Parenthood is a never-ending lesson in tolerance. To get through this process we all have to learn to love our enemies. Because here is the reality: we’re not always going to do well on this journey. Sometimes, well, we are going to be taught in kindergarten the wrong concept.
That’s why I’m really annoyed with some of my parents for refusing to accept that interracial relationships aren’t just some immutable social quirk, but a whole new way of being on the planet. Or that we’re human after all.
Look, let’s be frank: interracial relationships have come a long way, and have made some gains over the last 30 years.
In 2002, 81% of white mothers and 64% of black mothers reported having had intercourse with someone of another race, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2015, the same report found that those numbers had improved.
But, as explained in the article in Quillette, neither white nor black mothers are what Quillette calls “surprising large interracial couples”.
These aren’t random, average racial couples. They are high profile cases where white Americans are acknowledging their historic lust for black men – a fact that some white citizens consider inconvenient, if not outright wrong.
But it’s not just them. According to the Quillette article, New York City school administrators thought it acceptable to throw history into the trash can, because they were conveniently focused on putting together a teacher directory to replace the antiquated, slavery-focused list.
Both of these examples were factually off the mark. As the US general George Washington commented in 1689: “When I am forced to choose between black and white as equals, I choose the white.” Even after the American Revolution, black Americans and whites were allies. We protested for the right to live, which wasn’t one-way traffic.
Nonetheless, black and white Americans have to work at this relationship. It’s never going to be the most natural thing. I don’t have to walk a mile in the other guy’s shoes to understand why any man with his head screwed on would, even if it’s for three minutes, stop and talk to his dad.
But it’s 2018, and it’s the first world, we all have diverse relationships and people and those relationships should feel normal and accepted. As black communities (the ones that can find the time to learn about themselves) need our boys and those who look like them to grow up in homes where a high school principal doesn’t think interracial romance is a good idea for American youths.
I’m hopeful that my parents’ comments aren’t the norm, but that they’re only the exception.