I met a man recently who was very smart, funny, and attractive… I liked him… a lot. We hit it off and for the first time in a while, I allowed myself to hope that I might have found someone with whom I could have a relationship… a long-term relationship. He seemed to share my enthusiasm for our connection… until… he said, “I have a question I’ve been meaning to ask for a while, as it could be an issue down the road…” Uh oh. An ‘issue down the road’ is never a good sign. And then he asked, “Did you marry outside your race? I’ve wondered since I saw a photo of your daughter.” Now, I’d already mentioned that Rob is Hispanic but it must not have registered… I dunno. So I reiterated that fact. I asked why it mattered. He replied that 'race-mixing' is fine for other people but because he believes it brings difficulties upon families, he didn’t want to date anyone who had a mixed-race child and invite those difficulties into his life.
I was stunned. Hurt. Angry. Sick. Sad. How did I miss the fact that this very smart, funny, attractive man, with whom I’d shared hours of conversation, was a bigot? But miss it I did. I understand that lots of people share his view. I know people who do. But I truly believe in my heart that we should invite people into our lives based on their character, integrity, actions, and what’s in their heads and hearts… not based on the color of their skin. There are quality people (and people not worth our time) of all colors. And I don’t see how I can teach my daughter that – teach her that color doesn’t matter but then say, “Oh, by the way, Ry, you can be friends with someone from a different race, but you can’t date or marry them.” That makes me a hypocrite. And though I am a lot of things, I try not to be one of those.
As I say, I know people (quite a few) who think the way he does. I just never thought anyone would apply that way of thinking to MY child – my beautiful, brilliant child, who just happens to tan easily and can barely count to ten in Spanish! And you want to know the most ironic part of this whole situation? HE is the only person who has ever made Ryan’s ethnicity a ‘difficulty’. And while I might be naïve (or maybe ‘hopeful’ is a better word), I truly hope he’ll be the last.