Monday, February 8, 2010

Zebra says what?

Isn’t the zebra a beautiful creature? The perfection in its stripes...the harmony of its very existence should make one marvel at the splendor of our Lord God. I wonder what His thought was.
Why He decided to make this animal so different from the others like it.

And everyone knows this attractive mammal is sometimes used to refer to people who are bi-racial or in interracial relationships. That’s fine with me, I like zebras and Oreos, besides I’ve heard worse.
So that’s why I chose that name as my title, I’m not an overly sensitive person, I can make fun of myself, just don’t you do it! Just kidding (I think).

For those who don’t know, I’ve borrowed my pen name from the fictional character of Helen Willis, played by the late Roxy Roker (Lenny Kravitz’s mom and Al Roker’s cousin) on the Jeffersons who was also infamously called a zebra, along with her husband, by George Jefferson. She was the one of the first black women to have a white husband on network television, I can only think of 2 in total but I could be mistaken, if you know of others besides Helen and “Toni Childs”on Girlfriends, please feel free to let me know.
But Roxy was elegant and fun, classy and sophisticated and I thought it’d be kinda cool to pay tribute to her groundbreaking role by using her name.

It wasn’t my intention to write a blog like this in the year of our Lord two thousand and ten.
I didn’t intend to make a “thing” out of my relationships with white men, given they were so few. Now let me say from the start, I have not experienced a lot of negative experiences nor do I expect to and I don’t want it to make it seem as though I have.

But the ones that were negative or questionable always seem to stick out like a sore thumb.
I wanted to disregard them and never think of them again but I want to tell this story;
I want to be in this fight. I didn’t want to do a “race” thing, not now! We have a black president! I thought, let’s turn the page on this mug! It wasn’t as easy as I had hoped.
I suppose what the election of president Barack Obama means to me is that this is the new day we as blacks were waiting for, yes it is, it is the day that the stubborn demons emerge like the serpent of Eden, like the light that caused the roaches to flee, here they are…let’s expose ‘em. And like roaches, (I hear they will survive the end of the world), there will always be ignorant people, some people live and thrive off of ignorance and would hate to see things change, even if for the better. But that’s okay, just as long as they will always be outnumbered, I can live with that. I present this project generally for the experience of black women in interracial relationships because that’s a part of who I am; I have never spoken for men of any race, in any situation because that’s not where my experience lies.

But I still speak of the tragedies, triumphs and trivialities regarding this thing called race.

In closing let me say this, Melba Patillo Beals-almost 40 years after she risked death as a teenager to integrate Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas - writes in her memoir of that experience: “The task that remains is to cope with our interdependence - to see ourselves reflected in every other human being and to respect and honor our differences”, this is the message of this blog, to wake the human spirit to reevaluate our own commitment to racial peace, respect, and tolerance. Because ultimately, our experiences speak to us then they speak through us and a mistake uncorrected is doomed for repetition.

Tell me what do you think?

Helen Willis, the Zebress


  1. luv this..I appreciate ur thoughts, ur wording and ur efforts u r and inspiration to those who seem to struggle with inter-racial...I have an interracil family and sometimes I cant stand taking my children around the african american side because it seems as though for me that we as aa have not come as far as I would like to think when it comes to interracial whatever we have an "angry" judgement unless of course it the white female black male interracial family....I won't vent to much :) just wanted u to know I hear u and I agree

  2. Thank you for your comment Ms.Mimi, God bless :)!