Saturday, May 14, 2011

Eye of the Beholder...

I have witnessed many different forms of subtle racism throughout my lifetime. As a product of a mixed race relationship, I couldn’t help but wonder if there was something about my mere existence that rubbed people the wrong way. Could it be that I was representative of both the progressive fight against anti-miscegenation and the struggle of many races to keep their “blood clean?”

As I have grown up, I have been subjected to many comments, sneers, jokes and the like because of either my parents’ relationship, or the relationships I chose to engage in. I have always dated Black men or men of mixed race. I never, ever gave the time of day to any other race, although I did date a White man briefly. After all the years of hearing “date a White guy, he’ll take care of you” or “Girl, you better stop it with these Black dudes, you know they’re no good,” I found my soul mate in a man who was neither one.

One day in college, where many eye-opening experiences occur, I went to lunch with a couple of friends of mine. Two females, both 18, one was Black from the South, and the other was mixed race, with a White Jewish mother and Black father. As we ate in the Ramskellar, we began to discuss interracial relationships. The Black female, proceed to say that she could not stand seeing Black men with White women. She felt that it completely ruined the integrity of the Black race. “Didn’t we fight to allow them to be with their own, and us to be with ours? I wouldn’t mind it if the woman was Asian or something, they are minorities, too [hahaha].” My jaw was on the floor. Did she not realize who she was speaking to? Did she not realize how completely ignorant and insensitive she was being in front of two people whose very existence stemmed upon the relationships she was presently criticizing? As my mixed friend and I both began to explain our backgrounds, her jaw dropped. She was sorry, but she was “keeping it real.” That’s how life is for a Black woman, and for many women, she said. We would never understand what it’s like to be forced to feel like you can only date one race, because we can date whoever we want, because we’re mixed. And she’s not.

Here is where my project begins. Stories from women (and a couple of men), different backgrounds, and different lifestyles. Stories of their experiences, recorded here the way they told it. Stories of parents happy to see mixed races, and stories of near death experiences because of the partners who were chosen. Stories of a United States, still divided and still torn by the issue of color

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