This post actually came to mind because just the other day one of my friend's posted a comment from her granddaughter on Facebook. Her granddaughter asked her what she "was." Grandma said, "You are a girl" honey. Her 3 year old granddaughter laughed and said, "No, am I black or white?" Her granddaughter happens to be black, white, and Mexican, so she proceeded to explain this to her. How interesting that a 3 year old already notices that her skin color is different from Mom and Dad's. The great thing is, by having these open discussions about being multi-racial it just becomes a fact, like saying the sky is blue. It just is blue, and she just is multi-racial. I have never understood racism. To this day, and after all I have gone through with my husband and daughter in regards to racism, (I could write a book on that alone) I still don't get it. How do you choose to hate someone based solely on the color of their skin? Did they do something horrible to you? Do they treat others badly? Where does this hate come from? If someone commits a crime against you and they happen to be black, are you angry at that person because they are black? No, you are angry because of what they did to you, not because of the color of their skin. If every child, that was born to every parent, starting today, was taught to like or dislike someone for the person they are vs. the color of their skin, racism would be erased. Just like that. Nobody is born a bigot...racism is taught.
Friday, May 29, 2009
Church.....Religion.....Sprirituality.......they all have different meanings depending on how we grew up. I grew up in the Lutheran Church and my husband grew up in the Baptist Church. We are raising our daughter on the other hand not in any particular church but as a Christian. We are also raising her to be open and respectful of ALL religions and to always be willing to think outside the box. =) One of the joys of being in a racially mixed marriage is sharing and experiencing all of the differences on both sides. "Black churches" and "white churches" could not be any more different. (I don't like distinguishing them like that, but for the purpose of this post I need to.) White churches in my experience, are quiet, prayerful, and pretty conservative. Black churches are the exact opposite. I remember the first time I went to a predominately black church, I was amazed. The singing, the clapping, the holy ghost, it was wild...to me at least! At first I thought, this is not how you act in church, and then I realized, this is pretty cool! Talk about praising God! Do it out loud and do it proud! Not that we aren't feeling the same thing in the predominately white churches, but it just feels so good to shout it out. Don't even get me started with the differences in the clothes! Ohhhh the hats in the black churches....fantastic! I just can't express how much I love the fact that we can teach our daughter the best of all worlds so she can pass that on to her kids, and so on, and so on. Whether you are Baptist, Lutheran, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, etc., one day if we all accept and respect each other for whatever religion we practice, whatever race we are, and whatever our differing beliefs might be, then maybe, just maybe there will be no wars, no racism, and no hate. It's so simple, so why do we make it so hard? Call me Tinkerbell, but miracles can happen, right?
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
One of the fascinating things that has happened since starting this blog is that my daughter notices every single interracial couple whenever we are out in public. It's not that she didn't notice before, she just never pointed them out to me. Now she says, "Look Mama, there is another interracial couple, you should tell them about your blog." First of all, the fact that she is a teenager and even knows that I have a blog, let alone cares about it, is amazing. I love it! It's like we have this unspoken connection with these couples, and now she wants to share that connection with people "just like us" through the blog. =) I am not to the point yet of being brave enough to just go up to a couple based solely on the fact that they are mixed, and say, "Hey, check out my blog on interracial relationships!" This might surprise anyone that knows me, because I have no problem talking to strangers, and for that matter no problem talking at all! Just ask my husband. =) So, if you are out and about, and happen to be a mixed couple, don't mind the "crazy lady" who might come up to you and share her blog with you even though you are complete strangers. More important than sharing my blog and sharing my experiences is the fact that there ARE so many "of us" out there now. This just shows me that the world is opening up and people are falling in love with someone that years ago they might not have even given a second glance because they were NOT just like them. Trust me when I say, after 16 years of marriage to someone who is not like me AT ALL.....it IS the best of both worlds! Open up your heart and open up your mind and just let love take it's course....you will be amazed!
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Today I was out looking for an angel for a friend of mine. I needed to find an African American Angel, but of course I couldn't. This has always been an ongoing problem when looking for gifts. As a "white shopper" we take it for granted that we will always be able to find the white version of what we are looking for. This is not so true when looking for the black version. So today, even though I was shopping for a black friend and wanted a black angel, I had to buy a white angel. My daughter said I shouldn't get it because it didn't look like the person it was supposed to represent. I told her I really liked the sentiment that was written on the stand of the angel so I was going to get it anyway. I was bummed that it wasn't a black angel and even more bummed that there wasn't even an option available. These are the little things that I realize as a white woman, married to a black man, with a mixed daughter. We always made sure that Tatiana had both black and white dolls growing up and interestingly enough it was more often my side of the family that purchased the black dolls for her. So next time you are out shopping take a moment to see what is available in the black and white versions of gifts, let alone Asian, Hispanic etc. Once you start paying attention it will be an eye opener.
Today's post is dedicated to our newest angel,
R.I.P.....May 24th, 1988 - May 24th, 2009
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Outside our cabin in Sunriver, OR
When you are in an interracial marriage or relationship one of the things you quickly get used to is being the only one of your particular race at family functions. When Jamie and I first started dating and then got married, this was something that we didn't even really think about until we got to whatever event it was that we were attending. All of the sudden you look around the room and think....hmmm I am the only white person, black person, etc. in the room. To be honest, because that is what this blog is all about, at first I was a little nervous at family parties because I just wanted to fit in. Then I quickly realized that was just silly, and I let go of all my worries and just had fun. After 16 years of marriage it is now second nature for both of us to be "the only one" at our various family get togethers. Christmas before last we went to Sunriver, OR with 30 plus relatives from my side of the family. Jamie's running joke with Tatiana was that they were going to be the only black people in Sunriver, and that the snow ball fights would be unfair because they wouldn't be able to "hide" in the snow! Hilarious! Last year it was Christmas with Jamie's family and I was "the only one." Now after all of these years it is just funny to me that it was ever an issue, even if only for a minute. We love each other's families to pieces (mind you this did not happen over night, but that's another post for another day)....crazy as we all are, and we wouldn't have it any other way!
Thursday, May 21, 2009
One of the things I love about my husband is, he always makes me laugh. He must have been a comedian in a former life because he is hilarious! There is not a day that goes by that he doesn't make me crack up in one way or another. Let's just say, most days I never know what I am going to get! Some days it drives me crazy, but I love that about him....it's just him. On one of the particularly funny days, we were visiting my parents in Lake Oswego, Oregon. We needed to run errands so we borrowed my Dad's car to go to the grocery store. Of course Jamie drove because he does not like me driving if he is in the car. I am a great driver by the way so I don't know what the issue is! So anyway, we get to the grocery store and pull into the parking lot. I just needed to run in and pick up a couple of things so Jamie said he would wait in the car. As I am getting out of the car (which happens to be a luxury car, and this only matters because of what comes next) Jamie sticks his head out of the window, and in his best Southern accent, with a huge smile on his face, says, "Okay Miss Daisy I'll be sittin' right here waitin' for ya! You be careful now Miss Daisy!" I almost died! The parking lot was full of people walking around, and remember we were in Lake Oswego, Oregon...not exactly a melting pot. I think I turned 500 shades of red and Jamie just sat in the car cracking up while people stared at us! Hilarity at it's best! Once in a while when we are in just the "perfect area," he will pull this lovely little comedic rabbit out of his hat for a re-run, and each time I am just as embarrassed, and each time it is just as funny! Next time I'm driving! =)
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Whenever we get together with Jamie's side of the family, inevitably someone will make some kind of comment about white people. Don't get me wrong it is never in a mean or obnoxious way, but it is directed specifically at white people. The comments are always meant to be funny, but what's even funnier is, I'm right there! I will look at the person that made the comment and say, "Helloooo, white person in the room!" Then they will look at me, and without a thought say, "Oh, we don't think of you as white." Hmmm....how does one take that? I am white, and about as white as you can get actually. I don't get offended when I hear that, so do I take it as a compliment? I'm not sure. I guess so. Maybe we are all just so comfortable with each other and used to each other that we don't see color amongst ourselves anymore. This is a good thing, right?! Isn't that the way it's supposed to be? One day maybe we will all say, "Oh, I don't think of you as"....... because there will be nothing to think about, we will just be who we will be. Wouldn't that be nice?! One can dream can't they?
Monday, May 18, 2009
Family dinners....they make for the most interesting conversations. The other night at the dinner table Tatiana was telling Jamie and I about some videos on You Tube. She was telling us about one in particular where people share their secrets but don't show their faces. In this video there was a teen who said they hated themselves because they were half black and half white. That just broke my heart. After she told us about the video we had a discussion and asked Tatiana if she had any issues because she was half black and half white. She said "Not at all, why would I!?" In my heart I knew that would be her answer because we have raised her to love herself for who she is, period. =) We have always taught our daughter to cherish the blending of cultures, races, traditions, and all of the other things that go along with being a "mixed" family. I wish I could sit down and talk with the the teen in the video and find out why they would have these feelings. Clearly this child needs someone to talk to. It's so important to always have an open dialogue about these things so that if there are problems no matter what they might be, you can solve them together. I love that Tatiana always talks freely about her race and heritage. People are fascinated when they find out what her background is comprised of......Russian, Swedish, Indian, African, Creole, black, white, etc. She has the best of ALL worlds! =) We are all a blend of something, and that is what makes each and every one of us so special. Take a look in the mirror today and smile....you are amazing!
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Flashback to 1992.....Jamie, my friend Sandy and I were all going out on the town. We rented a limo, (because that's what we did in our 20's when we had no responsibilities and money to burn) and we headed to the Hyatt in La Jolla for dinner and hanging out. We pulled up to the hotel and piled out of the limo.....2 very tall white women and one very, very tall black man. Needless to say we didn't exactly blend in....and that quickly became an understatement when we found out what event was actually going on that night at the hotel. Irony, comedy and more.....it was the Black Women's Conference! I kid you not. So here we are, 2 white women, on the arms of a black man, at the Black Women's Conference. Hmmm. =) Well, we said, what the heck, let's check it out! As we were walking through looking at all of the booths and displays the assumptions started to fly......you could just see it on everyone's faces....what's up with these three? Jamie quickly became our "pimp daddy" in the minds of many of the people there. We heard the comments and saw the stares, but we took it all in stride. Of course not everyone reacted that way, but for those that did, we just let them assume away! I will never forget that night and the irony of showing up at that particular event where Jamie officially became our "pimp daddy"........awww memories! =)
Friday, May 15, 2009
The old saying, "opposites attract" is pretty much "nail on the head" for us! Besides the "obvious," Jamie and I are opposite in every other way as well. When people meet us for the first time, almost every single person reacts with, "how on earth did you two get together?!" This question doesn't really have to do with the fact that we are black and white, okay maybe it does a little, but it is really because we are just soooo different from each other. Jamie is "Mr. ghetto fabulous" and I am "Ms. prim and proper"....or at least that is what people assume! Ha, little do they know. =) It makes us laugh when people don't get us! Don't get me wrong we have similarities as well.....we are both stubborn, strong, opinionated, and we are both Aries! Imagine those arguments....two rams butting heads! Luckily those are few and far between. =) The funny thing is, because we are so opposite we pretty much always come to the middle on everything. One of things we have both learned in all our years together is to just totally accept each other for who we are as individuals and the rest will follow for us as a couple. Never try and change someone, just embrace the differences! That is exactly what we did, and even though soooooo many people thought we wouldn't last, this year we will celebrate our 16th anniversary and we are stronger and more opposite than ever!
Thursday, May 14, 2009
The other day after picking up Tatiana and a friend from school we were all in the car and Tat was talking about various members of the family. As she was talking about them she was mentioning their names. Then out of the blue Tat's friend interrupted her and repeated some of the names Tatiana had just said....Desco, Janessa, D'aija and so on. Then she proceeded to say to Tatiana, "You are so black!" Of course the family members she was discussing were from Jamie's side of the family. Her friend by the way is Filipino, and her Mom is married to a black man. This gives her the "pass" to say that to Tatiana, or at least she thinks so! =) Was her friend stereotyping based on names...yes, but then as we started comparing names on my side of the family and Jamie's side of the family, it became abundantly clear that you could lay those two lists of names in front of someone and pretty much be able to guess what their background was. As the conversation went on, the more interesting it became. I will spare you anymore details, so here are the lists:
My side of the family...Stan, Terry, Lori, Tony, Danielle, Amy, Scott, Kasey, Lindsay, Tyler, Evan, Sally, Joe, Mike, Jennifer, Ben, Madison, Summer, Chris, Darcy, Nate, Drew, Jim, John, Rachel, Allyson, Elizabeth, Paul, Joanne...okay I could go on, but you get the idea.
Jamie's side of the family....Gigi, Charise, Shartice, Trennell, Xavier, Zander, Rosa, Jalisa, Stephanie, Sherome, Janessa, Shaaron, Sharaya, Saraiya, Desco, Dojanai, D'aija, Destinee, Paulk, Will, Art, and again you get the idea.
Clearly the two lists above are family members from very different backgrounds just based on the names. I love it! Whether we are black, white, brown, "green" or "purple," why do we choose the names we do? Is it to have a piece of our heritage, is it a family name, or do we just like the name? I picked Tatiana's name because it is Russian, and I am half Russian and half Swedish. I was adopted when I was a baby and nobody in my family is Russian. I found the name Tatiana from a book I read in college. I picked her name clear back then and stuck with it! I wanted my daughter's name to represent the part of me that I didn't have growing up.....maybe that's what's in a name, at least for me. =)
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Alyssa (L) Tatiana (R)
Tatiana (L) hair out before braiding /Cousin Alyssa (R) '97
As a white woman I never realized how much I took my hair for granted. Sounds silly doesn't it? Hair, what's the big deal? You get up, you wash it, you brush it, you dry it, you style it, and you go on your merry way.....me yes, Tatiana not so much! When Tat was born 14 years ago I had no idea that hair would be such a big thing...both literally and figuratively. =) Tat was born with a combo of my thick, thick hair and her Dad's curly hair. I had no idea how to do my own daughter's hair! Crazy huh!? Luckily my husband Jamie was brought up in a house full of women, because from the time Tatiana was born (she came out with a full head of hair....a "baby fro" no less) Jamie, along with Tat's Cousins and Aunts have done her hair. They would sit for hours combing and braiding, combing and braiding and then adding cute little barrettes. She would cry because her scalp was so tender and I would have to leave the room so I didn't hear her cry. Jamie and his Sisters all told me she would get used to it. Nuts! As Tat got older she wanted the long braids which Jamie did not know how to do so my business partner's daughter Yanna started doing Tat's hair. This entailed going out and "buying hair" so it could be braided into Tat's real hair. Who knew I would ever "buy" hair! Okay I didn't buy it...Jamie did. Now the fun begins.....8-10 hours of Tat sitting there while Yanna braids in every little braid. Yes 8-10 hours and it hurts while it's getting done! Then for two days after that her scalp is soooo tight from the braids her head hurts! Beauty or insanity?! Okay, now fast forward to present day and we have moved from the braids to wanting straight hair. Time for a perm. Wait, a perm? Don't perms make your hair curly? They did when I was growing up. White people perms, yes.....black people perms....no. Just the opposite....perms make their hair straight. Now Tatiana goes to a salon for black women and gets perms in her hair to keep it straight. This process takes about two hours each time and quite often has a "lovely burning" affect on the skin. Wow! Once again the price of beauty! Now you might ask what about swimming, what about the rain, what about washing........water is the enemy.....if it gets wet, it goes curly! Perm, history! Okay not history but then Tat gets to comb and straighten, comb and straighten. So today when you get ready ask yourself.... hair....simple.....right?
Monday, May 11, 2009
Today's story will probably make you giggle......I know it makes me laugh every time I tell it. It might be a little too much information, but it's one of the differences between black men and white men that never ceases to amaze me. One of the "benefits" of being married to a black man is they tend to love a little more meat on the bones. =) In other words the bigger the "gluteus maximus" the better! I remember back in '92 when Sir Mix a Lot's song came out....you all know it...."Baby Got Back".....well that was the year Jamie and I met and I never soaked in the true meaning of the song until the "back" comments were directed at me! The first time Jamie told me my b.u.t.t. was "huge"....well, let's just say if looks could kill he would have been six feet under! I told him he was so rude! He said, "what are you talking about, that was a compliment!" I said "what, how could you telling me my butt is huge be a compliment!!!!?" He said, "black men don't want bones...we want meat on the bones!" Who knew!? Hilarious! I think I'll go have some dessert now.....not really, but it's nice to not have to worry soooo much about that second bite of cake. =)
Saturday, May 9, 2009
It never ceases to amaze me that people assume they are "safe" in saying things to certain people. Back in my retail days there was a customer that came into the shop and we started conversing with each other. Come to find out we lived in the same neighborhood. She went on to explain that she really used to like the neighborhood, but then......(this is where she leans in and whispers in my ear), "those people" started moving in, you know, (then she whispers even more quietly, while putting her hand on my arm) "the blacks." Instead of getting angry, or instead of being shocked, I slowly moved closer to her, put my hand on her arm, (of course she thought I was going to agree with her) and said, "you might want to watch who you make racist comments to because I am married to one of "those people," my husband is black." Then I proceeded to step back and watch her turn 50 different shades of red and just stand there in silence. There were no more words needed....you know what they say about assuming......=)
Friday, May 8, 2009
When Jamie first came up with the idea for me to write this blog I wasn't sure about it because as a family we just don't concentrate on race that much. However, somehow it always comes up in the ins and outs of every day living. When my daughter was first born 14 years ago I didn't want to make race an issue at all. I wanted her to grow up "color blind," but as my husband always points out, that is not the way the world works. After many years and lots of learning, I embrace the differences and am no longer "color blind" myself. I now realize this is not a bad thing. We are raising our daughter to treasure ALL of who she is. Ironically when people first meet Tatiana, everyone, and I mean everyone, assumes she is only black. I remember picking her up from school and a friend of her's that had never met me was getting a ride from us. As he started getting in the car he looked at me, then he looked at Tatiana and said, "Wow, your Mom is white, I didn't believe you!" So there ya go, I'm the "white Mom." I looked at him and said, "20 hours of labor and 14 years of raising...ya I'm her Mom!" Then we all had a good laugh. =) There was another time I remember picking her up back when she was in daycare and one of the little boys that went there came up to me and said, "why are you and Tatiana's Daddy different colors than her?" An innocent question from an innocent boy. I told him that was just the way God made all of us. (A little too young for the scientific details don't ya think!?) He said, "oh, okay" and went on his merry way. If only adults were that accepting! I could go on with the "color blind" stories but you get the idea. I wonder if one day this won't be a story anymore...it will just be.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
When two people come together it's normally because they have fallen in love, and in a perfect world "love conquers all." Now, when two people from different races and backgrounds come together it's also because they have fallen in love and once again "love conquers all," right? Well this is a blog about two people from different races and backgrounds that did fall in love 17 years ago, then married 16 years ago, had a daughter 14 years ago and just so happen to be black (my husband) and white (me). Is this the end of the story...not by a long shot, actually it is just the beginning. Everyday I will share a different story about my experiences in an interracial marriage. Each story will be something that I have personally gone through with my family. I hope that what I share on this blog about my experiences will make you laugh and it might even make you cry, but more importantly I hope you can relate and that in some way, shape or form it helps you in your interracial relationship, whatever "mix" that might be.
If you have comments or questions please feel free to post them. Thank you for checking out "The Many Shades of Love!" More tomorrow......
If you have comments or questions please feel free to post them. Thank you for checking out "The Many Shades of Love!" More tomorrow......