I think we all start out interracial. In our relationships, in our friendships…we all tend to have a huge mixture of people in our lives because of where we’re raised and where we go to school.
When I was a child, most of my closest friends were white. I had a couple of black friends and one Asian friend (all of them were girls, save for two people) in my early elementary school days, but for the most part, I only had white friends…and I lived in Brooklyn, one of the most diverse boroughs in New York City. Staten Island was certainly an easy adjustment, since the borough is predominantly white, which is why I dated mostly white guys back then. Fast forward to college and I found myself making close black friends and most of my other friends gradually became Asian, which begat my interest in dating Asian men.
However, I’ve noticed with many people who started out having interracial friendships and romantic encounters, they’ve started to lean towards being around their own race and I mean, that’s all well and good. You want to be around those who relate to your story and your situations better and that’s something that an interracial friendship cannot provide. I just never really understood why it is that we then start to lose an interest in having a diverse group of friends.
There becomes this intense need to be around people of similar backgrounds that we forget that the people of different backgrounds helped shape us to become who we are today and we tend to forget that in favor of those of a similar background who make us feel safe and within our comfort zone.
I’m a bit of an oddball because I actually don’t feel comfortable in a room with other black people. I grew up to feel that black people are constantly judging me because I speak a certain way, or that I dress too feminine (i.e., my clothes fit my body type and they have a certain “preppy” style to them), or that my demeanor is too much like a “faggot.” I never felt a sense of pride when I’m around other black people who want me to be so proud of my being black without my not being proud to be an out gay man or comfortable with how I dress and look.
However, I realize that not just black people are quick to judge me. Asians are quick to judge my interest in dating Asian men and make me out to be a fetishizer. A Latino guy I work with told me earlier this week that I should stop saying the word “bitch” if I want him to stop using the “n-word.” In what century is that an equivalent trade-off? The times that black people were still slaves? OKAY THEN.
I just feel that there are a lot of racial tensions that come about as one gets older that weren’t there when we were kids and it’s rather sad that we forget that we are based in an interracial society where diversity strengthens bonds between people rather than perpetuate hate, stereotypes, and prejudice.
Immature Maturity (Part 3)
(Another tiring night the last two nights, another skipped post. Sorry!)
I came across an article (though quite dated) last night about how children at the middle school I went to for 6 months back in 1998 after moving to Staten Island has pretty much become a spot where teachers and faculty have pretty much given up on disciplining the kids at that school. It triggered some responses from some of my friends who are teachers now, have worked with children, or have family members that work with children.
My mom herself is a school bus driver, but I never really hear her complain about the kids on her bus, mostly because my mom is a Southern black woman, so she ain’t got time for that shit. She makes sure those kids act right, though these days she has much shorter bus runs.
Anyway, I just seem to feel that these kids are acting out of pocket because the parents are getting younger and more immature as well. According to one of my friends, who is a Philadelphia resident:
I don’t live in a dangerous neighborhood and this is exactly how the children are in the elementary school my mom works at. It all comes down to the parents. They teach their children nothing and then drop them in first grade. Most kids cannot spell their own name, do not know colors or the alphabet and one particular child had never seen a pencil before. Another was kept locked in a closet until first grade. These parents treat school as an all day daycare and verbally and physically attack teachers and staff if their child gets poor grades or gets into trouble at school. A mother physically attacked a 7 year old before in the classroom. Teachers have gotten broken collar bones and kids are lead out in handcuffs. You can lock up any of your valuables because the kids just break in anywhere, steal your stuff and trash everything else. To top it off, so many parents give false phone numbers so the school cannot contact them if their child is sick or in trouble. So many sick children are just abandoned at school. It is insane and heartbreaking.
It makes you then realize the kind of world we’re living in.
It breaks your heart to see that these kids are acting out because their parents are not even being parents. This extension of your life is nothing more than a pawn for whatever reason it may be: to keep your baby’s father/mother around, to get money out of the government, to prove that you’re a mature person.
Who really knows? We certainly don’t.
The point is that I feel that if parents want to bring children into the world, they should make sure they do their damndest to be in that child’s life and ensure that child is raised with decency and respect.
Always discipline and reward your child at the right times, but never overdiscipline them and never over-reward them. Love your child and nurture them to be a great person. Even when the world is against them, let them feel like they’re doing something right by working hard towards their goals.
If you do these things, you will not only see your child happy, but you will see the end result of what your love and nurturing has done for them.