Many, many years ago, I saw someone on television take a set of toothpicks and place them on a table. He picked up one toothpick and snapped it in half with the greatest of ease. Then, he took a handful of toothpicks and attempted to break them. He could not do so. He then stated that it can be relatively easy to possibly break one person. But a strong family is just like that set of toothpicks; nearly impossible to break. Yes, there are strong individuals out there, but nothing is stronger than a close-knit family.
That has stuck with me ever since then. Especially when I look at my own family.
My wife is white and I am black. We first began dating on March 30, 1998 and we were married the following year, which means we are nearing our 17th wedding anniversary. We have two beautiful children, who are 11 and 8 years old today.
My point is that our family first began more than 18 years ago.
Obviously, I don’t have to point out that even now in 2016, there are people out there who have issues with interracial relationships. My wife and I have seen it (as many of you who are in an interracial relationship yourselves) many, many times over the years.
Old Navy decided to prepare an ad (the picture shown above). You can see that this is an interracial couple.
Once again, there was outrage from those who didn’t care for this combination. In my loudest and most annoying Gomer Pyle voice:
The first time in recent memory (at least that I’ve noticed) that this has happened was a few years ago when Cheerios made a commercial using an interracial couple. A black man, a white woman and their biracial daughter. Of course, there was “outrage” then also from all those who had a problem with it.
What did Cheerios do? They gave those people the middle finger salute and did another commercial with this same exact family. I believe the first commercial showed the little girl mostly talking to one parent and the other commercial was just with the other parent, if I remember correctly. Now that alone made Cheerios one of my absolute favorite companies. If the cereal itself wasn’t so punishing to my insides, I would be eating it just about every day if I could.
As I stated above, my wife and have seen the “issues” people have had with us over the years we’ve enjoyed being together. Yeah, it still happens today and contrary to what some folks think, no, we don’t have to go out and “look” for it. We may not notice it very often because we really don’t care, but yes, definitely isn’t much different from before. We hear the comments, the whispers, the laughs. Usually those who do it aren’t really significant enough to matter. I don’t recall any of their names (in the rare instance we actually care about their names) appearing on any of our bills.
It goes without saying that if people have an issue with interracial couples, there’s not a ton that will change their minds. Not that people like me are worried about trying to.
See, my wife and I have found love with each other. This is absolutely NOT intended to be a shot against those who have not yet done so. My point of saying that is because the love between us is MUCH stronger than the childish hating by those who either hasn’t found love or is so unhappy with their relationships that they need to find issues with the relationships of others.
In short, my wife, kids and I are that stack of toothpicks. Those who have a problem with it are pathetically trying to snap that stack and fail each and every time.
One thing I’ve noticed a lot of is people attacking me or my wife on social media. Interactions on social media, for the most part, should be taken with a grain of salt, of course. But I have pretty strong opinions of the black community that the rest of the community doesn’t necessarily agree with. (You can read some of my other blog posts here to know what some of those opinions are). Most of what I say is the truth, period. However, when that gets under the skin of those who don’t agree and they realize they have nothing strong to come back with, they go straight to my profile and they post a picture with me and my wife.
Uh…I know what my wife looks like. We’ve been together for more than a day.
Ohhhh…the point of posting my picture with her is to try and “insult” me in some kind of way? A way to say that my strong opinions of the black community are somehow not valid because I married a white woman? If you really had faith in what you were saying, you could always just express those points. But considering that many know I’m telling the truth, they figure that to insult me, my wife, or our relationship will make me feel “badly” enough to maybe change my mind or to shut me up.
Stack of toothpicks, geniuses. Stack of toothpicks.
In skimming through some of the “outrage” over this Old Navy ad, one type of comment I see should be mentioned here also. People are saying, to the effect, that Old Navy did this “to make a political statement.” One person even commented to say that he would never date outside his race, because he is “not going to succumb to the politics” and also that he “has no interest in making a statement.”
Really? Two people who love each other get together “just to make a statement”? Old Navy is “shoving this statement down your throats”? Please, people. You’re not that important. People don’t get in relationships just to get to YOU in some way or to make some statement to get under YOUR skin. I don’t remember asking anyone for permission before my wife and I got together. Maybe it’s because I didn’t need to do so.
But seriously…people have such skewed and damaged views of love that they cannot possibly fathom that two people can love each other and race have absolutely NO part in the equation whatsoever. That’s really sad to me. My wife and I don’t even look at each other as color, but as people. Folks may not believe that, but half the time, the fact that the other person is black or white truly doesn’t even register. Unless something happens and one of us makes a joke of some kind, it’s the furthest thing from our minds.
I am an aspiring screenwriter. I recently had a conversation with someone who said that he doesn’t put interracial couples in his work because he too, feels that it’s nothing more than a “statement being made.”
The fact that people think interracial couples exists strictly to “make a political statement” or that there is some displeasure with one’s own race, or any of the other reasons that do NOT involve love shows that there is a LOT wrong out there.
However, what’s “wrong” is not with those of us in interracial relationships. It’s with those who have a problem with it.
If you want to be a person who loves conditionally, then hey…your world. Must be pretty rough to live a life in which true love has limits. But don’t take it out on us because many of us are strong enough to ignore all the BS excuses and you aren’t. That is honestly what it boils down to with me. Some folks are strong enough to ignore the pressure and others aren’t. Just because you’re not comfortable seeing an interracial couple in an advertisement because you feel there is some ulterior motive behind it or you feel it is being “forced” onto the public (laughable) doesn’t mean it will go away or hell, that it even needs to.
But when you want to get to running off at the mouth about interracial couples being nothing more than “political statements” or that companies like Cheerios and Old Navy are “shoving this down your throats,” seriously…shoving WHAT down your throats? One single ad with an interracial couple is “shoving” something down your throats? How weak can you be? So you can handle seeing same-race couples, but oh my God, gag you with a spoon with something interracial happens? And why, because you think they’re trying to make some kind of “statement”?
Get a freaking grip.
Maybe they’re just looking to reflect America as it is TODAY. You see interracial couples everywhere outside, right? So what’s the problem? It’s fine to see it out on the streets, but not in an advertisement? Can’t see the logic there. Are the couples in public “shoving it down your throats” also?
Again…you’re not that important. You’re really not.
I really don’t like the expression “Nobody Cares.” The main reason is because people who say this are mainly just speaking about themselves and maybe a few select people. I always say that just because YOU don’t care doesn’t mean someone else doesn’t, nor do you speak for everyone else.
However, I think that phrase is very fitting here, at least from the perspective of those of us in interracial relationships.
You see, in this case, it’s absolutely true that “nobody” cares. Those you out there who do care enough to whine about it?
You are a “nobody” to us.