Racial Preferences & Stereotypes
My nephews came in town previously with my brother and his wife. I didn’t spend too much time with them due to work (they couldn’t come by the lab because we were busier than I thought we would be) and the homecoming festivities, but I spent enough time for this situation to happen.
My nephews are ages 13 and 11. They have been in private schools all their lives, except for preschool, which was a majority Black preschool, and one of the best in the city. By them being in private school, they’re mostly around White children. I wanted to converse with them about their experience and the academics. So I’m talking to my eldest nephew, and we get on the subject of cell phones. I take his cell phone and look through it; I just wanted to be nosey and see how many numbers he had of girls in his phone and tease him. So as I’m looking, my youngest nephew blurts out, “No Black girls are in his phone.” My oldest nephew gives him the look, and says, “Shut up.” So as I’m looking through his pictures on his phone, all of the females are White. So I ask him, “Do you not like Black girls,” and he says nothing. He then says, “Not really.” So I ask him why, and he says, “Well, I do like them, but I like White girls too. I like White girls more though.” Then the youngest one says, “Black girls don’t exercise, they yell too much…,” and that’s when their mom got into the conversation.
I’m not going to lie; my heart dropped when I heard this. No, they’re not my children, but I’ve treated them as such. I’ve been there for both of their births; I’ve been there during just about all of their milestones thus far. I’ve fed them, changed diapers, kept them for periods of time, admonished them, spent money on them…you name it, I’ve done it. I’ve even started a college fund for them. In essence, they’re like my children, and I will always view them as “my babies.” However, hearing these negative stereotypes not only saddened me, but it also made me want to say, “So how do you look at your mother, your grandmothers…ME???” I exercise, I’ve never yelled at them…if anything, I’ve spoiled them, and so have both of their grandmothers. One of the main reasons why I do what I do is so that I can be a representation to them of not just a Black woman, but a woman period. I’ve always wanted to represent a productive member of society, and I want them to do better than me.
Dating Outside Your Race & Equal Opportunity Dating
While their mom was talking to them, I watched how she was giving them a speech which included “Black is beautiful,” and as I took a moment to mentally ingest what she was verbalizing, I thought about a scene in the movie Jungle Fever.
The scene was when Flipper Purify (Wesley Snipes) and his wife Drew Purify (Lonette McKee) were arguing in Bloomingdale’s where the wife worked, and she says, “Well I guess I wasn’t light enough for you!” I thought about that moment because my little nephews’ mother is also very light-skinned, thin bodied, and has thick long hair that easily grazes her waist. She is always complimented on her “Beyonce” looks with her keener facial features. Watching her talk to her sons about why they better not bring home a White girl or that she would physically harm the non-Black young lady made me wonder what she was thinking about at that moment. Was she thinking she didn’t do enough? Did she think even her appearance, as much as it’s regarded as a high status in the Black community, wasn’t enough for her sons? Then it made me think, what would I think if my son brought home a White girl…how would I feel?
I’m an equal opportunity dater, so I can’t tell them who they should and shouldn’t date when it comes to race. I won’t be marrying a Black man, and if we have children together, they will be biracial. If I gave birth to a biracial son, who grew up and introduced me to his new girlfriend who didn’t look like me, would I question why she wasn’t Black? Would I be upset if my biracial daughter brought home a White guy? Would it be fair to not question her bringing home a White guy but question my biracial son for bringing home a White girl?
I won’t know what will be my reaction until I cross that bridge, but I do know that I don’t want them to make any decisions based upon negative stereotypes.