Opposing Views

        Art King hadn’t been on a date in nearly 12 years, yet there he sat in a restaurant; having dinner with a very attractive woman. Art was a 51-year-old man and had already been married three times yet he still soldiered on. Art did what he could to look younger and as attractive as he used to look. In order to hide his receding hair line, he simply shaved his head. “Hey, it’s cool to be bald these days!” he would say when people would ask ‘why’. After all – The look suited him. To keep people guessing at his age, Art colored his beard and mustache. He also kept it trimmed sharp and close, the way the younger crowd fashioned their own. Art also did what he could to keep his weight in check, but with his affinity for snacking, he found himself letting his belt out every so often. Although a part of Art King believed he was just a washed up old guy, there was another part of him that believed he was a suave and debonair type of guy. The true Art was somewhere in the middle.

        Art’s date was a very attractive woman, just a couple years his junior. He felt proud walking into the restaurant with such an amazing woman on his arm. As the Hostess escorted them to their table, many heads turned and watched Art stroll across the room with his beautiful date. At first, Art thought people were gawking because he was white and she was black. It wouldn’t be the first time something like that had happened. It was difficult not being able to see what it in the hearts of others. Art didn’t care; because he knew they made an amazing looking couple.

       During dinner, an elderly woman leaned over and smiled at Art and his beautiful date as she said, “I just want to tell you I think it’s so lovely that the two of you are together!” Art knew that when most people forced their opinion in that manner, they were either being gracious or they were doing so simply to hide the fact that they’re actually racists deep down inside. Art would know if the woman had a follow up. “I voted for Obama, you know!” The woman did indeed have a follow up; just as Art had learned over some years – a gracious person gives you polite compliment; however, a racist who feels guilty about their racism will give you the compliment but then feels the need to sell the compliment with a follow up. Back before the 44th President, it used to be, “I have a black friend too, you know.” or “My best friend is black”. Now they can brag and say they voted in a bi-racial president and feel like they’re part of a grown crowd! As if they did something special. But the truth is – they’re still a racist.

        Art just couldn’t believe that this woman wouldn’t stop talking about her vote for Obama. He looked at his date and she gave him a coy smile, indicating she agreed with whatever he was up to. “You voted for Obama?” Art scoffed with disbelief in his voice.

        “Oh, why yes.” The woman sounded surprised by Art’s reaction. “Didn’t you vote for Mr. Obama?”

        “No.” Art said plainly. “Neither of us voted for Obama.” He said, using his index finger as he waved it back and forth between himself and his date. “We didn’t like his policies.” Art waited for the woman to respond but the simply stared at him. “Many people voted for him because he was young and good looking, but not us.” Art gave the woman another chance to say something – anything in support of why she voted for 44 but she had nothing. Art continued. “Plus there was just something about him we didn’t like.”

        The old woman’s head nearly snapped off of her shoulders as she pulled it back to her own table like a snapping turtle with a fresh caught carp.


        As Art drove Melanie home, the two laughed as they recalled the look on the old woman’s face when Art told her there was something about Obama they didn’t like. “Why do all white people do that?” Melanie said with a laugh. “Like, is that supposed to make me think she ain’t some hood-wearin’; KKK praisin’ Nazi?”

        “Aw, don’t go generalizing.” Art said, trying to cool the race flames.

        “I ain’t generalizing anything.” Melanie was obviously heated. “But why is it that if I wanna have dinner with a white man, some ol’ white lady feels like she gotta come give me her approval?”

        “I understand.” Art said as he turned the corner and pulled up in front of the house. “Just like tonight, when I walked with you into the restaurant – the valet gave me the head nod.”

        Melanie was confused. “Head nod?”

        “Yeah – you know…” Art mimicked the slight nod that was given to him by the young, black man who parked his car. He looked at Art and then Art’s date and then back to Art with a smile and gave him a perfunctory nod. “It was as if he was giving me his blessing and saying, ‘You go ahead, white boy!’”

        Melanie laughed as she got out of the car. “You crazy as hell!”

        Art walked Melanie to the door and took both of her hands into his. “I really did have a good time with you this evening.”

        “Good!” Melanie said with a smile. “Because when the night started out, you seemed kind of tense.”

        “Just nerves.” Art replied quickly. “This whole dating thing is new and I wasn’t quite sure how to act.”

        “Well I quite enjoyed how you acted this evening.” Melanie smiled.

        Art stepped closer as to get a kiss goodnight but Melanie stopped him. “Just so you know – this goes no further than a kiss goodnight.”

        “I wasn’t expecting anything more than a kiss.” Art replied honestly. Not to say he would have turned down any advances she would have made otherwise, but in his mind, he only expected a kiss goodnight.

        Melanie slid her arms around Art’s waist and then let her hands travel up his back as she gripped his shoulders with both hands and pulled him closer, all the while kissing him passionately. Art wrapped his arms completely around Melanie and pulled her in tight, replying to her kiss and allowed her to feel his body against her. After nearly two full minutes of open mouth kissing, Melanie pulled back as she realized her two grandsons were in the window giggling and wooing at them. “I’m sorry about that.”

        “No, no.” Art replied catching his breath. “I guess that was for the best.” The bulge in his pants and increased rate of his heart told him he needed to leave before things got out of hand.

        “You’ll call me, right?” Melanie definitely wanted to hear from Art again.

“You can count on it!” Art said as he climbed back into his car.


        As Art pulled up to the curb in front of his basement apartment, he noticed his light was on; yet he specifically recalled turning it off before leaving for his date. As he walked up the slate path to the heavy aluminum door that led into his tiny, studio basement apartment, he could see his buddy Rick through the basement window; sitting in his La-Z-Boy recliner. As a joke, Art kicked in the door and jumped in loud like a cop, scaring Rick out of the chair.

        “Damn, MAN!” Rick screamed and jumped up out of the chair in one fluid motion. He was doubled over holding his chest and panicked” You don’t do that to a brutha’ What if I shot yo’ ass!”

        Rick’s skin might have been black, but that dude was whiter than Art. Actually, Rick was very light skinned, only a few shades darker than Art. He also shaved his head and though he didn’t have the same style beard as Art, the two could have been carbon copies of one another. Rick’s wife often commented how creepy it was that the two were so much like alike.

        “What would you have shot me with? You don’t have a gun!” Art retorted.  “What are doing here, anyway?”

        “The ol’lady wanted to hang with her girl” Rick said as he pointed to the upstairs apartment, “so I thought I would come down here and chill wit’chu.” Rick liked to refer to his wife as his ol’ lady, but never in her presence. Whenever his wife visited upstairs, Rick would always spend the visit with Art.

        “Yeah, well I was on a date.” Art said.

        “I know.” Rick felt embarrassed about being in Art’s apartment alone. “I didn’t mean to intrude, but yer neighbor has a bunch of kids up there and they’re all running around like wild animals up there and I just had to get out of there, man!”

        Art laughed. “It’s all good, man. Besides, you know you’re always welcome here.”

“So how was…. ‘the date’”? Rick said the date like it was some type of code word.

“Whaddya mean?” Art asked.

“You know…” Rick literally winked at Art. “How was the date?”

“It was just a date, Rick. Nothing more.”

“Yeah, but c’mon, man. You’re still married.”

      Art suddenly felt the twinge of the past eleven years. He and his wife had a whirlwind relationship. When they met they were head over heels in love with one another and believed they would be together forever. However, it all seemed to change once they were married. After dating for seven years, they married and suddenly, there was no more magic. She blamed it on menopause and he blamed it all on anger issues and together they finger pointed and mis-read cues and before either of them knew it, four years of marriage and eleven years total had gone by. Neither of them were happy and both were contemplating divorce. “Yes, Rick, I’m still married and she’s still married, but for how long? We’re doing what we can to fix it. Can we fix it? Is what we’re doing going to work?” Art thought about the arrangement he had with his wife and wondered if things could work. “I mean – it’s not like we’re cheating on one another!”

        “Did you kiss her?” Rick asked sincerely.


Melanie walked into her living room and was lovingly attacked by her two grandsons, who gave her hugs and kisses. “What are you guys doing up so late?”

        “You’re home early.” Her daughter said as she walked into the living room and shoo’d the boys off to their room. “Bad date?”

        “Actually, it was real nice.” Melanie replied. “We had a good time.”

        “C’mon, really?” Melanie’s daughter didn’t like the idea of her mother being out with Art. “Why don’t you stop all this and find someone else?”

        “Why don’t you stop trying to be the mother and start being the daughter.” Melanie said as she playfully touched the tip of her daughter’s nose with her finger. “I don’t want to talk anymore about it. Are we clear?”

        “Fine.”

      “Well that’s gonna be a problem.” Marie called out from the kitchen. “The only reason I came over here was to talk about your date, so you better not shut me down, girl!”

        Melanie was glad her good friend, Marie was over to visit and walked straight into the kitchen and brewed up some coffee. The two friends sat at the kitchen table talking about her evening; including the nosey ol’ white lady who proclaimed to have voted for Obama! Melanie explained how Art put the old woman in her place and they laughed as Melanie mimicked the look on the old lady’s face.

        “Oh, girl; I wish I could’ve been there to see that crotchety old biddies face!” Marie said as she raised her coffee mug up to her lips.

        “I couldn’t believe Art put her in her place like that!” Melanie said. She seemed proud of the fact that Art stood up and said something.

        “You sound surprised.” Marie said. “I mean – I’ve never really been a fan of Art but I’ve never seen him as the type to back down from telling someone how he feels.”

        Melanie thought about Marie’s words. “You’re right.” She said. “He has always spoken his mind. Even when he shouldn’t.” Melanie thought about Art some more. “he says whatever is on his mind.”

        “Then why are you makin’ such a fuss over this?” Marie asked.

    “I honestly don’t know.” Melanie stared into her coffee as she thought about everything she knew of Art and couldn’t come up with a reasonable answer. Just then something struck her. “What a minute – What do you mean you’re not fan of Art?”

        Marie shrugged her shoulders. “It’s no secret.” She said nonchalantly. “I really don’t care for the guy.”

        Melanie was shocked “Why haven’t you ever said anything?” Melanie felt as if she’d just been punched in the chest.

        Marie’s face went crooked as she looked at Melanie. Almost as if to say, ‘Really?’ “Look, I have a man, and the fact that you’re with Art or you’re not with Art… it really doesn’t affect me.” Marie took another sip of coffee. Not that she was thirsty or wanted the drink, but more as though to end what she had to say.  She let Melanie think on her words for a moment and then, just as the taste of coffee disappeared from her lips, she started on another subject. “So – for how long are you going to let this continue?”

        Melanie didn’t have an answer. She simply shrugged her shoulders and replied, “Until we’re back on track.”

        “Y’all are crazy, you know that, right!” Marie said as she tapped her toes on the kitchen floor. “Crazy!”


“Don’t avoid the question, man.” Rick was adamant. “Did. You. Kiss. Her.”?

        Art smiled. “Yes.” His smile grew even wider. “I kissed her like I’ve never kissed a woman ever!

        “Are you telling me, that in all your years of Marriage – You’ve never kissed your wife the way you kissed your date this evening?”  Rick’s eyes became narrow as his brow furrowed. Suddenly, Rick was becoming some type of parental figure rather than a friend and drinking buddy.

        “That’s exactly what I’m telling you, man!” Art said. Suddenly he was realizing what it was that his marriage had lost. “In all the years of marriage, I knew I loved my wife, but we had no passion for one another. Last night, I dated a woman and we spoke about things that I never spoke about to my wife. We laughed about things that I never laughed about with my wife. So, when the evening ended, I didn’t need sexual gratification to feel fulfilled…” Art suddenly had an epiphany. “I was getting fulfillment all night long just from engaging with a smart, sexy; beautiful human being!”

        “You can’t do that with your wife?” Rick asked defensively. “You couldn’t do that living in the same four walls as Husband and Wife? Instead you had to move into some dumpy little basement?”

        “Why are you the one getting so upset about this, man?” Art was getting mixed signals from his friend. “I thought you liked living vicariously through me and my arrangement.”

        “WELL I LIED!” Rick confessed. “I miss doing the couples things, man!”

        “Aren’t there other couples you guys can do stuff with?” Art was trying his best to cheer up Rick.

        “Sure! There are lots of other couples! And they’re all a bunch of idiots!” Rick read off a slew of couples that his wife introduced him to. He told Art about the guy who collected old A&W Root beer mugs. Then there was the couple who were Mary Kay consultants. Both of them! And then there was the one couple who seemed real nice. They liked to drink whiskey, and shoot pool and the husband knew about baseball – everything seemed great until they asked Rick about wife swapping. “And this guy’s wife looked like a HOG with lipstick!”

        “So – basically; if I’m not mistaken – your interest in getting my marriage on track is so you can have a better couples experience?” As much as Art wanted to understand his friend’s dilemma, he couldn’t help but feel slightly miffed.

        “EXACTLY!” Rick cried out. “C’mon, man! Can’t you just go to your ol’ lady and tell her you want to fix things?

        “Dude! Art grabbed Rick by both shoulders and looked him straight in the eyes. That’s exactly what this arrangement is! We’re fixing things! Just then there were two small taps on the ceiling above them.

        “It’s them damn kids again!” Rick said.


        “There’s nothing crazy about it.” Melanie said as she picked up their empty cups and brought them to the dishwasher. “Besides; a lot of couples have tried this.”

        “No, girlfriend! Not like THIS!” Marie said, spreading her arms out wide, indicating the rest of the house. You and your kids and your grandkids and….”

        “That’s enough, Marie.” Melanie cut her friend short. “I love you and you my girl, but I won’t let you disrespect me or my family in my own house.”

        Marie raised both her hands in mock surrender. “Alright. It’s all good.” She said soft and calmly. “You right. You right.” Marie stood up and opened her arms as if to give a hug. “Bring it here, girl.” As the two friends hugged, Marie apologized for upsetting Melanie and then told her she was glad she had a nice time on her date. “It’s late, so let me get on home.”

        Melanie felt bad. It wasn’t as if she was pushing her friend out the door and she certainly didn’t want Marie to feel that way. “Are you sure? We can still talk some more”

        “Seriously, girl. It’s good.” Marie picked up her purse and smiled to let Melanie know everything was fine. “Just lemme get my buster out yo basement…. Marie then opened Melanie’s basement door and yelled down for her husband.


        “Git yo busted ass up here!” Rick’s wife screamed down from the upstairs; causing Rick  to look at Art as if he wanted to say something but both of them knew better.

        “RICK!” Marie yelled again. “C’Mon, now! I need to git home!”

        “Don’t forget what I told you, man.” Rick said as he headed towards the stairs that led to the main house. He looked like a child being called home for a whoopin’.

        “I won’t forget, man.” Art said.

     “I’m serious, Art! I don’t wanna deal with Mary Kay and A&W Root Beer shit anymore!” It almost looked like an invisible rope was dragging him up the basement stairs to the main house.

        “Shut yo’ ass up and git up here!” Marie said as she grabbed Rick and yanked him into the house. When the main door closed the basement became quiet. Art listened closely and could hear Melanie close and lock the front door, just as she did every night for the past four months. He then heard her footsteps as she walked from the front door to the main bedroom. Three, two, one – a soft click and the bedroom door was closed just as it had every evening since June. Art walked to the back of the studio apartment he built in the basement of his  house and turned his futon sofa into his bed. He then plugged his cellphone into the charger and was just about to fall asleep when suddenly, the cellphone lit up the entire studio apartment with a notification. Art picked up his phone and noticed it was a text message from Melanie. GR8 TYM 2NYT. ❤   Art smiled and felt compelled to reply.  ME 2 ❤

        As bad as things had become in their marriage, they weren’t about to just quit. They couldn’t just walk away from one another. Even though her family told her she needed to leave him and his family told him “If you’re not happy you need to get out.” Deep down Art and Melanie really did love one another but they just lost the passion and the fire that they had in the beginning. Art was actually listening to his family and was going to end things with Melanie. He thought he would be sparing his wife any future agony of having to live with such a miserable person. However, it was Melanie’s idea that they live together, but live separately. Art fixed his basement into a studio apartment and rather than use the front door, he started pulling around to the back and entered his home through the basement door. The idea was for each to live a separate life under the same room and try to get to know one another all over again through dating. This was their 2nd date and the upcoming Friday to be their third date. After their third date, they would “steady”. They could call each other on the phone regularly and get back to that place where they were when they first met. The purpose of their arrangement wasn’t just to try to impress the other by showing how he or she could change. The purpose was to show one’s own self just how much he or she had already changed since being married and to try to change back to that passionate, fun loving person with whom the other fell in love.

        Marriage is difficult. We learn this when we say our vows and we promise to see our marriage through anything. I promise to take this person in Sickness and in Health. For Richer or Poor. For Better or Worse. No where in our Vows did we ever say – I promise to file for divorce if I feel I can’t handle it any longer. If (and when) you get to that point in your marriage when you say, “Why did I marry this SO&SO?” That’s not the time to throw in the towel. That’s the time to find all the reasons you fell in love with that person in the first place and do what you can to get back there. View all the different angles of your relationship and examine them. Look at them from all sides and study them so you can use them to help you find that passion your relationship once had and then grow that love. Get all views, pros cons and opposing views to help you. But whatever you do – Don’t just give up and throw it away. That would be the wrong view.

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What is so hard to understand?

My wife and I went to Old Country Buffet for dinner. After paying our entrance fee and leaving our receipt on the table, we went out and picked through the buffet for our dinner. My wife, Nadine is a pro at getting everything she wants on one plate. I, on the other hand, seem to focus on getting one meal at a time. While Nadine was out foraging and loading up, I returned to the table with my garden salad and sat down to eat. Sitting across from our table was and older couple. The woman was talking on a cell phone while her husband was picking at his plate. The woman, talking on the cell phone, had her phone set on speaker, which was set on the table and she was writing with a pen and paper. The man on the other end of the phone was talking about interest rates and the housing market. The way the were talking indicated he could have been  a long time friend or possibly her son who was either helping them sell their home or he worked in the business and was selling their home for them. Either way, it was really annoying to listen to. I was contemplating getting up and moving to another table; however, Nadine was still out loading her plate and hadn’t returned as of yet. Therefore, I just sat and kept my focus on my garden salad and waited for my wife to return.

It was another ten, grueling minutes before Nadine got back to the table. Her plate was piled with steak, corn-on-the-cob and potatoes, cornbread and chicken. She had greens and Macaroni & Cheese along with mixed vegetables and some other various types of meats and breads all piled on her plate as she sat down at the table. I stared in amazement as she carefully placed the plate on her paper placemat and then took her seat and sat down with a large, toothy smile. “What“? She asked, not realizing that I, along with half of the Old Country Buffet seating section was staring at her wondering how she didn’t spill a drop of gravy or ‘beef au ju’ sauce from her plate.
Nothing” I said with a loving smile. “I’m gonna go back and get something else.”
You need to fill up, babe!” she said as I got up and headed to the meat bar.”

I walked over and looked at the roast beef and then looked at the chicken and the steaks and thought back in amazement at how Nadine had fit all of that on the tiny, ceramic plate. “Can I help you?” the young man behind the sneeze guard asked.
I’ll have a small piece of Strip Streak, rare.” I said, pointing to a specific piece that was sitting under a heat lamp.
After a few moments on the grill, the young man made a small incision into the meat and showed me a dark pink hue of meat and asked me if it done enough or if it should be cooked more. I shook my head no and told him it was fine before moving on to the potatoes and dinner rolls. After putting some green beans on my plate, I started back to my table and rather than notice a smiling, and happy Nadine I found my wife forcefully stabbing her fork into food and muttering like an insane woman.
Is everything alright?” I asked innocently.
NO!” she replied as she darted a look over at the old lady, who was no longer on her telephone. At that moment, the woman and her husband got up and headed towards the exit and the first thing I had wondered was they may have said something about the amount of food on my wife’s plate. But then again, I was always commenting on the amount of food my wife eats. She’s proud of the fact that she eats like a linebacker but built like a ballerina.

What’s going on?” I asked curiously.
Stupid, fuckin’ ignorant asses!” She called out to them before they got out of earshot.
NAY!” I reached out and put my hand on her’s to try and calm her down “What happened?”
That dumb bitch wanna ask me why I’m gonna be sitting at your table!”

Apparently, after I left, the woman on the cell phone didn’t notice Nadine show up, nor did she notice me leave. However, after she finished her phone call, she finished taking her notes or whatever it was that she was doing and then she happened to look over and she noticed a black woman sitting at the table where a white man had been sitting and she felt it was her duty to interfere…

Excuse me, Miss, but someone is already sitting at that table.” she said in a polite and condescending manner.”

Yeah. I know.” Nadine said with half-a-mouthful of steak.

Well, perhaps you should find a table of your own before he gets back?” Her tone went from condescending to down-right rude.

“He’s my husband, lady. Why don’t you mind your business.” Nadine was in not mood for this woman’s attitude.

No, dear. The man who was sitting at that table is a white man. You and your husband need to find your own table.” This woman was obviously stuck in 1957 and didn’t realize she was living in 2017.

Look lady!” Nadine said, lifting her steak knife and pointing it in the old lady’s direction. “My Husband IS that white guy and when he comes back over here and sits down you can git your old, wrinkled ass up and quit buggin’ me!”

I looked back at the old woman as she was pushing her husband through the exit doors without looking back. “Did you have to point your steak knife at her?

Did she have to be such a bitch?” Nadine had a point. Based on what she told me, the old woman was quite the bitch.

You don’t have to ask me why I love her. This story should say it all!

What does the Bible say about Interracial Marriage?

 

   I was sitting outside of the local area VA Hospital having a cigarette in the twenty-five degree weather of February when an older gentleman walked up to me and asked to bum an extra smoke. I don’t like to refuse my fellow Vets, so I obliged and handed the old man a cigarette. “You got a light?” The old man asked. I reached back into my pocked and pulled out my Zippo and flicked to life the flame so he could light his cigarette. “Oh, I like those lighters.” He said. I smiled, as I realized that most Veterans liked having Zippos. It was something we all had in the military. “I never was able to have one of my own.” I heard him say.

 

   You never had a Zippo?” I had to ask. I wanted to make sure I heard him correctly.

 

   Nope.” He said plainly as he exhaled the smoke from the cigarette I gave him.

 

   I looked around confused to make sure I was at the VA Hospital and then asked him. “Are you a Veteran?”

 

   ME?” He asked quizzically. “Naw. my brother was in the Marines.” He said matter-of-factly. “I had to bring him here for an appointment.”

 

   The old man then went on to talk about his brother’s service in Vietnam and how he brought home a Vietnamese bride. “Can’t say as I agree with mixin’ races like that.”

 

   What do you mean?” Being a man who is married to a black woman, I was very curious to hear his response and I was quite sure it would be something racist. However, I’ve heard my share of ignorance over the years and I was ready for anything. Then this man said something that I had not heard from anyone in all the years I had been dealing with folks who had something to say about my marriage…

 

   I’m a God Fearin’ Man and Deuteronomy 7:3 tells us to marry our own kind. We shouldn’t marry outside of our race. It just ain’t right.” He took his last drag of the cigarette I gave him and then he stubbed it out. I was afraid he would walk away without finishing our conversation, so I offered him another so we could continue.

 

   This man actually intrigued me.  On the one hand, I was almost upset that he wasn’t a racist and on the other hand I was pleased because I had just read over this passage in my daily scripture. It was almost as if I was supposed to meet this man and talk with him.

 

   Actually, Deuteronomy 7:3 was a religious reference, not an ethnic reference.” I did not tell him of my own marital status; however, I did want to correct his thinking. Being a man who loves God and reads the good book, I thought this needed to be explained a little better for him. After lighting up his second cigarette as well as my own, I went on to tell him that the Old Testament Law commanded the Israelites not to engage in interracial marriage however, the reason for this command was not for reasons of ethnicity, but rather religious reasons. God made such a commandment of the Jews because other races were worshippers of false gods and if Israelites intermarried, they would be led away from God. Anyone who read Malachi 2:11 would understand.

 

   The man smiled and stood up straight. “Yer one of them, aren’t ya?” he said with a curious smile on his face.

   I wasn’t sure what one of them was, so I just shrugged my shoulders at him. “One of WHOM?” I asked. 

   “One of them folks who marry those other folks.” I could tell he was being careful choosing his words.

   “And what type of folks would that be?” He glanced down at my ring finger and then glanced back up at me.

   He thought for a moment and then shook his forefinger at me as he gave a polite chuckle. “Nah. You ain’t gonna do that to me. Lemme ask you this… Is yer wife a white woman?”

   I smiled politely and informed him that wife was not a white woman. “And for the record she’s a good Christian woman.

   As if he was pulling from a holster, he drew his next weapon as he said. “In second Corinthians we are toldOr what fellowship can light have with darkness?” Implying that whites and blacks should not be together.

   “No” I said quite simply, implying that he was not just wrong. He was very wrong. He not only misrepresented the scripture, but he didn’t even quote it properly. 

   “In Second Corinthians 6:14 it is written: “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?

I explained to the man that God is not talking about Black and White, he is referring to believers and non-believers. Therefore, as long as we have the same beliefs in God, our love can’t be wrong.

   The old guy dropped his cigarette into the snow and then reached out his hand to shake my own. After flicking my cigarette into the direction of the water drainage, I reached out and shook the man’s hand and just as he was about to let go I grabbed him tighter and pulled him towards me. He gave me a confused look and I gave him a very firm look as I told him that all men were created from God. We are all descendants from Adam and Eve, which makes us all from one race. “There is no such thing as multiracial or interracial.” I said with a stern look in my eye. “We are all the human race.”. He simply nodded and pulled his hand back and then thanked me. I’m sure he was thanking me for the cigarette, but I’d like to think he was thanking me for a bit more than that.

 

   If someone should ever tell you that the bible says interracial marriage is wrong, you can tell them they have misinterpreted God’s Word. The Bible never says marriage is wrong between races of people. God only wants believers to join together and raise families of faithful believers, no matter what color their skin.

 

Cracker??

cracker-aisle-at-targetMy wife and I were shopping for groceries and as we walked past the Toll House and Saltines I heard a phrase from a television commercial pop in my head. “You can find us in the Cracker aisle!”  I started chuckling to myself and said, “Hey, babe! Look at me! I’m in the Cracker aisle!”  She chuckled as she called me a “mess” and then we continued shopping.

Now, I’m pretty sure my wife was thinking about our grocery budget and trying to get everything on our grocery list at that time; however, I was walking with my head in the clouds as I tried to figure out, “Why the hell are we called crackers, anyway?” I nearly ran in to a few older, slower moving people because I wasn’t really paying attention to anything else. So I asked my wife if she knew.
What the hell are you taking about?” she said in an annoyed tone without looking up from her list.
Cracker!” I said. “Where the hell did that term come from?”
Slowly she looked up from her grocery list, with eyes dark as onyx and said, “Seriously?” She then rolled her eyes and went back to her shopping. “Instead of trying to be so analytical, why don’t you go get the deli meats.”

Yeah, my wife thinks she is pretty smart. She figured she would send me on a task to help get my mind back on track and help her grocery shop. But what she didn’t figure was that I’d be standing on line at the deli and I’d have time to do a BING search for my answers. After a few slides of my finger across the screen of my smart phone, I found the answers I was looking for.

According to Jelani Cobb, a historian at the University of Connecticut and a contributor to The New Yorker,

Cracker,” the old standby of Anglo insults was first noted in the mid-18th century, making it older than the United States itself. It was used to refer to poor whites, particularly those inhabiting the frontier regions of Maryland, Virginia and Georgia. It is suspected that it was a shortened version of “whip-cracker,” since the manual labor they did involve driving livestock with a whip (not to mention the other brutal arenas where those skills were employed.) Over the course of time it came to represent a person of lower caste or criminal disposition, (in some instances, was used in reference to bandits and other lawless folk.)

Wait  –  What??
When I first started thinking about the term, I thought it had to do with skin color resembling that of a saltine cracker. To me, that was funny! But after reading this, I was more insulted than anything else. I’m sure the word “cracker” doesn’t compare to other words I’ve been called. Twice in the past three years I’ve been referred to as a N**ger Lover by a white woman. It must have been four or five times I was referred to as a racist when I made public statements regarding my dislike for President Obama’s policy regarding the healthcare system.  My wife has been called horrible names in her lifetime and then worse for being married to a white man. And I understand that other races have reason to be upset for being called things like Nips, Spics, Zipper Heads, Krauts, Jews and Flips… The list can go on and on and I’m not comparing my being called a Cracker to any of that. I just thought I would have been better off not ever knowing this new information. Now, instead of hearing a term of endearment from wife when she playfully refers to me as her “favorite Cracker“, I’m going to immediately imagine some lowly, lawless bandit who carries a whip.

     “Number 46!” a woman from behind the deli counter called out. “Are you 46?”
I was snapped back to reality and I put away my smart phone as I placed an order for sliced roast beef, sliced cooked ham and some American cheese.
The woman smiled and replied, “We have some great soda crackers to compliment your cheese.”

fouet-1What, seriously??”

Opposites Attract except in the workplace.

Ever since I was a little kid, I had always heard the saying, “Opposites Attract.” It was meant for folks who have different tastes. Different likes and dislikes; such as – He likes Chocolate Ice Cream and she like vanilla. She likes her steak done well and he likes his red and bloody. He likes Star Trek and she likes Star Search. That type of thing. However, when I was a kid, I thought it meant White people like black people and Chinese people like Japanese people – and so on. Therefore, I had always wondered why there was nothing but white couples and black couples depicted on television or movies. I would always think, “Why didn’t they find an opposite. To a 9-year-old, that’s what opposite meant to me. I asked my cousin about this and he said, “White people can’t marry black people.” When I asked him why not he said, “I dunno. You just can’t” Forty-One years later I’m married to a black woman. My sister has been with a black man for the past nine years and my other sister dated mostly black men throughout her 20’s and 30’s.

My siblings and I grew up with some old fashioned parents. They were strict and they were very hard on us as we grew up; however, they were also understanding and loving. They taught us to always follow our heart and most important – “Judge a man by his character. Not his color.” and I’ve done my best to adhere to those words all my life. If there are people I do not like – it’s not because of their skin color or any external factor. It’s because they’ve done me wrong and it’s very hard for me to forgive. “Fool me once – shame on you. Fool me twice – shame on me!” Very, very rarely will I shame myself by giving someone the opportunity to do so.

I’ve been at my current job for a number of years and when I first started there was this guy who was quite friendly with me. He’s originally from Jersey and I’m from New York so we had the same mind set, (as most east coasties). For years he would stop at my office door and we’d talk sports and it was pleasant. However, one day I overheard him complaining about me to our manager. I went to her door to give her a message when I noticed him in there talking. As I stepped back to walk away I overheard him complaining that I was “too difficult to work with.” I was floored! Just moments ago he was laughing in my office and talking about the Mets and suddenly – he was in my manager’s office saying all these horrible things. I quick paced back to my office and waited for him. Every time I heard a door open, I’d run out and look up the hall; however, her door would still be closed. After nearly a half an hour of this, I decided I would ask him why he felt as he did. Instead, my manager showed up at my office. I looked past her for Mr. New Jersey; however, he was no where in sight. When I turned my attention back to my supervisor she started off by saying, “Can we talk?” Then she closed my door. I knew it was going to be in regards to Jersey Guy being in her office.

As it turned out – he told our manager that I was “difficult to work with” and I was “Unapproachable”. Can you believe that? This guy stopped at my office every morning to chat and laugh and suddenly I’m unapproachable. I didn’t argue, nor did I defend myself. After all, I had nothing to defend. This was his issue, not mine. She made a few silly requests of me, like putting something nice in my emails; instead of being so direct. She asked that I make it a point to be more social. Yeah – forget all the work I have to do on a daily basis. I thought to myself. I racked my brain trying to figure out how I was “unapproachable” to this guy when suddenly it dawned on me. I had just recently gotten married and had a small, framed picture on my desk of me and my wife. Mr. Jersey must have seen the image of my wife and then lost his mind. I’m not going to go so far as to label him a racist; however, I can’t think of any other reason he’d do such a thing.

As I walked down the hallway to his office, I was determined to confront him and find out why he was being such an asshole; however, he was out of the building. It was a few days later and I was headed to my supervisor’s office when suddenly, Mr. New Jersey popped out of his office. When he spotted me, he immediately averted his eyes towards the floor and walked right past me without saying a word. My first instinct was to call out to him but then I thought about it. As curious as I was about the entire ordeal, I wasn’t hurt or brooding over this. I just wanted to know. But to see him so uncomfortable at the mere sight of me made me realize I didn’t need to ask him anything. It was his problem and now he had a bigger problem. He had to deal with seeing me every day and would have to avoid looking at me. I imagined his comfort level would drop significantly every time he saw me or had to walk by my office. And you know what? That was perfectly fine by me. I erased him from my mind and didn’t let it bother me. Instead, he would have to feel this way every time he encountered me. What made it even funnier was the fact that every once in a while he would have to come to me for assistance and that was just awesome to me!

I’ve had plenty of opportunities to speak with him regarding his comments to my supervisor. I had plenty of opportunities to tell him that if he has a problem with me, he should come to me before running off to my supervisor; but the more I thought about it the more I liked the idea of just ignoring him. Now, I have an extra fifteen minutes every morning where I am working and not talking about the Mets or the Yankees.

I’ve been with my wife for quite a number of years and we’ve had to put up with a lot over those years. Family or friends of the family don’t like me or don’t like her because they don’t agree with our marriage and you know – Much like Jersey Guy – it’s their problem. Not mine. So I erase them. I don’t forget them, nor do I forgive them. I just erase them and move on. I’m not going to let their insecurities or prejudices bring me down!

How about you?

Speak out!

A few years ago I was sitting at a bus stop, waiting for the bus to take me into downtown Pittsburgh. I was sitting on the street, leaning against the wall reading a book and wearing headphones. Music was playing, but because I was reading the volume was very low. Just a few feet away were two other guys sitting on the steps of a nearby business, smoking cigarettes and talking amongst themselves. They were white guys, in their mid to later thirties. I’m not sure what they were talking about, but then again – I wasn’t paying attention. I was reading my book and enjoying the sunshine. It was then that a group of young, black kids came by. They were talking loudly and laughing. They were wearing the types of clothes that most kids wear these days. One had a collared, pullover shirts stretched down to knees, while another was wearing an “A” Shirt (wife beater) with his drawers sagging low and his boxers sticking up. The third guy had no shirt and sagging drawers with exposed boxers as well.

As they walked past, joking with one another, one of the kids pushed his buddy, causing him to spill out his soft drink right in front of the two, older white guys. No one was hurt, and no one had any drink spilled on them. “Yo – sorry ’bout that, man“. Said the young man with no shirt. The kids kept walking and eventually turned the corner.
Fuckin’ Niggers!” Said one of the white guys on the steps.

I remember I stopped reading, but I kept my eyes on the pages of my book. I wanted to see what more they would say, so I reached in my pocket and turned down the volume on my radio, but left my earbuds in my ears. When I heard no more, I looked up to see if those guys were still sitting there and one of them looked up at me. “Can you believe those fuckin’ degenerates?” He said to me as he kicked dirt over the spilled soda on the ground. “That’s what you get when animals are raised with no fathers!”

    “They don’t have fathers?” I asked coyly – knowing full and well that they were making a general accusation.
None of those fuckin’ eggplants have fathers!” The second guys said while laughing. I turned and looked over my right shoulder towards the corner to see if those kids were still there and then turned back to the two guys – who had no idea they were talking to someone who happened to be married to a black woman. They simply assumed – because of the color of my skin color – that I shared their warped views.

    “My wife grew up with her father.” I stated plainly. But my point seemed to elude them as the stared at me with blank looks in their eyes. “What does that have to do with anything?” The first guy asked.

   “Your friend stated black people don’t grow up with fathers and I’m telling you that my wife grew up with a father.” I was just about to turn my attention back down to my book when I noticed their eyes light up as if someone had just turned on the light bulbs. They sat there, staring at me while their cigarettes burned slowly between their pale, white fingers. They said nothing more and when the bus arrived, they remained sitting the steps. As I got up to meet the bus, I turned to them and gave a small wave. “Have a nice day, gents.” I said sarcastically.

I didn’t need to get pissed off and start a fight. I didn’t need to get in their faces. When it comes to racists, cowards like those guys – one does not need to get upset. They didn’t say anything about those kids when they were in ear shot – those guys waited until those kids were around the corner. Just by simply letting them know that I was married to a black woman, it let them know just how ignorant and stupid they truly are.

I don’t care who you are or where you are. Should someone say something to you and it ‘personally’ affects you – say something! I don’t care if it’s old couple who doesn’t understand interracial relationships. Staying silent won’t help them learn anything. Speak out and say what’s on your mind – but do so with eloquence. it makes them look that much more ignorant.

Even if you’re not in an interracial relationship – speak out and let it be known that we are no longer living in the dark ages. This is a new millennia and we’ve learned much over these past fifty, neigh one hundred years. Speak out and help stop the hate.

Thank you!

No Thought necessary…

My wife and I have been together for nearly eight years and for me, it seems like we’ve just started dating. These past eight years have gone by so fast with so much happening that I was in shock when I realized how many years it has actually been.

The other day, my wife was standing at the bathroom mirror, primping herself and adding make-up after fixing her hair and i casually said; “Why do you do that?
Whaddaya mean?” She asked, looking at my reflection in the mirror.
I mean – You are so beautiful, why do you feel you need make up?”
She glanced up at the mirror image of me and half smiled as she replied, “I don’t like my pot marks.
I was confused by her reply. I remember my right eyebrow nearly forcing my eye closed as I furrowed my brow. “What the hell are you talking about?” I said as I put my hands on her shoulders and kissed the back of her neck.
She used her index finger and then pointed to her cheek, where she has some minor scarring from her younger days dealing with acne. “This is what I mean.” She said with a playful, sarcastic tone.
I have never noticed that before.” I stated honestly.
My wife immediately spun around on her heel and threw her arms around my neck. “That’s why I love you.” She said before planting a kiss on my lips.

I watched her apply her make up and the few, tiny little scars disappeared behind the magic of her little brown sponge. Her marks are not big and they do not draw attention away from her natural beauty. However, I’m sure she sees things differently since she goes through such great lengths to cover them up. But for me, it was never an issue because I honestly had never noticed anything on her face until she pointed it out to me. That’s because I didn’t fall in love with her because of her face. I fell in love with her laugh. I fell in love with her heart and all of her inner beauty shined brighter than what she sees in her own mirror. This got me to thinking about other things that I don’t see when it comes to my wife.

11053470_927327433978961_8098711662993487923_nA few months back, I was sitting at my desk in my office when a cleaning woman came in and asked if she could do some high dusting and vacuum my carpet. I was happy to let her, since our regular cleaning guy would just bust in with the vacuum and start cleaning without so much as a warning. The woman was short and stout. She was in her late fifties or early sixties and had certain motherly qualities about her that made it easy to move out of  her way and let  her do what she needed to do. Just as I was about to exit my office for the men’s room, I heard her call out to me. “Oh! So you’re married to a sister.” I froze for a second and then turned around to see her glaring at my wedding photo. “Excuse me?” I said. I wasn’t exactly sure I understood what she was saying to me.
I didn’t know you was married to a black woman.” She said.
I thought about her words and was about to say, “I didn’t know, either.” However, I didn’t want to come across as sarcastic, so I simply said, “Oh.

These things help me to realize that seeing a person for who they are rather than what they are makes for a wonderful relationship. When it comes to my wife, I don’t notice her skin color unless it is something that she and I are talking about. When I wake up in the morning, I don’t look over and see a black woman in my bed. I see a beautiful, amazing woman who gave me the privilege of being her husband. I see a woman who has a heart of gold and I thank God for every day he has given me with her.

Recently, the movie “LOVING” premiered in theaters.mv5bmje4nti3njizof5bml5banbnxkftztgwnji0nti5ode-_v1_sx214_al_
It is the story of Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple, whose challenge of their anti-miscegenation arrest for their marriage in Virginia led to a legal battle that would end at the US Supreme Court. Since this movie came out, it had me thinking of how awful it must have been to live in a society where mutual attraction and love of a man and woman was actually restricted to race and skin color. What was it that caused our society to see this as anything other than people in love? It is my belief that fear is what causes people to act so irrationally when it comes to interracial relationships. White men fear they are losing their identity and that soon, there will no longer be white people as interracial breeding will create a generation of black and brown children with blue and green eyes. Or perhaps it is simply due to the fear of the unknown. I know for myself, I wondered if a black woman’s kiss tasted differently than a white woman’s kiss. I discovered (at a very young age) that all the kisses taste the same!  And it’s not just white men who think this way. I’ve over heard a white woman tell another white woman that she should not consider pursuing me as a date because she wasn’t the color I prefer. I immediately let it be known that I heard what she said, and I let  her know that it has never been a matter of preference for a certain color. My first wife is Filipino and my second wife an IRISH heritage white woman. In my youth I dated Asian women, Black women, White women – I didn’t date them because of their race, I dated them because I was attracted to them. When I me my wife, I didn’t say to myself, “I think I want to marry a black woman.” At the time we met, I had just broken off a relationship with a woman who was whiter than me! It just so happened that we didn’t get along with one another, so I moved on. Fortunately, I met my wife on an internet dating site. I didn’t ask to only meet black women. I left that selection open and waited to find the one who was right for me. It just so happens that that women happened to be black.

Dating someone of a different race gives you and your partner opportunities to break negative stereotypes about your respective races. Providing a counterexample to ignorant and hateful stereotypes helps others become more open-minded and accepting. I’m not just talking about cultural stereotypes either. My political affiliation suggests that I should be a racist, homophobic simply because of the letter “R” on my voting card but that isn’t true at all.

Not only are you likely to experience some racism and stereotyping from your family and friends, you’ll probably experience this in everyday society, too. People may be surprised to see you are a couple; they may treat you differently, judge you unfairly or make inappropriate comments. black-guy-disapproves-reaction-faceI can’t tell you how many times people have gawked at my me and my wife. One would think we were an animal exhibit at a zoo. This gawking came from older white couples; however, most of the disapproving looks came from black men. You see, there aren’t just racists of the white persuasion; there are black racists who are just as appalled when they see a white man with a black woman. The comments received by my wife are not actually mean, but just plain stupid. A co-worker of my wife once asked her if I actually glowed in the dark.

There are all types of stereotypes for all races of people. We shouldn’t allow these stereotypes and racist attitudes keep us from finding someone who is the right fit for us. If you limit yourself to one race in your search for the perfect spouse, you are cheating yourself. Be stronger than the narrow minded and open  yourself up to love from anyone. You’ll be surprised at what you will learn about them. Not to mention what you can learn about yourself.