From The Grio / By Lisa Bonner — I turned on the television yesterday morning when I woke up and saw the news outlets reporting that Prince William and Kate Middleton had gotten engaged. I immediately grabbed my Blackberry, logged onto Facebook and posted “A Royal Wedding!! Can’t wait! I’ll be watching!” As a young girl growing up in St. Louis, I vividly remember setting my clock for the wee hours of the morning in July 1981, just to see Lady Di’s wedding. I woke up my mother, climbed into her bed and we tuned in to all the fanfare of Lady Diana’s nuptials, so I just couldn’t wait for another Royal Wedding.
As a hopeless romantic, who happens to be a black woman, I was elated. Who doesn’t like a good old fashioned love story? And this particular love story has all the fairy tale elements: A real life prince meets a “commoner” in college, they date, break up, she is shunned by some members of his family, she waits somewhat patiently, he works on his family’s acceptance, works on his career, and then…finally “Waity Katy” gets that elusive brass ring (or in her case, an 18 carat sapphire and diamond ring that once belonged to Princess Di). The End.
Sounds like a perfect love story to me and I, for one, was excited. I thought that most women, if not excited, would at least be happy for a woman who snagged her man. And a well adjusted, scandal free, Prince at that? After all, isn’t love a universal theme, so wouldn’t most people be happy?
At some point during the day, I logged onto Facebook to see what theGrio readers had to say about whether we as black women cared about this wedding. Evidently most of the people on the page couldn’t give a “Rat’s a**” about this wedding, and trust me when I tell you that that was one of the nicer comments. The question apparently hit a sore spot with many of theGrio readers because this question received more comments than any post in the last week and the vitriol was palpable.
The comments fell into two categories. The first, the “Hell no, I couldn’t give a f**k about this, why should I care, they are not paying my bills and this is not relevant to black people” category. A few people even commented that this was the stupidest question that theGrio had ever posted. Wow, I was clutching my pearls! The second group, albeit the minority, were well wishers who did care, because as one woman posted “this woman likes romance, royalty and fairy tales.” Amen to that sista, because this black woman happens to agree with you.
I decided to visit a few other black news websites to see if they had any posts about the engagement and couldn’t find anything. I guess we don’t care, which really disturbed me.
Let me be clear, I couldn’t care less if Prince William was black, white, yellow or green. I thought that love was the great equalizer? What does color have to do with this? Aren’t, patience and love universal themes? Call me silly, naïve, a sell out–call me what you will because I am none of those, but I do care.
Black families are matriarchal, and it is incumbent upon us, as black women, to teach our children about these universal themes of love and acceptance. As a race, we make up 13 percent of the U.S. population, so we cannot exist in a bubble. Like it or not, this is news and trust me when I tell you, if your daughter isn’t home schooled, this, at some point, will be a topic of conversation with their little white (girl) classmates.
Fast forward to Spring or Summer 2011. Your daughter wants to climb into bed with you, like I did with my mom nearly 30 years ago, to watch a piece of history and tune into this fairy tale wedding. Are you going to tell her, “Hell no, these rich white people aren’t paying my bills, they don’t care about black people, now go back to sleep and don’t bother me anymore!” I would like to think that we would welcome our daughters into our beds, tell them how anything is possible: a black man or woman can be president, a commoner can marry a prince and encourage open dialogue. Even if you are not excited, and won’t be setting your clock like I will, this is a chance to foster communication and encourage our sons and daughters to reach for the stars.