He Said, She Said: Interracial couple hesitant to attend high school reunion Print E-mail
Thursday, 25 June 2015
By Shaun and Pamela Collins
 Special to GUIDON
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 My 40th high school reunion is coming up, and I am from a mostly black neighborhood in the deep South.

 My wife is white, and she has anxiety about attending this event with me. It is true, often interracial marriage is not accepted in either the black or white communities in the south.  I say it really doesn’t matter — to hell with them.  My wife is almost certain she will not be welcome.  The question is, do I go or not?


 HE SAID:  I have never attended any of my high school reunions and honestly have no desire to do so. The people I grew up with all did their thing and I did mine.  There was a point in time when I thought it might be fun to attend such an event, but then I attended one with my wife’s class.  

 It was nice to socialize with some of the people she grew up with, and it was nice to see her reconnect with some friends she had not seen in many years, but I really felt pretty awkward.   

 Don’t get me wrong, I was accepted and people were nice to me, but I observed a lot of “leveling,” which is the clinical term for people trying to fulfill their insecurities by sharing stories wherein they were awesome, or someone else was an idiot.  By the end of the meeting I was exhausted and I realized that all of the people who mattered to me from those years are still a part of my life — those that didn’t aren’t.  If going to the reunion is creating so much anxiety for your wife, I wonder what you stand to gain by attending? What do you think?


 SHE SAID: I think this will depend a great deal on the size of the class, the size of the town, and if there are friends there who you truly want to reconnect with. Is it possible that you might consider reaching out to old classmates about connecting with them and maybe sitting with them?  

 Set yourself up for success. Remember you aren’t walking back into the 1970s.  Everyone, including the world in general, has moved forward. That said if you get the feeling that you wouldn’t be welcome, don’t put yourself or your wife through this.  

(Editor’s note: Shaun and Pamela Collins were both career Soldiers with a combined history of military service spanning over a half of a century. They have been where you are, so if you are facing a difficult situation, ask them. Send your question to This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it This column and other original content from Mr. and Mrs. Collins can be found at http://militarysuccessnetwork.com. The opinions expressed are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the Fort Leonard Wood Public Affairs Office or the GUIDON.)
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 08 July 2015 )