This week I got a frantic call from my wife. The way she was carrying on I thought something absolutely unthinkable had happened to one of the kids or some other family member. But when I finally got her calmed down enough to start making sense, I was completely taken aback by the nature of her call.
It appears that in the last week or so, the young ladies have been ringing the phone off the hook looking for my teenage son who is away at a special academic program.
And the problem?
All but two of these young ladies are white. And when she did the unthinkable by going to his Facebook page, she became even more upset. With about two exceptions, about a dozen or so little white female faces stared out at her, all of whom expressed great affection for our son and wished for his speedy return.
This is what threw me for a loop. My wife is a very intelligent, very educated, very open-minded person. Furthermore, I would estimate that a full seventy-five to eighty percent of her close friends are white.
I am reminded of a similar situation with my mother. Again, my mother is a very intelligent, very educated, very open minded person with a wide and diverse group of friends, some of whom are white. In fact, her best friend when I was growing up, my uncle and her brother’s wife, was white.
But when my brother brought home a young white girl and introduced her as his girlfriend, my mom went slap off! There was some smoke in the city that night.
I consulted some of my close female friends, all of whom are black mothers, and invariably all of them expressed the same consternation at the thought of their sons dating white girls.
I do have some qualms about my son dating interracially, but my misgivings arise fromquestions of his safety. Though interracial relationships have become more acceptable in our society and culture, there exists that old guard who are resistant to the idea and who, if provoked, may be prone to resort to violence. And if someone decides to raise a hand against my son, I promise you that I’m going to go all vigilante on them.
But when I asked these black mothers why they were against such relationships, I couldn’t seem to get one constructive answer.
Mostly I got that old, trite platitude, “If they can’t use your comb, don’t bring them home.” My mother claims that the young lady my brother brought home was simply poor white trash, and she had invested too much time and energy in raising us right to have it undone by her ilk. However, I don’t know how my mother could have discerned all that from one cursory meeting. My wife claims that it is not the idea of my son dating white girls that worries her, but that my son seems to be dating mostly white girls. To paraphrase her answer, she is worried about any questions of identity he might be having.
First and foremost, I see it as a question of proximity and common interests. The school my son attends and the programs and activities he is involved in are populated mostly by white kids. So, it is not surprising that most of his friends and acquaintances would be white.
And if we take a more romanticized view of it, and I do understand he is not going to be married anytime soon, do we really choose the persons we date, or fall in love with, or ultimately marry? The heart wants what the heart wants. Usually we come in contact with these persons and grow to get to know these persons through proximity and common interests. And before we know what happened, cupid has us in his dastardly grip.
My wife and I could not stand each other when we met; I would never have guessed then that one day we would be married. But because we were put in a position that we had to communicate with one another and soon found out how really similar we are, we fell in love.
As for my children, I just hope they find someone who they are compatible with and who they are happy with, regardless of their race.
My wife called me later to say that she over-reacted. The issue was not one that she had planned on dealing with so soon, and it took her by surprise. But after thinking about it, she found her reaction to be completely irrational, and she was a bit ashamed by it all.
She wanted to discuss it further, but I had to rush her off the phone. My son was on the other line excitedly telling me about the cute little Puerto Rican girl he had met at Summer Academy.
If you are a black mother, how do you feel about your son interracially dating? And for all others, what are your views?