Last night Janice and I did a book signing at our alma mater, Loyola Marymount University Los Angeles (go Lions!!). We packed the house and sold out of all our books.
I got to drool over the newly-built kick-arse library, complete with Macs, a cafe, and a modern-lodge style study area with a roaring fire. Then they stuck it to me real good by putting us on the top floor looking at the window wall that overlooked Marina Del Rey and twisted that knife for the final kill. Yep. I’m jelly as hayell.
Nice to know we can pack a room of young kids…viva diversity!
Two things struck me during our book discussion that I wanted to share. The young black and Latino girls in attendance STILL face issues with interracial relationships. The black girls wonder if non-black men are interested in them more than just a fetish. They asked me how to know how to identify non-black men who show interest in them (yes, the overtures are often different from what they’re used to). The Latino girls wring their hands about dealing with issues of colorism when dating black men, because being “too dark” will send all the grandmas and aunties to church praying and lighting candles in hopes that the children of such unions will take after the fairer-skinned parent.
Young black men were also in attendance and stayed mostly silent. As a former student, I know for a fact that each and every one of those boys are prime cuts at the university because they outnumber the girls by a 1-10 ratio, at least. After the discussion, one of the black girls felt it necessary to stand up for the brothers and asked Janice and I if we made provisions in our book so that black women were reminded about “the good brothers.” The silent boys nodded their heads in agreement, so I straight out asked her, “Why do you feel the need to speak up for these men? Why do you feel like they can’t speak for themselves? This is an open forum and they are free to speak. What compelled you to stand up for people who are welcome to contribute to the conversation? Please know if it is not your sole responsibility to “uplift” the brothers while you’re in college. Maximize all your dating opportunities as I’m sure THEY are.” This was met with a round of applause.
The other thing that struck me was the two successful black men who came to our discussion in the interest of their daughters. One of them, a divorced prominent attorney who serves on a variety of boards came because one daughter is involved with a Brazilian man, and the other, a Columbia law school student, pointedly asked her father if he would be offended if she came home with a white boyfriend.
Because he loves his daughter, he told her he would embrace whomever she loved. But as a black man, he admitted that he struggled internally with this idea. “It would be my preference that my daughters married black men.” I was impressed with his pointed honesty. He went on. “But when I was in college, all the black football and basketball players dated (and eventually married) white women and openly voiced their distaste for their own women. He admitted that people were surprised that a “black man of his stature” was not married to a white woman himself. He relayed that to the audience that people often said, “You’re a lawyer! You must be married to a white woman!” He conceded that among his peers, he’s a minority in proclaiming his resounding preference for black women.
This man had a unique understanding of what young black women–and his daughters–are going through in the relationship market. He admitted his dissonance and for that he had my complete respect. To put aside your own ego for the happiness and fulfillment of your children is the measure of a loving father.
Another father with a young adult daughter told us he knew early on that his daughter, schooled in elite private schools, was probably destined to swirl. So he bought not one, but TEN books for his daughter and the rest were reserved for gifts for the single black women in his life.
I made sure that I told each and every one of those ladies to maximize their dating options and Law Wanxi would have been proud to know that I advised them not to overlook the STEM students. They may be quiet and nerdy now but they’ll eventually be the bosses of all the jocks and frat boys!