Wednesday, February 28, 2007

An All-American Romance

The picture above is of my boyfriend and I, not of the people in the following story.

My boss (let's call him "Jack" for the sack of this post) is your average, All-American kind of guy. Having a predominately Irish and German background, Jack is very tall and has greenish-blue eyes with dark hair. Jack is always telling us about his childhood, having been 1 of 8 children (I think), and growing up on a farm in Northern Indiana (Yes, he's a Hoosier through and through). Jack, who is about 35 years-old, married, and has 3 children, met his wife when he was a kid. Apparently, she was the girl next door and so he remembers playing with her and becoming very close friends with her. However, romantic feelings were never able to truly develop because when Jack was old enough, he enlisted into the United States Army.

During his time in the service, he had dated many women, but he never forgot about the girl next door. Finally, when he finally got out of the military, Jack returned to his hometown to look for work. Fortunately, his childhood friend was still there, almost as if she was waiting for him all those years. Eventually they began talking and then dating, and finally they got married.

My boyfriend (who works with me as well) told me this story and my reaction was, "Wow! Jack and his wife are like the typical All-American couple!" In which my boyfriend replied, "Yeah, except she's black!"

When my significant other said that statement it made me think. Was he trying to say that it wasn't American to marry someone black if you are white? After careful comtemplation, I had to agree with my boyfriend. It's not American to marry someone of another race. It's more American to be not necessarily a racist, but someone who believes strongly in segregation (wheter it be legalized or not). A typical 21st century segregationist would say something like "I'll be friends with them but I won't date them." WHAT DA FUCK IS THAT SHIT ALL ABOUT!!! People who belive wholeheartedly in the not so currently fabricated "race" sytem and terminology of the United States believe that blacks and whites are as different as say, whales and cockroaches. Obviosly a man from Spain can impregnate a native Hawaiian woman because they are both essentially human, but a cockroach would never impregnate a whale. NEVER!!!

Which brings me to my final point. Just to state the obvious, many of us have mixed heritage (some of you guys have shared your backgrounds with me and I'm very thankful for that). Even if your ancestry is purely European or Native American, there are different types of Europeans (German, Irish, Italian) and Native Americans (Sioux, Cherokee, Iroquois) that have inhabited this part of the world for centuries. At some point in our family tree, someone did the "Un-American thing" and married someone of another race. As a result of all this activity, the country was able to simplify it's racial categories into the present day categories of "black" "white", "hispanic" or "asian." And don't dare claim that your "white" if you have one drop of black blood in you because those who call themselves "white" would not claim you as their own.

So this being the last day of African-American History month in the United States of America, I would like to open the floor for discussion. Have you ever done the "Un-American" thing and dated someone of another race? How did your family feel about it? Did you ever reject dating someone because they were ethnically different from you? Why? Have you ever wished you had the opportunity to do the "Un-American" thing if you've never done it before? Please let me know?


Anonymous said...

Being biracial & married to a biracial man (different mixes there), I feel it would be incredibly hypocritical of me to tell my kids they should date this person or that. They can date who they want, as long as they're decent people. However, I always felt more comfortable dating guys who look like me. While I feel I'm pretty well-adjusted (don't care for the whole "check this box" crap), there are a few mixed people in my family who are so screwed up in the head, it's embarrassing. They want no part of being black/AA, whatever you want to call it, which I think is a shame.

Valerie said...

Interesting take! I know that if someone says "all-American boy" my mental image is immediately of a clean-shaven blond guy. I think some of that is inner prejudice (not bigotry, but pre-judgement, ideas formed that aren't yet completely dislodged) and some of it is cultural memes.

I got a lot of shit from my parents for dating people who weren't Jewish. NO ONE I dated was Jewish. I didn't marry a Jewish man, I married an Australian agnostic.

I didn't have any serious relationships with folks who were clearly ethnically different, but I had plenty of snogs, and I had some serious crushes that, had they been returned, I'm sure would have turned into relationships. My best friend, who is white, is married to a black man (who happens to work for me), and my peer group was very multiracial, so I had good role models. I just happened to fall in love with a dude who is white and has an accent.

Basically, I like the idea that the world is gradually turning into a broad palette of shades of brown.

CUTE pic of you and your boyfriend btw!