He is a first-generation American of Haitian descent. For the two-and-a-half years that we have been dating, I haven't been concerned about the differences in our backgrounds. I mean, we are both black folks if from different cultures. She may disapprove of my heritage, but that won't stop my boyfriend and I from appreciating our cultural differences. There are way too many positive, inspiring experiences that come from intercultural dating for one to focus on the drawbacks.
And I cannot say I was shocked by her blanket statement. We all know intelligent, reasonable people who still make prejudiced assumptions about whole groups of people or cultures.
We've all said, thought or heard something unfair about a group of people. Asians are the best at math. Hipsters are insert whatever negative opinion you have because I have no clue. That, of course, does not make it right, but it does make it predictable. I nearly sabotaged my first college relationship by making a broad statement about Liberian men.
My mom drilled the idea of the Liberian playboy into my head growing up. So I believed that the average Liberian man plays until he lies dead in his grave, although that didn't stop me from dating them. Once I jokingly called a Liberian boy I met in college a "Liberian playboy.
His jovial tone turned cold. Still, I thought about sharing my bogus theory of the Liberian playboy when a Jamaican girl I recently met proudly shared that she was dating a Liberian. Instead, I stuttered as I asked for an explanation. Of course, she had no facts to back her up her prejudice. But, sadly, she isn't alone in her "opinion. Haitian men, they say, are controlling. They can be abusive. They are way too spoiled by their mothers. Men can be equal opportunity assholes, regardless of their background.
And the same goes for women. All I see is a nice bonus. As a former French student, I am completely enthralled by the way it sounds and by the fact that it pulls from French and West African languages. So much so that I've read several books on that topic. Soup joumou has saved my life before, I tell you! And there is a lot he appreciates and knows about my culture.
I love that he is never bothered by the fact that my grandmother will never be able to pronounce his name. He gorges himself on Liberian dishes whenever he visits me. I was shocked when he recognized check rice and gravy and torborgee a dish made with meat and palm oil bubbling in the pots. I don't lose sleep over these cultural differences of opinion. But my mother is a bit uneasy about the African warning my boyfriend received from his grandmother.
Thankfully, there haven't been any battles. So I'm not going to dig any deeper about the "Watch out for them Africans" comment.
I should probably just let it go, right? After all, I know other members of his family love me and I am sure she will have no choice but to feel the same way. God gave me dimples for a reason. And the power these babies have aren't exclusive to any one nationality.