His favorite pastime is riding fixed-gear bikes. He is on a gluten-free diet. Some days, he spends his days shooting photos and videos of races and is a self-proclaimed "Horchata Connoisseur." Last December, he traveled through eastern Africa and even made friends with a local politician. Sometimes, he even helps my kid sister with her homework. And coolest of all, his family lives on a property that sits on top of rolling hills near the original iconic home used on "Little House On The Prairie" set.
So, with this description, does this man "sound" black to you? He should. The man I am describing above is my boyfriend, Dean, and today marks five years of an ongoing courtship.
I can’t tell you the number of times someone has told me that Dean is “not really black.” That I “lucked out” and found one of “the good ones.” I still cannot believe that people feel the need to point out that my children “will have identity issues,” or that I should “stick to my own kind.” Even Dean’s Kenyan/Arabic heritage has been an issue for others claiming that I would only be subjected to “abuse,” because people of Arabic descent only “oppress women.” I can’t tell you how much it hurts when people tell me that “it’s just a phase,” or that I am trying to “be cool, like KIMYE!”
I can’t say it doesn’t bother me when people make these ignorant comments. But, at the same time, it makes me very happy, because I know that each day I am proving them wrong. I am aware that my relationship bothers some people, even some members of the African American community, who have rolled their eyes when they’ve seen Dean and I together in public.
Over the past five years, I have been submerged in situations that have made me more aware of the person I am dating. And for that I am thankful. Had it not been for Dean, I would’ve never known that people had such disdain for the unknown, that which they do not understand. I would’ve never fully known that even I, as a minority, have some level of privilege thanks to the lighter color of my skin.
This post is dedicated to Dean, but also to those of you that are in biracial relationships. To those of you that have to fend off the nasty comments and are just trying to get to know someone, despite your cultural differences. This post is dedicated to those that transcend the status quo, those that love with the heart and not only with the eyes. These few words are for those of you that don’t see skin color, but rather, spend your days laughing at stupid jokes with your significant other, or have karaoke sessions in the car while stuck in traffic. Even the fights are memorable, because only you know the tears that you have shed are not because of a stereotype, but because of a genuine lapse of agreement amongst the two of you. Only you know how hard it is to get accustomed to society’s standards, but you know how sweet it can be to see things through a different set of eyes, through another culture, or perhaps even another language!
To conclude, I just want to say thanks to the amazing man I have by my side. I love you more than words can describe. Thank you for your craziness, for driving me insane with your quirky antics and for making sure I get to class on time. Thank you for getting along with my friends, and loving my family as much as I do. Thank you for pushing me to keep dreaming, telling me that I am the superhero of my life and most of all, thank you for being you.
For those of you fighting this ridiculous “fight,” keep going. You are not alone. Take this advice from the original “KimYe,” or “DeVette,” lol.
P.S.: Dean, guess who’s going to see Drake on Monday night? YOU!