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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Ice Cream, Sex, and "Melting Pots"

(Yeah, I've used this song before on my MySpace blog, but this will be cross-posted on Blogger.com, it's one of my favorites, and it fits the theme again)

Vanilla ice cream is not my favorite. I'll eat it, but it's just not. Chocolate is pretty good, but it can be too much. My favorite flavor has always been Fudge Ripple as a child and as an adult. Something about the stripes side-by-side and the flavors together just worked for me.

Me and a good friend were hanging out last week and came across a book title that instantly intrigued us both, "Why Black Men Love White Women" by Rajen Persaud. It piqued our interests so much so that she balked at the $25.oo hardcover price and bought it (I would have read the whole book in the store, but I read 500wpm and can get away with that). We then swung through Starbucks, grabbed a caramel frap & I read two chapters out loud.

As I stated, I've only read two chapters of the book, but I've juggled the subject in my head ever since because I came across another book while searching to tell someone about the first. The second book is entitled "Why It Ain't All Good: Why Black Men Should Not Date White Women" by John Johnson. I only read an excerpt from it, but from the outset Johnson steps into the turbulent waters of Sex and Slavery.

Nothing leaves me more incensed than to hear young, stupid (yeah, I said it) white kids say "Slavery was so long ago, we need to forget it." When they say that, I say "When Jewish people forget the Holocaust, I'll forget slavery." The slightly smarter ones stop at that point. The really stupid ones keep going. Now, I'm not walking around with a Nat Turner I-Just-Saw-Roots hard-on ready to lay waste to anything W.A.S.P-y, I'm saying we need to keep it in historical context. Forgetting about it means to misunderstand the dynamics of interracial relationships as they exist right now.

See, even though we rarely see Black women and White men together, it does happen, and actually I will go on record and say that historically there have been more White men/Black woman unions than Black men/White woman unions. Before you trip, think long and hard about how long this has all been going on. For 400 years in this country, Black women had no choice but to do whatever their slavemasters told them. Some statistics show that back then, all Black girls by the age of 14 had at least 1 sexual encounter with a White male. As recently as 60 years ago, a young Black male around the same age by the name of Emmett Till was murdered for just allegedly whistling at a White female store clerk. Every Black NFL, MLB and NBA player in the US would have to screw night and day for 100 years to catch up. We'd have to throw in the European footballers for good measure.

The subject has always plagued/intrigued me because of my own history. When I entered elementary school, Duval County was just beginning to bus students from Black neighborhoods into White ones in order to comply with Brown v. Board of Education. I remember vaguely my grandmother and mother conversing about me and my younger brother going to school with White kids, I heard the concern in their voices. The first crush I had on a non-Black girl was in the 1st Grade. The girl that I liked was the only girl in my reading group, my only intellectual equal in my class. This is they dynamic I was speaking of. In the Black community (due in part to Willie Lynch-ism) we have the stigma of Intelligence = white. It's 'cool' to be stupid, and 'square' to be smart. To speak intelligently was to speak "White", so I was a nerd. Now, growing up in Grand Park and New Town (aka Pakistan), I was in the truest hood in Duval, so later I became what I like to call "The World's Most Dangerous Nerd", but this was how I was viewed by the Black women. I was a nerd, and therefore unattractive to many of my own race.

I would be remiss to say that this didn't affect my choices in woman at all, but I have always been open-minded in my choices of relationships. Although one can look and say "You only date White girls", the existence of my oldest son (who is Black) totally discounts that sweeping allegation. My criteria has always been to date those that appeal to me on multiple levels: physical, mental, and spiritual. There was only one period of my life where I was exclusionary, from the time I was 18 until 20 when I dated exclusively Black (I briefly considered joining the Nation Of Islam). After that I came to the realization that all women were crazy, and cutting out one race over another was only going to limit my possibilities. (I'm not saying I was right, I'm saying this was my rationalization...)

I may have spoken on this in some of my previous blogs, but my first encounter with the Black female over my dating choices occurred in the 8th or 9th Grade. Around that time I was competing in taekwondo tournaments, helping one of my good friends practice for the wrestling team, and sparring with another friend who was boxing. In other words, the brother was in shape. Good shape. I remember sitting in class and three sistas were together whispering and one was giving me the stink-eye. I asked her "What the f*ck is your problem?" She looked at me, rolled her eyes and said "You date White girls."

Since I haven't read both books in their entirety I can't speak on all parts of their premise, but one thing I did notice in what I did read was the overwhelming negativity associated with the reasons for interracial dating. In "Why Black Men Date White Women", the author talks about the desire of some Black men to make "pretty babies" and provide an opportunity for their child to not endure the same prejudice they encountered. I think this is the entire premise for the 2nd book in reasoning that Black Men should not date White women at all, that it somehow 'disrespects' Black women. I personally find that whole idea to be a big steaming pile of bullshit. 

The whole identity of the Black Family in the United States has been fractured and dysfunctional at best, and while we have endured and some even prospered, it's a history fraught with rape, murder, humiliation, incarceration, and dehumanization. As previously stated, any Black or White person who tries to use the Illusion of "racial purity" is most certainly delusional. The Institution of Slavery changed all that. I am a proud Black man who celebrates the genius of W.E.B. DuBois, the oratorical prowess of Malcom X, and the courage of Harriet Tubman and Mary McCloud-Bethune. I know my Black History, but I don't believe that somehow all of that will just vanish because I have a child that is mulatto, octoroon, quadroon or whatever useless term you want to label them with. Halle Berry is celebrated/vilified depending on who you are talking to, but her mother is an idol of mine. When Halle was faced with the dual racism of being of mixed heritage, she asked her mother "What am I?" Her mother told her "You are a Black girl with a White Mother." This was an oversimplification, but it provided Halle with the tools she would need to succeed. When children of mixed heritage face the world, it's better for them to view themselves as Black to prepare them for the eventual racism they will face. To not do so is to line them up to be knocked on their ass. 

The woman I've (very happily) committed the rest of my life to is not only White, she's British, and actually has a very strong opinion on racism (hates it like Luda hates O'Reilly). I celebrate our differences, but our differences are not as much racial as cultural (American vs British) and we celebrate those differences. It provides the most balanced relationship I've ever had. The part of my relationship I enjoy most is my relationship with my (future) mother-in-law. She loves me, and I love her back. She knows that I want nothing more than to make her daughter the happiest she can be, and doesn't care about my color, only about how I treat her daughter. There was nothing I hated more back in the day than meeting the family of the women I was involved with. It was a game of "Find the Racist", because there would invariably be one. My ex-wife's family threw her out when she got pregnant, actually tried to talk her into abortion (and ironically I had to go to my son's confirmation with them... what makes a Catholic family reconsider abortion? Their daughter pregnant with a Black man's child), and her father told her "I'd rather you marry a poor white man than a rich Black one." Good times, I tell you, good times.

I'm anxiously waiting for my friend to finish the book so I can write more about it, because it's something that's not going to go away. I hope that one day it is much like Hillary Clinton said about her run for President, that it will be quite unremarkable. The one hope for the future that I have is that most of the hardcore Racists are dying out, and the people who want to live together will not have to deal with their toxic and divisive perspectives. Keep dying, you sorry sons-of-bitches, keep dying... and whomever you choose to love, just love them with everything you have and celebrate the differences between.

So anybody willing to share their own experiences with interracial dating, please feel free to comment. Do you think there's a 'reason' for you dating the person (or persons, LOL) you are dating? Have you ever considered it? Why, or why not? What myths have you heard, or maybe you have a question? Feel free to comment (and if you're reading this on my MySpace Page) and kudos, while not required (yes, IkeDiggety, you no-kudo-giving-dude you) they are appreciated.

-ere'bodee's favorite mega, blogninja

1 comment:

K. Denise said...

So, I had to fight doing the whole "you write so well" thing lol. I think I may be reading your stuff a whole lot more though. You're getting added to the list..see. I'm not THAT lazy.