Perceptive is everything.
I’m dating a guy who grew up in the inner city of DC among gangsters and drug dealers, addicts and the most hungry of people. As a black man he’s forced into a sort of awareness of himself and his surroundings that most of us white folk don’t even think about.
And how comical that he’s with me, a short little hippie Jewish girl, the daughter of a psychiatrist from an affluent community. When I walk down the boardwalk in Flagler Beach or walk through Publix, I’m all sunshine and light and I see everyone as such because, well that’s how the world has treated me.
For him there’s a different awareness, steeped not just in the color of his skin, or his experience in DC, but in hundreds of years of history, biases, hatred and fear. Life is not so sunny when people aren’t kind.
The other night for my birthday Tony took me out for dinner. We sat around a fire at Salt Life. Across from us sat two black women. Tony struck up a conversation and the three of them quickly slipped into that playful conversation, you know the kind that it seems black people easily slip into with each other, like they’re all old family. I laughed with them and just loved the whole scene, feeling very white, but loving it all the same.
When the ladies asked me my name I told them “Becky” and we all started laughing. “Becky” is the urban name for ALL white girls. As in “Yeah, I’m dating a Becky” I told the women “I’m the REAL Becky” and we laughed some more. When we got up to leave they wished me a happy birthday and I could feel the love– me, the little hippie white girl, my black boy friend, and two gals from Jacksonville sitting by a fire enjoying the night.