(Editor’s Note: Kaelani Allen is my oldest daughter. This is an open letter to the so-called friends who hurt her. As a mom it’s hurtful when people judge your children, especially when you worked all your life to NOT be the stereotype, to raise your daughter in a middle-class neighborhood, to get two degrees to ensure that she receives a great education and go off to one of the seven colleges she got accepted to. Then a group of haters look at her and judge her like she is trailer trash looking for a hand-out. Kaelani is far from that! She found a man of a different race who loves her for who she is. Then out comes the trolls invoking their white privilege card to question her intentions since she of the “black persuasion”. They’re clueless about black people and anything outside of what they see on Maury. Kaelani wrote this letter from the heart and sharing it here on her mom’s blog but of course, I had to add my twist with some memes. 😉 )
By Kaelani Allen
To the “friends” of my wonderful fiancé M,
I need you all to know that true friends would never say what you did about our relationship last night, and quite frankly no one with a heart would either. Unfortunately I’ll never know who-said-what, but it honestly does not matter, because by not defending my honor and integrity, you were complicit in what was said.
He will never forget the frazzled look on my face, nor my tears, nor the force in my voice as I explained how what you said validated that unprovoked racial prejudice still exists. Sadly it’s coming from people I would never have suspected: those who we have communed with on private property on more than one occasion, those who we have talked to and who have smiled in our faces, those who had the audacity to stand outside while we were right on the other side of the wall and come up with baseless theories about us, and imply that I am using my fiancé, that I am cheating on him, that the baby I am carrying may not be his, that we may need a DNA test to prove paternity, that marrying me is a bad idea. Wow.
I’m going to take a wild guess and say you guys do not personally know any black people; otherwise you would not have made my life out to be the Maury Povich show. You perpetuated very dangerous stereotypes about the black community in that one conversation alone. None of you have taken the time to get to know me on a personal level to have anything negative to say about me, let alone anything so hateful and slanderous. How will you ever grow as people if you don’t expose yourself to other cultures outside of what you see on television? You had the opportunity to get to personally know someone from a different racial background than yours. You could have used the opportunity to search for the common ground between us. The fifteen minutes you spent talking bad about me could have been fifteen minutes of intelligent conversation about a diverse range of topics.
I don’t like to brag about anything I have accomplished, but I assure you I’m not some bum using M for a come up. The fact any of you would imply that is sickening. I graduated in the top 10 of my high school class. I was accepted to SEVEN colleges I applied to, and I also was on the President’s List at Georgia State University. So although I’m still working on my degree, I have no reason not to succeed. I come from a great family whose footsteps I’m definitely following in. I come from parents who are BOTH EDUCATED and EDUCATORS. In addition to those careers, my mother is an award-winning journalist, accomplished blogger, and published children’s book author. My father is now a great pastor at an exponentially growing church out-of-state.
I believe in kindness and compassion. I believe in encouraging other people who are pursuing their goals and dreams. I believe in congratulating people and being happy for them as they approach new horizons on their journey through life. I wish I knew how much you were judging me before I shared things about my life. We laughed about the baby names M and I had picked out in the moments preceding what was said. I was so excited to be spending time with you guys. I thought I was making genuine connections with everyone. I hope no one ever makes you feel how you made me feel. I hope no one takes the most beautiful, positive time in your life and turns it into a hateful topic of gossip, worthy of cynicism instead of admiration.
M embraces his heritage as a Caucasian and Asian-American man. He also embraces me as an African-American woman. He doesn’t see my race when he looks at me. He doesn’t see my race when he kisses my swollen, brown belly, and he certainly didn’t see race when he got down on one knee and placed my beautiful engagement ring on my brown hand that I wear with pride.