluate why you are there and if the situation is really beneficial to you and your children.

 

C)   We’ve been together too long.  I have met a lot of women who will not leave because they have invested too much time.  I think that is crazy.  Time doesn’t guarantee you anything.  It doesn’t mean eventually he will marry you, because he won’t. Or that the relationship will get any better.  I have a friend who dated a man for a three years and the relationship wasn’t going well. She really thought she would be “the wife” and tried to hang on to see if things would change, it didn’t and the relationship ended badly.  Six months or so after they broke up he was engaged to someone else.  If you are unhappy in the relationship and no matter what you do to try and make it work it doesn’t work, then it’s time to leave.  Time doesn’t mean it will get better or that you will get what you want.

 

Now these are just a few examples, there are many more but I see you get the point. In my opinion, there’s no reason to stay in a bad relationship. Stop wasting yours and the other person’s time. 

Ready to be Married

Men would think I am just talking about women, I’m not. Over the years I have met a lot of men who just want to be married just like a woman.  When your desire to be married is greater than your desire to find the right person for you, that’s a problem.  It works both ways. I had an acquaintance, occasionally we would run into each other at various parties.  Well this one time I ran into him he was complaining about he was sick of being single and dating.  He was ready to be married and have children. I understood where he was coming from.  Six months later I am talking to a mutual friend and he told me that guy married a woman he knew for two months. Now I don’t know how that marriage turned out. I hope and pray it is a happy union.  The part that concerns me was his desire to be married. Was it greater than really finding the right woman for him? I also know several women who are miserable because they wanted to be married and they got what they wanted. The only problem is the marriage isn’t a happy one. 

Marriage is work. I feel when you are ready to marry someone you need to look at the person and say will I love them for their flaws too.  Not when we get married if this or that change we will be happy. There is no guarantee that anything will change about that person. You have to realize the only thing you can change is yourself. So do not go into anything trying to change someone else.

Dating can be difficult.  You are dealing with other people’s emotions, short comings and downfalls.  Everyone knows this is a struggle on all fronts.  Sometimes it is good and sometimes it isn’t.  Some people have great relationships some don’t.  The point is you need to do what is right for you.  My mom told me live your life for yourself because when it is time to go the grave you are going by yourself. We have one life and it’s not a dress rehearsal.  There is no reason to spend your life unhappy.  When you are dating you are getting to know the person, you are checking them out, as well as they are checking you out.  If for any reason you see something just isn’t right, walk away, there will be others. You need to figure out what the red flags are for you.  The biggest problem is people ignore red flags either thinking they are no big deal or they will change.  This is no reason to continue.  WALK AWAY!!!

September 20, 2009. Tags: , , , , . Dating, Friends, People Relations. Leave a comment.

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