Monday, January 21, 2008

Free at Last?

My mother sent me an e-mail a few days ago. You might be familiar with it. It claims Barack Obama is a RADICAL MUSLIM and may be part of a terrorist plot to infiltrate the US government and bring it down from within.

Here's how she prefaced it:
"I don't know how much of this is true. I haven't personally researched the allegations. And I know that everyone seems to love Opra [sic]. However, I have heard some of the allegations previously. I remember when it was in the news that Barack Obama refused to put his hand on the bible--but instead, the Koran. I'm only sending this as "food for thought" to the rest of you."

Wow. Thanks for the heads-up, Mom.

I might have actually done something stupid, like research the facts myself.

(How many times do I have to tell her Snopes is our friend?)

This is par for the course for her, sadly. The word "Muslim" is synonymous with "terrorist" in her mind. And the fact that he's black just seals the deal.

Would she believe the same lies about Rudy Giuliani? Or Mitt Romney? Or Mike Huckabee?

No, she wouldn't.

So, why Obama?

It should come as no surprise to me. I once dated a black man. For some reason that I still don't quite understand, I took him to meet my mom. She was gracious and welcoming, and smiled just a tad too brightly. And when my dad called her from work to let her know he was on his way home, she informed him that I was there with a friend.

"He's black," she said in a stage whisper into the receiver, almost the same way she might have said, "He eats boogers."

I was mortified.

We only went on a couple dates after that, then he hooked up with someone else. It was no big deal; we weren't intimate or in a serious relationship, and we'd never discussed dating exclusively. Still, my mother ran with it.

Mom: "That's what they do, you know?"

Me: "What who do? Men?"

Mom: "Black men."

Me: "Oh, good Lord!"

As if she'd ever met a black man who didn't scare the bejesus out of her.

When I was in a three year relationship with a white man where we lived together and talked about marriage, and he ended up cheating on me (with a minister's wife, no less), all she said then was, "Well, you did gain a little weight."

Mmm hmm.

How does that go...about not judging a man by the color of his skin, but by the content of his character?

I'm afraid we have a ways to go to realize that dream.

30 comments:

Dapoppins said...

I am first.

Dapoppins said...

I went on a date with a black man once. We went and saw Arachnophobia. We screamed together like sissy's and had a great time. Nothing intimate at all, but i don't think my Grandma approved.

I don't really care.

So I married a Mexican. HA. Take that.

Dapoppins said...

I am third. Have to say. I love this.

Edge said...

I'm fourth!

Rally second if dapoppins would stop hoggin the bandwidth.

~Jef

holly said...

am i fourth now? or second?

anyway. HUGE fan of snopes. HUGE fan of this post.

he didn't eat boogers did he? cuz i dated a guy who did. we quit seeing each other after i found that out.

dawn224 said...

WORD. You win. You are so right.

Edge said...

I never had a desire to date someone of another race. I did date a red head who was half hispanic. That's as close as I got.

As evidenced by you, the tensions are too great to pursue the relationship and I would say the longer and further we tread into these days we call the aughts, the chasm between the races increases. I fear we are really becoming two cultures resistant to the other.

I bet your mom believe we never walked on the moon and Elvis isn't dead, or maybe that's a little strong.

Still don't understand the attraction to interracial dating.

~Jef

Groovy Mom said...

My parents were the coolest in the world when it comes to being color blind. I didn't even know there was any such thing as racism until I got to high school. That's probably because I didn't spend too much time with my grandparents due to the fact that I was an Air Force brat.

I remember when my grandma had a freak out about a relative who married a Jew and she refused to go to the wedding. I told her, "Grandma, I'm gonna go find me a black Jewish man who's gay and marry him, are you gonna boycott my wedding too?" She said the black gay part was fine, but she'd disown me if I married a Jew.

Avery Gray said...

Dapo--you're funny! Take that, Granny! (Now stop clogging up my inbox.)

Holly--no, as far as I know, he didn't eat boogers. I'd prefer to keep it that way.

Dawn--yay! I never win anything!

Jef--it wasn't really about interracial dating. I was attracted to the man. That's all that really mattered to me.

Groovy--that is too funny! Grandmas are weird.

The Casual Perfectionist said...

Great post. The sad thing is that people really *believe* this stuff... Every now and then I have to check the calendar to see just what year this is. *sigh*

Kimberly said...

Closest my mum came to that kind of attitude was telling me my boyfriend looked like a pirate as he had a beard and earrings. I found that so funny I told him. Luckily, he laughed.

How sadly sad, eh? How close minded we can be? (And I say we because I'm not quite at the pinnacle of enlightenment myself)

M@ said...

Doppins--Sounds like you couldn't get a good white man. Sorry about that, hon.

Avery--Your mom sounds like a cook. That story about Barrack (Hussein) Obama has BS written all over it. Oh my goodness!

Huckdoll said...

I used to have a white girlfriend whose parents would allow all of the white friends in their home and not the coloured ones. They had to wait outside in their cars. Luckily, the girl was still allowed to hang out with coloured friends, but it was frowned upon. I thought it was so disqusting!

Ryan said...

Oh man, my mother-in-law passed that fwd around last week. Only she claimed it all to be true despite what snopes says. She even went as far as to use the fact that his name rhymes with osama as evidence. I was furious.

Great post you've written here.

Doodaddy said...

What? Barack Obama eats his own boogers? *AND* you used to go out with him?

Wow, no way I'm voting for him now. Thanks for the heads up!

Dd.

P.S. Hmm... maybe I should read things more closely....

Rima said...

It is so frustrating to me how many people take so much of what is dished out by the media at face value. Like that picture of Barack Obama that was circulating in which he was supposedly the only candidate who didn't put his hand on his heart during the Pledge of Allegiance - an OBVIOUS indication that he's anti-American. Turns out they weren't even saying the pledge when the picture was taken. Gah.

I guess I can't complain too much about the fact that my parents forward me carcinogenic tupperware emails, though.

Avery Gray said...

Momma--ain't that the truth! Of course, my mother is a throwback to the fifties. I seriously hope she's not representative of her entire generation.

Kimberly--hey, don't get me wrong. I'm far from perfect. I know my fair share of racial jokes, and some of them, I have to admit, do make me laugh. But there's a difference between laughing about racial stereotypes and treating people with less respect because of them. I mean, heck, white people can't dance. We just can't! But bless our hearts, we try.

M@--that's just a drop in the crazy bucket, my friend.

Huck--now that's messed up.

Ryan--oh, yeah, because the terrorists lack subtlety? Now they've resorted to leaving rhyming clues for the CIA to decipher? Where's Jack Bauer when we need him? Thank God for your mother-in-law, or we'd all be duped.

Doodaddy--what exactly was it that turned you off of him? That he eats his boogers, or that I used to date him? I don't know whether to laugh or to be insulted! (Probably neither since that's not at all what I said. Goofball!)

Rima--nope. Not the same thing at all. Everyone knows Tupperware causes cancer.

Bec said...

My mum's supremely xenophobic. It's actually really scary, particularly because she doesn't have the excuse of age, she's only 44. At least she's never whispered about my date though - yikes!

Sugarplum's Mom said...

wow.. I hadn't heard all that before.. but you know, if you heard it from your MOM it MUST be true (rolls eyes)

I have an aunt that also forwards absolutely everything without checking snopes.. I'm surprised I haven't gotten this from her before.

CamiKaos said...

oh tsk tsk... The booger eating is a deal breaker for me... I can't date or vote for a booger eater...

Mike said...

Oh, man, your MLK Jr. Day post is way more appropriate than mine. Not bad for a white chick.

Regan Blair said...

This is a true story. My neighbors are black, and their two oldest children fight quite a bit. They are loud, but not exactly violent. The college girls next door to them call the police quite a bit. Sooo, the other day my father found out that my husband got a (nice) pay raise, and asked me when we were going to move out of Mexiville (yes he did call it that) I said, "Dad, not that their would be a problem with it, but their are no Mexicans in our neighborhood." He said "What about those people next door to you?"
"Dad, they are black."
"So, Mexican, black, what's the difference?"

I kid you not.
Regan

Avery Gray said...

Bec--you haven't experienced life until she has! ;o)

Sugarplum--aw, don't feel bad. If you like, I could send it to you!

Cami--I'm with you there!

Mike--story of my life.

Regan--somehow I can believe it. What I can't believe is how different we turned out from them. There but by the grace of God...

Karen said...

I'd love to believe that stuff like this no longer happens. But of course, I know it does. My third grader had to answer a question in school last week: If Martin Luther King, Jr. were alive today, would he think there was peace? It was thought-provoking even for me, much less a third grader. Great great post.

MamaGeek said...

I wish I were first. Story of my life.

I found this post fascinating Avery. You're so right, we have so far to come in so many ways. And that e-mail, I've received twice from friends already too. Duh, people.

And BTW, you had me at eating boogers. Thanks for the visual.

meleah rebeccah said...

I am really glad my parents aren't like that AT ALL....

SNOPES is our friend...HA HA HA

CrankMama said...

OMG! This post reminds me of the mom in St. Elmo's Fire who stage whispered "Cancer" and "Drugs".

You make some very good points and I absolutely agree with you.

And don't feel too bad about the SNOPES thing... I can't get my mom to come around on that one either.

sybil law said...

Ugh my husbands' aunt cannot grasp the concept of Snopes, either. I looove sending back the links and pointing out how stupid she is, though. I know it irritates her to get my replies, and that makes me feel better overall for having to deal with her initial stupidity.
What if they ate boogers in kindergarten? Or paste?
Yeah - they'd still suck.

monkeysandmarbles said...

oh, my mom is constantly sending me bogus rumours, Cancer warnings, virus alerts...drives me bananas! everytime, i send her a link to the snopes article about said email. do you think she's caught on???

i once dated a black man when i was in college. my parents were fine with it, 'cause their pretty laid back about stuff like that. but, surprisingly to me, my friends' mother called me a n-word lover, and told me i was never allowed in her house again.

ya...i don't think i want to come to your house anymore anyway!

Queen of Shake-Shake said...

Mmmmmm boogers.