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
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.