I have been in a relationship that I would like to think of as a healthy one, but there are things that I just do not know about him. I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and always had friends of many different races.
But when I talk with my boyfriend about things such as hair, perms, and special needs, etc. he always points out that I do not know and understand anything he is talking about. The truth is that he is the first Black man I have ever dated and I really don't understand what he is talking about.
How can he being a black man and I being a white woman differ that much?
You are my only hope of answering these questions for me; I have no one else to turn to. I'm confused! I care about him more than I have ever felt for anyone. I have gone against my entire family to be with him. I just want to understand where he is coming from in all angles, please help me!
Confused in the Black Love
How can him being a Black man and you being a White woman be that different? I'm surprised you have to even ask that question! Where have you been living for your entire life honey? Though I grew up in San Francisco too, I am still very aware of the vast differences in experiences that White people (especially White females) have as compared to that of a Black woman and especially those of a Black male.
The Black experience in America is something very few Whites can really understand, as you move through life in a world that is designed by and for you.
Hairdos and cuisine are easy things to learn about. But how do you explain the feeling of being followed around in a department store by store detectives for no reason other than you fit some stupid racist profile of a thief when you have 10 credit cards and $500 in cash in your pocket?
How can he explain to you the rage he feels when pulled over and placed face down on filthy cement, asked rude questions and searched just because he is a Black man driving down the street in the "wrong" neighborhood at a "suspicious" time?
How can he explain to you the frustration he feels when he applies for a job and is totally the best qualified person for the position, but he sees it go to someone with less education, less experience, and less capabilities all the way around just because they are White?
How can he explain to you the feeling of abandonment many Black women feel when they see Black men with White women? How could you understand the pain and loss an African American man or woman feels when hearing stories of how your great -great grandparent was dragged out of his house in front of his wife and children and lynched by a mob of drunken white men for entertainment?
I am not trying to be mean to you, just to raise your awareness of the fact that you are being very naïve if you think that our experiences are all the same. The answer here may be as simple as you over-romanticized the idea of being with someone who is not part of your culture and your upbringing.
Patience is the prescription of the day. If you really love him, listen to him and teach him things about your culture and history as he teaches you about his. Don't ever assume to know anything he is saying and never dismiss his anger or frustration with racial issues by telling him that he should "get over it" or that "racism doesn't exist anymore because we have a Black president" or that laws that give minorities equal opportunities are no longer needed because things are different.
Don't you dare do that to him.
And if you find that this educational process is too hard, too confusing or too painful to deal with, reconsider the relationship. An interracial relationship requires even more understanding, tolerance, strength and patience than one between two people of the same race with very similar backgrounds and upbringing.
You also have nothing to gain by continuing to rebel against your family in order to stay in a relationship that is too confusing or borders on being unhealthy and detrimental to your self-esteem. I know you love him, but sometimes love really isn't enough.