Monday, August 18, 2014

Interviewed by a Student in Australia... :)

I recently had a very unique interview....
Eugenia Massaquoi, a 12th year student from Nazareth Catholic College in Adelaide South Australia contacted me and asked if she could interview me for her English project regarding the topic of, "What are some of the reasons why people are attracted to different races?" What a special interview it was...


     Are you attracted to a certain race? If yes, is it physical attraction or is it related more to elements of their culture?

After being with my husband (who is black) for 22 years, I am physically attracted to black men now. I think that is the natural progression of human nature. We gravitate toward what we have wonderful experiences with.

     When did your attraction to other races start for you?

I have always been very open to being with anyone. The race of the person never mattered, the heart did. I first dated outside my race in my mid twenties.

     What are some of the biggest challenges you had to face being in an interracial relationship? 

-Family rejection
-Friends non-acceptance
-Societal racism
-Stereotypes of the “black man with the white woman.” i.e.: my husband was called a “sell out.” I was told I took “another brother from the hood.” I was called a “fad” or a “phase” he was going through. It went on and on.

     What do you believe are the advantages and disadvantages of being in an interracial relationship? 

-The advantages are you are with the person you love...your heart and your soul. You get to experience a new culture filled with so much richness. You learn new things about an entirely different group of people. It becomes about co-existing with everyone and not excluding anyone. The heart and mind automatically open to everything in life. It’s quite amazing.
-The disadvantages are dealing with racism on different levels: from family, to friends, to society.

     How did you meet?

It was 1992 and I was driving up the 805 freeway in San Diego, CA. I was with my "little sister" from the Big Sis/Little Sis program. As we were driving, multiple black sports cars, (all with black men in them), were in the lane next to us. My little sis started to wave at one of the men in one of the cars. I told her to stop waving because they were too old for her (she was 15 at the time). My little sis said, "No, I know one of them, he used to coach my basketball team when I was little." That coach so happened to be my future husband! I wasn't sure if I believed her or if she was just flirting, so on we went up the freeway. A few weeks went by and my little sis was out and about, and who did she run future hubby! He asked her, "Who was that woman you were in the car with the other day?" She told him it was her big sis, and then he proceeded to give her his phone number to give to me. So the next time her and I were together, she gave me the phone number and told me it was from the guy we saw on the freeway. Well, I promptly threw it in the trash and said, "I don't call people that I see on the freeway who are complete strangers!" She said, "But I know him!" I didn't care, he was a stranger to me. A couple more months went by and my little sis and I were driving around again and low and behold but who was standing in a friend's front yard talking.....again! Odds?!? My little sis said, "That is the guy who gave you the phone number." I said, "Oh my gosh, you have got to be kidding me!? I better pull over and say hi or he is going to think I am totally rude." We pulled over, he came over to the car and said hi, and then promptly asked why I didn't call him. I told him, "I don't call people I see on the freeway. Let's do this the right call's my number." We talked for FOUR hours on our first call! However, we still didn't go out for another two months. We got to know each other over the phone, day, after day, after day. Finally, we had our first date. You would think the rest was history, but noooooo, that would have been too easy. We dated from that day on, but there was a slight snag in our future. I had already made the decision before he and I met, to move back to Oregon to be closer to my family. Soooo, we literally fell in love, and it was time for me to leave. I debated whether or not to go, but he told me to go because I would regret it if I didn't. He said, "If we are meant to be it will work out. You want to be with your family, so that is where you need to be." I left. We wrote and called constantly. Distance, not so fun....four months later he moved up to Oregon! Then three months later we moved back to San Diego! Nuts huh!? I am a California girl, I couldn't take the rainy weather. THEN the rest was history! We got engaged, got married in '93, had our daughter in '94, and here we are today. So when anyone asks the did we meet? The answer is.....on the 805 freeway.....fate took care of the rest!

     What do you feel is the public's reaction to your relationship when it first started compared to today? 

Hmmm...that is a very good question because so much has changed, yet so much still remains the same. We were featured in the national newspaper USA Today in an article about interracial marriage statistics, and our family photo was also part of the article. The comment section in the online version was filled with hateful comments about our family. It shocked me. Those are the times when I see how far we still have to come. Yet, I also embrace the very fact that we are legally able to be married and walk down the street hand in hand without being thrown in jail, as was the case not many decades ago. So, to answer the question: we have come leaps and bounds when it comes to equality regarding the laws on the books, but we have a very long way to go when it comes to people treating people equally.

     What was your family's first reaction? How do they feel now? 

My family was totally accepting when it came to race but had issues with the socio-economic differences and educational differences. My husband’s family did not accept me for years because of the racial differences. On both sides, they were all still hanging on to “societal norms.” My husband and I crossed all the “social lines” and it was hard for people to accept. It was easy for us because it was based on love not on pre-conceived rules set up by society. Now, today, everyone loves everyone and we are one, big happy family unit. They all realized what we knew from day’s about love.

     Do you have children? If so, how is their experience growing up as interracial children?

We have one daughter. We have always taught her to embrace both sides of who she is. She is very secure regarding her racial identity. When someone asks, “What are you,” her answer is, “I’m human.” She grew up in a diverse area and has always had friends of all races. She hasn’t had many negative experiences but the few she had were heartbreaking for us as parents. She received a piece of hate mail because of her mixed race and she has been called the “n” word. Because of how strong she is, instead of being hurt or horrified, she was sad for the person spewing the hate.  

     What were your initial thoughts or concerns of each other prior to dating?

We didn’t really have any concerns about anything prior to dating. We just let things happen naturally and fell in love. It wasn’t about our race, it was just about us.

     Do you believe your life would be different in any way if your spouse was of the same race? If yes, how so? If not, why?

Yes, it would be quite different. When a couple is of the same race there are things that will never be an issue for them. They don’t have to worry about society’s reaction, family reactions, issues regarding their children, parts of the country they can and can’t live in due to racism, walking into a restaurant and being approached as if separate parties, I could go on.  

     What advice would you give to individuals starting to date out of their race?

To anyone starting out in an interracial relationship: Follow your heart and block out all the “noise.” The world is not color blind and reality is what it is when it comes to interracial relationships. Stay true to who you are as a couple. If you allow the opinions of others to rule your relationship you won’t make it past the first couple of dates. Build a foundation based on love and don’t let “outside cracks” break your foundation. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s so worth it to have a long lasting relationship with the one you truly love. Always remember; it’s about the heart, not the color of the skin.  

     What have you learned being in an interracial relationship? 

I have learned that I am stronger than I ever realized. I have learned that crossing “society’s lines” can be a wonderful thing! I have learned to compromise. I have learned to stay true to who I am no matter what the opinions of others are. I have learned that love trumps hate...every, single, time.

     What are your thoughts on people who don’t agree with interracial relationship or who has a negative opinion towards interracial relationship?

I feel sad for someone who isn’t willing to date outside their race. They are missing out on an entire population of amazing human beings that could be their partner for life. The color of someone’s skin has nothing to do with what an amazing heart they might have.

     Do you feel religion and or customs can play a part in interracial relationships being difficult? Can you give expamples?

They definitely play a part. It‘s up to us whether or not that becomes difficult. It’s about choosing to compromise and embrace aspects of both races; from religion, to food, to dress, to music, to everything. It’s icing on the cake and a great addition to one’s life if they can be open to adding new things from other cultures and religions. We should never stop learning and growing. Being in an interracial relationship brings a whole new level of understanding and being open minded to all. 

Thank you for reaching out to me Eugenia! Hopefully we both opened some more hearts and minds together...through your English project! Wishing you happiness and success. Here's to your bright future!

All my best,

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Right to Live in Love......

There are days when I simply forget how far we have come because I'm just living, and then there are days when I realize how far we still have to go. However, there is one day that will always be special to me...Loving Day. I'm sure there are many of you out there that don't even realize what Loving Day is or what it represents, but to me it represents my heart, my marriage, my love. So what is it? It's the anniversary of the June 12th, 1967 Supreme Court decision....

Loving vs. Virginia ~ "There can be no doubt that restricting the freedom to marry solely because of racial classifications violates the central meaning of the equal protection clause."

Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple....(how PERFECT is their last name by the way...REALLY, that is their last name!).....were forced to leave their home state of Virginia after they married, because back in the late 60's their union was still illegal in 16 states. Yes, illegal! They had two options....go to jail, or leave Virginia. They packed up and moved to WA, D.C. and the rest, as they say, is history. They didn't just move, they fought (all the way to the Supreme Court), they won, they LOVED! Bravery, courage, determination, and true love won out. How cool is that!?! Because of this amazing couple my husband and I are free to live and free to love. I can't imagine having to fight for the right to marry the man I love. I would question in my mind. I would fight like a lion! It still boggles my mind to even think that it was illegal for two people to marry solely because of the color of their skin. This was during my lifetime no less. How insane were "we" back then!? This is why it is so important to always stand up for what is right. If we stay quiet and do nothing, then nothing happens. If we speak up, and teach tolerance, then everything can happen! Sometimes laws might be changed and sometimes minds might be changed.....either way, we move forward, and that my friends, is a good thing! So to Richard and Mildred Loving, a brave couple who stood up for the their love and their rights, here's to you, from all of "us"....thank you Loving's for giving us the RIGHT to live in LOVE!

For more information about this special day and this amazing couple visit:

For more information on their struggle:
(Originally posted in 2010)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

An Interracial Family, a Cheerios Ad and Racism....

Original Ad: 2013
Superbowl Ad: 2014

I wrote this post last June when the original commercial first aired. I'm sharing it again due to the racism surrounding the 2nd version and its airing during the Superbowl....

It is rare to see interracial families featured in commercials or even t.v. shows for that matter, so I'm thrilled to see an interracial family in the ad above. However, I am so disheartened to learn of the hateful comments surrounding this very ad.

When I saw the story on various media outlets about the Cheerios commercial featuring an interracial family and the racist backlash because of it, sadly, I wasn't surprised. My family dealt with the exact same issue when we were featured in USA Today just 1 and 2 short years ago.

Article 1:
Article 2:

I was so excited to have our family represent IR marriage in USA Today and then I remember being disgusted, shocked and hurt by the hateful words spewed in the comment section. I later spoke to a friend of mine at USA Today and she told me to stop reading them or they would drive me crazy. They ended up having to remove some of the comments because they were so racist. I had to pull myself away and realize when it comes to racism, change doesn't happen overnight, even though I wish with all my heart it would. I do have faith that one day it will be a non-issue. Clearly, as we see with the negativity regarding the Cheerios ad, we are not there yet.

This year will be our 20th wedding anniversary and 21 years together. As I have shared many times on this blog, we have dealt with all forms of racism during our years as a couple and family. I used to get angry, cry or get upset, but now I just feel sadness for anyone who carries hate in any form. Whether someone is racist, homophobic, or against another religion...hate is exhausting. I can't express enough how important it is for anyone who holds hate in their heart to let it go. In the end, the only person hate affects is the hateful person. Hate is stress and stress kills. Living a life filled with love and happiness cures more than hate, it leads to a longer life.

The thing is...nobody is born a bigot. Racism is taught. When we start accepting each other, we will stop hurting each other. I have an idea...let's start today, while eating a bowl of Cheerios! =)

Monday, January 20, 2014

Honoring MLK...

Today we honor him....

January 15th, is Martin Luther King, Jr.'s actual birthday. Every year on his birthday I watch pieces of his I Have a Dream speech. Each time I see it I am thrilled at how far we have come, yet, at the same time, amazed at how far we still have to go.

In his speech he said, "I have a dream ... that little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as brothers and sisters, I have a dream today!" 

Those words touch me in so many ways. As a white woman married to a black man in the present day, it takes me back to the fact that Jamie and I were illegal (in many states) when he gave his now famous speech. Because of MLK, the Lovings, Rosa Parks, and so many more -- I am able to live freely and happily with my beautiful family. We are not only holding hands, we are married! His dream and more!

How does one even begin to thank people who have paved the way? The answer to that question is ... keep paving until it's no longer necessary. It's time for ALL of us to not only continue the change, but to be the change! For good. Forever. That is how we honor MLK and all the others who sacrificed so much for so many. Not just today but every day.

"Happy birthday" ... to the man, the father, the pioneer, the peacemaker.

Thank you. For everything.