Is That How You Date a White Guy?

In a previous post, I mentioned the release of ‘Kinky Gazpacho’ a memoir from professor and writer Lori L. Tharps.  I had put off starting the book because I was finishing another title at the time.

The wait was worth it, and I urge all of you to pick up a copy. It’s not because we all share a common interest in interracial relationships, or that this book ought to be filed on the ‘interracial reading’ shelf of your personal bookcases. Tharps’ story and her writing brings a refreshing dose of levity to an issue that all too often becomes ensnared in militant politics. There are no ‘mammies’, no ‘haters’, no white boys with black girl fetishes or any of the other nonsense that can muck up attempts by white/Hispanic/Asian men to get to know us better.  Her style is open, personal and very, very funny.

Quite simply, ‘Gazpacho’ comes across as a pure-hearted account of Tharps’ attempt to find her place in the world and explore her love of international happenings. The chapters about her childhood in predominantly white Milwaukee are insightful and disarming to say the least. I was incensed after reading that she got to college, sought out other black kids in an attempt to connect with her black heritage and got a mean-girl brush off. I’m at the part where she’s planning her wedding to Manuel, whom she met in Spain.

While reading ‘Gazpacho’ it occurred to me that it wasn’t primarily about dating interracially. It struck me as an account of someone who thinks internationally. It also got me to thinking that although America is a very diverse country, technically speaking, all the wonderful nationalities and ethnicities represented here are still so very insular that we have no idea as to how to interact with each other. Think about it: how often does the average person have an individual or family of another race, nationality, native tongue or religion sit down to a casual family dinner?

And not only that, but why is it that so many black folk (yes, I’m calling you out) think you have gills on all three of your heads if you carry yourself with some articulation, polish or even if you wait until after marriage to start having kids? Do you know how many times some knucklehead from the projects asked me ‘why you ack white?’ UGH! But that’s another post. 

And let me be fair. Black folks are not the only ones who exhibit the human tendency to stick together, deal with each other in our mother tongues and imitate each other. That tendency is so strong that in some communities in the U.S.A., you have to order a cup of ‘café con leche’ to wake up in the morning, not coffee with milk. In some predominantly white communities, you might be hard pressed not to find a bottle blonde.

There really is no required attitude or formula that one has to follow before falling into an interracial relationship, except of course, for having an open mind about the world. And by that I mean a mind that isn’t polluted with the idea that one of the benefits of marrying a white man is that your children will ‘turn out with good hair’ or ‘pretty skin’.  A person needs to enjoy travel, trying out different foods, talking about all sorts of interesting topics. They need to see life as an ever-changing web of friends, rather than living within rigid social boundaries.