That swath of generic ideas has an actual impact on culture and society, too.
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The story of Till's murder didn't scare me as much as it made me want to piss off racist fucks even more. I don't say that as some guilt-ridden rationalization for dating white women. Before I was even 10, I started having crushes on girls, trying to get my first kiss, and all of that. I thought this girl was hot because of her freckles and I thought that girl was hot because of her soft hair or whatever and I just wasn't in fifth grade thinking about the racial ramifications of features that I found attractive. I was consuming all of this media and I could just sense from the adults around me that, as a black person, when I was watching , it was expected that I be more attracted to the girls in Destiny's Child than Britney Spears.
By middle school, and especially high school, those expectations were even more apparent.
A racist jury acquitted his murderers, Roy Bryant and J. Milam, despite overwhelming evidence, and, to rub salt in the wound, both admitted to killing Till in magazine the next year. The shoe was on the other foot for once and so be it if two white people wound up dead. That's harsh, but that's the historical context of black men dating white women that I unfortunately have to consider when doing the same. Even then, I understood that it was racial, but there was a disconnection from my personal reality. Whatever I learned from the trial was tucked away as something that I should know as a black man, but it didn't have a life-altering impact on my own development. For whatever implications the trial had, that shit also had nothing to do with me. My attraction to them was likely a natural response to my environment. Nobody was trying to assimilate with white people, but sometimes that's just the way things go when you want a better home and better schools for your family.
Though those events are something of which I'm always cognizant, I didn't adhere to them as any sort of cautionary tale. The idea was always to live my life however I wanted to live it. But it does have an unforeseen effect on your outlook when you're one of the few black families in town.
I can't say that my own mother has never asked, "When are you going to bring home a girl who looks like me?
" Running around with white girls comes across as a rejection of your blackness to the women in your family, even though that wasn't the case. The girls who showed me the most attention at school were white.
I was taught the story of Emmett Till by my mother at a young age.
I don't think she did it as a warning as much as to be like, "This is something you should be aware of." He was 14. He got dragged out of his uncle's house and tortured and killed because he maybe flirted with a white woman. getting off brought a twisted, but understandable feeling of justice. verdict, my dad was now getting enough money to move his wife and three children to a nice house in a Chicago suburb.
The world made it complicated and assumed I had an ulterior motive, and it sucks, but I understand why.