I Love My White Boyfriend But There’s One Thing He Can Never Understand

'How can we properly mourn the loss of a black person while sitting next to someone who can never know that grief?'

5/23/2020 10:18:00 AM

'How can we properly mourn the loss of a black person while sitting next to someone who can never know that grief?'

'How can we properly mourn the loss of a black person who has lost their life while sitting next to someone who can never know that deep-seated grief?'

With each passing incident, certain facts of our shared life begin to feel more important. Therooms of recoverywhere he and I have sought refuge for the past 12 years are primarily white spaces. Our shared friendships are mostly with white people. Our conversations and the codes that we use to communicate with each other are those commonly found in white American culture.

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The longer we are together and the more acts of violence that take place against black people, the more I’m surprised by how I want/need to share those experiences with someone who, like me, understands these injustices at a cellular level. I want that someone to be the man that I’ve chosen to spend the rest of my life with. And even though I know it’s not possible, I want that someone to be Scott.

I need to be clear here, this is not about how Scott reacts to these incidents. When black people are murdered and terrorized, Scott is outraged, defeated, and afraid. It’s not that we see these injustices differently. I have never needed to convince Scott that black lives matter or why such a movement is necessary in our country. When Ahmaud Arbery was killed in February in Georgia ― a shooting that only belatedly resulted in the arrest of two white men earlier this month, and than a thrid Thursday ― it was Scott, not me, who went for a run on Arbery’s birthday, posting the miles he ran on social media in solidarity. The more Scott listens patiently and tries to learn and understand how he can be an ally, my heart wants to burst open with pride and relief. He cares, he really does.

But whether or not he cares doesn’t negate the fact that these acts of violence aren’t happening to him. When we see alcoholics being stigmatized, or divorced parents being villainized, we say, “Look at what’s happening to us!” But when it comes to matters of race, all at once, we can’t be a “we.”

Whether I’m at home sleeping, walking, driving, shopping or working, being black in this country means risking my life daily. And while being white in America isn’t without risk, I have yet to see people here hunting down and murdering white people in cold blood because of their race. And even if it did happen, it is still different, because the system we live in is designed by and for white people.

And to be honest, at times I’ve resented that Scott will never have to worry about thesafetyof his blond-haired daughters the same way I have to worry about the safety of my sons. And then, of course, I feel instantly guilty because it’s not Scott’s fault that we live in a country where two different realities exist for our families like ours. If I’m not careful, I know that these feelings could create a divide in our relationship that I won’t know how to bridge.

I’m grateful for my little affinity group, as I need to process these things as they come up. Otherwise, the fact that Scott and I don’t share a racial identity has the power to put us on separate sides of our sofa every time a tragic story about a black person is in the news.

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There are times when I’ve felt bad for white folks who have been chastised by black people for saying the “wrong thing” while trying to be supportive when racism rears its ugly head. Scott and I have never had the kind of relationship where we edit what we’re feeling.

Still, of late I can feel myself shutting down when I’m angry about the black shooting du jour. I need to be able to scream, sigh or cry when people who look like me get murdered. And whether Scott says the “wrong” thing or just puts his arms around me, I’d really like, as my friend Beverly says, to receive his efforts to connect. I want to keep leaning on him, just like I’ve done from the beginning.

Read more: HuffPost »

If I read the article correctly, she was saying that her significant other can never truly understand what she and other black people go through because he's white. I think this goes to the heart of race relations between those who aren't racist. People are being This is such a weird pointless article. 'I can't properly mourn cause Scott doesn't know how it feels to be black.' Wwwwhat? U figured maybe Scott was ALM or something but just, 'he's white'? I can't believe I just wasted my time like this.

This guy was no victim. I loved this. Completely understood her frustrations. So many ppl completely missed the point. My white wife understands it just fine. She was a passenger for one of my driving while black stops. What a lame article just Lame. Who are you sitting next to? I feel empathy for Jewish people attacked by Nazis I feel pain about the sickness and death of the Navajo what they have gone through plus now C-19 I feel grief for gays trans and any that suffer from hate or neglect Sit next to someone else

As a white male, I understand from the get go that a comment from me will be looked at by some as a token by the privledged white. I don’t disagree. As a white male in a interracial marriage I can never understand, only empathize. 🙄 🙄 Bullshit. WWWOOOWWW 🙏🏿 When fools don't read the article but go straight to chatting utter bollocks. And all white men, of course. 🙄🙄

Way to throw your boyfriend under the bus!! The first step is to not conceive of individual black or white people as representing all black or all white people. stopracegeneralizing Your boyfriend needs a new girlfriend. Being white doesn't make him a sociopath. He should find someone who doesn't have such a terrible opinion of him.

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