I can recall my very first celebrity crush. It was Peter Cetera. And I know what you’re thinking. Who is he? And more importantly, why him? The Karate Kid came out when I was young and the theme song was sung by the love of my life. The man that I actually wished on a star to marry. I know, we all have that one person that we are ashamed to admit that we had a crush on. But that man did it for me!
“I am the man/who will fight/for your honor!”
How beautiful is that? Peter Cetera was the lead singer of the band Chicago. He is also a white man. Here I was, this little chocolate princess from Georgia, hopelessly smitten with an older white male singer. And I remember at that age, that it seemed normal. I knew it was a crush, and I knew I was a child. I also knew that I would probably never meet him. But it didn’t matter. To me, he was handsome and talented. The fact that he was white, was not strange or odd. And to be honest it was his music that I love.
Even at a young age, color was not something that I saw. “Race Relations” was a term I wouldn’t understand until years later. To me, it is no surprise that having Mr. Cetera as my first crush, and the countless interracial marriages in my family, that I would find myself dating white men for most of my life. I have actually only been in one relationship with a black man. A fact that has shocked, confused and sometimes angered my family and friends.
Being judged for my romantic choices has ranged from the occasional side eye, the slight pregnant pause in conversation to the blatant “So is this the first time you’ve dated outside your race?” awkward questions. To say that you shouldn’t let it bother you, is far easier said then done.
Now, the glances, the questions and the odd mannerism are sadly common place. They are so common that it is only when something new and shocking is said and done that I even take notice. But why should you become immune to that? Why sit back and be numb to the fact that in 2017 people will still look at your mixed race relationship as odd? And why not feel bothered by it?
Simple: because it’s who I decided to love. Same as how I did’t care that my first crush was an old crooner from the 80’s, is the same reason why today I choose to be with the person who makes me smile. Because I am the same little girl who wished on a star and didn’t wish for my perfect mate to look like me. I didn’t even wish for anything based on his appearance. I simply wished for love.
So my wish for all of you, who like me are in relationship with someone who doesn’t look like you, or believes in the same religion or even roots for a different team: whatever the world may say about the two of you, there is a more divine reason why you are with the person you are with. And no amount of hushed conversations or ignorant stares should ever make you feel like who you love is wrong.