Why I’m Showing My Girlfriend “Jungle Fever”

By:  H.T.

As I’ve touched on before, my girlfriend Jacqueline & I have been together for a few months.  Since people wanted to be nosy about it, this is her:

Anyway, I got to thinking about our relationship and the fact that, for the time being, the issue of race hasn’t played a huge role in things.  For what it’s worth, her family is very accepting as are her friends.  And my family already warmed to her prior to dating me, she was one of my late great grandmothers caretakers as she’s a CNA.  So things are working out.

However, I feel as though when it comes to the issue of race, I think we are at a point where I can share my fears about us beyond the usual “leaving me for someone else” scenario.  I’m of course talking about racism.  While she’s very open-minded and could be considered liberal, the fact remains that there are issues that I can’t put into words that eat at me.  And there’s one movie that can explain it to her in vivid detail:  Jungle Fever.

Jungle Fever is a 1991 drama by Spike Lee that covers, mainly, the relationship between Flipper and Angie.  I should take this time to point out that my father bears a striking resemblance to Wesley Snipes and that this movie came out the year I was born (3 months prior to my birthday).  The movie at a few parts touches on the issues starting with the most memorable one:  the discussion over black men.

The belief is that black men don’t value black women and that all the good black men are either in jail, on drugs, or gay.  Speaking for myself, the reason I and other men (as I was told by other men) like me started dating outside our race was because we were seen as invisible.  This is not bitterness, this is simply what happens when you’re not seen as desirable by one group of women.  You move on.  The misconception is that black men who have made it have white women, but I don’t think it’s that simple.  I think that, yes, some black men treat white women as trophies.  I think there’s a different way to look at things.

Perhaps, the reality is that some black men just date in their sphere of influence and, most notably, who will give them the time of day.  I won’t say there are no high level black people who hooked up as Barack Obama is proof of this.  But when you factor in that people in general can be purely hypergamous, there’s no shocker that people’s perception can override things.

The point here is that the perception is that to some, this relationship is a middle finger to all the black women that turned me away.  But it’s not.  If anything, it’s the natural progression.  I could spend my days becoming something I’m not just to impress a small number of women, or I could be myself and be as happy as I am now with who I’m with.

The other scenes is in the restaurant and when they’re stopped by the cops:

These scenes touch on the fact that publicly, we do not live in a perfect world and thus our kind of relationship won’t be welcome everywhere.  Fact is, I can’t ignore that we live in a time where A) the police are allowed to have knee jerk reactions with their weapons and not face any or high level consequences for killing people and B) the fact that society places high value on white women in duress while simultaneously demonizing black men.  So simply put, a traffic stop, even if I survive, could be a very jarring moment for us.  She needs to understand, for all of her anxieties, that there will always be the threat of me fitting the description of someone armed and dangerous.

But the most poignant of them all is the scene at which the good reverend doctor purify gives a brief history into how slavery brought about biracial black people.

I’m not going to lie:  I’m in love with her.  I can see a future with her.  And if biology willing, I’d want to start a family with her.  But either way, she has to understand, my family’s history and hers are of very different vibes just in how it’s told.  She’s from Maine, I’m from Michigan but the main people who raised me are from Arkansas.  Her family came to America voluntarily and started from the ground up.  My family came here as slaves.  Her great grandparents were hardworking and provided the wealth and knowledge to last generations.  My great grandparents were black Wall Street wealthy in Mississippi and were killed by the KKK for it.  Her family got their last name at Ellis island.  My great grandmother, the one she cared for, was born in 1929, but despite her being black and cherokee (she’s from Arkansas) we have a Scottish last name earned from slavery.

The point being that if we ever have children, our family history will look drastically different to them.  Just in learning her family tree, she or he will learn the evils of man quickly.  But I’m not afraid.  If anything, any child I have would face this, so this is no shocker.  But for her, she needs to know the score.

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