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It's a book whose time has more than come. Karazin bring a refreshing perspective to this hotly debated and newsworthy topic -- they also have the journalistic mettle and personal experience and humor to pull off a book that is both entertaining and informational. And if anyone can help us all sort through the nonsense, problems and preconceptions, it is Janice Rhoshalle Littlejohn, one of the smartest, most empathetic writers I know.
I only hope she starts on a book for black men next! I enjoyed it thoroughly and I highly recommend it to everyone. What a great read! Christelyn D. She lives in California and runs the popular blog BeyondBlackWhite. She lives in Los Angeles. All rights reserved. In this case, the call came from Christelyn. On the other end of the line, she was breathless and talking faster than her normal rapid-fire gabbing. She was excited, ecstatic really.
Having just returned from New York days before, where she had attended a conference of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, she had been pitching a story to literary agents about how she came to marry her husband, a story that she had pitched to Elle earlier that year, a personal essay she thought the editors might be receptive to. And while there was one that did, the piece never made it through the editorial labyrinth at the haughty New York glossy. So she began suggesting it as a book on how to go about dating interracially.
Her resolve was rewarded: three agents wanted to see the book proposal—which she had not yet written. In my mind, this story was hers, not mine. That, and I wanted my first book to have my name on it alone. I felt that after twenty years as a writer, I had earned that vanity point. And yet, as a single African American woman, now divorced for more than a dozen years, I felt I had something to say on the subject of interracial and crosscultural romances.
But for me, the timing was right on a personal level. This I realize is a generalized statement. As a journalist, I felt it my job to understand the reasons why and to give insight on how to get past it. So I agreed to coauthor the book with Christelyn.
It surprised her that I said yes so quickly. It had been sixteen years since we met at Loyola Marymount University, when I was paired with her as an alumni mentor, she an eager, wide-eyed sophomore with dreams of becoming a reporter like me; here we are now, writing colleagues with a like-minded mission: to dare black women to think differently.
What we want to do is help you do it. Dating out can be wonderfully sublime. But for the novice, it can be daunting and intimidating. In us, you get the perspectives of a woman who found marital bliss with someone of another race, and another happy to date a rainbow of men without the down-the-aisle end game.
Playing to both our strengths and interests, my chapters tackle such topics as where to find a mate, flirting, dating, and sex, because Christelyn, despite having had four children, is girlishly coy on the topic of coitus. For her part, she wanted to focus on the weighty issues that need to be addressed once the relationship gets into a deeper level when friends and family, and the people staring at you and your rainbeau in the supermarket, begin to play a factor in the relationship.
At the top of each chapter, we have identified those authored by Christelyn, and those I have written. And it is a book you can read out of sequence or in; all are self-contained works giving you the information you want when you need it. Writing Swirling has been nothing short of a positively transformative experience for Chris and me; my dating life alone has never been so wildly robust. And in your reading of Swirling, we hope, brings a deliciously fruitful and satisfying change in your dating experience.
Finally, writer Joy Jones had exposed the furtive secret, the dirty laundry. Despite the fact that my own parents had been married for forty-five years, I learned early that marriage for whites and blacks was distinctly different. In my pubescent, wide-eyed youth, I remember the image I had was of hands clasped against one cheek, me sighing dreams of love, marriage, mutual understanding and cooperation.
The problem is, the chances are slim—African Americans have the lowest marriage rate of all races, and black women are at the back of the line. We lost touch, so I never found out if the deliveryman ever came knocking with that ring in hand. So, if marriage is for white people, what option does an educated, fertile, marriage-minded black female have?
Know this: Prince Charming comes in all colors. I realize that some black women, steadfast in their quest to find the ultimate brother, may bristle when they read this. I can only speak for myself. His parents never married. His own father has three illegitimate children that we know of at least. As my belly swelled, I remember being so ashamed that I bought a cubic zirconia to wear on my ring finger when we were out together in public.
To him, marriage was nonessential. And still others, like my engineer friend, would rather forfeit marriage and motherhood than ever consider marrying outside their race. Marriage for slaves was not legally or spiritually binding by the ruling class. Defiant lovers still found ways to express their eternal devotion by jumping the broom, which symbolized the leap into a new life, and living together.
Some of us still have not forgiven. My husband and I jumped the broom the day we married. So with clenched teeth and sweaty palms I took the leap with my white husband, and into a world that was neither black nor white, but brushed with of wisps of gray. An interracial marriage is truly risky. You join the ranks of odd couples who abdicate their anonymity and risk ridicule. Tall and short, skinny and portly, black and white. Someone stares a millisecond longer than what is comfortable, and then you wonder.
A salesman snubs you and then you speculate. I have been called a nigger three times in my life. The first time was in elementary school: a blond boy with dirty clothes and flies perpetually circling his face spat the word at me while I sat on a swing. Then it happened again in high school—some cowardly adolescent thought it was funny to yell out the slur while I was walking alone from school. The last time came just before my wedding. I was walking alongside a coworker passing out notices to homeowners about freeway work to be done in Costa Mesa, California.
We made the best of it, laughing about the ridiculous job, how the execs liked to hand off the grunt work to the juniors. We took in the sunshine. We talked about our significant others. He knew my intended was white, and asked me about it. A man hung his elbow out of the window.
Then it had happened a third time. My coworker, who was white, seemed incredulous, almost embarrassed, and a little scared. What jerks! Why apologize for what those chumps yelled out? Did he think that I would hold him responsible in some way, like some collective condemnation for all bigots of the world? In a way, he did. In some ways, we all do. Before that incident I lived in a bubble of self-imposed denial about what it would be like to be married to someone white.
That day, something grabbed hold and shook me. I began to overanalyze the incident, rewinding and replaying it. Seeing us laughing and walking together must have looked like intimacy to those men. They must have thought we were on a date. He kissed my tears. He called the men bastards. Then we went on, one foot in front of the other, down the aisle. Because no matter what, nothing changed the fact that we loved to cook and garden together, and debate the latest news outrage in bed on Sunday mornings.
He had an uncanny way of reading me and knowing my secrets, and loving me still. When it was time to take the leap, my palms slick with sweat, part of me was giddy with love and promise; the other, secret part was full of fear and dread. I would begin a life with a man who had never known open prejudice, never been called a name meant to humiliate and dehumanize him. He would have to toughen up to hear a few slurs of his own, now that he was going to be married to me.
At our wedding, I gave one last look at the audience. To my left was his family and friends—mostly white—and to the right was my family. Black sand, white sea foam. As the tide ebbs and flows, each part takes and leaves a little of itself with the other. I looked at my soon-to-be husband, with his wide smile and hopeful green eyes, and I knew in an instant that no matter what the future brought, this was my man.
He was the man. Almost equally ironic as was the drive-by name calling fluke, my husband and I have been lucky thus never to have experienced blatant outrage or bigotry about our biethnic, bicultural relationship. Indeed, the world is changing. At almost twelve, my oldest daughter has never been called a nigger. There are more families that look like us, both in real life and on television.
Finally, the ghosts of slavery and all the isms—racism, colorism, classism—that go along with it are being exorcised. Of course we get the furtive looks and stares of bald curiosity or disdain that comes along with being different. And I must admit I still hold my breath when we walk together past a cluster of black men for fear of their stares of disapproval, or worse—words spoken into action, action into deed.
They were wrong. Imperfect and glorious, this little black girl got her fairy-tale ending. My marriage works, just not in the confines of tradition or with the ease of anonymity. Read more. Start reading Swirling on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle?
Customer reviews. How are ratings calculated? Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. It also analyzes reviews to verify trustworthiness. Top reviews Most recent Top reviews. Top reviews from the United States. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. This is reminiscent of an older era of dating that has been lost in the modern days of dating.
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