Saturday, October 12, 2013

An Untold Story

If Jimmy and I were living in Georgia as a married couple less than 50 years ago, we'd be breaking the law. Just by being married.

Uhm, that's not that long ago you guys.

On the front page of Humanthology there is a Maya Angelou quote I just love: "There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside of you."

I often forget that this is one of my untold stories. I guess because I feel like in this marriage the interracial factor is such a non-factor.  When we get stared at, I'm pretty sure it's because of the giant wheelchair and not that my husband's skin is a little more tan than mine. I could be wrong though. Maybe it's both. Who knows what other people see.

It's hard to fathom interracial marriage was such a dividing issue in this country just as a recent as a few decades ago. I know the issue is still there, but maybe a little more diluted than it once was? 


2009.
When Jimmy and I were dating, I remember having a conversation with a close friend of mine and Jimmy's who mentioned in passing something about Jimmy being black. 

I stopped her mid-sentence and asked, "Jimmy's black?"

I was serious. I never in my mind really even though about it. Jimmy to me was always -- just Jimmy. I obviously figured there's something in his blood to make him a little more tan than I, but that's how much of a non-factor his skin color was. I didn't even think about it. I didn't even know.

That is a true story, as silly as it sounds.

As Jimmy started to meet several people in my life, I realized that not everyone had the same reaction as I: naive oblivion. But, everyone grew to love him as I knew they would. Black, white, purple or yellow.  Look at that friggin' cutie pie, how could you not love him?

I remember when he was taking me home to meet his family several years into our relationship. I had to ask, "Is it going to be a big deal you're bringing home... someone white?" (Cringe)

Jimmy quickly said: "No. We have every shade you can think of in the family."

I relaxed even more when I saw just how welcoming and warm his family was. It seemed like a big deal that Jimmy was bringing someone home and his family seemed to understand it meant something.

Once in awhile, someone I will cross paths with will say something negative about "black people." (Cringe) I take deep, deep offense. But I always have. Well before I met Jimmy.  Possibly even a little more now.

I often wonder if those things are being said within earshot because of my husband.

About a year ago, we had a nursing aide came in our home. He had to bring his child in while he was here for his visit, which was only about an hour or so. The child was sitting quietly at my dinner room table playing a little video game while his father helped get my husband out of bed.  I came out of my room and the child looked up at me.

He started to look around at the photos of me and Jimmy. He asked me if I lived here. I said yes. His eyes got wide.

He asked, "You live here? With him?"

I said, "Yes, we are married." 

I just rocked his world.

He said, "But you're white... and he's black!"

And he just rocked mine right back.

The child looked genuinely confused and a little frightened. Frightened!

Uh, reality check.

What are these child's surroundings like? What is he being told at home? I would've liked to school him on race relations but it looked like he was still heavily processing the initial revelation. I'm sure Dad got lots of questions in the car.

Surely you have seen this Cheerio's commercial with the bi-racial family. I read somewhere that this sweet commercial actually got a lot of racial backlash.

But, I also read that it was shown to several children who couldn't tell the interviewers what was wrong the with commercial.  They didn't see the big deal. 

AND JUST LIKE THAT ALL IS RIGHT WITH THE WORLD AGAIN.

Kumbaya people. Kumbaya.

2 comments:

  1. I agree with you. When I was working at Michelin I had lots of black friends, which I don't even like to call them that. I saw them as my friend and the person they were, never thought you are black and I am white. This is also a true story. Gail Osborne

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  2. My boyfriend also has a disability. His mom is Irish his dad is half Mexican and half Spanish. I am a black women. We don't see race, but it pains me when others say rotten things to me. Well the only one that says mean things is my mom. She has a stigma against those with disabilities. But she also recently told me that if he didn't have a disability, my boyfriend would NEVER be with me because I'm black. That comment really hurt. Thanks for sharing your story Jamie!

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