love is many things

…but it shouldn’t be a secret.  That really hit home for me.

I wish that this young woman could talk to Nia.  I hope that she at least reads the essay.  Not that Nia touched on the topic of having racist black parents to contend with, but I think that Danielle could be inspired by the way in which Nia boldly and candidly addresses many of the issues facing interracial couples.

Yes, I called Danielle’s parents racist.  They are.  I’ve found that some people are under the impression that black people can’t be classified as racist.  That that is a delineation that we reserve for the “oppressor.”  So not true.

Case in point from U-Mich Race Card Project:

History; NEVER TRUST A WHITE MAN!

Kwende Idrissa Madu
Russellville, AL

I imagine it’s gonna be a tough row to hoe going through life in America completely unwilling and unable to trust a white man.  I also imagine that it could be a large majority of “minorities” who really feel that way.

Back to Danielle though:  I admire her for not letting go of the love of her young life.  For seeing and feeling beyond her parents’ antiquated and limiting fear based belief system.  And for deciding that it’s time to “come out” and love in the open and let the cards fall where they may because that is the only way for her to truly live.

[CONFESSIONS]

“I’m Hiding My Interracial Relationship From My Parents”

A YOUNG WOMAN FEARS THAT HER FAMILY WON’T ACCEPT THE LOVE OF HER LIFE

ByDANIELLE T. POINTDUJOUR

[CONFESSIONS]<br /><br /><br /><br />
�I�m Hiding My Interracial Relationship From My Parents�

I grew up surrounded by love. I have the fondest memories of my parents spontaneously stealing ‘private’ kisses, the grand romantic gestures of my aunts and uncles and watching my grandparents dancing to old records in their living room.  Love was all around me and I spent hours dreaming of the day I’d have one to call my own.  It wasn’t until high school that I started to realize that the love I saw and wanted came with conditions.

Since I wasn’t allowed to date until I was 16, I had a secret boyfriend in the months leading up to that milestone birthday.  Mike was the best beau a teen girl could have—tall, handsome, funny and happy to carry my books and hold my hand.  He reminded me a lot of my father, the way he played with me and did ‘man’ things like pulling out my chair and holding all the doors.  He was great, so naturally I thought nothing of bringing him home for my parents to meet right after I turned 16.  I thought nothing of the fact that he’s White.

I’ll never forget the look on my parents’ faces when Mike walked through the door: confusion mixed with horror.  When he left—after an hour of awkward silence interrupted by short bursts of conversation—the drama began. My parents forbade me from seeing my honey again and told me that boys “like him” are only interested in me for sex and that I should “stick to my own kind.”  They tried to scare me with stories of violent racism and visions of children addicted to drugs because of their struggle with identity.  I tried to explain that his race didn’t matter to me, the way he treated me did.  I wanted him to know that Mike’s love reminded me of the love I grew up with. They weren’t trying to hear it.

For the rest of our high school years we dated in secret and by the time college came, the boy that held my hand became the man who held my heart.  Still, I had to have Black male friends pretend to take me on dates to throw my parents off.  I made up excuses to not come home on breaks so I could spend them with Mike’s family, who welcomed me with open, loving arms and had a hard time understanding my choice to hide our relationship.

I tried a few times to slip the topic of interracial dating into conversations with my parents, telling stories of friends who were happily dating or getting married.  The response was always the same: “Good for them, but you’re going to bring home someone that looks like us.”  My father even hinted that he would cut off my college funds if I went “that way.”

I felt trapped.

After college, Mike and I decided to apply for graduate school in Spain. While his parents were thrilled that we would be living abroad together and sharing an adventure, mine were worried about me going so far away and wondered how I would find the man of my dreams in a country where the majority of the people don’t speak English.  Little did they know the man of my dreams was actually a reality and had been in my life for quite some time.

It has been six months since we moved to Spain together and almost seven years since we started dating, and I couldn’t be happier!  All the fears my parents have for our relationship have yet to materialize, even here in this foreign land. Our love for each other has grown so much that I’ve come to realize that it’s time to tell my parents.  I love this man and I want to shout it from the rooftops. I no longer care what my parents or anyone else thinks about it and I’m tired of lying. Love is many things, but one thing it shouldn’t be is a secret.  Recently, we’ve been talking more about marriage and our future—both things that I want my parents to experience with us.  I hope that they can try to be open-minded enough to share in our love, but if not, that’s okay.  We have plenty of family and friends around that support us unconditionally and they can appreciate just what love is supposed to be: colorblind and limitless.

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2 thoughts on “love is many things

  1. Sorry to reply to this so late, but this is awesome! It is sad when ignorance and fear keep people from happiness…good to know that this young woman didn’t allow anything to hold her back.

    I am of mixed race and very light-skinned. I had a few Black boyfriends in the past but one in particular, my high school sweetheart, was raised by very ignorant parents.
    I looked too “white” to truly be accepted by them. There was always the sense that they had an issue with me being mixed and looking the way I did. His father would say things about my hair and constantly imply that I needed to identify as Black…and only Black, despite looking mostly white.
    And his mother was hateful to the point where I actually wanted to cry sometimes because I just didn’t understand why she disliked me so much. She even implied that I was a “slut” in front of my own mother when I was only 16 years old. She treated me with so much contempt and disdain. I can’t imagine treating anyone that way because of their race or physical appearance. I later discovered that my ex was also brainwashed to hate white people for the most part, which was crazy because how can you love somebody but hate part of who they are? He would say some effed-up things and he even became abusive towards me. I still carry emotional scars from what was said/done to me by those people.

    Maybe it bothers me because my mother didn’t raise me to be that way. My mom is also the product of a biracial marriage…her father was white, her mother was a black Jamaican. My mother never told me that I couldn’t be friends with somebody or date somebody because of their race, color, hair, etc.
    So I guess that is why it hurt so badly to receive that “wake-up call” and realize the truth…many people of all races DO raise their children in this way. They disapprove of their kids playing with children of different races and then once puberty hits and they want to start dating, it becomes more of a problem. People often frame it as something that only white folks are guilty of but as a mixed woman, I’ve seen that it can happen from people of color as well.

    Sorry about my lengthy response but I wanted to share my experiences. I also knew somebody who was Black, with two Black parents and they refused to let her date anyone who wasn’t Black…maybe for similar reasons as stated in the piece above. She had an interest in white boys but her parents were against interracial relationships. So she dated a Black guy throughout high school, but hooked up with white guys when she went to college.

    There is even a book called “Don’t Bring Home a White Boy”. On some level, I understand that some Black parents are apprehensive about their children with partners who aren’t Black. The history of Black men being lynched over white womanhood is a very painful part of history, as are the ways in which Black women were violated by white men in the past. I understand wanting to protect a son or daughter from any possible racism they might encounter. But at the same time, when Black parents adopt the same bigoted views as their white counterparts (even if it comes from a different place) they are doing their kids a disservice. No one should have to hide their relationship from disapproving parents/friends/society. And speaking from experience, it is hurtful to be treated like somebody’s “dirty little secret”.

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