Some of the best content on this site is found among the comments that we receive from readers like you. Many of you have great stories to tell and a clean, direct way of telling them. I would like to highlight one such story from a new member of the BB&W community.
There have been many times in the past that younger women who read this site have made criticisms re. white men now of a certain age who have expressed an interest in black women but for many reasons did not act on that desire when young and are doing so as mature men. Accusations of cowardice abound in some of the comments regarding these mature men. Yet is that really fair?
Times have changed for the better. Still it is always good to look back and see what it took, what it cost and for many continues to cost to make the choice to date and marry a woman not of your race. Who better to tell the story than the men who were there. Which brings us to the subject of this article.
I had the pleasure of finding the following comments from a new member of the blog,Osibisa, in response to our recent article titled,
Video: White Men Dish on Why They Love Black Women…The “Darker the Better??”
I have been given permission by Osibisa to re-print his comments as well as the e-mail that I received from him. His response to the question posed in the title of the article and his e-mail to me appear as he typed them, save for removal of his Great, great grandmother’s name in order to protect his identity and privacy.
Osibisa 8 pts
I’ve thought about this, and…what do I say, how do I say it…I’m a white guy that has always been attracted to black women, I’m a child of blue collar mid-western industrial America in the 60’s and 70’s, things then were changing fast while it seemed like everyone I knew was holding onto the same o’l hate. A white boy and a black girl? Don’t talk about that s***.
Bring a black girl home? Goodbye, you’re not a part of this family anymore.
But what is it about black women for me? Going into adulthood in the 80’s and 90’s Things had changed in the general sense, “national attitudes” or whatever, but on the one on one level, on the local level? Not so much. On the family level, one quote that pretty well sums it up, “You are hell-bent on being a loser, aren’t you?” Yeah, I guess so. So…. “Why?”
Because when I look into the eyes of my wife of 27 years, I see SOUL.
It’s what I saw the first time a black girl talked to me when we were both in detention in the 10th grade back in the Stone Age… And “stone age ” it was. It was crazy. She started talking to me about Miles Davis… Who? I talked “Deep Purple” She came back with, “Promise me you’ll listen to this, and bring me the album back, okay?” Yeah, Okay. The group?
Osibisa: A West African group that invented “world music” in the early 70’s. “We are going to start these happy vibes right from the root,(Yeah!) and the root is early one morning in the heart of Africa.”
Soul is all that has ever mattered. It’s what my wife understands without words, although the words are good when we talk about it. It’s what we’ve always known.
Osibisa 8 pts
WorldTravelingChic A thing we heard a lot, especially when our kids were in pre-school and grade school, was “Wow, it must be pretty hard. I mean, with your kids being so, you know… different ….and everything.”
Meaning, “You’re not black and she’s not white, how the hell do your kids deal with that?”
We had “interfamily issues” like you would not believe, we had, pretty much, all the stuff we talked about when we talked about what we were getting into by just being together.
But for me the hardest thing to face, by far the hardest thing to deal with…was my own racism. “Whoa! Me? Racist? Look who I’m with! No F***’n way!
Oh yeah, baby! Guess what? Being born white into a culture that is dominated by a socioeconomic system created by rich white men to reward rich white men, there are very real benefits to just being born white.
Um…did I just state the obvious? It didn’t seem like that to me growing up because my family had to work for every nickle we had. Privilege? where? In that thirteen year old Chevy Bel Aire in the driveway? Every weekend my old man was out there working on it because…take the the car in to a garage? Are you crazy? You know what that costs?
And then wax the f***ing thing after dad got done with the engine just so it would “look nice” compared to the other neighbors cars. Dad didn’t do that, Hell no, It was “Miller Time” after he put his tools away and pulled up a lawn chair with all the other dads who spent their Saturdays doing the same thing. Why not? They had all been busting a nut all week long down in “The Shop.”
Everybody who mattered worked in “The Shop.” Even the black guys, but they lived in their own neighborhoods, which was just “the way things were.” There were two types of “Black guys” (use of the “N” word in my household would mean a whoop’n when the talk was “Union Men”)
So there were “good black union men” and…”.scab n*****s”
I had no problem making sense of it….until I fell in love with a woman who wasn’t white. She wasn’t just “not white”… she was black.
And…Forgive me, I’m just tired of it., I’m so fucking tired of having to justify “Why We Live” ” Why Are we Here?”
Because We Are.
I reached out via e-mail to Osibisa and invited him to write a series of articles for us based on these two posts. After discussing it with his wife he has unfortunately declined outlining his reasons in the e-mail that follows. I respectfully accept and agree with his reasons. Even so he has graciously given permission to use his posts, and email for this article and again I wish to say thank-you.
First, thank you for your kind words about my writing. I have to say, I’ve never considered my (our) life experiences to be something worth writing about. I showed my wife the posts, she’s fine with what I wrote…but…She isn’t comfortable having too much of her life on-line, even if names aren’t used and where we live is never mentioned.
I don’t blame her, I got rid of my facebook page when I discovered that the company sells the “secret” of getting around their privacy settings to anyone who will meet their price. She doesn’t like it either, but it’s soooo easy to stay in touch with her family through facebook, she can’t give that up. Not that your site is like facebook.
She thought it was funny that you considered our story to be of interest. “Us? Yeah, there aren’t a lot of couples like us, that’s true, but that’s because there aren’t many men like you.” (Blush, blush, blush)
The real reason is because there isn’t another woman on Earth like her. How I got so lucky, I do not know.
And, to be perfectly honest, When I look back at what all happened over the years, there’s a lot of stuff I just as soon not remember. If you want to move the posts to a more “up to date” spot, please do so if you feel your readers will enjoy it. But as for continuing, I very respectfully decline.
I will say this, as a sort of Post Script, my mom died last March, my dad died in the 90’s, I flew out alone for the funeral, and everything was…quiet. No one asked how things were with us, no one wanted to see pictures of the kids or our new house, people were polite, the way folks are at these things, and I overheard one of my nieces remark to a cousin that “My side of the family” couldn’t be bothered to visit mom in her final days. It just went to show how much “those people” care about things like family.
The fact that we live 1,600 miles away didn’t enter into it, I guess. I said nothing to her, she’s a big girl, in her mid-thirties, she knows what she said and why she said it. She’s my oldest sisters girl, she learned her hate at her mommy’s knee and the venom has not lost it’s potency with time. I been hearing shit like that for decades, and…that was it, I wasn’t going to listen to it anymore.
After the funeral I sat down with two brothers who were handling the estate, we talked business, settled mom’s affairs, discussed selling the house and how the money from the sale would be distributed after all the bills were paid. Then we talked about personal items, what of mom’s personal stuff would I like to take back with me. I asked for the old wall clock, a wind-up clock, that had belonged to grandma. It hadn’t worked since before I was born, but that was beside the point.
I asked for my dads “Shop Badge” that I knew mom had kept, a small octagon of steel with dad’s photo in it that he had to show at the entry gate of the factory he had worked in all of his adult life, and his AFL-CIO Steel Workers Union card. And I wanted a small, framed photograph that hung in the dining room.
It was a portrait of four women, my mom, when she was three, grandma, great grandma, and great, great grandma, Mary G*******, who came over from Ireland on a Newfoundland coffin ship in 1853. They were called this because so many Irish immigrants died on the passage that the ships were called “floating coffins”
She met my great, great grandfather on the ship, they were married in New York, then moved on to the mid-west to homestead a farm. He volunteered to serve in the Union Army during the Civil War, was wounded at the Siege of Vicksburg, honorably discharged and returned to farming with most of his left leg missing.
Much later, his grandchildren would be called on to fight in Europe in World War One. My Great Uncle Charlie didn’t wait to be called, he joined the Marines. There was a terrible fight between him and his brother, Great Uncle George. The “Easter Rising” was just two years before, in 1916, the day before yesterday in the minds of the Irish Diaspora, George told Charlie, “Are you going to go and fight for the British? The blood of James Connolly is still in the courtyard of Kilmainham Prison, and you are going to fight to save England?”
Charlie told him, “Yes, I’m Irish, but I’m also American, born and raised. As you are, This is my duty, and my duty is clear.”
George told Charlie that if he did this thing, he would never speak to him again. Great Uncle Charlie went to France, and was killed there in 1918. He’s buried there still, in one of the American cemeteries.
I heard all this from my grandmother, who was a young mother of two when it happened. She told me this story so many times when I was growing up, I think I had it memorized when I was still in grade school. It was what I told my kids when they were young, because it was their heritage also, from dad’s side of the family.
A family that had no use for me, my wife or our children. So be it.
I told my brothers that they were welcome to come a visit us for as long as they wished, the would be welcomed with open arms, but I was never, ever going to return to this town or continue to communicate with anyone in the family. There is no love here for my family, and that is intolerable.
No one offered to drive me to the airport when it was time to leave. I wasn’t surprised.
A family without love is no family at all. I have my real family now.
If you wish to use this, you may do so. I’m not revealing anything about my wife here. Thank you again for your kind words.
It does us all good to walk a bit in someone else’s shoes to understand the situations and the times that often motivates a person’s actions. It is very easy for the young say what they would have done under a given circumstance. Lack of life experience does tend to make one unjustifiably certain.
For women of the same generation as these men maybe some suspicions you may have as to why now and not then have been answered in a small way allowing you to give enough of a benefit of a doubt to at least consider the possibility of a relationship with man now free to date as he wants to.
That said there is nothing more that I can add here. Except this. The music.
“We are going to start these happy vibes right from the root,(Yeah!) and the root is early one morning in the heart of Africa.”
It’s a spoken opening for the song “The Dawn” recorded for the group’s debut American album “Osibisa. Have a listen to some really good music.