- Politics and Social Issues
Transcending Racial Stereotypes: Black And White
Happy Interracial Couple
copyright 2009 VVeasey Publishing
My subculture is African-American. I say sub because it subsumed or is a branch of the tree of the overlying American culture. I grew up in River Rouge and Ecorse MI until I was about 10, then I lived in Southwest Detroit (which is at the outermost boundary of Detroit) from age10 to 12. I lived in Delray, MI until a few months before my 14th birthday; we moved to a ghetto neighborhood in the inner city, of Detroit right before I turned 14.
So up until that point I was a small town boy and knew nothing about the inner city culture of Detroit or the ghetto. I had a rude cultural awakening after moving to the inner city: the kids were a lot faster and more street savvy than I was and they were more distrustful and less personal on the whole.
They Considered Me "country".
They considered me to be country, because I had a different style of dress and attitude than they did. And they were right; I was country, because most of the adults in my family and other African-American adults living in Ecorse and River Rouge were immigrants from the south who had moved north to get better paying jobs in the automobile factories (my family was from Miss.). They brought their southern culture with them. (You can take the boy out of the country but you take the country out of the boy). So I grew up in that transplanted southern, African-American cultural atmosphere.
My Perception Of Whites Was Negative
Originally my perceptions of white people were all negative. I thought they were all racists, and didn't like black people. Why they didn't like black people? I didn't know! I was taught as a kid to be afraid and distrustful of white police officers as well.
There were frequent incidences of white police officers shooting, beating or killing young black men. I heard these stories from the adults in my family, in other families and in the news media when I was growing up.
My Maternal Grandmother
My maternal grandmother (who was born and raised in rural areas of Mississippi) used to tell me horror stories, about seeing the KKK or Night Riders going out at night to string-up some "nigger" whom they saw as uppity, who stepped out of line or who refused to be intimidated by them.
Never Deeply Prejudiced
I was never deeply prejudiced but I was angered by the constant injustices I kept becoming aware of as I grew older and started studying the history of white racism and white supremacy in the United States.
Originally the only white people I was around were store owners, cops, businessmen and those who worked in the stores. I or my family didn't have any friends or associates who were white. So I had a lot of misconceptions about white people, but that started changing as I became more personally involved with whites, while I was in the army and as a musician playing gigs where there were racially mixed audiences.
After making a few acquaintances, friends, and colleagues who were white, it became more important for me to get to know who the real person was, rather then the race or ethnicity of the person, although I didn't neglect to take that factor in to consideration.
My Wife Is White
My wife, Tina, is white. I refer to her as white just as a description for this hub, because when I looked at Tina, the first thing I see is Tina, not a white woman.
I see Tina, the person who is my wife, who is a white woman. I relate to her as Tina before I relate to her as a white woman, and vice versa for Tina, in relation to me. We relate to all the dimensions of one another; race is not the focal point of our attention. My blackness and her whiteness has its rightful place in the scheme of the multi-dimensional identity that makes us who we are.
How Others See Us
I know that when others see us together they see black man, white woman and when I see that combination it catches my eye also. But while some may view the black man, white woman combination in a negative light, I view it in a positive light.
I especially see it as positive when the combination is white man, black woman, because historically, racist white men have been vehemently opposed to the sexual/romantic involvement of the of black men with the white women.
I think this is probably because they have weak sexual egos and they fear not being the dominant sexual object of the white women's attention. Maintaining their sexual dominance is one of the underlying reasons why racist white males have historically perpetrated racial violence against black males in the United States.
I've Lived In Multicultural Neighborhoods
For the last 16 years I've lived in multi-cultural neighborhoods. I lived for 6 years in Oak Park, MI where it's just an everyday experience to see on the streets and in the places of business, Hasidic Jews, Arabs, Chaldeans, Turban wearing East Indians, African-Americans, Orientals and Euro-Americans living side by side and conducting business with to one another.
I've lived the last 14 years in Southfield, MI where the cultural environment is very similar although not quite so ostensibly diverse.
Part Of The Solution To Racial Problems
I think that part of the solution to racial problems in this country is to have people living together in more diverse neighborhoods, so diverse ethnic groups can get to know one another on a more personal level.
Then it's not such a shock if someone encounters a person of a different ethnicity than one's own. No one would probably even look twice. It would just be a part of one's everyday experience, and not a big deal. I think creating more diverse neighborhoods would be a good place to start changing people's negative or biased racial perceptions of one another.
There Will Probably Always Be Hard Nosed Racists
Of course there will always be those hard-nosed, racist, black or white, who will be vehemently opposed to multi-cultural or race mixing of any kind. But we can't afford to let those people stop the progress that's been made, or the tolerance, acceptance and ultimately the appreciation and celebration of the commonalities as well as the differences, of all the diverse groups of individuals who make up the species human!
Focus, on relating to the whole person, rather than just one dimension of the person. And the negative aspects, of your personal history or of your ethnic group's history, will only have a minimal effect, on how you relate to those of a different race, ethnicity, gender or culture other than your own, and the world will be a better place for it!
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