There has been a lot of talk around here lately about...DARE I SAY IT...Black people. And I use the term Black people because my children are just to young to understand the term African American. As Jayden put it..."How can you be African and American if you've never lived in Africa?" I tried to explain that it's their heritage they are referring to when they say African not their location. "But we are Indian and we don't call ourselves Indian Americans, we just say white." Good point, son. Good point. So, not really wanting to go into the last 200 years of racial inequality and also trying to shield my children from the ugliness that can exist in the world, I just said there are black people, white people, yellow people and people of all different colors but the majority of people are some fantastic mix of all different heritages and that's what makes us special. 'Nuff said??
This all started several months back when a good friend of mine told me that her mother was appalled by the fact that a teenage girl in her care liked a..gasp...black kid. As I rolled that through my mind for a few minutes I was reminded of my teenage years. I was raised in a predominantly white area and attended a very small country school. I technically went to school with two boys that were 1/2 African American. The kicker is? I didn't realize it until I was much older. Sure, they were darker skinned and had dark curly hair but I didn't think anything of it. These were boys I grew up with...in fact one of the kids saved my grandfather's life. And when their father showed up at school to watch his boys in extracurricular activities...he wasn't a black man. He was simply Mr. Harris....a man I had known my entire life. I didn't think they were different than me. I still don't. It wasn't until I was in high school that I realized that there were people who did think they were different. Anyway...as my friend and I talked about how ridiculous her mother's reaction was, never did I think that this would be an issue that would hit so close to home or affect my family so soon.
Any of you that know me well, know that I have a daughter that is 17. BUT how can that be, you say?..You didn't have a baby at the age of 14. You're right, I didn't. However, I have been fortunate enough to have some really wonderful friends that I consider my extended family. These friends have 3 beautiful blond daughters. Now I love all of these girls and I think each one of them is awesome in her own right...but the middle one?? She's like my own. Often I tease her that I spent so much time with her when I was pregnant with Claire that my daughter came out looking just like her..tall, skinny and leggy.
Anyway...this middle child, my "adopted" daughter has decided that she has feelings for a "black" boy. He goes to a different school, but he seems to be a great kid. Super nice and respectful. He makes straight A's. He's plays all three major H.S. sports and has been scouted by several colleges...a couple BIG 10 schools..for football. He wants to be a Sports Medicine major. This kid has a bright future. And these feelings...whether they are just friendship feelings or deeper have caused quite the rift in Middle child's household.
My Point? Middle Child is not allowed to date this guy. Whether it be because he is black or because she is not obeying her parents and is being disrespectful...I am not sure. I hope the latter is true but I have a strong suspicion that it's quite possibly a mixture of both reasons. And while that makes me a little sad, I would never encourage Middle Child to not follow her parents wishes. I tell her all the time...it sucks, but keep your mouth shut and do what you are supposed to do. Keep your grades up and try your hardest and things will get better. To be quite honest, how my friends raise their children is none of my business. I just try to be there for Middle Child when she needs to talk. However, I just can't imagine that this day and age...that people still judge based on skin color alone. It just doesn't happen in my small world and I can't wrap my brain around it. For this reason, I am hoping that Middle Child's Parent's objections to this kid reaches far beyond the fact that he's black...perhaps reasons that Middle Child doesn't understand or doesn't want to tell me. I sincerely HOPE this is the case.
So, in light of all this white girls dating black guys discussions I've been having recently, the Huz and I have also had a couple of conversations about this very thing. What would we do if our children dated or wanted to marry someone outside of our race...be it black, Korean, Mexican or something else? And the short answer is NOTHING. Because to me, it's not important that our children date white people as much as it's super important that our children date GOOD people. First and foremost, we pray that our children will find a partner that shares our family's love of God. We want our children to be surrounded by people that love them. We want our children to fall in love with people that will treat them with the love, respect and honor that they deserve. We want our son and daughter to be happy.
And we are raising our children as I was raised...blind. Oh sure, they notice differences in people but we are teaching them that these differences are to be celebrated. Because truthfully, we have more American Indian and Irish blood in our heritage than the average person. And had we been unfortunate enough to live in a different time in our history or had things not changed, it could just as easily be us who would be judged based on our looks alone. I truly believe that our choice to raise our children blind is working....Jayden's best friend in school? His name is Makhi. He's black and Jayden hasn't even realized that.
I hope he never does.
4 days ago