The reactions of my black friends and coworkers were the most interesting.Some shrugged it off as being a typical reaction and just part of the everyday racism they experience as a people.I had an older brother and sister 12 and 15 years my senior respectively, parents who were happy together, and my aunt and cousins lived one street over.I had a lot of attention growing up being the baby and all, but my main source of affection came from my Dad.All of the key players in my life had very different reactions to me having a black boyfriend. My sister pulled away from me in a big way after this incident fearing also being exiled by my father.My brother stepped up and tried to be my pseudo Dad by doing things like fixing my broken faucet and expressing his discontent being the executor of the will now that my name was removed. I think she feels like my Dad’s intent was to protect me from a bad situation, but also acknowledged that Aaron was a good guy and I was an adult capable of making my own decisions. They were surprised by both my Dad and Aaron’s reaction.As I told him about Aaron and I, the phone was silent; a pause on the other end of the line, “Is that that black kid? I was not to call him anymore, I had 2 weeks to get all of my items out of our family home, he had removed me from his will, and Christmas was cancelled. My dad wasn’t one of those crazy racist confederate flag people, right? My Dad’s birthday was in January so I decided to reach out and try to get a conversation going, even if it was awkward. All I can say is that I got through it only by the grace of God and I have no recollection of my words.Aside from the occasional comment on the freeway my dad never said anything about race. He responded saying and there was no point in trying to correspond with him. There was a pause, followed by “I wish you wouldn’t have told me that so I would still think the world is a cool place”.
He shared some of his negative experiences with African-Americans and how they treated women in the Marines and what he felt the view of white women dating black men was.They had met him before through some work functions and he had attended one of my dance performances earlier that year, but this was long ago, and now we were an item. I spoke to my mom the next day and she said my dad had pretty much gone off the deep end and I needed to let him cool down. I thought he would trust my judgment and know that since I’ve only dated a handful of people that this person was special to me and would make the effort. I had no appetite, no interest in going out, being with friends, and definitely neglected my boyfriend in pretty much every possible way. I cried and cried and cried ahead of time both by myself and with friends hoping to ensure that I wouldn’t have a complete meltdown in front of Aaron.I called my Dad in early to December to break the news- I was bringing a guy home for the holidays. He told me that was not acceptable to him, he was disappointed in me, and there was no way I was bringing Aaron over. A week later my dad sent me a text saying he was opting out of my life. Here I was in an interracial relationship living naively (I guess) to the world and even my own family. Maybe this had to do with his North Carolina upbringing, his time spent in the Marines, or something in his life pre-Ashley? I was emotionally drained and therefore emotionally unavailable and I think it became obvious I wasn’t being honest. My legs were shaking under the table and my teeth were chattering as I explained everything.My mom hated seafood so we would often go get fish together and make fun of people at work, school, etc. I always made sure everyone felt welcome and included.My dad is tremendously funny and a phenomenal story teller. I wore the same pair of vans tennis shoes to school for 5 years straight, had long un-brushed hair, and wore oversized sweatshirts and jean shorts to school. Because I wasn’t popular and because I was picky, I didn’t go on a single date until I was almost 20 years old. I thought it best to not deal with this all in real time in hopes that my Dad would come to his senses.The conversation quickly fizzled and I walked away knowing my pain was now his too and there was nothing I could do to fix it.