"I never told my grandparents that the man I was bringing home was Black," she wrote. "I naively hoped everyone would be color-blind — which is not what happened. When my grandparents met Justin, my grandmother was cordial but cold. She greeted him and immediately walked away. When it came time for them to leave, my grandparents didn’t even acknowledge him. Instead my grandmother looked me in the eye, with Justin standing behind me, and said, 'Tell that guy I said goodbye.'
"I had never seen my loving, hardworking, and wonderful grandma be so hurtful and so racist," she continued. "I was in shock."
After the visit, Ervin turned to Graham and said, “Racism is never surprising but always disappointing.”
According to the America's Next Top Model judge, "someone like my grandma only saw Black men depicted on television in situations involving guns, rape, and violence — situations that perpetuate racist stereotypes against Black people in general and Black men in particular. She had probably never looked a Black man in the face, let alone had a conversation with him, and now one was in her daughter’s home, dating her granddaughter."
Things did eventually change for the better, however. Graham wrote that her grandma softened after Ervin personally called her to congratulate her on her 60th wedding anniversary.
"From then on out, she loved him," she shared. "Loved him."
A New Model comes out May 9.
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