It’s hard to believe, but it’s been two years since I started posting my musings, your comments, photos, links and other content related to black women involved in interracial relationships. Do you know what else can be accomplished in two years? You can complete graduate studies, change careers, or start a relationship and a family, depending on how quickly you work. Creative projects like books, albums, plays, movies, etc., can all be started and finished within two years. (I should know. Last fall I read and gave feedback on a friend’s manuscript of her memoirs as a single mom, right before she self-published it.)
But why did I start this project? Several years ago, to be honest, Hubby and I always seemed to be arguing and I was convinced that I made a horrible mistake marrying him. Sometimes I brooded or complained to my cousins about what I thought were his belligerent, immature, irrational, insensitive, unstable ways. And he must have thought that I was too rigid, emotionally unavailable and loud. I began to wonder if our cultural and racial differences had anything to do with our problems. Why wouldn’t they? Race and culture have powerful influences over our personalities and how we relate to others and how we see the outside world. President Barack Obama was right when he said “change has come,” but for most of us, race will always be a subtext in our interaction with others. No matter how transcendent an age we think we are living in, race matters on a certain level.
I went looking for advice, quietly, because although I complained to my family about our problems, I rarely breathed a word about my concerns. I found several Web-based initiatives for helping marriages, including Marriage Transformation. It didn’t have a lot of content that addressed my situation specifically, but I bookmarked it anyway because much of the advice, especially guidance that I tried for myself, transcended race and culture. Also, I read an article about a couple, white, that had been married for 75 years! The wife said one of the most sustaining elements of their relationship was being considerate of each other’s feelings. From these and a few other sources, I learned that marriage is a promise to stay. See it through. Slowly, we came to an understanding about his bizarre outbursts and I stopped locking my feelings in a vault.
This is all great, I thought, but what wisdom do interracially married couples have for me? Maybe people like Alfre Woodard and Roderick Spencer; Shadoe Stevens and Beverly Cunningham; or other famous and interracial couples have touched on this subject, I thought. No such luck. Instead of insight from couples who have been in these relationships for a long time, I found several blogs and one Web site with a chat function, all of which actively encouraged black women to open their minds to the possibility of dating outside their race. Ultimately, I felt that the content on some of those sites were too preachy and overwrought, and I thought the presentation was tacky.
But it wasn’t all a waste of time. The very best blog about black women in cross-cultural relationships was Angry Black Cat, an attractively laid out and dynamic Web site that was created and maintained by an interracial married couple. It was such an interesting concept: a husband-wife team that took up this hobby together and had a great time sharing their common and individual experiences as related to their relationship. The site was loaded with interesting features like well-written posts, podcasts, message boards, videos, surveys and insightful comments from people who seemed reasonable. My favorite feature: the levity. No sniping among visitors was allowed. Jeff and ABC seemed like very personable, energetic people, and for several months, I was hooked on the site, checking it every day for new content. (That was unreasonable. I mean this was their hobby. They had real paying jobs to maintain.)
After a while, my marital problems seemed to fade. But I realized that there were popular conversations going on about relationships like mine, and I decided to be heard, too. Why not? I have wise relatives and friends who have given me a lot of good advice over the years about life, relationships and womanhood. I’ve called a few marriage-related situations right myself, so I thought a blog would be a great place to share some of those opinions and experiences with others. Gentle readers, you’ve caught me at a great time. I have a young marriage and family, and as we all grow and mature, The Latte Cafe could very well develop accordingly. Even though I had to possess a certain levelheadedness to enable me to attain what I have, I don’t know it all. So I hope that I will enjoy, for the most part, learning from all of the experiences lie ahead and that you’ll benefit somewhat from what I have to share.