Sometimes people glance cautiously at us. Other times, they may stare and glare. Some folks have even had nerve enough to open up their mouths and spit venom. It’s because I’m black and he’s white, and together we are …well, we are together.
When I was younger I never would have imagined that the man I would come to love, marry, and create a family with would be white. I mean never…like in a million years, never. My background is about as chocolate as my skin color in every way imaginable. From my days living as a young teacher in Harlem, on back to my years at Howard University, back further still to my West Philadelphia upbringing. Where I was raised, ‘black and proud’ was about more than a James Brown song, it was a way of living. That same ancestral pride strengthens me every day of my life. And I’ve been questioned ever since that day about how I could maintain that sense of myself yet love and live for a man of another color. Still, the second he and I met I knew I needed to keep him close to me. I didn’t know what that feeling meant back then or would come to mean in my life, but I knew that if I denied it I would regret it. We’ve pretty much been married since the day we met. Ten years and three babies later, here we are.
To me, the core of the issue for me is this: when I met my husband I had the choice to either turn my back on what I knew in my soul was the love of my life simply because the package it came in wasn’t quite what I’d expected it would be, or I could stand behind a universal truth that I had come to understand which is that THIS is all a façade. The external physical shell is nothing more to me than a costume. Like Sting said, “we are spirits in a material world” and none of this other crap really matters in my big picture.
I can’t say that every day has been easy. We disagree like any other couple, and when the issue is a racial one, it can be extremely challenging to find common threads from different spools. But, we love each other so deeply that it lives beneath the skin and bones we carry. The words are difficult to find so I don’t usually explain it, I just live in it. However, I know that some people have questions or twisted misconceptions about “interracial relationships”. In my attempt to live this lifetime in a freer and more open state, I offer this glimpse into a situation that some folks are curious about.
I don’t want to go any deeper into the esoteric stuff and give the impression that I am naïve about the physical world in which we live. I know all too well the bloody and painful history of racism we in the US and indeed the entire world share. I am also fully aware of the current racial injustices that plague us. Maybe that is why the challenge early on was so great for me to accept our love as simply two boundless souls reuniting. But I have, and in the face of any and all opposition, it feels right.
So, there it is. No apologies, and not requesting anyone’s approval, just offering a view into this love, our love. Mixed and matched.