Tuesday, September 21, 2010

It's a TechniColor World Baby

When I wake up in the morning and open my eyes and everything comes into focus... I see that my bed sheets are red, my pillows are creme, and my curtains are gold. I go to the kitchen and open the refrigerator to see the orange oranges, red strawberries, brown bread, yellow cheddar cheese... I look out the window and I see the green trees, the gray cement sidewalks, and black, white and brown people walking on the streets. Unless there are medical issues concerning one's eyesight, most people see something similar every day.

The world is full of color. It is full of people who are all different colors and we all see it. Apparently I've ruffled some feathers in the past few months with a couple posts I have written on interracial dating. I realize it's a touchy subject, but I had something to say about it, so I did. If you haven't read them please click here and here before proceeding.


A point of clarification
After getting so much negative feedback (to the point of almost losing a dear friend) I read, and re-read each of these posts trying to figure out if I really was that offensive. Let me be clear: This is specifically a black/white concern and I have never cared about interracial relationships until THIS MOMENT IN TIME. This moment is the moment when I am seriously dating and looking to be in a relationship with preferably a black man. This moment is when I just happen to be surrounded by tons of white women dating black men. Yes, I feel some kind of way about it but the purpose of my first post was to interrogate that feeling. I am questioning it. Why do I feel this way?

After several conversations concerning the second post, I realized that me turning down Mr. Brooklyn was much less about race and more about this guy being lame in general. He asked if it was because he was white, and the easy answer was yes. I still stand my ground that I am much less interested in dating white men than men of color; but honestly, I don't know who God has in store for me. I might get married to a white man when it's all said and done, and the joke will be on me.

For those of you who I know personally (or not) who are in interracial relationships (particularly black/white), to each his/her own! You do you, and I'm going to do me. One commenter said it best when she wrote:
I try to keep myself open to all races, but the one I am most attracted to (and able to connect with) is my own - black... For me it's still hard to navigate the racial nuances when dating a white person. I'm very rooted in my identity as a black woman and many white men don't understand the importance of that.
I identify as a black woman. I want the man I'm with to get that, to be a part of that, to connect with that.

How could someone so smart... Who lives in New York City and went to a school like Barnard College which is so racially and ethnically diverse feel that way? You're better than that.
Just because I have interacted in a diverse environment for a number of years, does not put me above feeling some kind of way about interracial relationships. I am human. I am a black woman, and I want to be with a black man. To quote myself in another response:
Interracial relationships are mad cool... for other people. I'm one of those other-wise liberally minded people which might mean I'm not so liberal minded at all; however, I cannot fathom it for myself...
I was raised in a large close-knit African American family. I was bred in Baltimore, MD - one of the most segregated cities (race and class) in America. When I think of who I want to date seriously I want someone who "fits" [into my world]... Some white man could come sweep me off my feet and could fit better than any black man I've met, but I'll believe it when I "see" it.
But I am color-blind! Our society is post-racial!

Not only are these sentiments beyond ridiculous, I find them incredibly dangerous. We are duping ourselves by believing that we don't see color - that race no longer plays a role in our society. This country was built on racism, literally. The White House where our very first black president currently resides was constructed with slave labor. It is a blessing to see that someone was elected to office by a majority of people in this country because of the content of his character, but a large part of the reason people did not vote for him is because of the color of his skin. Moreover, so much of the political nonsense happening now (Tea Party, anyone?) preys on a fear of the black and brown "other," in ploys to uproot our president from his office.

Overt and covert racism is all around us. To pretend that it doesn't exist is just as bad as being overtly racist. It's complete apathy. It is only when we recognize race and talk about it openly that we can engage with and correct the wrongs based on discrimination that plague our society. 

I'm not afraid...
To talk about race. It's a tough subject especially when you are amongst a diverse group of people, and I am often amongst a diverse group of people. But I do it anyway. I'm not one of those black people who, when they are about to say something not so p.c. about white folks, looks to see who's around and whispers to the people I'm talking to. What's the point? Please tell me, what is the point of tip-toeing around the issue? If it's something that is so offensive that it shouldn't be said at all, then it's probably not going to come out of my mouth. I don't tend to go around spewing racial slurs and epithets. Yet, if there is rhyme or reason to what I'm saying, then I'm going to say it. *shrugs* Does that make me a racist? I don't think so. And according to the dictionary, no.

I apologize.
If I have offended anyone I sincerely apologize. Not for what I have said, but perhaps for how I have said it. Sometimes I do not know the power of my words. I have not set out to intentionally draw lines in the sand because I've decided interracial relationships are not for me, and they are for you.

Maybe I'm not as liberal minded as I'd like to think I am. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm questioning and trying to make sense of these feelings I have about white women with black men; about me being with a white man. I am human. I am living, loving and learning. I swear this whole thing has made me grow a few inches taller, and I love that. I love that this forum gives me the space to grow, and the space to share that growth.

Yes, I see the world in technicolor. You do too. You cannot pretend that you don't. You are not making the world a more equal place by doing so. I have people in my life who are all races, creeds and sexualities. I see that. I recognize that. I know that is a part of who you are. If we come into conflict because of that, if we are truly friends then I hope we can talk it out at best, agree to disagree at worst. That is how I believe we will move forward as a society.

Discuss.

2 comments:

Andrea said...

Like I said before, and will say over and over again. Just do you. Your blog is about your feelings, thoughts and emotions. This is one of the many medium you have been using to let it all OUT.... I don't think you need to clarify your feelings ever... on the web or in personal conversations.

Sydnie said...

i appreciate that :)

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