Question of the Week

Question of the Week: How Much to Talk About Race?

Victoria Lee made this comment/question in a previous post, and since I’m dedicating a WHOLE chapter to “talking to your rainbeau about the struggle” I thought this was a good a time as any to poach quotes from all of you:

Thanks Chris for posting this! It will give me and my rain-beau something to debate. :) (it keeps the relationship spicy. lol) He and I read your blog everyday so odds are he is reading it today. I am trying to educate him on these things but because he hasn’t had to experience it he doesn’t always give it as much credence as I do. Btw do you have any advice on how to get him to see that I’m not just another paranoid black woman and that these things do happen?!

Wanna know something funny? I was watching this generation’s black-woman swirling anthem movie, Something New last night. The couple was at the store and she was complaining about “the ‘old black tax” and how Kenya (Sanaa Lathan) had to work twice as hard to be just as good in her high-powered job. Brian (Simon Baker) asked if “they could just take a break” from all the black oppression talk, and she got offended. She gave this, “What!? If I can’t talk to you about what it means to be a black woman in America, then maybe we shouldn’t be together!” look.

Both characters were right. Kenya SHOULD be able to feel free to talk about her struggles navigating as a black woman in the corporate world. Brian was also right that he didn’t want their conversations to be all race, all the time.

Thinking back, I don’t recall one, single solitary time that I talked race issues with a black boyfriend. In fact, it was a non-conversation. We were both black, so we knew the deal. But with my husband I sometimes felt like I need to “test” him to see how much and how frequent we could talk about race. With a black man, I took it for granted that I’d always be able to talk about my blackness, so I never did. It’s kind of like people who live in Anaheim, CA and never, ever, EVER go to Disneyland.

Frankly, me and The Hubster don’t talk race much–we’ve been married almost ten years, and our primary focus is the family, the kids, and the mortgage. I’m a stay-at-home mom so I don’t have to deal with corporate bull donkey. But on rare occassions it did come up, like the time some idiot in Orange County shouted “Nigger!” out of an old white pick up truck (such a cliche) and I came home, crying, stung because I hadn’t been called that word since I was a child, he was understanding, empathetic, called the guy a bastard and made me dinner. And that was okay for me.

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