Thursday, December 18, 2008
I remember when I first told my family I was bringing my fiance with me to our family reunion in Mississippi. I had been out of law school for a year and had just passed the 3 day long torture session known to the general public as the "bar exam." I was thrilled to finally be done with school and just get to sit back, eat some BBQ, and hang out with relatives I hadn't seen in years. My fiance was nervous, but looking forward to meeting my family.
We got there and everything went smoothly. My family quickly accepted my fiance, but one of my aunts did express some dismay over my selection. As I stood in line waiting for another burger, she said (loudly and in front of everyone):
"Well, I'm glad she is black. I figured since you had went to law school you was gone bring home one of them white girls."
Everyone laughed. I was a bit stunned shook my head a bit, not only because of what she had just said. But also because a few weeks earlier the same thing had happened to another of my law school classmates. And a year earlier, the same thing had happened to another friend of mine who went to med school. A part of me thought the question was wrong. What did it matter what color she was? At the same time, I understood what my choice of spouse represented to my family. It sent them a signal that I hadn't turned my back on the little town that I had come from and the community I grew up in.
That was not the last time I heard that sentiment.
So as I sit here typing, I honestly am at a bit of a loss for words on this whole issue. Over the last few days, much has been made (including on this site) of the problems facing some black coaching candidates because of their decision to marry white women. Even Charles Barkley had to take the time to weigh in on the issue of Turner Gill not getting the Auburn coaching job with his wife being a factor. While some of us immediately find that to be reprehensible. Others give it the Kobe Bryant treatment - that's what you get for messing with them white girls.
Right off the top, I believe we have to acknowledge and admit that we don't understand the feelings that obviously go through the mind of a black woman when she sees that brother cuddled up with a woman of another race. It's personal. Also, we often forget the historical perspective of this issue. From white slave owners raping black women to it being illegal not so long ago, there is very painful history of interracial relationships in our country.
Yet as I close in my one year anniversary, I just have to say that if you find someone who is willing to be around you 24/7, forever, you should grab that person and hold on for dear life no matter what they look like. Cliche, but true. Marriage is tough at times, period.
Yet, the problem I think most people have, at least from a black point of view, is that black men get good jobs and then immediately search for a woman of another race to validate their success and turn their backs on the community. I can't lie. I have met brothers who fit that mold.
BUT, I have met far more who just simply fell in love with someone. And that's what marriage is all about.
At the end of the day, Grandma Esquire pretty much nailed my feelings on the matter. "Focus on keeping your own house in order and don't worry about what going on next door unless its a criminal or child molester or something."
Regardless of personal feelings on this subject, there is simple fairness. A person should not be denied a job because of who they married. Period. The fact that people are being told they would NEVER get a head coaching job because they married white women is just ridiculous and sad. It's also not a validation of the thought that people shouldn't marry outside of their race.
It's racism. End rant.