She said, “My guy friends don’t like it when I hang out with you.”

Disheartened, I asked her, “What do they say?”

With a shrug and an uncomfortable smile, she responded, “Some days they ask me what I see in you, and I tell them I see sincerity. On other days they ask me what you and I share, and I tell them we share friendship. But once in a while, when they feel bold, they ask me what I see in a negrito, what I see in you—a black man, an African.”

Anxious because of my silence, yet curious to know what was going through my mind, her beautiful hazel eyes stared into mine as she gestured, “Say something!”

“Everyone sees color,” I responded, “but it’s the lucky few that are blessed enough to see past it. If a negrito is all they see then I’m certain there is nothing either of us can do to change that. I’d be naive to think that people of color don’t discriminate amongst themselves, naive to think that who I am can erase the stigma associated with what I am. But in focusing on my race, they missed the beauty and essence of what continues to shape and define our relationship—a relationship built on respect, sincerity, and honesty that transcends our skin color and cultural differences.”

The whole notion that race, culture, religion or sexual orientation should be a barrier or standard by which people are segmented or categorized with regards to whom they can or cannot love is absurd. Love does not discriminate; it transcends all those bigoted and petty isms that taint its beauty and innocence.

Sincerely,

Kwapi Vengesayi

FB: @kwapivengesayi | Twitter: @kwapiv | IG: @kwapiv

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