Whether it’s your well-meaning family or your supposed-to-be-socially-conscious friends, sometimes people are going to say or do things that are fucked up.
And it’s your job – both as the partner and a fellow white person – to They’re your loved ones, so you probably know what will work best for them, but in my experience, generally turning their mistake into a teachable moment will be more effective than just whining, “Moooom.
It was time for my inner-city girl, wannabe journalist self to roam free. When she asked where he grew up, I said France, quickly choosing to edit out the part about Africa. I told her my relationship with Quinn was off and on. He graduated and found a sought-after desk job crunching numbers and salivating over spreadsheets.
After my fair share of empty make-out sessions on the weekends, I started fully embracing singlehood without much concern over finding a boyfriend. He cooked African cuisine and introduced me to plantains for dessert. Throughout my relationship with Qinisela, I lied by omission (the worst kind of lying, in my opinion) every time his name came up in conversation with my parents. I was running my student magazine, planning photo shoots and designing advertisements.
Sometimes I don’t want to chat with someone who only has a theoretical understanding of gender oppression.
“Don’t come home with a black boyfriend,” my dad said in a raspy whisper as he pointed one finger unintentionally at my heart and gestured towards my co-ed dorm. A perpetual comedian, my dad’s parting words were not unlike his jokester self.He extended a hand and introduced himself as Quinn. Quinn wore cowboy boots, dressy slacks that were too big for him and a fitted T-shirt with ugly swirl designs on it. The next day, he took me on my first grown-up date. The desire to please my parents suddenly became secondary to my desire to tell the truth. “Quinn is black.” The jaw of my strong-willed, outspoken Italian mother dropped. After a few months I moved out of my parents’ house and into a row home in South Philly to begin my journalism career. She roared with laughter, thanking me for being upfront. As I dangled the keys of my new house in my hands, I explained that I didn’t really click with the guy.We danced a few more songs and spent the rest of the night flirting. He goes by the American version because he thinks it’s easier for new people to pronounce. Our night ended at a diner with mirrored walls and bright lights. Silence filled our picture-perfect, antique-inspired living room. I started my postgraduate life much like my undergrad one — as a single woman with no dating prospects. I called my mom to tell her I had forgotten a few of my belongings at home. I broke the news that my new romantic prospect was Republication, knowing that wouldn’t sit right with my blue-collar Democrat family. She offered to deliver the last of my stuff the following day. I kissed my parents on their cheeks, saying goodbye.It was freshman move-in day at my large urban university in North Philadelphia.My family had just finished lugging plastic bins of backup paper towels, picture frames with faces I would replace and an extra fluffy mattress pad. I held my breath and shook my head, saying nothing.That is, unless you count my first boyfriend – José – who, in the second grade, long-distance collect-called me from Puerto Rico and got me in a lot of trouble with my dad. But I think it’s worth revisiting these concepts within the context of romantic or sexual relationships. And the way we practice our allyship in those contexts should reflect that.