We teamed up with Gap to share how we're paving the way for women everywhere this International Women's Day.
I grew up in a small suburb of Ohio and to be honest, I never thought much about the color of my skin. I am African American and my friend circle was full of every nationality you could imagine: Asian, Hispanic, White and Black included. And truthfully, it wasn't much of a thought until I went to college. My first year of college, I wanted to follow in my older sister's footsteps and attended Hampton University, an HBCU. During my first semester at the seaside university, I noticed that I had the tendency to wonder where all the other nationalities were. Don't get me wrong: the college life was great, but it just felt so different for me. It was at this point that my closest friends and family said, "You know, you just don't see color at all, do you?" And the answer was, no.
Throughout my teenage and adult years, I didn't think of dating outside of my race. No, I didn't think it was a bad thing: I just didn't think of it at all. But when I graduated from college and moved to New Jersey to start my new life of commuting into the Big Apple to work at a national magazine, I met the most amazing guy.
You see, at first, I noticed him from afar and had this not-so-usual attraction to him. He seemed so fun, lighthearted, and endearing, and there was something that drew me to him. I wanted to be his friend. He was a white man. A really, really good-looking one, at that. A few years went by and I had the chance to interact with him. He was just as dreamy as I'd imagined, but once I realized I had a crush on him, I stopped in my tracks. I don't know anyone else who dated interracially in my family. In fact, I wasn't even sure what to think of myself dating interracially. It was the first time in my entire life that I actually saw color.
Don't get me wrong, there was nothing, I repeat nothing, wrong with dating someone outside of my race, it was just foreign to me (and to him, I later found out). As we got to know each other more and more, I quickly realized color didn't matter. He was everything I'd wanted in a guy and honestly, he became my very best friend almost instantly.
Fast-forward a few years and I got to marry my best friend, and we quickly learned that race and culture were no issue in our relationship. We learned to talk openly and honestly about different concerns and questions and TBH, I love him for who he is: not the color of his skin.
As we welcome our first baby into this world, we often talk about the desire to raise our son to believe the same. His mixed race doesn't define him, and it doesn't lock him into any patterns of life decisions. We're human. We're so much more than our race. It's time that our society starts to believe that we're all people and we all have great worth — none better than the other. And thankfully, I'm the first and not last in my family to show the future generation that race is nothing more than the color of your skin.