Aug 18, 2006

Dating White Men
White man danger...He's come to stay

For most of us women of color - that is, those of us whose politics are such that make us aware of the everyday, oppressive power dynamics embedded into the system and the social relations of our society- have complicated internal "negotiations" (for lack of a better word) when it comes to being intimately involved with white people. As a straight woman of color whose politics are one of anti-oppression, I have a difficult time seeing myself dating, or being in a serious relationship with a white man. Now, I have done it before, and who's to say it won't happen again. I'm open to the idea. However, there are also reasons as to why I'm hesitant.

I started thinking about all of this again recently. I've been talking to a few friends who have just ended rocky relationships with major power struggle issues. These friends are all women of color dating white men. These are beautiful, strong-willed, women with some serious ambition. They are kick-ass women who, despite the many obstacles in their lives, have continued doing what they do - whether it's their music, their art, their writing, their academic endeavours, their business ambitions, etc.

Now here comes the kicker. When it comes to reflecting on their relationships or involvements with the white men, most of these women (I've been there too) feel that we are too demanding, too aggressive, and basically see the issues at hand only as interpersonal; so, it all becomes a matter of personality conflicts or clashing personal baggages. Now, I agree that the interpersonal thing is partly true. But when it comes to being a (straight) woman of color, there are wider systemic issues and some major internalized shit going on in terms of our positionality in our relationships with white men. I'm not saying this is untrue when it comes to dating men of color, but that is a whole other discussion that merits another blog posting.

So for some women, the internalized shit, and the wider systemic power dynamics embedded in race-gender relations, often translates into "interpersonal issues." Whether we aren't aware of it, or choose to ignore it, this is where a major part of the problem resides. Women of color who are intimately involved with white men have to address the race-gender power dynamics so deeply embedded in their relationship. I'm not saying this is something that needs to be brought up all the time, but there needs to be some serious discussion about it at some point. Without it, how can there be trust and growth between the two people? If racism and sexism are just some of the realities of living your everyday as a woman of color, then how can there be no discussion on these issues when it comes to being with a white man?

Having said that though, in most cases, the white guys just don't seem to get it. And if they do, they choose not to be self-reflective and work on their shit. So I don't know folks. All I know is that there are many amazing women I know caught up in situations where they are compromising, self-doubting, and questioning the hard work they've done on themselves to get to where they are. For us women, the confidence, the belief in ourselves, the perseverence, the resilience, is an everyday struggle. This struggle is a part of us. Not recognizing this struggle, which is so damn integral to our being, is not right. Compromising all the hard work we've done on ourselves, and for ourselves, is not right. It just isn't.

I realize we can't help who we fall in love with. But come on now, oppressive power dynamics and all the isms that go with it don't just magically stop at the door to your relationship. Just because you are a white man and you love a Brown woman doesn't mean everything's cool. It's precisely the opposite. You have some serious work to do in terms of challenging yourself, un-learning and re-learning, listening, paying attention to your positionality in the relationship, and how you can be oppressive without even being aware, and how you can be supportive in ways that you didn't even know.

When it comes to women of color who are involved with white men, just cuz there's love doesn't mean it's all good. Really and truly, there's some serious work to be done.


ps. In case you didn't catch the song reference in the title, it's from an Elton John tune (1980). And to all the white men, I was being a little tongue-in-cheek guys, calm down.


Blogger Aaminah said...

Asalaamu alaikum.

Thanks for bravely posting that one! I too think alot on this issue. I have dated white men, I even married one once. I don't tend to find them aestetically pleasing to begin with, and the cultural differences seem so much harder to navigate than in any other mixed culture relationship. In all fairness, I can't honestly say that I find much I really like and can relate to in any white cultures, and that's not the man's fault. But in my relationships it becomes too much of a power struggle and I end up feeling too disrespected. Where I have never had a colored man (I'm not saying it doesn't happen, just it hasn't happened to me) tell me that I belong barefoot and in the kitchen, EVERY white man I ever dated, no matter how "liberal" or "open minded" they appeared to be in other ways eventually thought it was funny to tell me that I "work too much", "belong in the kitchen", "need to get knocked up" etc. I've never felt that my work as a writer or any other creative endeavor was validated or "allowed" when in a relationship with a white man.

I'm not saying that as an indictment against all white men, nor suggesting that WOC can never be happy and respected in a relationship with a white man. Nor am I saying that our men of color are ALWAYS so supportive and understanding as we really need them to be either. I'm just saying you do bring up some really valid points that need to be looked at seriously by WOC in such relationships and by the men themselves.

8:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember having this conversation, and many others like it. What popped into my head afterwards were two things that were completely relevant to what you were saying.
I've heard WoC mention that white men treated them better than men of their own backgrounds, because white men didn't carry around clearly-defined culturally-specific gender roles, whereas men of colour expected their partners to behave like their (saintly!) mothers.
Another thing that came up was that WoC in relationships with white men found that they could "get away" with behaviour a partner from a similar background would find inexcusable; because a white man may not understand his partner's background, there is a tendency to overcompensate for his shortcomings, and "you don't understand me or my background", when not used in frustration, sometimes becomes a tool for manipulation.

11:09 AM  
Blogger Kalimba said...

Engaging post PQ, thanks. As a straight (mixed) man of colour, I know well that this can be a very challenging, sometimes difficult to address part of relationships, to a degree I can't fully comprehend coming from the perspective of so-called male privilege and white-performativity privilege (my own term).

That said, and without wanting to suggest an equivalence where none is possible -- I have experienced some difficulty in intimate relationships with white women, who themselves had little or no analysis of race beyond their own inherited assumptions from within the status-quo security of the hegemony. Having early on led a somewhat blinkered existence myself growing up, I was more comfortable than I was willing to admit with the tendency of some white girlfriends to exoticize me... when it stroked my ego of course. When I felt offended, the oppression was all too clear, as was my unconscious lack of self-esteem in that situation. And often, it wasn't a question of "black" but the notorious "not black enough".

I can even see myself having played the role of a white male partner in the context of relationships with women of colour. Not an idea I'm comfortable with beyond being able to be aware of it in hindsight. I do know that when a women of colour spoke up and called me on potential shit like that, it woke up the self/respect/for others part of me and generally helped the situation. Perhaps there's hope for our white boys out there. Or perhaps I had mixed race privilege in those cases, and the reality is more grim. Who wants to have to negotiate their way at every point of a relationship?

Within the context of race/gender/identity and beyond that as well, everybody in a relationship needs that other person to, if not totally understand them or totally get them at all times, respect where they're coming from and be supportive and inspiring as a partner. To offer them a safe space. To be able to be trusted without question.

And personally, I find the concept of race-attraction aesthetics limiting, if acceptable in principle. There are sexy looks out there across the globe in all types of skin tones, face and body types, and for me turning off the bias programming -- whether it's the media or theoretical genetic preference -- is not difficult when a gorgeous person or personality is in front of me. However, I understand the real world is a bit different... and who wants to be with someone who doesn't appreciate the culture, history, heritage and struggle that went into shaping your own beauty, and that defined you - and not your media presence/absence - as unquestionably beautiful?

2:10 PM  
Blogger Pomegranate Queen said...

you said ,"I've never felt that my work as a writer or any other creative endeavor was validated or "allowed" when in a relationship with a white man."

that's an interesting point because my friends and I often talk about the academic space as being "white male" and how a lot of the research we do, our interests, etc. are either not validated, seen as fluff, etc. and moreover, we ourselves have internalized this and feel that we have to "prove" ourselves in academic spaces just to be like "we belong here!" and "our work is just as valid!".

anyway, thanks for the comments.

7:08 PM  
Blogger Pomegranate Queen said...

Anonymous and Kalimba, you both raised some serious points with your comments and I want to respond to bear with me...i'll respond soon and thank you for your comments

7:11 PM  
Anonymous Eric said...

PQ: This is a great piece. As a white guy who has worked on his "shit," I love this post. It reminds me that I need to keep working on my own self-awareness.

2:49 PM  
Blogger Pomegranate Queen said...

hey anonymous,
I hear you on the two points you raised...and i realize the issue is way more complicated that what my post had to offer on this subject.

there's one thing that I want to elaborate on. you said,"

there is a tendency to overcompensate for his [white man's] shortcomings, and "you don't understand me or my background", when not used in frustration, sometimes becomes a tool for manipulation."

the "tool for manipulation" is a really interesting point to raise because it marks the *agency* of WoC in their relationships with white men...this is something that my post failed to touch on (although i was focussing on a particular aspect of the topic in question) but still I should have touched on it.

Absolutely....WoC involved in relationships with white men are not passive recipients of "white man's oppression" and I hope my post didn't present WoC as victims of the wider structural/systemic power inequalities that are embedded in their love lives.

I guess I just wanted to point out that there are power imbalances in such relationships (i.e. white men and WoC) and they are linked to wider/systemic inequities, etc.

I hope I'm making sense here.

and absolutely, WoC have that agency within that relationship to deal with any given situation...even if that means "manipulating", "coping", etc.

9:12 PM  
Blogger Pomegranate Queen said...

Wow, Kalimba, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

I love the term "white-performativity privilege"! although i'm not sure exactly what you mean by that? Could you expand if you don't mind? When I first met you, I read you as a Black it down for me please. Do you mean lighter skin privilege? or being ambiguosly of color?

I'm also curious to know how you saw yourself playing the role of a "white male partner in the context of relationships with women of colour"...

It's true, who wants to have to negotiate their way at every point of a relationship? But i feel it's important to have such discussions in terms of locating each other's positionalities in relationships and checking in so to speak.

I couldn't agree with you more that respect, support, safe space and trust are key...without any of this, no relationship of any sort can last or be "healthy" (for a lack of a better word)

thank you for your comments!

and hoping to hear back from ya!

9:23 PM  
Blogger Pomegranate Queen said...

hey eric!
that's great! all of us have shit to work's about working on oneself...continually. But it's refreshing to hear a white dude saying it :)

9:24 PM  
Blogger Kalimba said...

Thanks for the response PQ... by "white performativity privilege" I meant that as a black male adopted and raised in an all-white family in an all-white small town society, I have the ability to pass as they say, at least in some superficial behavioural respects, as white. I could simply have said that I know how to act and speak as if I were a white person, but it's a little more than that for more reasons than I want to expand upon here.

While consciously "passing" has never been a desirable goal nor one which obviously ever made visual sense, I can't deny certain privileges I've gained as a result of knowing the verbal and social codes and values of North American whiteness inside and out. Nor of course can I deny a certain amount of confusion, self/oppression and anger that I had to deal with as well.

And yes, there is lighter-skin privilege too, as well as a certain level of ethnic ambiguity that come in play. Often white people never observe nor even notice my blackness (unless I course I grow out my hair!)

As far as relationships with women of colour, when discussions around cultural values, oppression, negotiations with hegemony, struggles with mainstream-white-media-driven ideas of beauty, etc. came up, I think my knee-jerk subconscious voices were saying "hey I learned to live with/in white power structures why can't you?" A terrible way to think, but again these would have been my issues coming to bear, not my good intentions as a partner.

It's quite complex, and I wish we could have a chat about it sometime because I can't properly elaborate with a few comments... but suffice to say my relationships with black women have been essentially like mixed-race relationships. I wasn't raised by black parents within an African or African North American cultural context, and so a large part of my negotiation has been about finding my blackness on my own (which didn't happen until I was a teenager), and to a much lesser degree about learning to accept my whiteness (birth mother was white). It has affected relationships regardless of the ethnicity of my partner. But relationships with non-Black WoC have been easier for me in general...

But can I tell you that I'm really glad I'm not dating right now, because those indie girls that are in their time of trendy glory... as cute as some of 'em are, just don't get 'em. OK, off topic now.

8:43 PM  
Blogger brownfemipower said...

Hey PQ!
Ok, well, i'll admit, you touched on kinda a sore spot for me--it personally drives me bonkers when woc start in with the dating white men is impossible thing.
Now, first off, let me say, that I absolutly recognize that a vast majority of woc that I know have been severely traumatized by white men, either historically or within their own lives. In fact, that's my other pet peeve is white folks who are "scared" of black men, when in all reality, white folks don't have a history of black men raping white women with guns or hanging white men and then setting them on fire or any of the other horrible things white men have been guilty of.
And within that I also recognize the power imballances as well--I'm gonna be honest with you and say that I have constantly had to negotiate race and gender issues with my husband, especially since I have become "aware". But at the same time, I *do* have a partner who is very aware of his privileges, and I don't think I just accidently came upon him one day and lucked out. I made a very conscious choice to be with him, and even if I wasn't politically aware at the time, i *did* have enough personal self awareness at the time to know what i would put up with and what I wouldn't. And the funny thing was, that self awareness came because I was painfully aware of how men of color figures in my life had fucked with me as a woc. I agree with anon that white men often provide a certian amount of freedom from culture expectations--I've actually had the opposite experience of aaminah, it's only ever been mexican/chicano men who have questioned my need to write or my need to get the hell out of the resturant world...and if anything, through the horrible stress of having kids, being poor, being married WAAAAY too young, etc etc, going to school and being a writer is the one thing that I have tried over and over again to give up on because it was just too fucking hard and he has absoltuly refused to be complicit in me giving up. my desire to write has been in a way, the one thing that has really kept us together--
but I want to say that I'm not trying to defend marrying white men by showing how amazing he is, because he's not. he's human, as am i, and he's been known to fuck up royally on many levels :-).

What I really want to defend about marrying white men, is that we woc who have married white men have already on so many levels "betrayed" our communities, and our communities let us know that ALL THE TIME. the thing I get most often is that I am being uppity--that mexican's aren't good enough for me, apparently. So, I can't go to my community as my spouse and I try to negotiate this relationship shit.
Then, I can't go to mainstream white feminists who surround me because they then sit judgement on my community--why are they so backwards? it's so *sad* that we haven't moved past racism yet! (signal bfp puking).
But then the worst thing is that I then go to woc, who have saved my life on so many levels, who tell me I shouldn't be dating him to begin with much less marrying him!
So, if you believe, as I do, that community building is the site of resistance and challenging of dominate power structures, and you think, as I do, that so many relationship "wrongs" like abuse and power imballances and rape and plain ol' stress fighting are solved, by a community being invested in the relationships that are within the community, and the one group who supposedly *also* thinks that, tells you community doesn't include your spouse (and by extension) your kids, what are you supposed to do with that?
who are you supposed to go to that exists outside of the power structure (of therapists, counsellors, etc), to get assurances, help, advice, and all the other normal advice that couples need while in struggle? Back in the day, when relationships struggled, the members of the relationship would go to trusted aunts uncles, brothers, sisters, etc, to find out what to do...was this normal? Had this ever happened to anybody before? what did they do about it? what are other options? there were actual methods built into the process of "being" community that helped relationships build and grow--if your mother saw signs that you were having a hard time in your relationship, she suggested you go talk to your aunt, who then listened or spoke, whatever. everybody recognized that the survival of the community rested on the health of individual relationships.
so when I hear woc who insist that other woc shouldn't be in relationships with white men, I feel not only defenisive, as in, you can't tell me who to date! (very childish, i know, but i absolutly will continue doing something simply because i was told to stop!!! :-) but also that my community is inadvertently using its own form of power over each other--you know--giving that warning, nothing good will come out of dating a white man--so that when troubles actually DO arise, which they will, they arise in EVERY marriage because this structure is so blatently individualistic, and couplehood flies in the face of that individualism, the community can then hide behind, "we told you so." rather than come up with strategies (as they have for queer couples, and women in abusive relationships) to deal with and confront the various power structures being in a relationship with a white man might bring up.
and you know, on a very personal bottom line level, I am being told almost every day by almost everybody that my entire lifestyle is "wrong" (why did I have kids before I could support them? why did I get married before I finished school? why did I get married so young? why are you ten/fifteen years younger than me and your kids are the same age as mine? started young didn't you? is it any wonder that woc who are in relationships with white men (and who then, on top of the mess, also have to confront race and gender and many times, class, sexuality) can't figure out how to make it work, even with supportive white men who honestly are reflective of their positions? I mean, there's so fucking much more to a relationship than he acts like a white dude. I mean, do I get to count the fact that my white dude husband applied for food stamps as a positive or a negative? Cuz I can tell you now, he's the only able bodied white guy that I have EVER seen at the welfare office--does that mean that he is a dickhead for thinking he has the right to compete for food with women of color? Or that he is brave for confronting his white privilege? Or that I was busy at the WIC office, and we got more done that day because he went and got the food stamps?
Do you see what I mean? I don't think I'm saying it very clearly here. I guess I'm trying to say that when a couple is looking for a way to make ten cents into ten dollars, are we then supposed to take the time to interogate and talk and talk and talk and make SURE there are no power imballances and racist hang-ups that get in the way of sitting at the welfare office?
Anyway, I've blabbered on and on. And I want to say too, that I am NOT saying that you, pq, are feeling or saying all the stuff that I said in this post--I'm speaking in general terms as inspired by your thoughtful post! I am talking to the general feeling I've experienced from a LOT of woc--that there is something wrong mentally with me or with my husband or with us both because we are together. I mean, many woc I hang with don't even know that I am married. mostly because I just don't feel like dealing with the attitude. I just think that, like you said, this marrying white men thing is something that needs to be confronted and worked with--but I don't think it is something that the woc need to do by themselves--I think it is something that we should be doing as a community--recognizing that in EVERY community throughout history, relationships and communities were NEVER just one color, one nationality, one class, one sexuality, one people made from the same cloth. and if we woc can expand our flexibility and our theories to account for queer relationships, unmarried relationships, single partnerships, etc etc, why do we then close the door on accounting for and dealing with white/of color? confronting all the evil along with all the good?

12:41 PM  
Blogger Pomegranate Queen said...

Kalimba, thanks for breaking down "white pefromativity privilege" - I get what you meant by the term. Ahh the damn negotiations...they are so draining sometimes...I hear you..thanks for the comments and we'll chat sometime about it all...or perhaps we'll just grab a few drinks and stick to more flaky/fluffy conversations...but is that EVER possible with PQ?!! (yes, it is, trust me, I'm not always intense! I can be flaky, i really can) :)

1:06 PM  
Blogger Pomegranate Queen said...

ahhh BFP, it's hitting (of course unintentionally) the sore spots that helps bring out important here we go.
I know you mentioned you were speaking in general terms, but just to clarify that my post wasn't intended to mean white men could never be great partners for WoC...what I meant was that there is important discussions that need to take place inorder for the relationships to be a "safe space".
These discussions often don't take place, they are awkward and no liberal white guy would like to think that he might need some self analysis in terms of his positionality in a relationships with a WoC. I know some awesome white men who are married to amazing WoC...the reason why I know they are awesome is because they are supportive and open to self-reflecting. Sure there are the awkward moments and things they might not "get" but for the most part they are lovely dudes.

I don't think by any means we need to stick to dating within our own communities, hell no. I've been there and hoping I could go there again (but not sure about that), for similar reasons you mentioned. dudes from my own community seem to not "get" me (as the individual that I am) - but who's to say there isn't someone from my community that will. Also, I think there's serious dialoguing that should happen between couples of color (of different ehtnicites/backgrounds) - then again, maybe i'm just so damn intense, i just need to stop with the dialoguing and just let things be ;) lol
...but I'm all about communication...especially the tough, uncomfortable conversations....

thanks for your thoughts as always!

1:22 PM  
Blogger Kalimba said...

Wow, hot topic PQ. Lots of passionate and intelligent discussion. Your blog rox.

To add one more point to my case in the thread... I am currently with a woman -- well, with and making a family with! -- seriously with a woman whose background in terms of race identity is quite similar to mine. African descent, white parent and sibling, hometown, etc. It is remarkable how this shared aspect of our journeys through identity helped to form a bond between us right away.

Not that it makes things easier across the board, but wow was it refreshing to find someone that got this part of me without explanation, yet who can hear my stories and not shrug their shoulders, scratch their heads, cluck their tongues, say something uninformed like "but you're not really black" or deny their own racism. and vv for her of course.

So, there's something to be said for finding your community... that's not to say the one you were born into, but the one that feels like your community to you; the one that supports and nurtures you. And by extension, your children, big up BFP.

Yah, those drinks, those drinks. Soon ok? Flaky/fluffy/fuzzy conversation guaranteed. kalimBa

2:27 PM  
Blogger EL said...

"White performativity privilege" is a really important term. It somehow centers for me what's really going on in the situation.

In addition to props, I was curious if you saw the New York Times Modern Love column this past weekend?

6:23 PM  
Blogger Pomegranate Queen said...

hey el,
no i didn't see the NY times Modern Love column...Is there a way to check it online...i'm gonna see if that's a way to check it along the lines of what we were discussing...ummm...i'm gonna guess no! :)

10:57 PM  
Blogger The Assimilated Negro said...

I like pomegranates.

the column is a Times select, but it's printed in full here.

alternatively you can google the title and find others who have transcribed it.

this is always a ripe subject. just to interject on the "coined term," white performativity = assimilated, no?


6:45 PM  
Anonymous J-Bet said...

Hey girl,

Haven't stopped in on the blog in a minute, and you KNOW I couldn't resist this one . . .

Don't worry, I didn't take it personally - being a white guy dating a WOC (that's my abbreviation for the day) who happens to be a radical feminist artist and all around awesome woman, I know that the vast majority of white guys "don't get it" as you put it.

Let's not even address the guys with an "ethnic fetish" - that's just too obvious.

I'd like to bring up the guys for whom dating a WOC is an act of rebellion or signifier of "being down," as in: "my last girlfriend was black, I can't be racist"

There are the white guys who in their minds are so progressive and liberal that they're devoid of any baggage that comes with being the most priviledged group in society for several centuries. Therefor, it's grounds for a breakup if the WOC they're dating even has some constructive criticism for them on their personal race/identity/white priviledge views.

Me I try to be aware of my own identity from the get-go in any relationship. I don't let it define the ENTIRE relationship but it's there, and I'd be a fool if I denied it. But the difference to me isn't a disadvantage so long as my partner is just as willing to listen to and LEARN FROM (not the same thing as listening to) my experiences as I am of theirs. Relationships are learning experiences regardless, so adding one more layer to the mix in the form of dating someone who is a WOC shouldn't throw off a true knowledge seeker.

I call myself on my on BS regularly on a variety of things, so I don't take it personally if my partner does once in a while, and neither does she if I call her on it. Isn't that what a healthy relationship is supposed to be? Two people who enable each other to grow? Even if it means some self-realization?

See you this weekend kiddo . . .

11:59 PM  
Blogger Pomegranate Queen said...

you know i love you man. yes, we'll take this one up in person. hahahahha. raise points, guy, you raise points. we'll talk.

2:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh and the rage. I've dated primarily white men all my life, having grown up in a predominantly white suburb during my formative teen and young adult years.

When I was younger, my moms, a lovely, but highly opinionated woman, warned me: they will never love you the way you need. I was young. I shrugged and kept on going about my business, being careful not to bring them up around her and privately pitying her for what I considered at the time unnecessarily reactive and cloistered views.

Now I'm nearing middle age. And after many, many trials and errors, I can't say that I've come away without her words ringing in my ears like Poe's bells. For the most part, it's been a battle between being the good, quiet girl I feel they want (the exotic butterfly to be pinned down under glass for their friends to see) and the wise strong woman I know I am (the owl able to see with its ears and smell with its eyes).

After many years, it came about that I just might be the type to refuse to put up with shit, all the way around. Something in my DNA (my hard-working moms, no doubt) kept me going in circles with them about the shit.

No made up stuff mind you. Real shit. Everything from: "you want some more white meat?" to "you should grow an afro" to the last manchild offering me an economics book to read that his dad sent him on "why black people haven't made it in America, despite being the group with the largest handout in history," (a book I'm certain his daddy was all too happy to send him), painting th "n*" on a board "like Godard," and riding me about why "black people support horrible black films" (and white people don't?) all the while peppering his responses to my counterattacks with "why does it have to be about race with you?" --A good manipulation tactic of white males that should be discussed in conjunction with the manipulation tactics of WOC. (Thank you J-Bet for mentioning the "liberated liberal" in your analysis)

It has been endless, these "misunderstandings," read: plain ignorance with a dash of cruelty and a dash of disaffectedness--said in a tone that appears perfectly, seemingly sane, but asides and comments kill you all the time. They add up.

I liken it to a bucket, with every little comment and aside like a little turd of their worst, most despotic, putrid selves put in this bucket tied around your neck. It's the mule, all right. "Put down the bucket," they've said. Try telling them you're born with the bucket tied around your neck? "Why does it always have to be about race with you?" is the same, sad response.

Now I'm just angry and sad and I don't know what to do with this anger and sadness. Lord knows the trust has long packed it's bags and gone. And I'm so filled with rage at the disrespectfulness of it all--from both ends, cause I don't excuse myself for putting up with it and I don't excuse them for dishing it out.

And I'll be damned if I can get myself to embrace the Anzaldua factor: I'm tired of crossing the borderlands now. They need to come to my side, be split open, and sewn back together, as I've felt I have been in theirlandia. At some point, when do I stop translating for them and they start speaking the language?

11:44 PM  
Blogger pomegranate queen said...

oh anonymous!
thank you for this comment. because of the sporadic nature of my blogging, it takes me forever to go back to old posts and check for new comments and so i am responding now...not sure how long ago you posted this.

you said:

"Now I'm just angry and sad and I don't know what to do with this anger and sadness. Lord knows the trust has long packed it's bags and gone. And I'm so filled with rage at the disrespectfulness of it all--from both ends, cause I don't excuse myself for putting up with it and I don't excuse them for dishing it out."

what you said here really hits home for so many of us. i think what you said also translates to non-romantic relationships with white folks. i think back to a "breakup" i had with a girlfriend i was very close to for many years...and wonder how the hell i had her in my life for so long!

i think the healing and the work we do, internally, is key to letting go of the anger and sadness. and i don't think either will ever really and truly go away...but it's the process that brings peace, eventually.

and the trust thing may never come, but again, there can be a process towards it...and for me, that's can only happen through the most honest, rawest, realest dialoguing between individuals. if people can handle that, then that's an opening to something...

fucking "process" - i hate using that word...but you know what i mean.

anyway, thank you for sharing your words about all this.


3:55 PM  

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