My name is Michael Johnson. I am a husband, a father, a son, and an author. Writing is something I have always been good at though I have not always wanted to be an author. That changed one day while I was at work back in 2009. I was married to my first wife at the time and working at a small HBCU when a student noticed I was wearing a wedding band. She correctly assumed that I was not married to a black woman and wanted to know why I was not married to a black woman. I could have handled this in a number of ways but I could tell she was not asking me about my life as much as she was asking about black men in general who date outside the race.
There exists a very complicated dynamic within the black community when it comes to interracial dating. Those of us who are or have previously dated outside the race have done so for many reasons, but all reasons are influenced by racism. Black people who say they just fell for someone of a different race without considering any other factor is probably lying. Some of us do it because we feel we were driven to by the mistreatment from our own people. Some view interracial dating as a promotion of sorts; validation of their individual appeal to the outside world. Some believe the interracial relationship will be superior due to the influence of media and how often black people are presented in a negative light.
When I answered the student's question, I told her that I was married to woman who was not black because I wanted to be, but also because I had not been noticed by my own women until I was with someone who did not look like them, and that is where the problem lies. For too many reasons to list here, black men and black women do not value each other and this belief I have, more than any other reason, compelled me to write this book.
I wanted to explore how its possible for black men and women to reach a point when we look at potential romance with each other with pessimism. And then not at all.
What is presented in Shades of Gray: The Introduction of Walter Harrison are the reasons why, mostly from the black male perspective, that black people are increasingly looking for romance for those who look nothing like us.
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Shades of Gray: The Introduction of Walter Harrison
by Michael Johnson
Walter Harrison is a twenty something owner of an apartment building, Harrison’s Palace, which he inherited from his father, as a patronizing gift to remind Walter of the disappointment he has become. Walter carries the burden of feeling ostracized by his fellow African Americans and internalizes a toxic combination of anger, self-pity, and resentment towards black people.
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