Life in America

I have always lived in America so to me nothing is new, or strange, or really worth talking about. That’s not saying life cannot be interesting here, just that I don’t see what the point of talking about life in America is because it’s the only home I know. Traveling around the world does not equate to knowing a country like you’ll know the country you were born in and grew up in, and still live in.

One thing I noticed lately, and it’s because the IR dating thing seems to be getting a lot of attention here (of which some are using to make money) is that people outside of America just don’t get why it’s such a big deal. I live here and I both get it and don’t get it; here’s why.

Why I Don’t Get It

Growing up in the Midwest my parents never put an emphasis on race. My mom is mixed but brown so people in many areas of this country will just assume she is black. While I align myself with all of my ancestors ethnic backgrounds my sister does not—she only goes with being black. It’s never really been that big of a deal because in America there’s a lot of “if you’re brown then your black” going around on any side of the color line so why stress about it. What somebody else sees doesn’t define who I am. Their blindness defines them, not me.

So when it came to these sites I have seen online about IR and black women I had a “seriously?” moment because when I was a little girl I saw BWWM, BWHM, pairings. I did not live in an area with Asians so I didn’t see that pairing but I do know my first crush was a Japanese actor in a movie we were not allowed to watch (can’t remember why but I think it was a religion thing). To me humans were just humans, men were just men and cute was just cute no matter the color of the skin. Because I grew up this way I did not realize people had such an issue with dating somebody with a different ethnic background—not until about a year, maybe nearly two, years ago now.

Why I Do Get It

So I have just talked about why I don’t get it, but here is why I do—Racism. America’s history is laced with it, and anybody watching the news with open eyes can see it’s still here.

From the beginning of white people coming over here it has been about owning, controlling and murdering those who didn’t fit into their box. They murdered Native Americans who were here first. They enslaved black people and some other minorities, even some of the Irish were maltreated over here. If you weren’t like them, you weren’t human enough for them to care about you and how you were treated. Not being able to go through a front door because you were brown, or drink from a fountain because it was labeled for white people; this is part of the history of this country and it has shaped this country for better and for worse. Now this was not all white people, but it is a huge part of this country’s history.

So what does this history have to do with the present dating world for some?

Not everybody grew up with the same experiences. Not everybody recognized the hatred, the racism or the push that one must only date within their color line. Some may have noticed but it was so subtle that in the eyes of a child with the rose tinted glasses still on, the child didn’t see it for what it was. I realize now that I did see some things (especially in the religion I grew up in) but I didn’t truly see them because my mind just wasn’t there.

As I see other women who grew up with the flip side of the life I saw I hear their stories of how they were treated, how they were told that they could only date within their ethnic lines, and now they are trying to branch out, find love and have a family. The stories I hear on how they are treated just because they are brown, black, or anything other than white is sad to me because this is the life that has been cast upon them and they are trying to find their way through the dark levels of hell. They are talking to help each other, but also to inspire those who are venturing into the same mire tainted with hate so that they can know there is more to relationships than just trying to stay inside the lines drawn out by the masses.

While I do not always agree with the method of “date outside” type rhetoric I can see how the past has shaped the mentality of this country because this is the world I grew up in, and while I didn’t see the hate so much back then, I can clearly see it now.

The past is history that you cannot change. The future is a mystery. But the present will always have been shaped from the past which means the future will be shaped from the present.

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