When I was growing up, my mom and grandparents would always say:
“Don’t you come in this house with no white man”
My mom would tell me how important it was to marry and have babies with someone that looked like me. She stressed the importance of birthing little black babies and raising them up to be something.
Back then, as a child, I don’t think I really understood the gravity of what she was saying or why. Now that I have a child of my own, it all makes sense.
My son is still a small toddler that is about a decade or less away from really feeling the weight of his race as a black man in this country and how it will effect every single thing he does. What job he is able to get, what house he is able to buy, and what type of woman he is allowed to date.
Let’s fast forward 23 years when my son is my age and is settling down with a mate. Let’s say he is bringing his girlfriend over for dinner to meet his dad and me. Let’s say she is white.
My first thought would be blank. I don’t think I would, frankly, care about his girlfriend’s race. However, as it begins to sink in that this woman could potentially be his wife and mother to my grandkids, my concerns would start to roll in like dark clouds before an inevitable storm.
- Do her parent’s know about him because her parents are probably around my age and they probably grew up in the same racist America as me and that is worrisome.
- Has she ever dated a black man before?
- Will my baby, my son have to endure old uncle John’s racist comments at Thanksgiving?
- And, more importantly, will she just brush it off and say “Well that’s just uncle John”.
- Will she know how to do my grandbabies hair?
- If they get in a fight in public and an onlooker calls the cops, will my son die that day? Or be taken to jail?
- Will she understand that calling the cops on your black husband during an argument is not the same as call the cops on your white husband during an argument.
- Will strangers think their future kids aren’t his when she isn’t around?
- Is she colorblind (that is a deal breaker)?
- Is she afraid of most black men but consider my son a special one?
- Does she have other black friends?
- Is she prepared, in her heart, to lose friends over this relationship and their future family?
- Is she at all sensitive to the racial disparities that is America?
- Or is she one of those “Everything isn’t black and white. Stop pulling the race card” type of people.
- Does black pride = white hate in her eyes?
- Is she ready to stand up for my grandchildren when they are teased for being biracial or when people make snide comments about their hair, skin color, and the fact that they don’t look like her?
- Can she whip up a slammin’ baked mac and cheese because that’s my baby’s favorite?
- Is she ready to be standing, without her black husband, in a crowd of racist folk that don’t know that her husband is black while they pontificate about why black people are everything that is wrong with America?
- Is she prepared to say something?
- Does she understand that being with my black son in this country comes with great responsibility?
Of course these questions won’t find their answers all at once. And, I have no qualms about interracial dating. Do whatever you want to do. But, to claim that I wouldn’t be worried or concerned is a lie. It would be nice to feel like this isn’t Alabama 1952 where a black person marrying a white person was equivalent to a white person marrying their pet dog, but the truth is that we aren’t far removed from that. If my son fell in love with a white woman, I would embrace her and she would learn quickly that to love my son is to love his people and where he comes from. Otherwise, get the steppin’!