They say that who you’re attracted to is a matter of personal preference. .. at least I think that’s what they say. But then I don’t know this they, I only know us. And I’m worried that we don’t seem to love us enough to be attracted to our own.
Don’t misunderstand, here. I’m not talking about disliking “our people.” But my kids – one with a foot out the door, one just walking in, and several waiting inside at windows – don’t seem to believe that blacker berries have sweeter juice; that darker flesh has deeper roots. Tupac, where are you?
You see, my kids only know the versus to Everyday People, but somehow the concepts conveyed within the lyrics were lost. They’re not colorblind. And all people, I’m realizing, in their understanding, are not created equal.
Last night, my son said happily, “I only like white girls.” And while I can dismiss his proclamation as innocent because his current elementary crush is a sweet Caucasian girl, I think it’s more. My older son had, moments before, shrugged off observations of a girl’s obvious interest in him because hubs described her as the ‘pretty dark-skinned girl with the braids’ – he said nonchalantly, “I didn’t notice. I don’t date dark girls.” And a few weeks ago my daughter declared that she’d only marry a “light skinned guy.”
I have failed.
Among my favorite novels is The Blacker the Berry: A Novel of Negro Life by Wallace Thurman. And in it, the family has adopted a mantra akin to ‘lighter and lighter with each generation, the better we will be.’ I’m paraphrasing here, because I don’t have the book accessible. I read the book in high school initially, and I remember my stomach knotting over the concept that black was not beautiful or desirable and it certainly wasn’t safe or privileged. Being black was a hereditary curse forever staining the potential of a person.
And in the wake of media outrage over police shootings and mistreatment of people of color, following obvious slants of legal rulings and punishments heavily weighed against persons of color, I suspect that curse is real. Ignorance is not bliss and I’ve seen absurd over generalizations about blacks’ propensity for endangering the public that call for something quite like genocide.
My children are not immune to this sterotyping. They know they’re judged before they speak, before they act.
And so, they are drawn to people presumably less targeted.
I really don’t care the color of my childrens’ future partners. I only wish for them to find abundant love, companionship, and understanding in their chosen confidants. But I’m bothered, no, I’m appalled that each is voicing a desire to narrow their selections superficially. Dark, light, or somewhere in between – there’s good and bad in each shade. Characters content isn’t worn on the skin.