My clutter bug tendencies have one great benefit—a great collection of old editions of Essence magazine, which published a terrific 25th anniversary issue in February 1995. It led off with a magnificent cover shot of Tyson Beckford embracing a beautiful woman. There was a bangin’ recipe for sweet-potato pie, a luscious photo spread featuring the cast of the old Fox sitcom Living Single in ethnic wedding fashions and a tribute to Bob Marley (whose mother was black and father was white, by the way) written by his widow Rita Marley.
It also ran a feature article about an interracial BW/WM couple. This piece steered clear of discussions about whether black women should open their hearts to the possibility of dating outside their race. There were no statistics detailing the higher rates at which we were dating across color lines. (Blah, blah, blah) In a pair of companion essays, it simply laid out the husband’s and wife’s perspectives of their union. They described their courtship, marriage, parenting a bi-racial child, and the ways in which the social scene in Oakland, Calif., responded to them.
Shimon-Craig—the husband—had a great essay. We don’t often hear from guys on the other side of this issue (probably because they would rather watch old episodes of Lost or 24 than talk about relationships), so his essay provided refreshing insights into the dynamics of their relationship. He talked about why Katrina LaThrop made his heart flutter. I also felt a bit bad for him when he recounted some of the hostile reactions he got from blacks in public whenever the family was out shopping or were trying to enjoy a cultural event. You would think blacks would understand why he and Katrina made a point of educating their son about his mixed heritage. But no. According to his anecdotes, some people went out of their way to be obnoxious and unkind. I expect the social scene in Oakland, Calif., to be much more welcoming for all interracial couples. And I hope he and his wife are still going strong after another 15 years (from publication of that article).
Back in the 1990s, when Susan Taylor was still editor-in-chief and the magazine had not lost its way, it used to run occasional, sometimes annual, write ups about interracial dating. People were just getting around to talking about the issue, and Essence did it’s share to deliver classy, well-thought out discourse on the topic. At this point, I hope that we can talk less about whether interracial dating is alright for black women, and start talking about how, like other married couples, we make it work.