For some strange, horrid, and unfathomable reason, this beautiful letter of outreach has lingered in my Facebook inbox for over a year. Once I began reading this man’s plight I began to panic–so I looked up his status, and he’s still going strong in his relationship with this beautiful woman that he asked me about. However, I’m sure he can benefit from a little encouragement from me and the rest of the crew. Read, and wipe some tears ‘cuz he’s sweet as heck:
Sent February 21, 2012…
Dear Mrs. Karazin,
I read your story ‘My Story: Jumping the Broom with a White Boy’; thank you so much for sharing your story, as it has given me a glimpse at what could be my future; or at least as my (love) life currently sits, I hope it can be. Too early to know, and I can’t tell the future, but alas:
I am in a wonderful, electrifying, beautiful, fulfilling, enriching, swept off my feet ( yet also) scary, unprecedented, and potentially family shattering situation… and I am looking for advice from anyone that has the ability and compassion to share it with me. I humbly ask you for any that you may have to offer me from what I write here (for which I apologize in advance for getting a bit longwinded); you would be helping me very much, and I would be eternally grateful and appreciative of your time.
My story as it sits.
I am a white man in my early twenties from Florida; more specifically, a 6th generation (on both my mother’s and father’s sides) ‘Florida Cracker’, meaning that I am a ‘cowboy’ that has a family history (and current job) of working with cattle. I get lumped into the ‘redneck’ category. I am not gloating and never will, but I am an example of such that sees a person for who they are inside, not outside, which from what I understand is somewhat rare/uncommon. In this regard, my dad and my brother (in his early thirties) are two more kindred examples, which of course helped shape me this way.
After dating around for the years after I graduated high school and finding little substance in those that I dated, I put finding a relationship on the back burner and decided to turn all of my energies towards my main passion; music. I figured that the right girl would turn up when the good Lord saw fit for me to notice her.
From what I can tell, this has happened.
I was ‘admired’ by a Jamaican woman (also in her early twenties) on a social networking site back in late 2010; we came to write to each other after having found out we both love music and certainly would love to have careers in it, both have substance and intelligence, both of us are Christian, much more in common etc. I became attracted to her shortly after we started talking, but I was mistimed, as she was in a (unbeknownst to me, tired) relationship when we started talking, Neither of us being the cheating kind, I talked to her for nearly a year and a half, just about music and life and as friends (or online pen pals). I was also worried about what my southern family would think.
Just to paraphrase things, her relationship petered out, and I drove down and met her a few months ago; things were electric, and we’ve quickly grown into a full blown relationship. It is long distance (she lives in Miami, myself in Lake Placid -3 hrs apart-) and being as we both still live with our parents, we see each other every chance we can (when money and schedules on both ends allow). We love each other, fit with each other like peas and carrots, etc, Happyness with a .
We’re both worried to death over how our families are going to take our relationship, concerning mine more so than hers; a lot of hers already know about me. I’ve already met her mom (who appeared to like me..? She’s an implicit person.). And, I’ve already introduced her to both my parents and my brother, who all like her very much as a person (which was a great sigh of relief for me). But, they are worried sick over how I’m going to be treated by.. well, everyone else, including the rest of our family, the people of the small town I live in, and the world in general. I’m scared myself. My girlfriend is scared for me as well, as she’s dated outside of her race before and has been tempered to the stares that an interracial relationship tends to garner, along with the insults, etc.
I have not. This is my first rodeo. I’m realizing the challenges that simply dating this girl, let alone possibly having a life with this girl, are going to be flooding my world as soon as I allow our relationship to go public. Prejudice from all angles and disapproving stares/words are (most likely) going to become amplified for her and a new reality for me.
Hiding our relationship is something that I feel terrible about having to do and something that I won’t do forever. I thank God that she understands that I can’t magically change people, but it is an ugly thing to me anyway. I know I’m going to have to bring us to light eventually, whether it be planned and gradual, one family member at a time, ..or whenever someone happens upon us when she’s visiting and turns into a town crier, devouring the latest juicy bit for my little town’s rumor mill. But, we’re of course nervous about it, and plenty of other things. From my feelings and what I know, we’ll hold hands through it all.
We’re still nervous though, hehe.
So, there it is, as best as I can paint the picture. Wonderful and joyous beyond our wildest hopes… yet still, scary and uncertain in the face of the world. Our relationship has yet to be truly tested, but I’m going to have faith this time around.
Can you offer any advice or advisories in so far as what I should prepare for, she should prepare for, what I should prepare her for, what we’ll face up the road… etc etc? ANYTHING you care to share will help us, and we would be very grateful for any advice given.
Thank you in advance for your time, and for being the help you are to so many people!
Dear “J,” again, apologies that I’m just now getting this (curse you, Facebook!!) I want you to know how touching I thought this note was. I can tell through your words that you are genuinely in love, and congratulations for finding such a beautiful woman (yes; I stalked your FB page!). Now about your problem: I see a twofold (possibly threefold) issue. First, let’s talk about your location on the redneck end of Florida. Region plays a big part in the success and failure of interracial relationships, which is why I encourage people to live in more diverse and liberal areas if they can at all help it. Your girlfriend lives in Miami where I know for a fact the swirling is a bit more commonplace, so a move closer to your love might be something to consider since it appears things are getting serious (your note was dated a year ago and she’s still your girlfriend on FB).
Secondly from your own description, you are an open-minded guy who just happened to fall in love with a black woman, and judged her upon her inner and outer beauty, and that is the way it should be. But there no doubt will be those people who will come along and think or say hurtful things about the woman you love, and it will be up to you to be brave and strong and defend your lady’s honor, because that is what a MAN does. That doesn’t mean you go looking for trouble and engaging in physical confrontations–it’s best to avoid those altogether (we get into some detail on this issue in SWIRLING). When I say, “defend her honor” I mean, do so with the guy who assumes you’re dating her just for some jungle booty, and tell him you will not tolerate that kind of talk about the woman you love. It means when your parents warn you of how hard life will be because you love this woman, you tell them you that you love them and understand their concern, but this is the person you want to be with and that’s that. Third issue, build a circle of support to insulate you from the potential negativity you might experience, and limit your time with people who are unsupportive.
Finally “J,” just know that the world is changing, and these relationships are becoming more and more common. Just know that if you need encouragement and support, you can find plenty of it here at BB&W. You both are people of faith–God created us all, color and melanin are completely irrelevant to our creator. Enjoy the blessing and guard it.
Oh, and people PLEASE! If you have a question and want to reach out to me, hit me up at [email protected]. I don’t not want to feel like a schumck because I didn’t find your note a year later, umkay??