Sunday, October 21, 2007

Walking the Plank

After reading Amazing's hilarious blog about feeling self conscious in an inter-racial relationship, I decided to open up and examine my own dealings with the 'walking the plank' scenarios.

Granted, my parents come from a west Indian country in which many people stare. So, its not a very new thing for me. In fact, when I lived in the USA, in the predominantly Mexican neighborhood, people stared there too.

They stared at anything remotely interesting. Want to not get starred at? Just stand still and be BORING ! lol.

Here in Israel, its about the same as well. I remember a few years ago, I went out and sat on a park bench with my husband to write down some ideas onto a notebook. Within minutes, about five kids were there starring at us. Have they never seen a black woman and a white husband before? Perhaps. I knew their stares didn't have any malice behind them, so I continued on with my project. Pretty soon, those kids and others were running around my bench play whatever games they were playing. It was nice having the children around.

Those are the pleasant and lukewarms stares. Then comes the curious step-back stares. These are from adults who are bsically surprised and taken aback. Hoo Haa! An interracial couple?! Does the black woman talk? Can she funcion...just..just like an ordinary human being?! For those stares, as long as I know that i'm lookin good, i ENCOURAGE them to stare lololol!

Then there are the loaded, critical, judging stare, which I admit, I dread to confront. In the African American communities, there are certain criterias that must be met. Any deviation from those criteria and you are almost an instant outsider worthy of scorn, ridicule, or insults.

When I was in high school, I remember, one HAD to have a raider's jacket. Just who were the raiders, to this day, I don't know LOLOL

Anyways, being in an inter-racial relationship was one of those big taboo things. Instant 'sell out' and a whole bunch of other pre-established names were relegated for that 'sin' alone. I had committed this 'sin'. So far, I haven't been back to the USA but once since I left for Israel.

The one time I returned, I was too busy trying to get readjusted to feel anything. Just dealing with former Israelis so glad to find someone to speak Hebrew to fresh out of Israel, was alot. I am still struggling with the Hebrew, but they didn't know that. LOLOL

Now, it appears that things are changing. checking out Evia's blog and Halima's blog -the jump starters- black women are opening up their options and making smarter choices in men. Perhaps I won't have to walk the plank should I come back for a visit.......???


Evia said...

Great, Miriam. I always LOVE your writing. Thanks for allowing me to publish your "How We Met" story, which I plan to do next week on my Gen I blog. It was an innocent, precious, and inspiring story--so different from many of the tawdry stories I hear from AA women about how they meet men and the outcomes of those meetings.

I wish many other bw could and would change their environments like you did. I changed my environment, married and lived in Africa with my first love. I was changed FOREVER.

There's endless VARIETY out there and that's why I'm pushing bw towards embracing it. So many things are so different outside of the U.S. It was my experiences living in Africa that drove home the point to me that much of what most people think is "THE TRUTH" is actually one of millions of illusions. I was so tremendously broadened by travelling and living in Africa. I was so fortunate.

Miriam said...

Evia, Wow! I didn't know you lived in Africa for a time!

Indeed, I think once anybody leaves the US and lives among non-Americans for a time, its never the same again.

Phoenix Sun said...

Hi Miriam,

I love your blog. I like your walking the plank theory. It definitely exists. I have traveled abroad but I can imagine to live abroad makes your perspective even broader about the world. For too many African-Africans who live in urban black communities, their own backyard is the only reality they have ever known and for some, the only reality they want to know. Take some out of their dysfunctional comfort zone and they are totally lost. I always found this "reality" to be stifling since I was a small child and it was killing me spiritually, which prompted me to leave in order to stretch my legs and explore.

Taylor-Sara said...

Congradulations girl! I am so proud of you and i love your new blog! I will have to link you to mine. I did not even know you lived outside the US. The farest place I ever lived was hawaii. It must be really exciting...

Sangraneth said...

Great blog Miriam.

I'm surprised you would get reactions such as you do in Isreal, considering the hisory Jewish people have faced throughout the globe. But I must admit I am quite ignorant of that whole region of the world.

Were you born Jewish, or did you convert?

Also, is it nice living in Isreal? Isreal always struck me as a dangerous place to live, considering all of the turmoil in the middle east. But that is just my perception of reality as filtered through American news.

Miriam said...

Evia - thanks so much for visiting! And for all the work you do for the bw!

Phoenix Sun - I actually got the 'Walking the Plank' idea from Amazing. I need a better name for her.

Taylor-Sara - I also enjoy your blog a lot!

Sangreneth - The stares come in Israel by the kids because they are raised EXTREMELY sheltered. And to see something so different from what their used to in their neighborhood is, for lack of a better word, interesting lol

Living in Israel, I like it. Its pretty safe especially in the religious neighborhood that I'm in. I could walk outside in the deepest night and night feel afraid. In fact many times, i've forgotten to lock my doors.

An example of how trusting and safe it can be. Once I went to a bookstore but it was locked. I went to the owners house to ask when he'll open up and he gave me the keys, asked me to get whatever book I wanted, then return w/ the keys and pay !!!! I was shocked. So used to being treated with such suspicion -what with old ladies clenching their purses when i'm near them in Chicago.

Really, Israel is very -EXTREME. Its extremely....(fill in the blank). So, at the same time there isnt "big" crimes in these neighborhood, one should be weary of abusers (wife, children abusers, etc)

In the not so religious neighbrhoods there is more crime, and in the main parts there are the terrorists. I remember once I finished shopping on the main street in Jerusalem and headed home. When I got home, I heard a big KABOOM! It was a bus that had been blown to pieces. I should never hear such things again.

So, is it safe overall. Hard to say. Its just very extreme.

Miriam said...

* and not be afraid --I meant to say.

Tania said...

Ah yes, walking the plank. I haven't had to do that in a long while. Where we live in the Northwest we are not all that rare so we rarely get stares. I also find that the older we get the less we care so if people are staring we really don't give a damn!