Over the past couple months, I’ve been surrounding myself with people who all have something in common: they’re the least judgmental people I’ve ever known. They're: 1) unconditionally understanding and compassionate of any given situation – no matter how crazy, weird, or counter-culture it may be, and 2) TOTALLY open about their own lives, in all their outrageous and extreme glory.
How refreshing. To escape the “right” and “wrong”, “good” and “bad”, “black” and “white”.
Which brings me to my point.
During a conversation with one such non-shockable friend, the topic of interracial relationships arose. As I began discussing my own perceptions and thoughts on the subject, something became appallingly clear:
I am judgmental.
Here’s the bare-bones, no-holds-barred confession: I am shamefully judgmental of Black man/White woman interracial relationships. When I see such a couple, I immediately jump to the conclusion that the Black man is trying to prove something and the White woman is trying to piss off her family. I lump the couple into a category, with no desire to dig deeper or even accept their union.
So during this conversation, my friend commented, simply: “Why do you care what choices these other people are making?”
The remark struck me. Yes, why DO I care? I've thought hard about this. I’m sure when my Black man/White woman aversion took shape, it sprung from jealousy. When I was a little girl, I never knew my true worth (what kid does?). I was so jealous all the time. Of White females, because, in my eyes, they’d always have something special in their pale skin that I could never have, no matter how straight I blow-dried my hair or how blond I dyed it. And of guys (all guys, but mostly Black guys), because they were always the most popular and the funniest… and most of them liked girls who weren’t boyish and gawky and frizzy-haired like me.
As time passed, I (seemingly) got over my childhood jealousies. But also, the “Black man/White woman relationship aversion” became almost second nature. An instinctual eye-roll. And coming from the Black girl who digs White guys… what a perfect storm of cutting irony.
So now I take a step back. I see many of my White girlfriends entering into wonderful, loving relationships with Black men. I see happiness and strength. And when I see a couple that I would generally stereotype cuddling on the subway or holding hands through Downtown Crossing, I really have to check myself. Why spend time passing judgment on things I don’t even try to understand? Why do I continuing to do this, with the roiling emotions of a 3rd-grader?
I've got it. The reality is that I’m NOT over my jealousies. And the problem exists in my own head, not the interracial union. Which is a tad upsetting, but also… again, refreshing.
Because I can’t understand all the complexities of others. But I can accept them. And, even better, I can bask in my God-given joy of delving deep and understanding my own complexities.
There's no place for judgment in self-discovery. So I'm kicking all those judgmental thoughts to the curb.