Cute Versus Color: How The Super Bowl Gave Me Hope About A Post-Racial WorldRene Syler
Once a year, my family actually sits in front of the TV, eyes trained on the same program, the Super Bowl. It may have been that way for your family too.
You may have been rooting for one team or another, for one reason or another or maybe you were like my teenage daughter, who rooted for both teams.
The reason gives me hope that one day we may actually have a color-blind society.
“He’s really cute,” said my daughter when they flashed a shot of the Raven’s helmetless quarterback, Joe Flacco. Not 30 seconds later, when they showed his rival, 49er’s QB, Colin Kaepernick, she uttered a similar sentiment.
Two guys; one Caucasian, the other bi-racial but it wasn’t color that captured Casey’s attention. They were cute, plain and simple.
I tried not to make a big deal of it (unlike now where I am writing for all the world to see; forgive me, child) but it was an interesting moment and one that instantly transported me back to middle school and my first boyfriend, John what’s-his-name (I think it’s pretty clear that he made quite an impact on me).
At any rate, John was the very first boy I kissed. He was also one of several guys I dated who were white, much to my father’s chagrin.
See, my folks grew up in a very different era; my dad served in a segregated military. Mom did too and she remembers the stern warning about not going off the deep-south base where she was stationed after dark. She told stories of how she and her sister, when taking the train from Boston to visit relatives in Florida, had to move to the back cars when crossing into the southern states. Against that backdrop, neither of my parents was thrilled with my pubescent penchant for dating white guys.
“I think it’s okay for you to date them but you should marry a black man, ” I recall my mother saying. When I asked why, she said, “It would be easier.”
As a result, I dated white men, one of them very seriously, but, and it pains me to say this, I never saw them as potential mates, in part, due to the words of my parents.
Don’t get me wrong, my folks were great; they did what they thought was best, which involved protecting me from prying eyes and rude comments, some of which happened anyway.
19 years ago, I married a wonderful man, who happens to be black. I’m really not sure if the fact that we’re the same hue has made it any easier; marriage is tough no matter the color. Still, I can’t imagine telling my daughter (or son for that matter) what my parents told me.
Of course, we’re in a different time now and I pray it is the one Dr. King’s envisioned, where people are judged, not by the color of their skin but the content of their character.
Or, as my teen saw it, not by their color but because they were cute.
Have you dealt with this with your own kids? What have you told them dating outside their race and, tell the truth, how would you feel about it?
Yo! Nice to meet you! You can find out more about me on my blog, Good Enough Mother.
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