Jill Scott Touches the Third Rail

Jill Scott, singer and actress, recently published an opinion piece in Essence Magazine, reflecting on her feelings about interracial relationships…

My new friend is handsome, African-American, intelligent and seemingly wealthy. He is an athlete, loves his momma, and is happily married to a White woman. I admit when I saw his wedding ring, I privately hoped. But something in me just knew he didn’t marry a sister. Although my guess hit the mark, when my friend told me his wife was indeed Caucasian, I felt my spirit…wince. I didn’t immediately understand it. My face read happy for you. My body showed no reaction to my inner pinch, but the sting was there, quiet like a mosquito under a summer dress.

Read the rest here.

I thought her essay was honest, sensitive and valid. Love is complicated when you cross lines. Our relationships have consequences in a very imperfect world.

It’s a deep subject for dialogue, and this brief post before work is just a headline. However, I have to say I’m shocked.

Jill Scott truly touched the third rail. The hostility, viciousness and hatred displayed in the comments to her article are a shocking wake-up call to me, and can only be personally hurtful to the writer, who was honest and generous enough to take the risk of speaking out on a tough subject.

I am fortunate enough to live in a diverse neighborhood and work in health care, which lets me meet daily with people from many different backgrounds. It’s easy to forget that our nation has never had a time of truth and reconciliation, and unhealed wounds remain. Then I read the accusations of racism aimed at a Black woman who simply spoke her mind, and I know that we have a long way to go.

As the white partner in an interracial marriage, I am not indifferent to our history or the ongoing rating of all women, according to race, class and appearance. All’s fair in love and war, they say. I said yes to love, but no choice we make is for ourselves alone. Still, we only live once and have to decide how to to be true to ourselves.

People will always love across boundaries, and perhaps that is what will save us in the end.


8 thoughts on “Jill Scott Touches the Third Rail

  1. “My ex girlfriend is a pretty, intelligent and gainfully employed archetypal redhead. She is an athlete, loves her family, and is happily married to a Black man. I admit when I saw her wedding ring, I privately hoped her children would look as Irish as she does. But something in me just knew she didn’t marry a boring white guy. Although my guess hit the mark, when my friend told me her husband was from Liberia, I felt my spirit… wince. I didn’t immediately understand it. My face read happy for her. My body showed no reaction to my inner pinch, but the sting was there, like when the dog knocks over a single-malt scotch.”

    If that isn’t acceptable, why should the author of the original expect any less that what she got?

    I’m all for having everyone take a step down and talk about how they REALLY feel, so I support the author’s courage, but a similar article from a white guy about a white friend marrying black would get you fired and labeled racist for life.

    1. So true.And Nancy,you and I can never agree on this.I’ve been interracially married with a nowhite Hispanic woman for over 40 years and my son’s wife is Black and the relationships HAVE to be all about the people who are together and not about anyone else’s damn opinion.If you make a relationship about something bigger than yourselves,then it’s in jeopardy from the get go.
      Jill Scott made a comment that would have been considered racist,bigoted,or whatever the current term is if she were White.
      I personally think the kids who came out of those relationships in our family were nice looking and smart and definitely not inbred,like some RI blueblood politicians I could mention.
      Enjoy your relationship for yourselves and seriously to hell with anyone who cracks wise about it.
      I didn’t read the comments aimed at Jill Scott but she had to know she was out there asking for it.
      I know little about her,but the little I do know is that she is bitter over race.Too bad,because she only hurts herself.

    2. “…but a similar article from a white guy about a white friend marrying black would get you fired and labeled racist for life.”

      And it should. Did you not read the original article? There is a historical context of black women being seen as undesirable compared to white women. That’s what backs up her statements.

      You know what the historical context would be for a white person complaining about a white friend marrying a person of color? Racism! The hundreds of years of white people keeping their line “pure” and how they’d be marrying down.

  2. That would be in the ideal world of arguments, where everything is equivalent and everything must come out even. Where history leaves no scars and everyone is rational.
    Reality is much messier.

  3. And Mangeek, I don’t even want to think about all the racist things I’ve heard said in my various jobs, which did not get anyone fired, but does still leave me with concerns about how we treat our patients if we choose to harbor prejudice.

    1. Nancy-being racist on a job and having a private relationship are worlds apart.
      If someone’s prejudice(and it’s not always White people who are prejudiced as you must know)affects the way they interact with others it can’t be ignored.
      I think if you’re in a loving relationship,you just can’t let history in.
      I cannot recall a single issue regarding rce thaat my wife and I ever butted heads over.
      Usually it was “the kids”.LOL.

  4. Nancy-I did get to read the comments now,and some were thoughtful and some were crass.
    About what you’d expect.
    Jill oughta understand that most White people came here after slavery was ended.
    I just wonder where the Chafee and Whitehouse money came from.
    BTW we’re expecting a second part Black grandchild,and we can’t wait.All we want is healthy,happy grandkids.

  5. I think perhaps what the author is referencing in the article, is society as a whole’s attitude towards placing different value on women of different races or appearances. Fact is, lots of men buy into bullshit, not just black men, but all men. Who are those men who go to the Playboy mansion to purchase themselves a brain dead clone? Sorry, but you don’t see a lot of variation there, even if it’s limited to white girls, they are nameless, faceless clones. The author made a good point, but it was one, rather narrow viewpoint on a larger issue.

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