Homeschooling, Opinions & Experiences

I Love Black Women

I do. I Love Black Women.

Let me tell you why that matters to you as a parent.

When I was 5 years old my 16 year old brother died in a car accident. It broke my family in a way that even 35 years later we still don’t understand. My Mother disappeared into her bedroom, my brother went to school, my Father worked 14 hour days and there was me, a little girl in a state of utter dismay. That’s when 2 neighbors entered my life and forever changed me. Although I was not to know they did for another 26 years.

Mrs. Beulah walked in our front door bold as brass with no knock or invitation. She cleaned, she cooked, she dressed me and brushed my hair. And then we would sit at  the table and talk over a cup of coffee(2 tblspns coffee, 2 tblspns sugar, 1 cup milk).  And when Mrs. Beulah didn’t come, Mrs. Ivory would. I don’t remember a great deal about her, but I remember her laughter, which she offered up constantly. Her whole body would shake in perfect rhythm to each lilt of her mirth. Then came the moment when all her glee would explode, she would open her mouth wide to let it roar and show a mouth full of gold teeth. To me, she shimmered and glittered.

Flash forward 26 years.

I came home to tell my Husband I just met the loveliest woman and I was completely besotted. As I prattled on about all her many virtues he interrupted me to ask “was she black?” I stopped dead. Had I said something that would lead him to think that, why would he ask, did it matter? I was confused and taken aback. Because she was.

You see, I don’t fall in love with people. I socialize out of interest in their differences, not necessarily to make bosom buddies. I’m not antisocial per say, but I usually don’t take the time to allow myself to feel a connection. I’m careful with my feelings and seldom jump in a friendship. My husband knew this about me, but he had also noticed an exception.

And then he asked me this “Who is the first black woman you remember?” As I sat there recounting my tales of Mrs. Beulah and Mrs. Ivory, I began to feel the love and warmth they imparted. I felt the laughter that filled our home when there had been none for so long.  I felt the earnest and open listening and understanding that was handed me when no one had been listening before. How could I have missed this about myself?  He was right, if I met a black woman, all shields were down.

This is not a story of race or family tragedy.

It is a story to remind myself and all parents, we can not know who or what will imprint on our children or in what way it will affect them…for the rest of their lives. Even though these women only spent a few months in my daily life, they managed to inspire a lifetime of positive relationships. But it got me thinking, what about all the other experiences that weren’t positive? What other hidden tendencies are related to the negative?

This is why our choices to educate outside the home should be scrutinized from every angle. For 9 months, 5 days a week, 8 hours a day someone else will be in charge of our children’s experiences.  Educators and school chums can offer bright and positive experiences. But they can also offer something else.

One bad teacher, one sad abused classmate, or one non caring principal could change our children permanently. I know what your thinking, “I had bad teachers and bullies and it didn’t effect me at all.”

My question is this…

How do you know?

30 thoughts on “I Love Black Women”

  1. Just out of curiosity…have you had contact with Mrs. Beulah and Mrs. Ivory since that time? I think they would love to hear about how they’ve impacted your life.

    1. After that conversation with my Hubby I did call my Mom to find them. They had since passed away. I wish I had gotten the chance.

  2. It’s a fascinating idea that you are pushing around here. The influences we have on other people are often impossible to gauge, and frequently occur without our knowledge. I think it is delightful that these two women had such a positive impact on your life. More so, I think, because it seems they were not trying to actively demonstrate anything, but were instead simply showing basic compassion.

    1. I think you raise a good point – not only are we (and our children) influenced by others, sometimes for a lifetime as you have experienced Deidre, but we also can have an impact on others, without even knowing it.

      1. It becomes much bigger than just volunteerism. It’s being nice to the grumpy barista when you’ve had a bad day and all you want is a coffee. Finding kindness for someone who seemingly doesn’t’ deserve it. Who are we to judge? My Mother used to say “Be kind, no matter what, ya never know what demon someone else is fighting”. I don’t much like the use of demon, but this was coming from a woman who buried a son. So I try to always keep that in mind when dealing with the less than congenial humans.

      2. This reminds me of a woman I met up with a few years ago. She remembered me from high school right away (I still don’t remember her), and she kept saying how grateful she was to me because she was just a freshman when I was a senior, and I was always so nice to her when everyone else in drama club didn’t pay much attention to her. I still feel bad that I don’t remember her, but I’m so glad that I managed to make such an impact- even at that young age.

      3. Something so small and inconsequential to you, will never be forgotten by her. It’s quite a responsibility when you think of how consequential we humans really are to each other.

  3. Love this post, D. Caught my eye bc I love black women, too. Have enjoyed some of the dearest relationships with them. My profound condolences for what you and your family have never quite gotten over. But I appreciate how that wasn’t your point – and I relish the point.

    Thought you caught this…would you be interested in participating? I’d be happy to promote your thoughtful writing and beautiful blog:

    1. Thank you D! I love the idea of what you are doing, but to be honest I write when something is on my mind. Either it be thoughts or subjects I’m researching or both. I’m not sure how I would even start something like what you are asking. But I will definitely mull it over.

      1. No obligation, Deidre. I’d think it’s more than doable – esp with your lovely writing skills – since what you’re doing is answering the questions already set to you. I’m also not looking for creativity or amazing expression. Stories.

        Either way, it’s all good.

    1. Thank you for the kind words and commenting. It was definitely something I almost didn’t share as it was a bit personal. But I hoped someone would find it and consider it “thought provoking”. So thanks!

  4. How interesting. My brother died in a car wreck when he was 19 and I was 8–the same age difference you and your brother had. Life was one way before his death, and then completely another way after his death, all in the span of from Friday night to Saturday morning.
    One thing I hope to promote in my blog is correcting, through my posts, the misconception that some people might still have about us Southerners—that we are all practically illiterate racists. Not so. Your post stressed the importance of friendship and care and the long-lasting ramifications the ladies’ kindness had on you. Kindness knows no color. but in your case the ladies were black, and that subliminal association is there in your future interactions with black women.
    For someone not from the rural South, it might be a little hard to understand or comprehend the decent white Southern farmers’ relationships with decent black farm workers, especially back in the 1950s and 1960s when the rural economy had as its basis farming. I look forward to sharing through my posts all sorts of stories about growing up on a farm in South Georgia in the 1960s; many will relate the stories of my parents’ loving care for those working on the farm.
    I’m a week-old blogger, so I hope the above is not perceived as a shameless hustle for my blog—no way—but I just feel it is important to continue to better race relations, even in these “enlightened” times of 2014.

    1. No one spends that much time and thought on a comment for a plug. I wouldn’t have thought it.

      Funny, it never occurred to me that those 2 women were my closest neighbors. We lived in the back woods of Texas, we were all poor and all worked the land. We helped each other harvest, build barns etc. Skin color was the least of our concerns. I didn’t know skin color mattered to anyone until I went to school. I learned very quickly that others felt differently. I don’t know what Georgia in the 50’s and 60’s were like, but in Texas in the 70’s and 80’s poverty was our connection, not skin color.

  5. 🙂 Thanks for the way you phrased that first paragraph.
    Maybe I’m still stuck in the perception that anyone from outside the Deep South still thinks we’re backwards, for the most part, in all sorts of ways. I sincerely hope that my perception is incorrect. I prefer to look at the individual and not make sweeping group assumptions, whether positive or negative. As Mrs. Hate says “if I don’t like you, it’s not because of your skin color, it’s because of the way you act!!” 🙂

    1. I have lived in many states from west coast to the east and I have yet to experience that mentality you mention. I just asked my husband who was born and raised in New Jersey and spent his adult life in NYC. He said that was never the perception among himself, his family or his friends. I think the media would like us to believe that. But I think the world is getting smaller and the majority of humans know that a jerk is a jerk no matter where he’s from.

  6. a child gets molded in so many ways, multiple hits coming its way. Verbal, physical, emotional, intuitive. It is amazing what sticks around and what evaporates from memory.

    1. True, on some level I always understood this, that events shape us, but we may not know or even remember the particular event. But it wasn’t until someone else (my husband) noticed that I became aware of this small part of myself. How much more is hidden in those little gray cells? It makes me realize just how much control as parents we really do have on who our children will become and the life they will lead. Goodness, that’s so much responsibility!

  7. I am moved by your words. I lost my brother in a car accident when I was 23 years old. I had to care of his estate. My parents were busy with hospitals and hospices since he lingered two years in a coma. I grew up that day. Experiences shape us and mold us into what we become today. I never got over my brother’s death but nothing ever hurt me in the same way again.

    1. My heart broke a a little with this response. I can not imagine the pain of 2 years and you at 23 put in such a position. The priest at my Father in laws funeral said something to my Mother in law that has stuck with me. “People are going to tell you that time heals all wounds. It’s not true, there will always be a painful void,the wound will never heal, but YOU will become stronger and be able to bear the pain.”

      When I look at my Mom and my Mother in law, I know, that wound never healed. They just got better at dealing with the pain.

      Thank you for your comment and understanding.

  8. I love your heart here. Such a bold, honest beat. One filled with courage to share love in the profoundest way. It spoke to me not about skin color per say, but love. How when we don’t judge a book by it’s cover. We began a true friendship in it’s rarest form. I really don’t feel we are all strangers. I believe we are souls waiting for those we cross paths with to render a smile that says, “You’re welcome here.” We all want genuine love.

    Our wounds are suppose to build us up and ensure we don’t judge a book by it’s cover for we may never read it’s contents if we judge or remain guarded in fear. For one day it may be to late. We either love, or learn a lesson, or both. I believe these two souls live on in each heart that stops here.

    Love just is. We don’t choose love. Love (God) chose us. We choose who we allow to love us (who we let in). There is no in between. Love to me is a rainbow. It takes all the colors to create and complete it. One would say, black is not part of the rainbow. If one is literally looking at skin color then I guess not. But if one looks at the heart then it wouldn’t matter, or be a question.

    My children are taught love. Not to decide who deserves it or not. I was abused at a young age, but the pain I experienced caused me to not reflect that kind of pain to my children. So I reflect love. Because love is why we exist. I believe all the ugliness in the world is because of lack of love, or the hurt and wounds of another being imparted on someone’s innocence.

    I enjoyed your post!

    1. In the middle of our cross country move I missed this response some how. So sorry.

      Yes, lack of love is the most basic motivation for all the ugliness that exists or has ever existed. Obviously, my closed off relationships with other non blacks is related to pain and fear. That moment my husband pointed out how different I was when the relationship was with someone of a particular skin color it was such an eye opener. I have thought about it frequently since. My children are the hug everyone they meet variety. Although I can not change the past hurt that curbs my openness, at least in my children it is not present. I have done something right there.

      I love your comment and thank you for taking the time to share so completely. It was a nice moment in my day.

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