Cynical and Southern: Why am I not attracted to black men?

I have two cats. One has light fur and the other dark.  I love both cats equally. A slur has never unwittingly crossed my mind inferring that the cat with dark fur is any better or worse than the cat with light fur. And so I ask myself this — if cats can just be cats, why the hell can’t people just be people?

It took a move to the South to become enlightened to the subtle racist programming of my Northern upbringing. My family taught me the “n” word was bad while locking the car door as we sped through the “bad parts of town.” To this day I am not aware of any horrible crimes taking place on 2nd Street in Dunkirk, New York. Thinking back on my youth I do remember that the people standing on the street corners had darker skin than mine.

When I was 13 it had to be explained to me there was a difference between “blacks” and “Puerto Ricans." At that young age I knew the world only as “white” and everything else was “not white." I embarrassingly asked one of my classmates to explain the difference. I knew my grandma hated those “fucking Puerto Ricans for taking all the jobs” and that my uncle called Prince the “n” word when one of his videos was on MTV. I cringed when my family used the “n” word, so essentially I felt quite sure I was not racist.