|photo by Kelly Christine|
As the wife of a man that I couldn't have married a little over 40 years ago, I just felt moved to speak up.
Just those few decades ago, by law, he would have been considered below me. Beneath me.
I would be worth more. I would be more valuable.
It's almost absolutely ridiculous to even type those words. That was the actual law? That was the actual thought processes? It seems foreign, but also a little too familiar at the same time.
I was raised by two wonderful parents who never allowed me to look at an race differently despite the separated world they grew up in. I was taught that "Jesus loves the little children. All the children of the World." Over and over again I sang this. I even added in the word, "brown" to all the colors because I guess I didn't realize back then that "black" meant that brown-shade of skin....and I wanted to make sure the brown people were included too.
I never once was taught that my skin color was above any other and for that, I am forever grateful.
Some of my East Texas compadres weren't so lucky, growing up.
I remember having a parent of one of my friends look into my high-school eyes & ask what my dad would do to me if I ever tried to date "one of them." I responded, that he would do nothing as long as the guy I chose was a great guy.
I have been made fun of for "liking black people." As if being friends with people of color on an equal platform to my white friendships was a wrongdoing.
I remember a day in high school where one of my girl-friends couldn't ride with me to Sonic before a football game because I was taking 4 guys with me (all of whom happened to be black). Her parent's wouldn't want people in the community to think less of her...Not that she was riding around town with a bunch of boys...it was that they were black boys. Had it have been four white guys, I'm sure it wouldn't have been an issue at all.
I've heard countless conversations about so-and-so "acting black" and so-and-so "acts white."
I have been asked, to my face, what I was doing dating "a Montrell."
Some of those memories are probably over eight years old now, but I guess the fact that I specifically remember them is a testament to the power they posses. These instances all happened in this millennium when we're supposedly "over it."
Maybe we are over it...by law. However, I'm sick of the sort-of-racists. The barely-racists. The I-know-one-black-person-and-they-like-me-so-I'm-not-really-racist, racist. I've dealt with them all of my life. They may not be throwing someone into jail because they used their "white-only" front door, but their comments & ruthless opinions may as well be the handcuffs. By-standers beware: At your water coolers, on your Facebook feeds, in your email inboxes, don't tolerate ignorance.
If you laugh at the jokes, you might as well say them.
If you're not against racism, you are for it.
There is no middle-ground or gray area.
I don't wear a sign when my husband and I are out somewhere that says, "Look! We're interracial."
I don't blog about it. I don't mention it in my profile bios. To be quite honest, it's because I completely forget.
We completely forget.
We are best friends. We like the same music. We enjoy watching movies. We love our iPhones. We're home-bodies. We would rather wear sweatpants & t-shirts than anything else in our closet. We laugh a lot. We do funny impressions. That's us. You could say, we're a lot alike.
He's tall. I'm short.
He's a PC user. I love my Mac.
He's a man. I'm a woman.
His skin is darker than mine.
(Really...who's skin isn't darker than mine?!)
Those are our differences.
Luckily, we have very few reminders of racial hatred in our lives.
We live in a city where all people are accepted.
Our families love us and our closest friends are all different races themselves.
I have had some people slip out of my life because of the color of my husband's skin (I still live in the South, y'all).
But, for every one of those, I have an army of 100 ready to love on us and treat us like a couple...a human couple.
Sorry for getting on my soapbox and having this never-ending rant,
but as I watched Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s speech this morning I just felt moved to speak up.
As the wife of a black man,
As the best friend of a black girl & a Mexican girl,
As the future mother of bi-racial and black children (adoption is a beautiful thing),
As a girl who has stood where MLK was shot to death,
As a citizen of the land of the free,
As a human being,
I just felt moved to speak up today.
Live the dream this week, friends. Live the dream this and every week.