Back in the day, I’d been dating a great guy, who would later turn into my first serious boyfriend, for several weeks, and was considering introducing him to my parents, when friend after friend asked me if I was anxious about my parents’ reaction. The first time I was asked that question, I was confused – reaction to what? They’d roll their eyes, as though it was obvious: to his being black. (This was only uttered by my Caucasian and Asian friends. South Americans and African-Americans, upon seeing him (half-Guayanese, half-Canadian) would scoff and exclaim, “but he is only half black!” Or as my friend Nene put it, he’s “like a cone of soft ice cream, half-vanilla, half-chocolate.” How yummy!)
Sure enough, nobody in my family cared about his background or skin color. My Baba did whisper earnestly to my mother that he should be careful about his dreadlocks – somebody might mistake him for a musician!
During that first introductory dinner, he got interrogated by my uncle and aunt. He was studying engineering, had been a high school football player, and had played in bands his whole life, usually as a drummer. My mother sitting further down the table, turned to me and blurted out: “A drummer? That’s great, at least you know he’ll have good rhythm! ” She caught herself, and glanced, embarrassed, at my 9-yr-old god-daughter, who’d been sitting with us, listening attentively.
All in all, I think my friends severely mis-judged my source of anxiety leading up to that introduction.