Friday, August 07, 2009

An Open Letter to Barack Obama

Dear Barack,

Something unusual has happened to me over the past few days. To be frank: you have been the subject of my dreams. That's not unusual, you might be thinking. Women dream about me all the time.

Yea, well, it's not those kinds of dreams that I'm talking about here. The truth is, I've encountered lots of discrimination this summer and lately the topic of acceptance is always churning in the back of my mind. I went out on a limb and blogged about my deepest insecurities brought on by bigotry here and here, which opened my eyes to a world of self discovery. I love the intentional visibility of your love for Michelle in such a public forum.

Just recently, my need for public acceptance resurfaced when I saw this intimate portrait of you and your gorgeous wife Michelle here:

At first glance, someone might wonder what you could possibly be whispering in Michelle's ear. But a closer look revealed what I believe to be at heart of this candid moment:

As I look at the expression on Michelle's face, immediately something deep inside me was stirred. My first thought was....there is no pretending here. This is the face of a woman that is loved. And desired. And romanticized. And her delight is being broadcast for all to see. Michelle's expression partially resonates with me.  I say partially because while at home I live these emotions daily, but sadly the world lags in embracing black love publicly. 

My husband is the most sentimental man I know.  He is very romantic and I experience great fulfillment through his expressions of love, which begs the question: If I am so fulfilled at home, why am I dreaming about you? 

Well, I am an attractive brother? You might be thinking. Nope. You're fine and all, but that ain't it. Then it must be my power and prestige? No, that isn't it either. Your presidency is so deeply personal to me because in my experience, being dark-skinned in America and being desirable in America are two mutually exclusive ideas. Your publicity puts man's desire for black women at center stage and it flies in the face of conventional thinking.

As a child, I experienced a lot of public ridicule both within the black community, as well as in the mainstream. Even at a tender age, I was always aware that I was black. I don't mean black as in African American. I mean black-black, which is the kind of black that is inexcusable for that grade of desirable folks in America: those who are pretty to a point of pain for young dark-skinned women like me.

When I was a little girl, being called ugly by my peers was an everyday experience, and for others like me who didn't exactly pass the brown paper bag test. At school (dressed up in my nicest clothes, my braids tightened in neat cornrows) no one ever noticed me. Instead, I was relentlessly taunted and called names like Tar Baby or African Booty-Scratcher by the very people whose acceptance I sought (it's a shame what we put each other through).

As a young woman in college, I dated a few black guys. In these relationships I found myself conforming to something that was not quite me: I began straightening my hair; adding long silky extensions to it. But pretending to be that girl wasn't really my thing, and most brothers weren't ready to accept me for who I was, so I shrank from the world and for years went unnoticed.

That is until I met my husband. Teddy loves the black out of me. Through his love, I feel secure in embracing my blackness--bushy hair and all.

He relishes me. I am awakened by his love. And there is nothing more sexy than my man, who romanticizes over wholly me.

So, why have you been the subject of my dreams for the past few days? Because you have displayed before the world what I have experienced in a private context. Your affectionate candor for your lovely wife, somehow quenches my own personal thirst for public acceptance. There is no mistaken; you are completely in love with Michelle--a black woman-- and I have a great appreciation for a man who desires dark-skinned women.

Barack, you are a tall glass of water.

Dionne Sincire

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Carrie said...

Dionne, you are a complex, multi-layered portrait of beauty. When you lay out your heart for the world, the vulnerability is lovely and haunting. Thank you for bearing your soul, scars and all, so that everyone can witness that beauty.

Melody said...

Yeah.....what Carrie said!!!!! Dionne, I am so glad to have stumbled across you on fb networked blogs.I'm still not sure how that happened but I'm glad it did. I love your authenticity in this post....thank you! I look forward to reading more.

Patty said...

Dionne, When I first met you student teaching in Leanna's room I thought you were a beautiful woman inside and out. I love what you wrote. You are too hard on yourself. I admire you and wish I could be more like you.

Elaine said...

simply beautiful Dionne.

Tee-Tee said...

Black is truly a thing of beauty...and you, my sister, are the epitomey of Black!!!

Hevel said...

Dionne, this wasn't only beautifully written, but it really resonates with me right now.

Thank you for writing this.

woosterweester said...

Wow, Dionne. I don't even know where to begin. I have only experienced discrimination because of being white twice in my life, and those two times hurt my heart deeply. So I can't even imagine how incredibly painful it would be to live in a world where my existence and worth was constantly being challenged. The resiliency God has given you, the healing He's done for you to be the incredible woman that you are in spite of the countless times someone has torn down your worth is astounding. You truly are beautiful inside and out. I love that you are "fully black", and I love that your husband brings that out in you. And regardless of how I might feel about political agendas, I have to say that if our president can by his very color bring back worth to a people then he has accomplished much. Thank you for sharing all of this in a most vulnerable, articulate, and poetic way. As only you can.

Mike and Katie said...

i really appreciate when you share about your experiences and feelings like this. i hope my girls wait patiently for a man like Teddy who loves them naturally.

Alli said...

(I have been out of town and am just now catching up on my blog reading.)

I LOVE this post. It is beautifully written and poetic. I love how vulnerable you are with your readers. You are a beautiful woman (inside AND out) and Teddy is so blessed to have you in his life! And I love how you feel blessed to have him. There is nothing more beautiful than seeing two people in love.

Diane Davis said...

how did i miss this blog post? on so many levels, this is beautiful dionne. you are a beautiful soul.

ps... i like teddy.


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