I was lucky in the past to be engaged to a black woman. I was surprised when I told my parents that I was engaged.
“Are you sure you want to marry a black woman?”, they said. “One of our family members married a black man and got divorced.” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I don’t believe that kind of thinking and I don’t speak with my parents after that.
I said that one experience with one black person doesn’t make all black people the same way. I said that I am going to marry her no matter what they think. Too bad the black woman changed her mind with me or it would have happened. Which is ok. You can’t please everyone. I told the black woman at the time what my parents said and apologized. She said she understood why people in a small town who don’t know blacks might feel that way.
In the same vein, I was assumed to speak for all white people once. I was working at a black-owned company and this was the time when the shock Jock Don Imus called black female athletes something not nice. I was sitting at the lunch table talking with my black coworkers and one of them said to me “Why did Don say that?” I was like what? I said I can’t speak for all white people. I don’t know why he said that crazy thing. He is a stupid and ignorant man and I don’t feel that way about those talented and beautiful players. I knew what it felt like for black people who were asked to speak for other black people in white-majority companies.
Working in the black-owned company was very educational for me and my coworkers. Another time I was working in the computer room and listening to a great song by the Pointer Sisters called Automatic. One of my coworkers came in to ask a question and she was shocked at what music was playing. She said, “Why are you listening to the Pointer Sisters?” I said “I like good music. Am I not allowed to listen to them?” To her, it was surprising that a white person might like black artists. I have liked many black artists. For example, as a kid, I thought Michael Jacksons Thriller album was the most excellent thing I had ever heard. I wore out my tape playing it over and over. Then I got records of other black artists and enjoyed those as well.
People have many misconceptions about each other. Everyone is an individual and we respect others when we accept that.