My husband and I celebrated our ten year anniversary this past February! Naturally, I’ve been reflecting on our relationship and the lessons we’ve learned. The greatest hurdle we’ve had wasn’t evacuating from New Orleans, but learning how to navigate life as an interracial couple. So when Sarah Bessey, the author of “Jesus Feminist:An Invitation for Revisit the Bibles View of Women”—one of my favorite book in 2013— invited me to reflect on a discussion question for her week-long book club, I wanted to write on marriage, submission, and racial reconciliation. Join me today on telling a new narrative about gender roles & racial reconciliation.
I knew I would marry a white boy even before my Mama told me so.
Maybe it was my wall covered with pictures of Jonathan Knight, the shy, sweet older brother of New Kids on the Block that tipped her off. I did have a small picture of Boyz II Men next to my desk to balance out the overwhelming white boy love fest, but since it shared a page with a New Kid’s interview—it didn’t really count.
It was quite possibly the many stories of my school day that included me gazing at, daydreaming about, or nervously working next my middle school crush, the popular pre-teen Adonis with blonde hair and blue eyes. I think I showed her my cards when I asked my mom while reading “Little Women” if Laurie would have fallen in love with me even though I was a black little woman.
I think she suspected it was time to liberate the white boy lover in me when I tried to convince her I found black boys cute with an insincere off hand comment. “Mama, you know, Steve Urkel is kinda cute when he’s Stefan Urquelle,” I commented as Jaleel White seamlessly switched from America’s favorite nerdy next-door neighbor to his sleek, intelligent and charming altar ego after drinking “Cool Juice.”
“Oh, Honey!” my mama said. “You’re gonna marry a white boy!”
Searching the bowl for the coveted slightly popped kernels we called, “crunchies,” she looked up and simply replied, “Because that’s all you look at.”
From that day on, I never felt bad about only dating white boys. It wasn’t a conscious decision as much as a comfortable preference. The same way I only wear flip-flops in the summer or cotton scarfs over silk. I knew what I liked and confidently moved towards that.
In all my years of dating white men and praying about the intricacies of having bi-racial children, I overlooked one problematical reality of marriage: someday as a “biblical Christian woman” I’d have to submit to one, even if it’s mutual.
I, a black woman, would have to bend my will to a white man.
Read more of the story over at Sarah’s place. She’s also giving away a copy of “Jesus Feminist” to a commenter today, so share your thoughts with us…there’s room around our campfire for you.