My son is a black male. He is tall, handsome, smart and a quarterback. Girls from every walk of life have fallen all over him in hopes of telling him their precious secrets that he will fall madly in love with them. His first real girlfriend went to a neighboring high school. They dated all through high school and much of college. She was a great high school girlfriend. However, things changed in college. They went to colleges close to each other; even still, he outgrew her. Both tried to save the failing relationship- Nothing worked. The break up was very painful and bitter. Finally, she is history.
He choose her because he thought she understood the demands of his life. Being a student and an athlete is difficult. Add to those responsibilities the starting quarterback position in a college program- he had very little free time at all. Both thought there would be plenty of opportunities enough to allow them to continue loving each other in college. No such luck. The pressures of college life coupled with college football ripped the sanity from both of them. He started wanting different things. His lifestyle became more diverse than in high school. He became a scholar in the classroom. In addition to quarterback, the coaches added punting responsibilities. He became an editor of the paper and other things. Her life was not simple either. She was a college athlete too. Regardless, she felt he did not spend enough time with her. She began making demands. Many of those were unrealistic demands on his time. He could not accommodate her. They broke up. Five months after they broke up, she text him during a football game. He was going to be a daddy. After that things went from bad to awful. He tried to rekindle the relationship for the sake of the baby-even though she attacked him, keyed his car and burned up his possessions. She and her father took over. A once great family relationship between our families disintegrated. None of us were allowed to see the baby without ridiculous prerequisites. Everything he took to the baby was given back because they were not name brands or designer. Who care what type of diaper the baby wears as long as the baby is clean and dry? She sent him nasty emails which all her friends and family read. Then he had a season ending injury. Too much, he began to crumble. His friends tried to help him. He was lost even to us. He puzzled over if the child was his, but was afraid to get a paternity test to learn the truth.
Almost two years later, the relationship is completely over. Our son has recovered mostly due to his pure determination and lots of family meals together. He pays child support, but has not seen the baby. His attorney ordered a paternity test. Finally, he smiles. His life is coming back together. He has regained the weight he lost and his coaches are relieved he is back to himself. The terrible experience is over for all of us. I assured my son that he would be blessed to have gone through what he did. It will earn him better. Naturally, he did not believe in what I told him.
Against all doubts, he began dating another young lady again. We held our breaths. She is an athlete too. Tall, lean, smart and beautiful, she talks and communicates well and actually likes us! The only concern we have is that she is white. In theory, her race should not matter. In reality, we know race matters tremendously.
As a mother of a black male, I am terrified that he is dating a white female. I wondered, couldn’t he have found a woman of color? Some color? Somewhere? But he attends a predominantly white college with few minority students. Therefore the chances are more likely that he would date a white female because they are so many in his school. I worry for both of them when outside the college environment.
Do not get me wrong. I certainly am not a racist, but there are so many people who are. In the closet, or out of the closet, racists are extremely dangerous and hateful people. They come in all colors. My son’s last girlfriend was bi-racial. So her color was not an issue. Nonetheless, the world is very hard on interracial couples. I have no tolerance of such idiots! I certainly do no want them to approach my son and his girlfriend with malice in their hearts. I have understanding how people can still be so ignorance in 2014. Yet, I know certain folks will never, ever grown up to equality and eradicate their hearts of hate. Such people have to believe they are better than someone to feel fulfilled. My son did not search out a white girlfriend; in fact, he was running from any involved at all with anyone, after the last fiasco. This young lady-just happened.
My children are different from how the norm says a black person should act. As my husband and I are also. They are too black for white folks and to white for black folks. They mold to no one anywhere, but stick out everywhere. This has made life very complicated for all of us every waking day.
I was born during the height of the civil rights era. I thought my children’s lives would be better than mine. That decades later, race wise, things would be different. So not true! My children have suffered and come home numerous times in tears-because they are black. Each child learned to adjust, in his or her unique manner, to the mistreatment each experienced. My husband and I spoke with our children about race relations and dating frequently. We live in a predominantly white area, where race is the forbidden topic everyone thinks about. In the schools, there are no minority teachers. Black teachers are almost unheard of here. Sadly, no one is trying to change that. The thought process is: “My child does not need to learn about other races. What on earth for? “As a result, white children are blatantly ignorant to everyone’s history-except their own. Not taught, too many white children live in a bubble that basically excludes all races- but their own. They do not appreciate experiences with others unlike themselves. They live in places where everyone in their environment is white, but the people in the world are of color. As a result, many white children believe stereotypes about people of color because they have few positive experiences of their own to believe. Black children, Asians children, Hispanic children etc, learn their own histories and that of many other cultures too. They grow up being taught European history as their own. Not true of white children. So where , and from whom are white children learning any tolerance for other cultures different from their own?
Therefore, relationships like my son’s are so difficult for both him and her. I know he worries . She says she does not care he is black. But what do her parents think? Will they accept him? Will they pressure her to dump him and break his heart. It has happened before.
When I was in grad school, I had a best friend who was a white male. I loved his melodious, deep voice. We studied together and lived near each other. In class, we sat next to each other. We were inseparable. He mentioned this to his parents. His father told him that he could not date me. “I am sure she is a great person-but she is black.” My friend said that was one of the few times in his life that his dad and he verbally fought. When he told me of this, he had tears in his eyes. I told him just to not worry about it. We could stay friends. My mother said, “If you like him, I will. But society will give you both hell.” So we did not date.
Thirty years later, we are still friends. Some years ago I called him on Christmas Day. His dad got on the phone. We talked for a short while. Then, he said, “I am sorry about what I said about you and my son so long ago. I was wrong. I wish I had encouraged him to marry you. I fear my actions have kept my son from being happy. As a result, he has not married or had children. Our daughter is unable to have children. We have no grandchildren. I would have rather had him happy with you. I am so sorry.” I was speechless- to tears. I told him not to blame himself. That things happen for a reason. His dad died just a few years later. Fortunately, I believe, he lived long enough to see his son marry. He now has one child. He married in his fifties.
I do not want to make the same mistake with my son my friend’s dad made. My husband and I are supporting our son with whomever makes him happy.
When parents are privy to the almost destruction of a child, they pray to God. We prayed that God delivered our child back to us better than when he left. Just make him better God. Please! We will accept your gift. Then, we waited; for, there was nothing we could do to help. We were helpless.
Today, we smile broadly when we see them. They are so happy. We know that things can change in the future; but, we will cope with the future in the future. This beautiful, smart, charming, white young lady has helped our prayers come true. Our son is happy. We are happy. Therefore, we do not care if society won’t change their hearts-as long as both remain happy. When things happen, we are with them no matter what.