This is really an amazing piece. My parents faced these questions during the mid and late sixties. My Mom who is what and was decidedly ignorant, was getting mad because my dad wouldn’t take her out to dinner. He was like, “Are you crazy! I’m a Black man and you’re a White woman? You want me to get lynched?” It turns out, he finally took her out, and nothing happened. (!?) In my dad’s family, the women always had to work as maids and cooks in White people’s houses. For my dad, nothing has changed during the Women’s Lib movement. Women he knew had always worked. So when my mom finished her undergraduate degree he encouraged her to get her Ph.D and join him as a professional psychologist. In these ways, they both w landed each other’s experience.
Now as a biracial mother, who identifies black, married to a White man, my husband and I navigate some of this same territory. He grew up poor and I affluent. I am a woman of color, he’s a White male. I think we’ve each grown by being challenged by our differing points of view.
There are challenges, however. He has friends who self segregate: they only have White friends and put their kids in “White” schools. I used to be able to tolerate this, but as I engage more and more in supporting anti-black racism, I find I have little tolerance for these people. It has made socializing with neighbors in our mostly white neighborhood. And it has mad family gatherings with his East Coast family more stressful.
Nonetheless, I wouldn’t change it. As my dad always said, “Black women are always talking about how hard it is to meet a good Black man. I think it’s hard enough to find someone period. By someone, I mean the right someone. Instead of worrying about what race someone is, focus on finding a person who is a good partner and truly loves and supports you.” Even where we don’t see eye to eye and argue about race, politics, etc. I’ve finally found that someone in my husband. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.