Reggie Bush And The Essence Controversy

There would be no black and white, the world would just treat my wife right. We could walk down to Mississippi and no one would look at us twice…

Yes, there is a reason behind this beautiful Reggie Bush picture.

The Super Bowl champion so gorgeously graced the cover of the February issue of Essence. But according to the Letters to the Editor section in the March issue, reader response was less than lovely.

Some Essence readers were disappointed that Reggie Bush was the cover of the “Black Men, Love and Relationships” issue, since he is dating Kim Kardashian.

Opinions are exactly that, and I know that people have strong views about interracial dating. And I will not attempt to dissect it here. But I will tell you my story that shaped my view on the subject.

When I was in kindergarten, my mom and dad attended a parent teacher conference night. While they met with the teachers, I watched movies in another room with my classmates. One of the little girls told me, “My mom told me that your mom is bad because she doesn’t like black men.” We were 5 years old, and my parents were superheroes in my mind, and I didn’t think they could have done anything wrong. I thought that if my mom is wrong, and I was part of my parents, then something must be wrong with me too.

This was the first question about race that I lugged home to my parents along with lessons and schoolbooks on my tiny shoulders. They told me that some people will think that way, but I had parents who loved me very much, and that’s what makes a family.

But my classmate’s words still affected me, and as I grew up girls would not like me before I even said hello. I was written off as thinking I was better than everyone else, that my hair wasn’t real, was real, that I was not black enough, not Hispanic enough, not something enough. Guys would like me initially because I was “exotic” looking, as either a trophy or a history project until they’d realize there was a person under the long hair and “light skin.”

As I’ve grown, I’ve realized that there will always be people who will think my mom is my friends’ mom. There will always be people shocked when they see my relatives with darker complexions. Some will breathe a sigh of relief when they see my dad’s side, as if they finally have put together a puzzle they’ve been scratching their heads on.

But at the end of the day, the scrutiny and the questions have definitely shaped my relationships. Because of my experiences, and because of the UN-ness of my family, race is not a factor in who I love, and who loves me. My friends do not fit me into a box, and that’s all I wanted.

Why can’t Reggie Bush date Kim without being the example of a black man dating a white woman? In a post-racial world, why does this strike a nerve? We tout our first African American President, who is actually half white and was raised by an extraordinary white woman. Robin Thicke is married to one of the most gorgeous black women of our time, Paula Patton, and black men salute him.

If you must hate on Kim Kardashian, hate her not because she “stole a black man,” but that she is dating one of the most beautiful excellent looking men on the planet.

Signed,

A naturally curly haired, Black Honduran Puerto Rican from New York 😉

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4 responses to “Reggie Bush And The Essence Controversy

  1. I enjoyed this. Thanks for writing it.

  2. Jada, Excellent!

  3. Believe it or not, even my mom had to “explain” a photo of U and I in
    her office, because a subordinate commented on it in a manner in which
    may b appropriate in THEIR narrow minded lives, but brought out the
    Brooklyn in her. Needless to say, mutts rule. Period.
    Xoxoxox

  4. Very nice article!! You know it’s really sad to see how hypocritical people can be when it comes to race…especially African Americans. I see it all the time at my job. White doctors married to black women, and people assuming either she is with him for the money or he married her just because she is black. Racism is an ideology we all know is still around but it is definitely being shown from both sides at this point.

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