Part of Who I Am

This may offend some people, but I really and truly do not intend to offend anyone.
Things I say here, may be seen as ignorant, I will apologize in advance; because I know that I am ignorant about some things in this world. This is largely my opinion, and should be viewed as such. I am not trying to push this opinion onto anyone else, merely, trying to help myself define who I am. This is mostly about my opinions of the public view of blacks and whites (I think).
I also apologize for my rambling style of writing.

I am a white, 35 year old, mother of 2 wonderful teens, who is separated from her white husband (over 7 years now). I am dating an amazingly loving, caring and understanding man, who is black.
I make these statements because I am trying to understand something about myself, and if others take some sort of understanding with it, great! If they don’t, I have no opinion on that.

I know that many people, black and white, look at interracial couples as a problem, for various reasons. One that bothers me is that one partner in the relationship is not being true to their race; or that the other person is trying to ‘steal’ one of the few quality men/women from a certain race. I hear it in conversations on TV, in movies, in real life! I can’t understand this. I feel ignorant when faced with these ideas and views.
I know there are stereotypes out there, about black actors/athletes dating white women, white women ‘stealing’ all the good black men, black men stealing all the beautiful white women, and other such things. It actually makes me feel bad that people think this way, and that they may see ME this way. The reason this concerns me, is because I am an honest person, and I do not like people thinking false things about me. We are always told that “the truth hurts”; but I know that its not the truth about me, and while I often don’t care about people’s opinion of me, I don’t want them to think of me as offensive.

Anyway, this post is also about how I have never associated myself with any race. I have always found myself drawn to “typically black” things. And I know that sounds awful, but its true. In a way, I think I could say that if I was blind, I would probably think myself black, if that makes any sense. BUT I don’t think of myself as black or white. I am just ME. Let me try to describe it this way: I didn’t want to be a “Seaver“, a “Keaton” or a “Brady”, I didn’t want to run along the beach in a red swimsuit, or hang out at “The Peach Pit”… I wanted to be a “Huxtable”, a “Holloway” or a “Winslow”, I wanted to attend “Hillman College” and I wanted to be a cashier at “The Peacock Cafe”. Basically, I always found myself connecting with the “stereotypically” black entertainment. I still feel the same way. This doesn’t mean I never watched and/or enjoyed Rosanne, Home Improvement, Reba, or the like; just that if the schedules conflicted, it was Cosby Show on my TV!

When all the girls in my class were daydreaming of blond haired, blue eyed men, I could only think of a tall, chocolate man with eyes so dark you could barely see his pupils. When envisioning the children we’d have, mine were dark skinned with a beautiful mass of tight curls! The dolls I chose as a child were the “African American” babies.

It had nothing to do with wanting to “nab a black man”, it was merely what I was drawn to. I dated both black and white in high school, as well as a Colombian and a Native Indian. There was no “private victory” for luring a black man from a black woman. I had/have no ideas like that in my head. Though it seems to be the misconception of white women who are dating only black men.
I can not speak of the mind set of the black man who will only date white women, but I did read one time, something about the media’s influence on a young man’s preferences. In this article, a black man referred to finding his father’s stash of “men’s magazines”, indicating that the women in these magazines were mostly white, that there wasn’t as much black adult materials widely available. His opinion seemed to be that this is what influenced his interest in white women.

I have made my boyfriend laugh with my naive opinions. For example, I can honestly say that I love natural black hair. I love the feel of it, I love the look of it. Obviously, I have not had to maintain natural black hair, so I am sure there are many people who will tell me, I don’t know what I’m talking about. But I do remember being at my best friend’s sleep over when we were about 12 years old, and I sat there brushing her little sister’s hair in the morning, I put it into a low pony tail and said that she should leave it like that, because it was so nice. My friend gave her sister the stern look, telling her that she knew mom doesn’t let her wear her hair that loose, that she has to have it braided. Being the naive person that I am, I was confused, but went along and put her hair into a nice thick braid. I couldn’t understand why they wanted her beautiful hair restrained. It was around this time, I became very interested in learning how to do a french braid; though I didn’t learn until many years later. I am still interested in learning to do tight cornrows, because I just think they are beautiful (though, they are pretty silly on some blond back from her ‘tropical’ vacation).

We were recently watching a Canadian TV show called “da Kink in My Hair“, the episode we were watching had a white lady come in with her mixed race daughter. The poor girl’s hair was a mess! I immediately started calling the mother an idiot, when she said she wanted her daughter’s hair chemically straightened, because she couldn’t deal with it!!! OMG! you’d have thought I was the hair stylist in the show who voiced her opinions on the topic, because I was livid at the idea of someone putting chemicals on that child’s head. My boyfriend, just laughed and said “yes, I know your opinion on this”.  I was mad at the idea that this white woman did not think to educate herself enough to properly care for this child’s hair; she made the choice to have a child, so she should be able to meet that child’s needs, no matter what the needs are.
I feel the same for ALL black women (and men) who straighten or relax their hair (yes, I know, I don’t have it, so I shouldn’t have an opinion). Yes, the choice is yours, it’s your head… BUT I really do think your hair is naturally beautiful!!!!! I can not stress this enough. Ha! I feel as though I can understand the emotion behind this, even though I have never, and likely will never have to deal with it directly.

I just barely passed History in high school, needing only one history credit to graduate, that was all I got, and didn’t give it another thought. I have never had an interest in “Canadian History”. I have thought some things I’ve learned to be interesting, but not enough to pursue the topic beyond what was in the text book or what was needed for the final exam. Though I find myself interested in various black historical figures. Keeping with the fact that I don’t have much interest in history, I don’t know too much about these people, but I have done more to read about them, than I have to learn about any Canadian historical figure (beyond the required basics). My ability to retain the information I learn from this personal research is minimal, but I am surprised to find that I even have the interest to seek out any historical facts.

I feel naive and ignorant, in that I honestly don’t understand racism. I can not understand how anyone can dislike a group of people based upon where they are from, where their ancestors are from or what they look like. It just doesn’t make sense to me. About the only good thing I can say about how my parents raised me is that they never showed any sort of prejudice toward anyone; no matter race, religion, nationality or sexuality. Even if they did not agree with someone, they never said that person/group of people was wrong or that their own opinions/race/etc was right.
To me, it is about as logical as saying that I can not be friends with anyone who likes PINK. It’s just illogical! I can understand if someone says they don’t like a specific person, for some reason (logical or not) but to be prejudice against an entire race/religion/nationality for what they may or may not have done to someone else?? What sense does that make?

Fact: unless you are a Native American or Native Canadian, you are an immigrant, or descended from immigrants!!!
So for anyone to say to someone else, “Go back to your country”, is completely insane. Just because you were born in Canada or America, does not make you a Canadian or an American! I am sure there is Scottish, Italian, Irish, English, Greek, Chinese, Philippine, Russian, or something else in your background… and very likely not much Native Canadian/Native American.

I also want to explain why I use “black” and “white” instead of Caucasian and African American. In my opinion, many black people in America are no closer to being African than I am (my grandparents are native to Malta, an island in the Mediterranean) [unless you are actually FROM Africa, can you really relate to the Native Africans? I don’t relate to Native Maltese]; and black people in Canada can’t be called African American, can they? African Canadian sounds kind of silly. What exactly defines Caucasian? Technically it is of or pertaining to the Caucasus mountain range (that’s not me) White skin? well, I’m not white skinned, because of my Maltese background, I used to be pretty dark (gotten lighter since being sick with cancer). I can understand British, Scottish and Irish (and many other) skin tones being described as “white”, but still, it doesn’t make logical sense to me (call me stupid if you like, it doesn’t bother me).

________________________________________________________

Basically, I know I may be seen as “white” or “caucasian”; I know some may think I am trying to “be black” or something like that… but I don’t associate with such things, I am just me. A sum of my life experiences, choices and various outside influences.

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2 comments on “Part of Who I Am

  1. First off, it’s your blog so you don’t apologize.

    Second, and I’ll be blunt: you haven’t had to be the black woman who is viewed as loud and obnoxious and that’s the reason why black men would rather date outside of their race. I am a 38 year old mom. Decent job, can provide for my family without help, nice home, nice car, about to go back to Harvard, not loud and obnoxious; I am traditional, conservative, intelligent and supportive. But because of a few, I must let my prime years pass me by, alone. Don’t get me wrong: your relationship with A is not based on status. Meaning “Look at what I got!” But many black men date outside of their race for those two reasons: running from the black woman and status.

    The hair issue. Girl, if only you understood how much harder this is for us than you think. For black woman, as much as we say, “I’m Not My Hair” we ARE our hair. Our hair symbolizes who we are, what tribe (historically and contemporarily) we belong to. Natural? You are the Nubian queen. Eat tofu and wear deodorant sometimes. Weird colors and stuck to your head in finger waves? Ghetto trash, no job but knows how to booty slap. Relaxed, straight, no style? Just trying to show how long your ish is and are a professional woman. Bald? Lesbian. When I was going through chemo, this is why it was so hard for me. I didn’t want to be looked at as a “butch” or “dyke”. I am a lady, dammit! The other thing with having short(er) hair is other black people (yes, men too) and say “Oh, she doesn’t have any hair. She can’t grow her hair.” My hair was past my shoulders before chemo. Now I have 4 inches! What the frig??

    Ok, I could truly go on forever but it’s your blog and not mine.

    • I love you, hun! I truly appreciate & value your opinion.
      I can actually understand what you said about people assuming you’re a lesbian if you’re bald; I almost choked on my food one evening out with my sister when a young waitress looked scared to come to our table when she saw me sitting there… But my reaction was to laugh… because I knew one day, I’d have my hair back. So I can understand it more, when you put it that way. Thank you.
      As far as black men dating white women as a status symbol… I find that disgusting on both their parts, because they are both feeding into that stereotype; it is also unfortunate that the stereotype exists. I may sound ignorant, but even though I know such things exists, I don’t understand them; as in it just doesn’t make sense to me, because I have never been one to follow any trend/fad.
      Basically, I like my own little world, because I love/hate people based on who they are, not what society says they are.

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