Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

College Student Questions Mom’s Engagement

DEAR HARRIETTE: I’m a Black man living in Columbus, Ohio. My girlfriend -- who is white -- and I have been together for three years and are now discussing marriage, but my parents seem to feel uneasy about this. I asked my fiancee if her parents, being white, were comfortable with us being married. They said they were. But for some reason, my parents aren't quite comfortable with the idea. When I pressed them on it, they said that there’s no way a white woman would be able to fully understand me for who I am, especially in a post-Trump America. I disagree, but I don’t want there to be strife between our families. What do you think I should do? -- Family Feud

DEAR FAMILY FEUD: Sadly, we live in a country that is still plagued by racism. Even so, many mixed-race couples marry and build beautiful lives together. For conditions to be optimal, it would be great if your families got along with each other and with the two of you. Your parents can have their skepticism. Rather than arguing with them about their beliefs, focus on building your life with your fiancee. Talk through all of your issues and concerns. Be open about race, discrimination and social justice issues. Figure out where each of you stands on the hot topics of the day -- and where your values lie. You will have to stand up to plenty more people than your parents, so test it out to see how strong the two of you are in your beliefs and willingness to fight for your life together.

(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.)