Jamie and his "baby" the El Camino....
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Tap dance costumes to the
70's song Le Freak...Tatiana's recital...
(Tat 1st one in back row, black fro)
(Tat 1st one in back row, black fro)
Last weekend was my Daughter's recital weekend. This consists of 3 nights of dance, dance, dance! She takes multiple classes in all different dance styles. These classes all require costumes and accessories. One of the dances as you can see by the awesome picture on this post had an Afro as part of the costume. All of the kids were asked to find fro's in their actual hair color. Some found them at party stores and some found them on the internet. Of course when they are purchased they are very messy and require some "fixing" before wearing. At class, my daughter's tap teacher, who by the way is half black and half white, asked them to buy picks and pick out the fro's so they looked more "natural." In this particular dance my daughter is ironically the ONLY one who is part black. After class we were all off to finish up our costumes, pick "homework" and all. The next morning my phone rang and it was a girlfriend of mine who's daughter is also in the tap number. She called to ask me where she could buy a pick for her daughter's fro. I laughed out loud! She knew that we had to do Tat's hair all these years and that of course I would be the one to know where to find a pick! =) Call the woman married to the black man! Comical. =) Of course I knew where to go, and she found it that morning and texted me back to let me know she was good to go! So if you ever need to know where to find "black" hair products just call me! I will point you in the right direction. LOL!
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Me and Tatiana after dress rehearsal
for her recital..night #1
dancing at her recital....night #2 of 3
Recently a comment was made on a previous post by a student who found my blog while doing research at her campus library for a class project. She said she wasn't sure what to call herself..."black" or "African American." This is one thing that my husband has always been very clear about. He said he was not born in Africa, he was born in Indiana, so he does not want to be referred to as African American, he wants to be called black. Now I know this is controversial among some, and that some are adamant about being called African American, but he says, "I have never been to Africa, I was born in America, I am American, period." I guess that would be similar to me saying I'm Russian American or Swedish American, (I'm half of each by the way) that just sounds funny and long winded if you ask me. Don't get me wrong I'm proud of my heritage, especially since I'm adopted and it's one of the few things I know about my background, but I just don't refer to myself as either unless specifically asked. What does one call themselves when they are a mix like our daughter? She would have to say I am Russian, Swedish, African, Creole, Indian, Caucasian, Black, American! Now that's a mouth full! It's funny because when I refer to my husband, if race does comes up, I always say he is black because that's what he prefers to be called. However, I do get the irritated look, or on some occasions, "correction" by black people who let me know I "should" be saying African American. If my husband, who IS African American does not want to be called that, is it okay for me to refer to others as black, or do I have to call them African American? To me it's just one more thing that separates us from each other by worrying so much about the distinction. So, when you are not sure what to call yourself, be proud of your heritage, and respectful of others, but call yourself whatever makes YOU feel most comfortable, just like my husband does. Me, I am a white woman, married to a black man, with a black and white daughter. But really, I am just a woman, married to the man I love, with a beautiful daughter!
Saturday, July 18, 2009
After Dance Recital ....
When our daughter was getting ready to go into Kindergarten there were many forms to fill out when registering for school. One of the forms asked for ethnic background. On this particular form there were multiple boxes to choose from....white, black, Asian, Hispanic, and so on...but you were only allowed to choose one. Well, Tatiana is half black and half white so I wasn't about to choose only one for her. I chose box one, white, and box two, black. I turned in the forms and went on about my merry way. A few days later I got a phone call from the school district. The poor girl on the phone sounded like she was about to cry. Seriously. She said, "I am so sorry to have to call about this but you chose both black and white on your daughter's registration." I said, "Yes I did, she is half black and half white, what seems to be the problem?" The girl apologized again and said, "You can only choose one or she can't start school." I literally laughed and said, "You are not serious?" She said, "Unfortunately I am, and I feel terrible, but that is the way the form works." So I went on to say, "So you are telling me that I basically have to choose one parent over the other?" I told her that I wouldn't because then the form would not have the correct information for my daughter, and I refused to have to choose one race when she is both black AND white! She said she hated having to make the call but those were the rules and if I didn't choose then Tatiana literally could not start school. At that point I could picture her on the other end of the phone just "crawling under a table" because she felt so bad. They probably drew straws at the district office to see who would have to make THE call, and she got the short one! I went on to tell her the form needed to be changed and to go back to the administration and make it clear that I was not happy that I had to choose one parent over the other, but since I had no choice, I chose black for her Dad. Me...I was left out, and I was not happy. =( That was back in 1999, and now here we are in 2009 and the forms now allow for the choice of multiple ethnicity's. It took time, awareness and complaints, but some things do actually change for the better. Now we are BOTH her parents again! =)
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
I was going to write about something totally different today until I read one of the comments on my last blog post. A woman posted that she has been with her boyfriend for 5 years and because he is black her family refuses to meet him. Anytime I hear anything like this my first reaction is sadness, and my second is disbelief. Even with all that my husband and I have gone through the last 16 years of our marriage, I still try and see the world with rose colored glasses and hope that people are never judged on skin color alone. Clearly, by her comment on my blog and the fact that I even have this topic to write about, we still have a long way to go. If I were to sit down with this woman's family, I would first ask them, "Does this man make your daughter happy?" "Does this man treat her well?" "Does he love her?" "Does he respect her?" "Does he make her laugh?" If they answer yes to all of those questions, then why, oh why does it matter if his skin color is different than hers? One of the many joys that I have in my interracial marriage are all of the differences we both bring to the table. From the obvious.....skin color, to food, to traditions, to music, to clothes, to language, to friends.....I could go on, but you get the picture. There are so many wonderful things to learn about each other and the world just becomes smaller when we do! Don't we want that? Isn't it all about coming together? Isn't that what love is all about? It's so basic, yet we try and make it so much more than it is. We are all just people, wrapped in different packages, with the exact same gift on the inside......a heart, a soul.....love.
Friday, July 10, 2009
Today if you asked most people point blank if they were racist they would emphatically say, NO! However, sometimes racism rears it's ugly head in such subtle ways that even the person that is being racist still thinks they are not. Circumstances are constantly arising in my family's daily life that brings about what I call "subtle racism" in people. It's racism none the less, but one would never admit it. I have sooooo many examples I don't know where to begin, but since I am blogging and not writing a book I will just list a few. =) For many, many years my husband and I banked at Wells Fargo. We owned a store right up the street so I was there every single day, and we were a staple in the community (that's another story....you can read about it here). www.themanyshadesoflove.blogspot.com/2009/06/through-good-times-and-bad-and-why-i.html One day Jamie went to the bank to deposit a check that was fairly large, but nothing out of the ordinary. After he made the deposit he called me and told me that the bank put a 7 day hold on it. I said, "What, they never, ever hold our checks no matter how big they are." Of course because he was a black man, depositing a large check, they assumed right away there would be an issue. Needless to say I went to the bank and asked them why they held the check. They asked who deposited it and I told them my husband did, and then went on to describe him to the teller that originally helped him. The teller turned red, apologized, and said, "Oh, he should have just told us he was your husband and we wouldn't have held it." Wow, really!? Black man, large check....better hold it, white woman, business owner, go ahead and cash it....."subtle racism." Another time, my husband was making a delivery for our store and he was driving my car that had the business magnets with the store name and address on the car. He was only a few blocks from our house as the delivery was in our neighborhood. There was a women at a stop light that rolled down her window and yelled at him to slow down in "her neighborhood!" Yes, she actually said "her neighborhood!" Of course she assumed he was an employee/delivery driver vs. one of the owners, and he couldn't possibly live in "HER neighborhood." Again, "subtle racism." Then there are always the elevator stories. I am sure there are "bazillions" of black men that can relate. One time Jamie was on an elevator and a white woman was waiting to get on the elevator going to the next floor. When the doors opened and she saw Jamie she said she would just wait for the next one! Wow, wow, wow! Now if you asked her if she was racist, I am sure she would tell you no, but talk about "subtle racism" at it's best! You know exactly what she was thinking.....large "scary" black man on the elevator, something might happen to me if I get on there with him! First of all, don't flatter yourself, second of all, if she only knew what a teddy bear he truly is she would have run onto the elevator with open arms! Okay I am being a little dramatic....but you get my point. "Subtle racism" is just racism wrapped in a pretty little bow called "justification."
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
CPT time...some of you might be asking what this stands for. I learned this phrase from my husband and his family.....it's short for, "colored people time." I know, it sounds totally, politically incorrect, but that's what it stands for! Really! What does it mean you ask? In short, it means they are always late! Some of my husband's friends and family might be 15 minutes or a half hour late, but there are some of them that are up to 2 hours late to almost every event! You know who you are. =) The trick is to tell them the party starts at 5:00 when it really starts at 7:00. Shhh, don't say anything! I was raised by a former military man, so you were expected to be on time for everything! Consequently, it is one of my biggest pet peeves when people are late, so you can imagine how "CPT time" drives me insane! Initially, when most everyone was late to our various get-togethers, I took offense. My husband would always say, "They are on CPT time, it's nothing against you." I would then say, "I don't care what time they are on, they're late, that's rude, and you have to be kidding me about this so called "CPT time!?" He said, "No, I am not kidding at all, it really is a "time frame" (at least a cultural one). This is something that took YEARS for me to get used to. In fact it has only been recently that I just let it go and said, "They will get here when they get here, regardless of how late they are." It's kind of freeing to let it go! On the flip side, I drive Jamie CRAZY because we are ALWAYS first to the party! It's ingrained in my brain to be on time! For the family members that ARE notoriously late...they get to bring dessert to the party. "CPT time" or not, this way we don't all go hungry, because dessert is always eaten last! =)
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
My last post was, "She's Just a Fad," so I thought it was a fitting segue for this post to be,"He's too Ghetto." I heard it once, I heard it twice, I heard it multiple times...."He's too ghetto for you." Wow....how does one decide that for someone? Yes, Jamie and I grew up in very different worlds, and yes, we are different races, but does that automatically mean that we are not meant to be together? The funny thing is I didn't just hear this from my white "friends," I also heard it from black "friends" as well. Notice the quotes around friends. =) Over and over I would say, "Can't you just be excited for me that I found someone who makes me happy?" Simply because Jamie was from the "hood" and I was from "the other side of the tracks" everyone assumed it wouldn't work. We still hear it to this day......people are constantly saying, "How on earth did you two get together?!" The funny thing is, the beauty of why we DO work, is BECAUSE we come from two different worlds. We both bring so many different things to the relationship that the other person didn't have before, it makes the balance beautiful! It's all about coming to the middle. We have taught each other so much, and because we truly appreciate where we both came from, we have taken bits of both of our lives to build this life. If we had listened to all of the naysayers along the way, we would have split up a long time ago. Instead, we listened to our hearts, and now we continue to grow and learn from each other as the marriage and the years go on.