Wednesday, December 21, 2011

WELCOME WEDNESDAY: Alicia McCalla's High School Hell: Interracial Romance Ending in Tragedy

It's my pleasure to introduce Alicia McCalla to this week's Welcome Wednesday Post. Alicia writes fantasy, futuristic and paranormal stories in color. Take it away, Alicia...

My First Interracial Romance Ended in Tragedy:
A SciFi Writer Discusses the Interracial Relationship in her Novel

When I was in high school, I had my first experience with an interracial romance.  Sadly, it ended in embarrassment and violence.  I often think back on the experience and wonder what I might have done differently.  For sure, I realize that I was unknowingly involved in a love triangle.  I’d just broken up with my African-American boyfriend. I thought that the relationship was over.  In some ways, my interracial romance was a rebound but it gave me a sense of comfort. 

These two guys were polar opposites. My former boyfriend had been a football playing jock who dumped me because he wanted to “play the field.” I simply didn’t fit his mold. I was “too” intellectual. The other was a deep intellectual who engaged in discussions about Jean Paul Sartre and existentialism.  He was a poet who spiked his hair with gel and wore black because he mourned the world.  Our conversations were spiritual, inviting, and soulful.
The relationship ended abruptly when the football player beat the living daylights out of my poet.  The beating was violent, cruel, and demeaning.  
It was so bad that people who witnessed it refused to speak to me again.  They despised me. They felt I should’ve known better.  I was embarrassed and crushed.

When it was all over, I went to my poet to console him but he shrank away from my touch.  He didn’t look at me. He quietly told me that our relationship was over.  My heart sank.

I left him to find the football player. When I found him, I asked him “why” when he’d already told me that he didn’t want me. His answer was plain. “I couldn’t lose you to a white boy.”

In my upper YA novel, Breaking Free, I have an interracial relationship between XJ and Brandon. There is a love triangle. Things get messy in my novels. For one, Brandon has to deal with his stalker ex-girlfriend who happens to be his same race but is the perfect mate designation type. Brandon cares deeply for XJ and despises his ex-girlfriend, but in their genetically-enhanced world, the relationship between XJ and Brandon is illegal.  This relationship may not be able to survive.

Breaking Free tackles issues that deal with race, class, and gender.  In fact, the series is filled with real controversial issues, just like in life.
 
Alicia McCalla is a native Detroiter who currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia. She works as a school librarian and enjoys spending time with her husband and son.

Visit www.aliciamccalla.com to sign-up for e-updates and sneak peeks about her upcoming novel, Breaking Free. 


Thanks so much, Alicia. This post was both wonderful and powerful. I can only image how horrible you felt when your wounded poet rejected you. 


Okay readers, now it's time for your input. Alicia would like to know if others have experienced an interracial relationship that had similar challenges.  She's interested in knowing your stories and how you handled them.

13 comments:

Jo Ramsey said...

Oh, Alicia...I'm so sorry that you had to experience something like that. Thank you for sharing with us.

I grew up in a very, very homogeneous town. There were four or five African-American kids in my high school of about 800 students total, and I don't recall there being kids from any other racial or ethnic background besides white. There were interracial relationships because the African-American kids wanted to date someone other than each other, and no one seemed to have a problem with that. (I wasn't in any relationship with anyone in high school...)

Melissa Landers said...

Welcome, Alicia! Thank you for sharing your story. How awful, both for you and your poet. And though I don't find your ex very sympathetic, how awful that he felt emasculated by another boy's race and beat him senseless over it.

Like you, I'm a YA sci-fi writer, and my characters also date outside their race/species. They face social outrage over it, but more from humans, who aren't very forward-thinking in my novel.

Alicia said...

Hi Jo!

Sometimes it's difficult to discuss interracial romance especially during the teen years. Teens already have a ton of issues to deal with.

25 years later, I do take comfort in the fact that 21st century teens are more tolerant of dating others. That's a really good thing. If we keep sharing our stories, perhaps we won't have to revisit this again. Thanks for posting! Great comments.

Alicia said...

Melissa, your novel sounds really good. I'd love to interview you for my blog. It's great to see other authors tackling tough issues. Our teens really need it.

BTW, I think there were identity issues surrounding gender and early sexism as well. Tough discussion but well needed. Thanks for your post.

Melissa Landers said...

Thanks, Alicia, that sounds great! Let's keep in touch. :-)

Lorie Langdon said...

Alicia, this story is heartbreaking. Thank you for sharing it with us. Living in our sheltered adult worlds it’s easy to forget these types of things happen every day. I think it’s important that you’re addressing this issue in your novels from a perspective that is uniquely yours. I’m putting BREAKING FREE on my TBR pile!
Thanks so much for stopping by Honestly YA, today. :D

PJ Sharon said...

I pray for the day when the color of our skin just goes unnoticed. You're experience is a reflection on other people's lack of integrity and has nothing to do with you. I'm so glad you are telling your stories and giving the world a chance to see that there is more to learn.

Lea Nolan said...

Alicia, I've already told you how great I think this post is. I'm so sorry you had to go through this. I'm sorry the football player was a controlling, possessive jerk and I'm sorry your "friends" blamed you for his outrageous behavior. I grew up in a town much like Jo's - 800 kids in my graduating class and only 4 African-American or bi-racial kids. The only Asians were girls who were adopted by white families. We were sheltered and ignorant, and sadly, racist. I didn't want to raise my kids the same way. It's one of the reasons we moved to the DC area. Happily, it's much more diverse.

Delaney Diamond said...

Alicia, first things first--I love the images from one of my favorite interracial movies, "A Bronx Tale."

Second, it's unfortunate what happened to you and the poet. Thankfully, things have changed over the years (though much more change is needed), and I'm happy to see more authors putting out books about interracial and multicultural romance.

Alicia said...

Hey Everybody! I love the comments!

Lorie, it's so easy to forget that teens have so much stuff going on. I know that my parents never knew what was happening. It's one of the reasons that I write. So important to encourage discussion.

Hey PJ! So good to hear from you. I hope my novels inspire discussions. We all have so much to learn from one another.

Lea, thanks so much for inviting me. You are gracious and kind. DC is a great place to live. I love the diversity.

Delaney, you are certainly one of my favorite buds. I enjoy your IR stories, too. I'm glad to be able to discuss these types of issues and bring them out for teens.

Hildie McQueen said...

Alicia, Thank you for sharing this story, it was heart wrenching ,but reality sometimes is.

Alicia said...

Hi Hildie!

It was a heart tugger to write. Thanks for posting.

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