The Elephant in the Room| How I Crossed My Racial Divide

guesswhoscomingtodinnerBack in 1997 when my teenage son began dating the blonde haired, blue-eyed girl next door, my reaction can almost be called hypocritical. After all, hadn’t I spent the years after my divorce specifically dating only Caucasian males?

Well perhaps it was this specificity in my past choices, which led me to believe (as many still do) that just as lesbians and gay men “choose” to be homosexual, so do teenagers “choose” to date outside of their race.  I was distraught over my son’s choice because I felt that in choosing to date a white girl, he was rejecting his  Black mother, and all of the other Black women in his family tree.

So, what did I do? Well what could I do?  You know from my previous posts that I love my children just the way that God gave them to me – unconditionally. And, for  that reason, I would never allow them to feel less than loved by me.  When my son was 5, he said to me “Mommy, how come you’re white and we’re black”.  Hmmm,  even at 5 my boy had deep thoughts ; as you well know, I am not white, but I am less brown than my children are and I mention this only to illustrate that kids don’t start seeing color and differences until we point them out.

When it comes to people, our childrens’  likes and dislikes are based on their feelings about those people, and race and ethnicity don’t even come into play for them. That is until we start to point it out. I think that my reaction to his choice of girlfriend freaked my son out because I am the last of the hippie chicks, the love everybody equally generation, the don’t judge a person by what’s on the outside school of thought.

And there I was being a big fat hypocrite when my son did exactly as he was taught and didn’t judge the book by it’s cover!

12 years later I am older, wiser and more accepting. I know now that you love who you love, and like Michael Jackson so eloquently stated “it don’t matter if you’re Black or White” . I know that my childrens choices when it comes to their partners is not a rejection of me or their race. I believe that if we leave them be, our children will obliterate the racial divide – if we let them.

Unfortunately, I saw on Mamapedia that there are parents who are now entering the struggle.  I have a friend who is white and her  teenage daughter likes  a Black  child in her grade. They are unofficially dating, I don’t have a problem with it, but my friend does, even though she has never mentioned it to me.  I feel like there is a big old elephant in the room every time we are together, that there is something we should talk about but don’t. We discuss husbands, diets, raising kids – you name it. But I see the elephant out of the corner of my eye, and I so want to mention him.

I know in my heart, that she will come around on her own, 12 years from now she will probably laugh about this and wonder why the situation upset her so much. You see when our children date outside of their race it’s not about us, and if we will remove ourselves from the equation we would not be upset about the color of the other person and we would be free to judge them on “the content of their character”,  just the same way we judge anyone who dares to date our child.

I think it’s telling that this interracial relationship is totally accepted by her child’s peers. The future looks bright after all.

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Which Michael Jackson are you mourning?

I am a pretty emotional person who feels things deeply. Back in 97, I got up at 2 am to watch Princess Di’s funeral- and cried through the entire thing (she died on the day I finally received my bachelors degree and they buried her onmy birthday, should have been a great week for me, I know). When my dog Storm passed last month, I cried for days afterwards. And let’s not even talk about Tupac.

Of course I am mourning MJ and my husband knows this, so last night he asked me to pose a question to my friends and readers. The question is “Which Michael Jackson died for you on Thursday?”

Is it the little guy in the suede vest singing “I Want You Back”?

Or is it the gawky adolescent who sang “Ben”?

Maybe for you it’s the dude who brought us “Thriller”, “Beat It”, and “Billie Jean”

Did Michael Jackson the MoonWalker and “Smooth Criminal” pass away?

Or was it just Wacko Jacko? That overexposed and strange looking dude?

Leave a comment!

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10 Things They Aren’t Saying About Michael Jackson

michael jackson

Michael Jackson and I were exposed to America in the same year 1969.  The Jackson 5 landed their first megahit “I Want You Back”  and I landed in New York City. Michael Jackson with (and without) his brothers provided the soundtrack of my life – and a beautiful and memorable soundtrack it is.

I remember house parties in Brooklyn apartments from Ebbets Field to Vanderveer where the kids entertained the adults by  mimicking the choreography of  “I Want You Back”, “ABC”, and “The Love You Save”. I wasn’t in love with Michael, my heart belonged to Sigmund Esco Jackson the older brother with whom I created an inner fantasy life (if you have never listened to his album, you should run out and get it right now). Michael’s songs  “Ben”, “Got To Be There”, and  “I Wanna Be Where You Are”  took me from puberty into my teenage years.

My 2 oldest children watched “Thriller” every day, over and over and over, we wore the tape out. I think the fact that my son Khalil is a professional dancer and choreographer today is due in large part to Michael and Thriller. My youngest Jalen loved Moonwalker, we wore that tape out too and moved on to the Ones DVD.

So it just makes me want to “Scream”  that the foucs right now is on how strange Michael was, and whether or not he molested  children, and his many surgeries etc etc.. I had a real honest to God childhood, Michael didn’t as evidenced in this song

Have you seen my Childhood?
I’m searching for the world that I come from
‘Cause I’ve been looking around
In the lost and found of my heart…
No one understands me
They view it as such strange eccentricities…
‘Cause I keep kidding around
Like a child, but pardon me…

I learned how to interact with people as I grew older, I don’t think Michael ever learned how to trust adults, or handle money or any of that normal stuff. At the end of the day (I believe) he was a good human being, who left us with some wonderful music – his and the music of those he inspired (Usher, Justin Timberlake, Chris Brown, Neo, Ginuwine, Beyonce and on and on).

Here are just a few  things I admire about Michael Jackson:

  1. He made the Guinness Book of World records for basically being  the superstar who gave  to the highest number of  charities in 2000
  2. He gave anonymously to parents who lost their children to  gang violence so that they could bury said children
  3. He donated 300 million dollars to various charities
  4. It was reported that he bought Little Richards catalog (which little Richard did not own, story for another day) and gave it back to him so that Little Richard could benefit from his own royalties – this brought Little Richard to tears
  5. Neverland was not just a private amusement park for him, it was also a part of his charitable giving
  6. He didn’t steal the Beatles catalog – it was available, he bid on it and won, Paul McCartney and Yoko Ono were not interested initially.
  7. He  was guilty of random and anonymous acts of kindness
  8. He donated money from his tours to orphanages and hospitals all over the world
  9. He can beatbox and he legally patented his patented smooth criminal lean (http://gadgets.boingboing.net/2009/06/25/michael-jacksons-pat.html) (thank u Chris)

Feel free to leave a comment and add to my list,

I am declaring this a MJ no bash zone – there are plenty of other blogs where you can go talk bad about Michael, this isn’t one of them.
michael joseph jackson
RIP Michael Joseph Jackson – thanks for the memories.

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