Tuesday, July 10, 2007

If Only

My daughter has spent all day long on the phone with a boy. This is a boy she's supposedly "best friends" with, but I think she really cares more for him than just friends. I'm not sure that he's as keen on "more than friends" as she is.

I hate to tell her that it's going to get so much harder from here on out. That she may spend a lot of her teenage years crushing over some boy or another that does not return her feelings. I truly hope that's not the case -- I hope that she never has to experience any of the heartbreak that I went through at her age. I want to keep her safe from all that; to shelter her from the more ignorant people that I'm only too afraid that she will encounter in the future.

For example, this boy. He's very sweet, very well mannered, and smart as a whip. He has a mother who is one of the nicest people I know. His siblings are all high achievers, and simply damn good people. He is black. My only reservation, should he and Offspring ever be more than "just friends", is the reaction that their relationship will inspire in others. Where we live, there are no shortages of interracial relationships. You would think people would be used to seeing mixed-race couples, but there is still a bad reaction to it. My parents, for example, would nut completely up to think of their darling granddaughter dating a black man. That's just the way they are. Nothing I could say would change their feelings. Oh, they'd be polite on the surface, but I can imagine the comments that would fly the minute they walked out the door.

Never mind the fact that he's a brilliant boy with a bright future. Never mind that he's destined for great things. Never mind that he's a compassionate boy who seems to truly care for Offspring. If only they could see past the surface. If he treats her well, what should the color of his skin matter? If only their views weren't so narrow. If only I could shield her from all that. If only I could make growing up easier for her. If only, if only...

7 comments:

Anne Glamore said...

We're dealing with the crushes from the other side (my boy on a girl). She's of the same race, but if she weren't, you're right, plenty of people would have an opinion.

Miche said...

Maybe, just maybe, they love Offspring enough to embrace her decisions. Or maybe Offspring will be able to break them out of their narrow thinking.

Or maybe I'm just wishful thinking...

Quinn said...

As someone who is part of an interracial marriage, even my folks (who are mostly -- dad has his off moments -- of the tolerant sort) made some rather horrible assumptions about me dating a member of another race. It was rough.

8 years of marriage later, and they probably love him more than they do me. :)

Didn't some comedian once say that racism will end because we'll all be so intermarried that there won't be any more white people?

Marni said...

I have raised my kids to not see color, and I truly hope that others are doing the same. I live in the same part of the country as you - you know that already - and many members of my family are like your parents. I would hate to see their reaction to Bug or J-man in the same situation. I would be OK with it as long as that person treats them with the respect and love they deserve.

We truly need to teach our kids tolerance and equality. That is something lacking in today's society... big time.

coffeypot said...

My stepdaughter, Dr. Amber, dated a boy of color when she was a senior in high school. Very smart and very personable – kind of like your daughters friend. I was concerned for their safety when they went out, but times have changed, I guess, because nothing ever happened or was said to them. He ended up going to the University of Virginia, got a girl from India pregnant, and borrowed $5,000 to pay for an abortion (we didn’t know that was the reason at the time.) Then he disappeared. No payback, no thank you, no nothing. Nothing to do with him being black, just immature, selfish and self-centered. Asshole!

ccw said...

Not dealing with boys yet.

My grandmother is the only one concerned about race or religion.

liz said...

Amen to your "if only"s. I hope that someday they will come true.