Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Friends Want Kids To Couple Up With Same Race

DEAR HARRIETTE: I hung out with some friends and got an earful. My friends said that even though their children go to a predominantly white school, they have told their children that they had better not bring any white girls home as a date or to marry. They were adamant about this, completely unapologetic in their belief that their black children had better marry black. They went on to talk about the history of racism and segregation in our country as reasons for why they want their children to stick with their own. While I understand their point, I don’t like this attitude and don’t think it’s fair, considering that they have surrounded their kids with white people. What is your opinion on this? -- Racial Lines

DEAR RACIAL LINES: This is a tough situation to be in. In general, people often want their children to find partners in whatever their affinity group or groups may be. It is natural for people to want their children to choose like-minded people who share a similar history. It is also true in our culture that racism has created many deep-seated challenges that continue to fester hundreds of years after the end of slavery. All of this may figure into your friends’ views on who their children should date.

The challenge, in my view, is that people fall in love not based on race, but on a variety of other reasons that are out of your control. Further, people fall in love with the people they meet. If you surround your child with people from other cultures, it is natural that they may choose one of them as a partner. A parent’s efforts to control their child’s heart usually do not work.

My hope for my child -- and yours -- is that they find someone who loves, respects and supports them; who welcomes the fullness of who they are; and who is willing to grow together and learn from each other.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I went to an event recently and ran into a guy I have known for a long time who is a bit of a shady character. Several years ago, he “bought” something from me, but promised to pay a week later. I still haven’t gotten the check. When I saw him, I immediately remembered that he owes me money. Should I mention it to him or just let it go? When he saw me, he greeted me like we were long-lost friends with no issues between us. That’s not true. I still remember that he owes me money. -- Close the Deal

DEAR CLOSE THE DEAL: Since this failed deal continues to eat at you, speak to him about it. Let him know how disappointed you are that he would cheat you and never address it again. Tell him that you trust people to honor their commitments, and he has yet to honor the one he made with you. Ask him if he is ready now to make good on his payment. Remind him of the amount, and see what happens.

If he pays you, great. If not, let it go -- unless you are prepared to go to small claims court. This doesn’t mean you have to act like it never happened, but holding on to a grudge will hurt you, not him.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)