This is America. Can One Be Truly Black and Proud, Marry White & Have Mixed Kids?

Can you be proud of your culture and then date outside your race and have mixed kids? I say yes, so many say no. This is America. After Childish Gambino’s video for “This is America” dropped in May, I, like over 287 million others, was blown away. The creative vision, the music, the storytelling, the dancing, the symbolisms…to me, this is what art is meant to be.

For some odd reason, after school drop off, I found myself keeping on the Hot 97 Morning Show after my daughter jumped out of the car. She loves the latest hip-hop but normally I will listen to a podcast or my classic R&B on WBLS —- I know, sounds so old school, yet I’d like to think I’m still a cool Mom. I do know all her jams and the latest dance moves. 🙂 As I just left on the “Ebro in the Morning” show, I realized something…these DJs are funny, smart and talk about real issues intelligently. They were cracking me up and offering food for thought.

How ironic was it that one morning the Hot 97 morning crew was critiquing the “This is America” video and then discussing the buzz about how Daniel Glover, aka Childish Gambino, is in a relationship with a white woman, Michelle, and has two mixed kids. Rosenberg, one of the shows DJs posed this question:

“Can Childish Gambino be the ‘woke’ dude that he clearly appears to be in ‘This is America,’ and you admire and love him, knowing he has children with a woman that is not black ?”

Oh, the callers started going off. I couldn’t believe it…but then again, why was I surprised. This is America. The radio show’s host Ebro, who happens to be mixed with a Jewish Mom, stated, “People are upset about a black dude dating outside of the race that is “woke” or “pro-black.” One listener said it’s a conspiracy theory. People are plotting the mixed race, for it to be accepted in society since in the future more races are mixing together. Another caller stated that even though he has no problem with people dating outside of their race, “You can’t be fully pro-black if you are not married black or procreating black.”

In one way, I get how people can think this. If you really are pro-black why are you marrying someone that is not black? Yet love doesn’t know color. A human connection is a human connection, regardless of skin tone or culture. (This doesn’t mean you are compatible for a lifelong marriage, but love is real and can be colorblind if you are open.) Do people not understand this?

My African father is not pro-black, he’s pro-African…..it is very different and has nothing to do with the American perspective. But he married my mom, a white American. Why? It must have been in the stars. That was not in the plan. He had a potential wife his mother had arranged for him when he went back to Burundi after his university studies in the 60s. Didn’t happen….and here I am. Marrying a white woman and having mixed kids has absolutely nothing to do with my father’s pride of being an African. He is a Burundian, first and foremost, no matter what his kids or ex-wife looks like.  In my parents case, the cultural & personality differences, not the skin tone, is what got in the way of their love and ended their marriage.

The Hot 97 DJ Shani Kulture disagreed with that last caller and shared: “I’m pro-black all day and my wife is Indian, from the East…. People want to see black excellence, black love. When you see it, two people that love each other, when they see that connection, it feels good….When you see somebody that is pro-black, that just looks like a black representation, but they have a white woman next to them, it doesn’t feel good. It doesn’t feel like they are really connected to the culture.”

I just love Ebro’s response to all of this. He just broke it down so eloquently…

“It all goes back to perception. Someone who appears to be black being with someone who they’re supposed to be with is more accepting. That’s the real issue. We are all caught in these boxes that we are programmed to stay in. And when you see something that doesn’t fit your box, or hear a song that doesn’t necessarily fit into a category, or eat a restaurant that is some fusion that you never had before, or go places that you have never experienced culture before, there is some shock there. And’s that the problem that we are hearing and seeing in America. People are having a problem adjusting to the new reality and the new world where cultures, religions and races are mixing. And that’s on every side. You know what this is? This is America. And it’s a problem. At Major levels.”

Ebro goes on to say…”You have a group of people and not just black people, because feminism is a gender, feeling like they are under attack, and we need to band together to make sure that we are not being oppressed anymore. Black communities around this country, the reason these ideas exist is because you have people who have felt, oh, ‘we are okay to run fast on your fields and make money’, ‘we are okay to make songs you can dance to’, and that’s the point of this song, (This is America) ‘we are all good when black people are the face of everything and are dancing’, but as soon as black people start to really talk about the pain and everything, it’s not good anymore. Now it’s a problem…”

Yes, this is a problem… A big problem. Most people don’t want to talk about any of this. So many people are scared to experience different cultures. Why? Can we release the fear? We live in a culture of false beliefs, of competition, of fear, of lack.   The Trump administration and the GOP is so anti-immigration, anti blending of cultures, that they have been resorting to terrorists means by separating children and parents at the US borders. The fact is that the mixing of cultures, mixed couples, mixed families, mixed babies is only growing. Is this such a bad thing? A lot of people think so.

I totally get how black people want to see successful black people in happy black relationships to keep the black pride flowing. Makes sense.  Black pride is vital. I actually thought I would’ve been contributing to that story line. In my mind, I planned on marrying black, so I could have black kids and blend in for the first time in my life. I would dream of no longer being stared at with my family like we were freaks. If I had a black husband, all of that would disappear. Nope. Didn’t happen. I found my life partner in a white man from Brooklyn…the absolute last thing I would’ve expected. We live the city life, with so many mixed couples around town, so it doesn’t bother me like when I was growing up on Long Island.

Can we give people a break if in their personal life they fall in love with someone based on their character and not skin color? I actually had a childhood friend, a black man, who I lost touch with for years, actually say to me….”I just have to know….did you marry a white guy or a black guy?” He sounded so disappointed when I told him my husband was white. A perfectly fine black girl gave it up to a white guy. Damn! This is real. It matters to a lot of people. My husband even gets rude comments from black male acquaintances of ours from time to time. How the hell did he get me? People are crazy!

I just hope we can open our hearts and minds a bit more. This is America. I’m ashamed to be an American right now. It’s sad, but true. Our American political landscape is getting in the way. I really need to tap into James Baldwin’s quote “ I love America more than any other country in the world and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.”

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Leave your comments below.

-Hope McGrath

2 Comments

  1. Lauren
    June 20, 2018 / 10:31 pm

    Great post, Hope!

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