Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Special Appearance: Author Dewan Gibson on "Six Tips to Survive an Interracial Relationship"

For this special post, I've decided to do something different with Dewan Gibson, author of THE IMPERFECT ENJOYMENT. I wanted to do a pictorial post and Dewan is all for it. (Thanks, Dewan!)

What you'll see here are some of the pics taken by the author at the busiest border in the entire world—the San Diego/Tijuana border that divides the U.S. and Mexico. He chose this location because the area reminds him of interracial relationships and of course the start of his buckwild bachelor days when he first arrived in San Diego, both of which are major themes in THE IMPERFECT ENJOYMENT. Along with this post is a brief article about "surviving an interracial relationship," which is one of my favorite topics—can you see now the reason Dewan's book is appealing to me? Because I do not want my book review to compete with the guest post, it'll appear during the weekend coinciding with Father's Day (fatherhood vs. bachelorhood—LOL!).

Please welcome author Dewan Gibson to Hello, My Name Is Alice!

Dewan Gibson at the San Diego/Tijuana border
Border Patrol Truck holds the undocumented when caught
Entrance Into Mexico: No Papers Needed

***

I thought to feature an excerpt from The Imperfect Excerpt, but since Alice already posted a review (Alice: Actually, Dewan, I decided to post the review only this weekend so that my review will not "compete" with your post, but readers can still check out the excerpts at your website!) I figured that would be a Kanye West like overkill of shameless self-promotion. Instead I’m sending a short article related to one of the main themes in The Imperfect Enjoyment, interracial relationships. Perhaps those of you that have dated outside your ethnic group will find this interesting, or maybe you’ll end up sending Alice a message that reads “What the hell where you thinking when you agreed to feature this weirdo on your site!” Hope you enjoy: SIX TIPS TO SURVIVE AN INTERRACIAL RELATIONSHIP
  1. Realize that many of your friends and family may be tolerant of interracial dating…from a distance. The Imperfect Enjoyment focuses on my relationship with a young Arab woman, who happened to have an aunt that was very in-tune with African-American culture. But when the aunt heard her niece was in love with this funny looking black man (me) her true ethnocentrism showed. She actually broke down in tears at the thought of my long caramel-colored arms wrapped around her precious niece. My advice: Point out the contradiction and let the offended party get over his or her issue. If you are an adult there is no need to justify your choice of a partner.
    ~~~
  2. Unless he or she costs over 100k and can reach 60 miles per hour in three seconds, do not describe your partner as "exotic." People who say such things are the same people who label their friends as "my Mexican friend Junior" or "my white friend Chloe." If you are one of these people who believe everything revolves around race, an interracial relationship is probably not for you.
    ~~~
  3. Do not be overly sensitive to "racist" statements. Most often simple slips of the tongue (and brain) are not said with malicious intent. For example, while at a graduation celebration with a white woman and her family the mother asked me to dance. After I hesitated she had the nerve to say, "Come on! I know YOU PEOPLE like to dance." My initial thought was to speed dial Jesse Jackson, organize a protest with Al Sharpton and release my inner Nat Turner. Then I thought "Big deal, a lot of black people like to dance. So do many others. But you have to admit…black people can get down!" Anyway, I gave her the benefit of doubt and assumed she did not think that dancing was the ONLY thing black people can do well. Still the "you people" statement was a bit bothersome. So I reached a happy medium. I chose not to dance, but also decided to not think of the mother as a racist. Everyone says stupid things. When you are in an interracial relationship you will hear more than you might expect (even from your partner). Pick and choose your battles wisely.
    ~~~
  4. Regardless what he says about "his family having a tough time accepting you" absolutely refuse to be a secret to your partner's family or friends. People tend to tell family and friends about great things that come into their lives (i.e. a new job). If you have been with your partner for anything close to a year and have yet to meet his family, chances are you are not that great to him. My advice is to break up with him. Before you do consider showing up unannounced at his next family event, just for kicks.
    ~~~
  5. Do not dismiss your partner's culture with that "everyone is the same" lingo. Yes, people are alike in many ways, but there are also profound cultural differences…and there is nothing wrong with acknowledging this. For example, if your partner is Muslim are you going to make him or her buttered pork shoulder for dinner? Be respectful toward and enjoy the cultural differences.
    ~~~
  6. Whatever happens, do not go on "The Maury Povich Show." This show decimated the image of African-American relationships and is currently working on doing the same to interracial relationships. If you are unsure which sperm donor is the father of your child go through the courts or at least get a home DNA test kit. If you absolutely must go on the show please avoid crying to Jesus to help you find the father of your child, or for that matter celebrating like you won the lottery after finding out you are not the father.
Dewan W. Gibson is an adjunct faculty member at San Diego State University and author of The Imperfect Enjoyment. He can be reached on his blog at www.imperfectenjoyment.com/blog.

Highway Overpass Between San Diego and Tijuana
Tax Dollars (not) At WorkNew Border Wall
Goodbye: She's Back to Tijuana for the Evening, He Lives in San Diego

Do watch out for my book review this weekend. Thanks for reading and do drop by to say HI to Dewan!