Today, my son asked me if I ever felt like a hypocrite when I was in an interracial relationship. I’ve always been rather ethnocentric and active in community efforts to support black women in the US and Africa. In fact, many of my long-time friends were shocked when they found out that I not only had a white boyfriend but that we lived together. It seemed like such an oxymoron to them, especially because there was a time in my life when that would have been completely out of the question for me.
As a libertarian and a humanist, as I grew older, I tried to live my life where my individual interpersonal connections were separated from larger social dynamics and to engage with individuals as individuals. However, I have to say that the answer to his question is yes. It’s hard to reconcile the love of an individual from the disdain for the culture they are a part of. It’s especially challenging when you have to accept that this person who is the love of your life can never truly understand the reality in which you struggle.
My son’s girlfriend is white and he’s extremely bothered that she’s silent on the status of Black America. I too wonder what would the conversation be if my ex and I were still together. It’s sad that we live in a world where we can’t simple be human, where we can’t simply connect as human beings, and we can’t just love who we love purely without this oppressive system dictating the depths of our human connections.
I also think it’s important to note that the black community is a matriarchal community. One that has roots in the many matriarchal cultural systems of our ancestors. Widespread social acceptance of black men with white women has been commonplace much longer than black women with white men and the impact that carries is significant. We are the mothers, the pillars of our community, and when we are in interracial relationships it disconnects us in a way that is most profound!
All I know is there are way too many experiences that a white person can never truly understand about being black in this country. Although everyone’s level of understanding is a bit different, I never liked having to explain how these things impacted me. My ex was the love of my life and if he were to walk in the room right now I’d probably go running. However, if I had to choose I’d rather be with someone who just gets it with a simple look. I want to be with someone who can share my struggle in their bones. I can’t say I’ll never be in another interracial relationship but it definitely wouldn’t be my first choice and definitely not anything I’d seek out.