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Colour Blind
Tiffany Tucker

Tiffany Tucker and daughter Brittany, photo by Connie Herweck'I've heard derogatory comments from women of other cultures, but to keep myself from dating a person just because it makes someone else upset or uncomfortable is absurd.'

It was 1980 and my sixth grade graduation party had just started. All my fellow classmates were there and we had just begun to dance when Bryan, the only black student at my school, stood on a table and said he wanted to make an announcement. The party got quiet and all eyes were on him.

'I'd like to let everyone here know that I am in love with Tiffany,' he said. The room remained quiet for another minute and then all eyes turned to me. The boys began to snicker, the girls looked shocked, and the parents were stunned, even Bryan's. I felt the blood rush to my face and tears form in my eyes as I ran to the bathroom, not because I didn't like Bryan, but because everyone was so aghast at his revelation. It was at this moment that I had my first encounter with prejudice.

Throughout high school I had friends of all ethnicities, but I never had to deal with my feelings about interracial dating because I had the same (white) boyfriend the entire time. After high school I began going to Hollywood and got into the club scene where there were people from every place imaginable. On the dance floor, if you could get your 'groove' on, race was irrelevant.

One night at a Hollywood Club I was approached by a man who told me I had a lot of rhythm for a 'white girl' and would I like to dance on his show. He was the producer of Soul Train.

Over those next few weeks I contemplated the repercussions of my being on a primarily black show. My Jewish family would probably not approve, my old friends might behave differently and the regular dancers on the show might not welcome me being there. I decided to go anyway.

I showed up at the Soul Train soundstage with uneasiness in my stomach. There were quite a few peculiar stares as I walked up; all I could do was smile. As the show started the dancers were told to find a partner. The knot in my stomach began to twist. I thought, who would want to take the chance and dance with the 'white girl'? But someone did, and I danced on Soul Train for the next few years.

Although race was never very relevant to me, when I began dating outside my own I realized how relevant it is to most people. I ended up falling in love with a black man and we had a little girl. It was at this point that I realized that skin color would be a significant issue in my life.

It's not as simple as black and white
Interracial relationships challenge racism and prejudice. To date a person outside of your race means to acknowledge that person as an equal. There are still many people in society that see interracial coupling as unusual and unappealing. Over the last 15 years I've become very aware of these opinions.

I've been stopped by the police numerous times while driving in neighborhoods where they didn't think I should be or where they assumed I was buying drugs. People of all colors have called me everything from a whore to a wigger.

My family has gone through many changes because of the choices I've made. My mother has dealt with comments from relatives, friends and even neighbors. My grandfather was ill when I was pregnant. My family thought it would be better to not tell him I was having an interracial child. He died before knowing I had given him his first great-grandchild.

Bringing an interracial child into this world is not easy. An interracial partnership that produces a child challenges the racist way of thinking because the racist cannot validate cultural inequality. The interracial child is equal in both cultures. The common thought is that the interracial child will not be accepted by either race. Although complete tolerance may be an unattainable goal, more and more people are choosing partners outside of their race and it's almost impossible to find someone who isn't mixed with something.

I want to make it clear, I do not date only black men just as I do not date only white men. I think I can speak for most women when they say they are really just looking for that one good man. Being an intelligent person, I choose to keep my options open. I've heard derogatory comments from women of other cultures, but to keep myself from dating a person just because it makes someone else upset or uncomfortable is absurd.

To make a connection with someone out of the hundreds of people who come in and out of our fast-paced lives is remarkable in itself. If that person happens to be of another race, there's only more to appreciate and learn.

Perhaps it's not realistic to envision a colour-blind world anytime soon. But we can work toward the achievement of an honest, common understanding by promoting acceptance and tolerance. Different cultures and races enrich the world. There is so much that we share universally that to reach out to different people can only be an invitation to enrichment.

This article originally appeared in City Magazine


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