Interracial Families and Racism

Interracial Families Discuss Racism
Interracial Families Dealing with Racism

Interracial families and racism would seem to go hand-in-hand. Yet, with many children in these families passing as white, it can often be a topic, i.e. race, that is never addressed or discussed. Often when the children “pass” as white, it is easier to not talk about white privilege given there is a black member of the family too.

This can be quite a confusing set-up for children, and so that is why I was interested in this article I read in The Washington Post regarding interracial couples finding it to be a challenge to discuss the killing of George Floyd and how this affects them being half white and half black.

Being a biracial person myself, it is difficult to look at both parts of my racial identity that make me up and claim them equally. For me, since I pass as white, my family, peers, friends, professional colleagues, and society in general see me as a white person who married an Indian man — given my last name.

No matter how I seek to be seen as equally white and East Indian, it is of no use as I have been named as white given my skin color. My guess is parents who are black and white and have children together, skin color can often dictate how the idea of race is framed for their children — if it is spoken to at all. Now a horrific incident like the George Floyd video shows, and interracial couples are being challenged to discuss the idea of racism in the open with their kids — and face it themselves, i.e. the costs the adults may have endured for choosing to marry outside of their racial identity.

I hear at once in the article the idea of talking about the incident and seeking to name racism in society and how it can be felt — from police brutality to micro aggressions that people endure on a daily basis. I also hear the parents seeking to protect their kids from all of these hard topics and not burden them with the race card, especially what it means to be half white and half black in America, if those are the two racial identities that make the children up.

What is positive in my opinion? People are speaking out in their families, to their friends, and in society regarding what it means to be black in society. What it means to be white in society. And now – as this article points out – what it means to be both black and white. Often, you are met with indifference as you are seen and named by all as what your skin tone offers. That’s the very first hurt biracial people face.

Being biracial or multiracial is not an easy path, particularly in these times that we are facing. Owning all parts of our selves that make up our racial identity is more important than ever. I am grateful to see major news outlets bringing this story out to the frontlines.

Celebrations At Home

Celebrations at Home
Celebrating at Home?

As life continues at home for most of us, life and all of its celebrations have not stopped. Birthdays and anniversaries are always in full swing throughout the year — these special personal days come along no matter what is going on in the world. Given the pandemic times we are in, many people are not going to have the celebration they were expecting this year.

As I am a planner, I always have something good planned for my friends, family and myself as their and my special days rolls around. Oh my goodness, all of those plans have been taken off the table in no uncertain terms. As I realized this as the weeks marched toward these special dates, I had to take some time to feel this disappointment of not being able to enjoy the plans that I had carefully made to delight my loved ones. Instead of brushing it off, I faced my sadness over the loss of my special plans for this year. Being able to sit with my sad feelings for some time allowed me to take the next step.

To make the most of what I could do to celebrate. For Birthdays, I could send cards or flowers, I could call, I could order a Birthday cake, hey how about take-out since it’s so special these days to not cook, find a movie and watch it together, take a walk with the loved one I live with, and, most importantly, be present to the person.

Everything wasn’t exactly how I thought it would go, but letting go of my expectations allowed me to be in the moment and see what unfolded that was new and different. Although these were not the celebrations I had planned, being present to the celebrations that unfolded was not only interesting, but fun.

If you are going to be having some celebrations at home soon, here are my top tips:

  1. Give yourself time to process, grieve, and let go of what you may have planned and were looking forward to.
  2. Make the most of what you can do — baking a homemade cake, buying a card at the grocery store, setting up a Zoom party, taking a walk, ordering takeout, and anything else that you may have around your home to celebrate – i.e. bang pots and pans.
  3. Be open to what unfolds without expectations — the unexpected phone call or card in the mail perhaps.
  4. Relax.
  5. Be in the moment. This is most certainly a unique one.

Whatever you do, indeed mark the celebrations at home. It is important to make a big deal of our loved ones and special events. Even though we are all at home, this is not a year to “pass,” but rather to have a celebration that you will remember when you think back to these pandemic times.