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The Strawberry Letter: Fighting The Power Every Day

Subject: Fighting the power every day

Dear Steve and Shirley, I’ve been married for almost 5 years but I really got to know my husband during the pandemic when we had a lot of time to ourselves. I love everything about him, from the top of his head down to the big bunions on his feet. My only issue that is driving me crazy, is how white he becomes when he is at work, around our neighbors and at restaurants. He got a promotion on his job right before everyone started working from home back in 2020. I was so happy for him and I threw him a small dinner and had napkins printed with “H.N.I.C.” on them. Steve, I am sure you know exactly what that means and you’ve never been offended by being called that. Well, my husband was offended and wouldn’t let me use the napkins. While we were working from home for almost a year, I noticed a change in how he talked and how he acted on the video conferences with his co-workers. He was trying to use a lot of big words and sound proper, but it sounded strange with all of the broken English he normally uses. I knew he was showing out when he referred to one of the new hires as “the new gal.” I’ve told him to be himself and everyone will still like him but he thinks he needs to sound and act like ‘them’ to be on ‘their’ level. His two black homeboys joked with him about how white he acted at a bar and then went back to being a black man on the basketball court. My husband said he’s fighting the power every day, but what is he even talking about? I’m writing you because he’s getting whiter by the day and now he wants to go wig shopping with me. If he asks me to go blonde, I’m knocking him out. How do I get my country, soulful, bearded, spades-playing, back-breaking, husband back?