Photo of the Day: MIL’s Down with the SWIRL!

I woke up this morning, and as usual, my inlaws were all showered, brushed and dressed when I come down the stairs in a staggered haze  searching for coffee. And there she was, pretty as a picture, my mother-in-law proudly wearing a SWIRLING t-shirt, with absolutely no prompting from me! Gorsh I love this woman! That’s why I call her “Mom.”

What you see in her hand is a old book, “Love in Black & White: The Triumph of Love Over Prejudice and Taboo,” written by Mark and Gail Mathabane back in 1992. She bought that book in 1999 upon learning the news that her son was in love with a black woman. She was worried for him–not so much about what her friends and family might say, because she doesn’t give a cuss about what folks say. She’s a loving and fiercely protective mother, and she worried that her son and future grandchildren might have a hard go at life. Growing up in a wealthy enclave of Brooklyn in the 1950’s and 60’s, Mom had never known a single black person. She was raised in a sort of protective bubble, and wasn’t fully aware of how deeply race played a factor in America. Her parents immigrated from Germany in the early 1900’s so they were a bit far removed from the whole slavery thing. In “Swirling,” I tell a story of how, upon marrying my FIL and temporarily moving to an army base in Augusta, Georgia during the war in Vietnam, she encountered her first taste of deep seeded racism and segregation.

Mom went to a laundry mat and above the entryway was a sign that read, “Whites Only.” She was perplexed, and asked someone nearby, “If this laundry is only for “whites” where do I put my colored clothes?!” Some local hick replied, “Lady, that means white PEOPLE only. Not ‘chur clothes.”

HAHAHAHAHA that story gets me EVERY time.

On another note, just opened “Love in Black and White.” Page 31 and 32 describe how Gail was sexually assaulted by not one, but two teenaged black boys. The first one was at a pool, when about three boys swam over and grabbed her between her legs and yelled triumphantly, “I got a handful of white pussy!” And then she speaks of another time when a boy grabbed her off the sidewalk while she was walking home from the store. He offered her money to buy candy. She refused, but he pulled her into the bushes and forced her to kiss him as he pushed his hands up her shirt. With those two events emblazoned on her psyche, no one would have blamed her for staying as far away from black men as she could. But she didn’t let those two bad encounters stop her from finding love with, marrying, and having two children with a very, very black man.

There’s a lesson in there somewhere, huh?

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