“It could all be so simple (ba-ba-ba-baby, baby, baby)
But you’d rather make it hard (huh, uh)
Loving you is like a battle (it’s like a battle)
And we both end up with scars” — Ex-Factor by Lauryn Hill
Marrying a white woman was the hardest thing I have ever done. Not in the moment. Dating her, courting her, and falling in love with her was easy. I married a truly special woman. When I vowed to spend the rest of my life with this white woman there was no uneasiness or trepidation. A decade later all of the ramifications of being in an interracial marriage become noticeable. Interracial relationships are easy. Interracial marriages are hard. The merging of cultures and sometimes classes is precarious if not disorienting. Interracial relationships are breezy, interracial marriage is laborious. That is what they don’t tell you. I am black. My wife is white. I thought I was fluent in white culture, but I was wrong. I now know that I only possess conversational fluency, but have not mastered the intricate details and absorbed all of the nuances of whiteness.
I was not prepared for the entitlement and privilege that white people use, so effortlessly, in their day-to-day life. I have lost count of how many times my wife has performed an action that no McFadden, in the history of McFaddens, has ever performed. From getting us bumped up to business class from coach on an international flight or bringing food from a different restaurant into another restaurant and eating it there. My wife and her white family, take full advantage of their whiteness each day and I am astounded by how straightforward and uncomplicated they make it.
Yet, my wife was ignorant of black culture. I would argue that she did not have any black friends prior to our union. She had never watched any of the many black-created movies, other than the blockbusters. She did not listen to any black music. She did not know who Beyoncé’ was married to. Her knowledge of black history was that of a white person who was educated in predominantly all-white institutions in Texas. She had never read the Autobiography of Malcolm X or any novels by Toni Morrison. Slave narratives by Fredrick Douglas and Harriet Jacobs had never crossed her path. Her perception of black people was largely constructed by the news and media. She knew that slavery had occurred but had never heard of Juneteenth…