Moving in with a girlfriend, boyfriend or step-parent is not easy. I remember as a child both of my parents remarried and both of my new step-parents were European American or white. It was not easy at first. We disagreed on things like music. My Dad’s wife did not really dig hip hop too much. I listened to all kinds of shit. Radical rhymes, misogynistic, violent, and peaceful raps. I couldn’t understand why she wasn’t feeling LL’s “big ole butt”. I get it now, but to me, I thought “why is she telling me what to do?”. We never really resolved the music issue, because she liked Mariah Carey and I detested Mariah (at the time).
And there was a time when I could not get used to my mom’s husband because he just acted so differently. For example, when we went to a restaurant; if he did not approve of the food he simply sent it back or told them “I’m not paying for this” or “I won’t eat this”. Growing up with just mom and dad this was a no no! People might spit in your food, screw it up more, etc. but really, I just had never heard someone speak that way. I was taught to be extremely humble, to be quiet on certain things and food in restaurants was one of them. I thought to myself “who does he think he is?!”.
In retrospect the difference in music taste, I thought was a distaste for Black Music, was not. Just a difference in appreciation, a hint of patriarchy (women’s body parts vs women’s minds), and some miscommunication about what a 10 year old should hear. Not sure what I’d say to my son about “big ole butt” if he wanted to listen to it. And, with my step-father I realized after subtracting white privilege from the equation that I too could speak up for myself or voice my opinion. Humbleness is important, but I can also speak up “with” respect. I probably would just steer clear of restaurants I dislike if the food was bad, but the example could be used in other places. As for my son and my partner, he gives me most of his disagreement or attitude. And for now I prefer that because it is my job to parent him and discipline him. But, I chose to introduce my son to her because she loves children, is comfortable with him, and treats him with respect and love. And, I know he really likes her too, which is a relief.