I have to be honest about something I’ve noticed recently. I am noticing that – where I live at least – if you are my age, moderately middle class, African American, female and in a long term relationship, more than likely it may be with a man “other” than African American. Is that a given? Absolutely not. But is it probable? Highly.
Now I am not always on the lookout for other interracial couples, searching for normalcy in an unforgiving world. Quite the opposite, I didn’t even characterize my own marriage as interracial. My husband is an Alpha for God’s sake! He’s grandfathered in. It wasn’t until other people pointed out that he wasn’t black and therefore we were by definition an interracial couple that I began to see us as others do. So I’m not on the lookout for other mixed couples to be our mixed friends so that we can talk about mixed couple things.
But what I am always on the lookout for are friends for my daughter. I want her to feel comfortable in the world and am always trying to soften the “only” syndrome that I new so well. It’s tough being the only tall/black/not poor/not rich/not white/not black (enough)/ not kid. So I am always looking for environments that are well balanced so she’s not the only “only”. The good thing is, she’s not. Much like my parents, I have made friends with kids that are being raised just like Leila. Her little friends share similar experiences, values, and perspectives. And as it happens, most of them also share the same beige complexion. Because what I realized at a recent shindig one of my friends threw, is that a lot of Leila’s friends’ mommies look like me, and their daddies look like my husband. I looked around at all my friends with their little mixed children, standing with their swirly husbands and partners and it got me wondering: has beige become the new black?
The whole world would have me think otherwise. Whether its talk shows bemoaning the plight of the lonely ambitious black woman, the death of the black family, or the undesirability of the African American female, the message is the same: ain’t no love for a black woman. But I look around and I am seeing Black women all around me in thriving, loving relationships. I am seeing us raise well behaved respectful children with the same values that our parents gave us. I am looking at the life partners of these women steal glances at them that speak pride, and love, and affection. And while some of these glances are from one black lover to another, up here on the east coast it’s also not. At first I’m inclined to first wonder if I unconsciously bought into a social trend for upwardly mobile (translation: bougie) females or if I am watering my bloodline, I think again. The only trend I’m a part of is the trend of people opening their eyes to one another and believing that attraction is more complex than complexion. It’s perspective, it’s sense of humor, it’s values, it’s bone structure. And everybody can command it, even a black girl. We are loved and being loved, committed to our families with partners that are committed to us. We are fine! So beige may wind up being the new black, and that’s okay. ‘Cause beige is beautiful, too.