I sat inside the home office of John C, a white guy who lived in Dearborn.
I was a little bit nervous as a 14 year old kid. John C. knew I liked his middle daughter Karen and said he wanted to talk to me. As a kid we used to joke that white people believed “you have more rights, just don’t move in next door and don’t date my daughter.”
I thought I was about to get lectured about dating his daughter. If you thought people are ignorant today, they were really messed up in the 70s. The people who discouraged you from dating white girls never had a problem with it. They were simply looking out for you because of the ills of society.
I cannot tell you how many times someone told me that if you marry a white girl that you’d have babies with stripes would come out the womb looking like a checker board. So I sat in front of John C waiting for something stupid to come out of his mouth.
After my father was murdered by a Detroit police officer my family feared that I would go off the deep end. I was pissed because I didn’t really get to know him. They feared that I wanted to lash out. Their solution was to ship me off for seventh and eighth grade to Nativity Lutheran on Detroit’s west side.
It was my first experience at a mostly white school. And I got a little religion in me too. That’s where I met Karen who I believed to be the prettiest girl in school. We went out a few times. We kissed and held hands.
Nothing too heavy. We kept in touch after graduation.
That’s what led me to a meeting in the home study of John C. He grilled chicken and burgers that night and after dinner he invited me into his study. John C. was a friendly man who talked in a calm measured voice. He had speckles of gray in an otherwise dark mop of hair and a thick mustache.
“I hear that you like my daughter Karen.”
Oh boy. Here it comes.
John C.’s voice remained measured. There was no hint of anger or angst.
“Then why are you not going out with her? I think you are perfect for Karen. She likes you. You are a good guy and smart. Why is this not happening?”
I was stunned. I could not believe I was sitting in front of a white guy in Dearborn of all places during these turbulent times between the races, and he’s not only giving me permission to date his daughter. But he insisted on it.
I did not go on any more dates with Karen because she was seeing a guy who drove a truck and smoked cigarettes. I did not think I could compete with that.Find Terry Foster Podcast here: