"These white boys getting bold!?!"
Said my 20-year old self to my bonus sister after a car full drove by and lustily gazed at us. She immediately got pissed at me for making an "ignorant borderline racist statement". I guess she was extra sensitive because, at that moment, she herself was in an interracial relationship. Of course at the time I didn't see anything wrong with what I said. It was how I felt. To me, it was abnormal for white guys to look at me like...well, like black guys. I had primarily grown up in predominantly black areas and schools, that is until college. Soon after this incident, I would have my own AHA moment when me and my white future brother-n-law went shopping for a birthday gift for my sister. I wasn't aware of the stares...at first. After all, it was just me and J...shopping and laughing and talking. "What are they looking at???", I thought. I quickly realized what they were looking at and I got pissed. "Ohhh. So, this is how it feels." After that, I started a journey of understanding and enlightenment...that I'm apparently still on.
CASE IN POINT...
Yesterday it was sweltering and I was NOT feeling my "cutest". But I still had to get out of the drab office for some therapy...sun and shopping. A cute pair always makes life better! :-)
On my way back, I saw the resident homeless lady who likes to beg in a sing song kind of voice (LOUDLY) from across the street. Being that I had already given the little cash I had on me away, I decided to watch her for a few moments to see if her singing actually got some results. While I was watching her, someone was watching me. Finally, a fair-skinned (and handsome) stranger moved closer into my eye view and looked at me.
Mr. Fairskinned&Handsome: "That's a beautiful dress..."
ME: (slight smile) "Thank you."
Mr. Fairskinned&Handsome: "Pink really looks good on you..."
ME: (half listening/half watching the singing beggar lady): "Thanks...I appreciate the compliment."
Then the light changed and he slowly strode across the street in front of me. And yes, I checked him out. Swag. Hmmm...interesting. I could see him debating whether to say something else to me. But I hustled past and kept on my way.
CONFESSION: Years ago, if a white man looked at me "like that"...I would darn near audibly hear the word "RAPE" in my head. Guess I watched too many slave movies. Sigh.
CONFESSION: Up until around the year 2000, I had not really ever met a white guy that I was attracted to..."like that". Movie stars don't count. Then, I met Ben...a Jewish artist with the most beautiful open brown eyes I had ever seen. And he had MAD swag. To my amazement, I really LIKED him..."like that".
CONFESSION: The very few fairskinned men that I have found myself attracted to had "brotha-like" qualities. You know, kissable lips...nice walk...but most of all CONFIDENCE...enough to simply treat you like a desirable woman. I have found that many white men treat black women very neutral on the surface, but if you pay attention, they sneaking peaks on the sly. Especially in elevators. Which is why I was thrown off several years ago when I first met my occasional elevator friend and he looked me DIRECTLY in my eyes "like that" and started a conversation...and actually acts like he doesn't want it to end pretty much every time I see him. I admit, neither do I. Hmm. Strange feeling.
Needless to say, I'm still opening my mind to the possibilities...all of them. Because I realize that I have certain ideas about black folks & white folks that carry a bit of weight. But the differences we make in this society based on something as superficial as color AIN'T GOD. And the truth is, I only see color when I don't know the person...like the fairskinned&handsome stranger with the compliments. Otherwise it's just Jason, Jonathan, Bob..Mike. You get the point. Just GUYS I know. Not white guys.
bite of the day ~ There was a time I would have never imagined myself romantically involved with a nonblack man, but as they say...things change. I've changed. God knows who He has in my future. I'm just determined not to be too blind to see through the black and white. Selah.