Editor's note: Elizabeth Mayo is a digital producer for CNN's "Early Start" and "Starting Point." All this week, AC360° airs the special series "Kids on Race: The Hidden Picture" at 8 and 10 p.m. ET. Thursday's installment will focus on interracial dating.
It all started on my second date with Alex. It was 1997 and on a whim we went into Manhattan to see the ball drop on New Year's Eve in Times Square. The closest we could get was 55th Street and Seventh Avenue. That's pretty far away, but we could still see the glittering ball touching the sky. He was 19, I was 17.
For him, I was his childhood dream girl: I'm tall, have curly brown hair and I play cello, so I was the real-life version of Sigourney Weaver's character in "Ghostbusters" (his favorite movie). To me, he was smart, doting and hilarious.
On what had to be the coldest night in the history of the ball drop, we shivered next to each other waiting patiently, with a few thousand spectators, to get one year closer to the millennium. At midnight, the ball dropped and the crowd erupted.
I too have had experience with this exact issue. My girlfriend for the past 2.5 years has been African-American and i love her with all my heart. I am a white male age 27 and she is age 30. The past 2.5 years have been very difficult for myself due to my families lack of understanding and support on this issue. The first thing my mom said to me when i told here my grilfriend was African-American was "You can't do that Matt, your grandparents would be so dissapointed in you". What i interpreted it as is that THEY were ultimately dissapointed in me. I think the racial divide that has plaugued this county for the past 400 years is due to the fact that white people are teaching there kids to "hate" or "not accept" African-Americans into society and to not relate with them due to thier cultural differences. I know this because when i was a kid around 8 years old i can rememeber my father explicitely saying "If you ever date a black girl i will disown you". Well i am happy to say that i have since disowned him. This un-found hatred for African-Americans in the white community is still as prevalent as it used to be, the only diffence is that it is kept quiet amongst those white families. We as america need to move on and focus on the future. Always remeber that in Lincoln's gettysburg adress he stated that "All men are created equal". This is how it is in God's eys and how it should be in everyone's eyes. I hope for the sake of this country and for the sake of our children's future that we can learn to co-exist with each other and learn from the past but ultimately focus on the future of one america, not a divided america.
Your candor in relating your story is so needed in our country's caustic atmosphere. Our rapidly changing demographics ensures that we will most likely come to know, intimately, many whose appearance does not mirror our own. A begrudging kudos to your father for demonstrating forgiveness is also in order. I wish you and Alex every happiness as you consider starting a family. Love does indeed conquer all.
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