Hey, I’m JanayB and I’m new here so I suppose an introduction is needed. You’ll typically find me writing posts about intersectionality, white privilege, the happenings of “wokebook” and stuff that affects the black community in my IWWs (Intersectional Wednesday Workshops). The goal? To corral white fragility, to prop-up marginalized voices, amplify black issues and to keep up with what’s going on in social media circles and in real life, in my black-centric, modern and sometimes hella blunt way. Catch IWWs every Wednesday.
You’ve probably heard your grandma or your aunties talk about how she and your grandaddy were married for a blissful 50+ years and how you need to find a “relationship like ours.” If you’ve also wondered why she’s conveniently left out all the bullshit she went through, you’re not alone.
Let me tell y’all a lil story about my great grandaddy.
Great grandaddy (on my bio mom’s side) was black, Portuguese, Puerto Rican and some other ish. And he didn’t look black At ALL. He was completely white-passing. He looked like a whitewashed version of Ricky Ricardo, slick hair and all.
Anyways, great grandaddy married my great-grandma who was black and not, in the least, ambiguously black and they had a couple of kids. Great-grandma was chocolate, like ya girl, and she was a baddie.
Now, great grandaddy was a musician, a dope ass one, so I’ve heard. But as you can imagine during this time period, black people weren’t being given many opportunities and since he passed as white, he decided to come up with a fake name and pretend to be white to get gigs. And it worked. He was, for that time period, pretty successful.
After a while great grandaddy realized that he could have his share of white women and he capitalized on that, eventually MARRYING one and having some kids. Of course, the white wife and family had no idea about the black wife and family. But my great-grandma and they knew about the other family and just had to deal with it. Great grandaddy split his time between the two homes.
Great grandaddy made a decent amount of money being a musician but guess what home most of his money went to? Yup, the white family. Guess which wife and kids were mistreated? Mmhmm, the black one. Great grandaddy even made his black wife and kids pretend that they didn’t know him when they saw him out and about, which was apparently quite often. He’d even join in calling them racist names when he was around his white friends.
Fast forward to when great grandaddy dies and his white family has a funeral for him. You can imagine their surprise when my great-grandma and her kids burst in. You can also imagine their disgust when they found out great grandaddy was black, his “white” kids were part black and he had a black family. From what I heard, it caused a huge scene and great-grandma may have given somebody a fade.
Although great-grandma got done dirty, supposedly she won in the end as his marriage to the white woman was found false and great-grandma was actually able to get some of his money.
TLDR version: These relationships of the past, idealized by our grandparents, aunties, and uncles could be just as toxic as modern ones.