I said that this week I would throw out all the theory and just speak from my experience. So, here goes.
Not too long ago, I had lunch with three of my colleagues, all of whom are black women. Early into the lunch, the conversation turned to another colleague who was absent, a black male who after getting divorced from his black wife of nine months was making a very valiant effort to love every white woman in the world. And they were not at all happy about this development.
Now, I know when to keep my mouth shut, so the whole time I just kept my head down. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a salad that fast. But suddenly I heard nothing but silence. Their conversation had ceased.
When I looked up, the three of them were looking at me with such looks of derision on their faces that for a moment I looked around for an exit.
One of them finally spoke.
“Look at that, y’all. The cat seems to have gotten this soulbrother’s tongue. He’s unusually quiet on this one. Maybe he’s got a white woman bone or two in his closet.”
I sensed that a trap was being set, but I didn’t know how to avoid it.
“Well, I see nothing wrong with inter-racial relationships if that’s your thang, but I have never been in an inter-racial relationship of any kind.”
The trap was ready to snap shut now.
“You’re telling me you spent your early twenties in Europe, and you never had any type relationship with a white woman? Who you think you talking to? Boo-boo the Fool? Samantha Sausagehead?”
Laughter and high fives all around. The trap was sprung. I was caught in the snare. Where was that waiter with my drink?
“But the women I had relationships with when I was there were not white. They were European, German and French mostly.”
Now I faced three blank Negro-man-please stares. Only then did I realize the paradox of my statement, and tried to explain. But they were not having it.
What they could not understand was my explanation of my conception of whiteness. When in the United States, my conception of whiteness is subtended by a history of discrimination, of degradation, of oppression, of violence. For that reason, it becomes hard for me to imagine entering into a romantic relationship with a white American woman.
Not that I hate white women. I do not. Not that I don’t find white women attractive. I do. Lately something has happened to white women to make their behinds swell exponentially. But I cannot imagine giving myself over to a white woman like love, true love, requires one to do.
And when I speak of love, I’m talking the real thing. Not that infatuation love. Not that lustful love. But that Al Green “Make you do right, make you do wrong” love. That love that makes you give yourself over to another. That makes you drop all pretense, lower all facades.
Sigmund Freud once wrote something to the effect that if insanity is the condition of one being out of one’s mind, then love is the very first instance of insanity. To love is to vacate your mind in order to reside outside yourself with the mind of another. (Or something like that.)
In other words, love makes you vulnerable. Very vulnerable. Love makes you crazy.
The history of violent racism in this country causes me to put my guard up, to always be looking over my shoulder. To always be wary. I find it very difficult to drop my guard, to allow the vulnerability requisite to enter into a relationship with a white woman.
But notice I said “I find it difficult,” and not “never.” I stopped saying “never” a long time ago. Because the moment we utter never, the situation arises that will severely put “never” to the test.
I guess I’m just an old romantic. I actually don’t believe we consciously choose who we fall in love with. I think that love can irrupt in the strangest, most unlikely places. I believe that you simply meet a person. You get to know that person. And little by little you share small fragments of your mind, your person, with the person until finally one day you look up and you’re completely out of your mind. You’re absolutely crazy.
So, if I ever had to choose another mate for life, and should that mate perhaps be white, I would have to really go crazy, absolutely crazy. She would have to drive me out of my mind.
But isn’t that what we’re all looking for anyway? Someone who is so very special that they ultimately drive us absolutely crazy? Someone who will drive you out of your mind?
What are your views on inter-racial relationships? Are you in an inter-racial relationship now? What do you have to add to the conversation?
And please come back tomorrow when we will look for the bones in your closet.
Other blog articles of interest:
Max Reddick, “Black Mothers, Black Sons, and Little White Girls.”