He’s Just Not That into You . . . or Your Race

by Marisha

I attended a private Carden curriculum school from kindergarten through eighth grade. It was a cozy school, very small, with nothing but a small green field track and some fixed-up gray trailers we used for classes. I loved every minute of it.

School Grounds

The Fixed-Up Buildings and Playground

There was this boy who I will call “Dan,” in the interest of discretion. I grew up with him, we had play dates at each other’s houses, even played “house” where we would pretend to be husband and wife in his parents’ bedroom and imagine we lived in a beautiful house and made lots of money. He was a really nice kid, so cute, and he seemed to like me! We got along and I made all the girls jealous. We used to write notes back and forth:  “Do you like me? Circle yes or no.” I always made a box for “maybe.” I was a heartbreaker back then. Clearly, we were meant to be.

As we got to middle school, we had moved on from our crushes on one another and were great friends. By then, I had found two other guys I was sure I was going to marry. I guess I was a romantic even back then.

Middle school was a great time for me. I was extremely accepted, with lots of friends.  There were plenty of boys who thought I was the bee’s knees ;). I was never discriminated against, and I never felt that “different” feeling that I seem to feel so often now.

Middle School Performing Arts

The School Play

The situation happened after school one day in 8th grade. We were waiting for our parents to pick us up.  To kill time I asked Dan how he and his “girlfriend” Lauren were doing. He gave a short, nondescript answer, so I joked, “Well, she better not be better than when I was your girlfriend.” I thought I was funny, even though secretly, I wanted confirmation from him.

But no confirmation followed. Instead, he responded, “Well, I like her more because she’s blonde.”

… ummm what??? How did that have anything to do with liking someone?? Was that a dig at my ethnicity or a dig at my character? I was so confused I didn’t really know how to respond, so I just stayed silent. And like most boys, he continued….

“I mean, come on, Marisha. I’m only into blondes and brunettes. That’s just who I see myself with in my future.”

I remained silent.

“Hey, I hope I didn’t hurt your feelings. I still think you are really cool.”

I can’t repeat what I was thinking.  The only thing I could mutter was “Well, I’m brunette.”

He should have just shut his mouth, but he put the icing on the cake with, “Well, yeah, but you’re not white.”

I walked away. We ended up going to the same high school, but I never really spoke to him again.

Looking back, I realize he was young.  The best part is he probably doesn’t remember even saying that. But to say it didn’t initiate my struggle with looking different from the “blondes and brunettes” would be a lie. It was my first experience with “discrimination,” not to mention the hurt caused because it was from a good friend of mine. That SAME friend who I used to play “house” with. What irony. Ignorance is the only thing I can pinpoint. I’ll never forget that experience, but it prepared me for a lot of experiences that were coming in my future.

I feel that I have a little stigma now.  I always assume that guys are looking at my friends and not me. But I know I’m being insecure in those moments. Still, I am confident and NOT afraid to share the skeletons in my closet. MORE TO COME ….

Comments

  1. What an intense story! I suspect that “Dan” does remember that remark and very much regrets having made it. I’m sorry that anyone has made you feel insecure….

    • Marisha Castle says:

      I reall don’t think he does…but then again I would never know! He definitely made me stronger tho 😉 thanks wilma!

  2. Marisha,
    Luckily for you, you have the parents you have who raised you to be surprised at this kind of racial ignorance. You are doing great living a life of success and ability. THAT is the appropriate counter to ignorance!

    Hug you mom for me!

    • Marisha Castle says:

      Thank you so much…I feel so lucky to have them. And definitely never focused on my race. I will definitely send a hug for you! X

  3. Lisa DeNike Ercolano says:

    OK, I have tried to write this comment about five times now, and am so upset as I write that each time, the comment doesn’t accurately (or adequately) reflect what I am feeling, so I will try again later.

  4. Lisa DeNike Ercolano says:

    The thing that strikes me about Marisha’s experience with “Dan” is how sort of offhand/casual his comment seemed to be, as if he was saying “Hey, I’m white, so of course I only want to date/like/am attracted to white girls (people who look like me).” As if it were a matter of course and something everyone knows, like “The sun rises in the morning and goes down in the evening.” What disturbs me most about this is that it implies (well, it did to me) that “Dan” couldn’t even see Marisha’s beauty/good qualities because he was “blinded” by their racial differences. On the positive side, I think this attitude (which is not only peculiar to white people: I have heard people of other races comment that “like should go with like”) is becoming less common and expected. That can’t happen soon enough for me. 🙂

    • Marisha Castle says:

      I completely agree Lisa!! It’s insane where people get those ideas and say things like that so nonchalant as if it’s a point of simple conversation. Blows my mind. I hope that it happens sooner rather than later. Thanks 🙂

  5. “The more things change the more they stay the same” this phrase will always have a place in this world. Now with that said I will not address the young man for his world is not a world I want to live in. Marisha you have the choice to be with people who accept and see you. We have a tendency to spend too much time on what we don’t have not enough time on what we do have you have the power to build a life filled with people who are your true friends. Remember that! I have no doubt you already have some. 🙂 I wish you much success in the future. You beautiful brunette!!!!!

    • Marisha Castle says:

      You are so kind, thank you!!!! I really do count my blessings and have learned to try and ignore the ignorance of people as much as I can. Your words were so sweet, thanks so much for your wisdom! X

  6. I am so sorry that you went through that experience. How very painful! What a loss on his part that he could not see what a treasure you are. I am always sad to see how much farther we still have to go with the “race” piece of things. It hurts to hear of someone wounding someone in the way you were. Thank you so much for sharing with such vulnerability and honesty. Take Care-

    • Marisha Castle says:

      Thank you so much! It’s one of those crazy stories stories I will never forget- as much as I want to. But, it made me a lot stronger so I guess I can thank him. But bless his heart for his ignorance. I hope he outgrew that…thanks for reading! That was very nice what you wrote 🙂 take care

Trackbacks

  1. […] me such as the “tsunami in Japan” incident or my middle school crush telling me “I’m only into blondes.” I used to think that those comments were a reflection of how people saw me, or that I […]

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