Black & White

From Lover, Mother, Seeker, Sage.

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In her 20s she had a relationship with a handsome, charming, preacher’s son (with one testicle). AJ, as we’ll call him, was white. Indisputably white, like a Quaker or northern European.

He was well known for his appreciation of the black woman, and when his radar landed on her, they started dating. Although they enjoyed a certain amount of compatibility, she soon began to feel that she was not quite what he was looking for. In no uncertain terms, she was told “You aren’t black enough.”

Admittedly, the European branch of her family had straightened her hair, lightened her skin and adjusted her features. These offenses might have been overlooked, since there was certainly enough brown in her skin, and roundness in her bottom. What caused AJ to eventually bid her adieu was her inability to muster a convincing black act.

It was brought to her attention that she did not talk black, act black, dance black or eat black. She was partially redeemed by her strong community of black friends, but this did not make up for the ultimate sin — her whiteness in the sack. (This was especially curious to her, considering she had never slept with a black woman. What could she possibly be doing that was so different, and race-specific?)

They parted ways, and eventually the sting of this highly judgmental rejection subsided. In its place arose the humor and absurdity of it all. Her mind even fabricated a tale of how this young man came to be.

You see, although AJ was white, he had been fully integrated into the black community. Many of their black friends had even convinced themselves that he must be at least partly black, although the evidence was quite to the contrary. She imagined that he had made some deal (perhaps for the price of one testicle) that he could trade in his race of origin for another that he found much more interesting. The masquerade would be protected from the eyes of his wannabe peers.

But there was a glitch — some could actually see the truth. Perhaps his problem with her was not that she did not contain enough blackness, but that she could see, and would make him see, all his whiteness.


This essay is part of the upcoming compilation — Lover, Mother, Seeker, Sage by Pascale Kavanagh.

I’ve drawn my inspiration from the many flavors of my life experience. Once a sad, shy girl, I’ve also been an MIT-educated engineer, biotech executive, professional dancer, yoga teacher and business owner, school founder, spiritual counselor, and entrepreneur.

These days, my favorite titles are author, mother, and hot stuff.

And I own a magic wand that I’m certain will work one day.