Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Bi-Racial



I stumbled across this video on youtube, its a trailer for a documentary called Bi-Racial... Not Black Damnit. I've never really gone into race on this blog. Never talked about being in an interracial relationship or about the fact that Riley is half black and half white. Part of this is because its not something I think about really and I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that Riley's still really young. She can't ask Leif and I questions about her color, or ours. As she gets older I'm sure I'll blog more about it... There have been a few experiences I've had with her that I want to write about.

Before she was born I did a lot of research on bi-racial children and raising a bi-racial child. I learned a lot of interesting things. Two of the topics that were touched on a lot was are bi-racial children who are mixed with black and white, just considered black or should they be called bi-racial? And, is it really fair to the child for them to be two races? Will they ever fit in? I think this documentary looks interesting and its nice to see hear thoughts from children and adults who are bi-racial. There's this little girl who says something at the end though about being embarrassed by her mom being black since all her friends are white. That was hard to hear and watch. I always wonder what Riley will have to say about being black and white.

I think raising a bi-racial child is like raising any other child, but I do think at the same time its a little different because of the race factor.

10 comments:

Keya said...

That was an interesting video. As our children get older and we will deal with race more, it will be interesting to see what happens. We can only hope for the best, and educate them on what's right and what's wrong. In our household we don't look at color, we are all family.

Madison said...

How do you feel about raising a bi-culture child? I know that will be something very interesting in our family. While my husband embraces his Russian nationality, language, history and culture, I wonder if my son will either 1. not care, 2. try to hide it, or 3. be proud of his heritage. Its not something as obvious to the outside world as skin color, but our challenges will deal more with language and cultural barriers that may feel as though they divide Moose from his extended family. I am really interested in hearing how this all plays out in your lives with Riley as well as seeing it in mine with Moose.

Young Mom/Wife said...

My husband and I have had this discussion a lot since Obama began running for President. It used to irk my husband that he kept calling himself a black man, when he was raised by his white mother and really had no connection with his father. I tried to explain that in the era he was raised he probably identified more with his skin color because of how others treated him. And that yes he was white. I don't think that debate will ever go away, but it is just like the little boy at the end said "If someone doesn't like you for who you are, just find someone who does."

We can learn so much from children...

Moorea Seal said...

Oh man, cultural and racial confusion... i've had it all though i look very "white."
i have always been confused as to where people draw the lines on whether a person is black, white, whatever dependent on the shade of their skin, the shape of their lips, their eyes, their nose, their body.
i bet if more people took DNA tests, they would realize they cannot so easily call themselves one thing or the other.

the older i get, the more it confuses me as to who or what I am dependent on race or culture.


My mom is technically or genetically 1/8 "Sub Saharan African". So I guess you could say she is part Black? Some people would say she is not Black at all. Some would say she is bi racial. some would say she kinda sort of looks black. it is confusing.
she has black coarse thick hair, very very tan skin, an incredible jaw line and piercing green eyes. she is tall and curvy. her mom was 1/4, her grandma was 1/2 and her great grandma was full blooded African. what does this really make my mom? what does it make me?
my dad is genetically Jewish, Native American, English, Norwegian, Greek, Macedonian, and India/Pakistani. He is tall, tan and freckled and very stoic looking. What should he be called, bi-racial? or just white?

It confuses me so much. I grew up in England, and i feel in my soul that I am mostly British but have adapted to American culture. But to everyone else, I am just American. I have an American accent now and ive lived here longer than when i grew up in ENgland. So just those two things make me american, though my spirit identifies more with the British. My pale freckled skin tells people that i am just White. But my genes tell me that i am so many colors of the world. But none of that is recognized.

What is truly white? some particular culture? is it the culture or the shade of skin color? is it the dominant features of a person?

I feel culturally and racially confused always. But I know my spirit, I know my soul. And who I see myself as is not based on how my outsides look. it is not based on the people I do and do not relate to in the culture around me. I know my identity has to be rooted in God because, Lordy, all this other crap makes me so confused, lost and lonely. My silly heart longs to connect to people who have to same genes as me, to try to understand myself in that way. My heart seeks people who were raised like me because they feel like rare jems who may understand me. but that seeking is so tiring and weary. I need to seek Gods knowledge.

I pray that beyond all things, that Riley will always find her truest self firmly rooted in Gods love. She is beautiful, she is a perfect combination of you and leif. She is an ultimate reflection of your guys' love, your love for God, for each other, and for her. She is has the beauty and uniqueness of you, and the beauty and uniqueness of Leif. If she is ever confused about her identity, I pray that God will continually remind her of the only confidence that she should seek and that is the confidence, respect for oneself and healthy pride found in Him. The love for herself that she will discover through God will be true and beautiful. She is so lovely.

we are each as unique and shining as each star placed by God in the midnight sky.

jerseytjej said...

Wow, that is difficult company to follow after. We have this discussion at least quarterly in our house. Why is blah white like pappa, why am I dark like you? It is not how we define each other, but how the world attempts to encapsulate us... It makes us easier to accept/categorize if you can just look at us and file us away in a nice neat place. I should not have to produce a genealogical tree or DNA test every time someone wants to question my right to be here, but unfortunately, this is one of those situations that won't be resolved. My children "look" black and that is how they are perceived by the rest of this world. Their perfect Swedish dialect often brings stares and the first thing people ask is "where are you from" as if it is impossible to be Black and Swedish. It does not bother me, because I know where my people are from but honestly, it really burns me that the world will not let my children just be.
Gina

Kristina said...

As I person of mixed race I always struggled with this since I was a child. Many people would always ask "what are you?" since I didn't look all black, or whatever their reason was for asking. The amount of times I did the guessing game on what's my ethnicity with strangers is ridiculous. Its all so silly.

My family is extremely mixed, my friends are all different races so I've never paid much attention to it. My boyfriend is white and we don't even discuss our inter-racial relationship that much. My own comfortability never stopped others from asking the rude questions or from certain girls disliking me because of my features or "good hair" but I think by surrounding myself with diversity in all ways, not just race, I was much more comfortable and didn't pay attention to the negativity.

I live in Philly and there's an awesome exhibit at The Franklin Institute about Race (titled "Race: Are We that different?") My boyfriend and I visited it and it was awesome, it really explored that idea of race in America. There was an awesome exhibit that had pictures of multi-racial people who wrote out their different ethnicities and a small paragraph of what that means to them...they had a few kids and their comments were the best. It showed that kids really don't care as much as adults do, which I think we all know that. If you get a chance check it out on the web, it was a great experience.

I'm thinking within the next generation or two we are all going to be so racially mixed its not going to matter, at least I'm hoping.

tnt5150 said...

Interesting....I never really consider race, it's always outside forces that raise the issue. I'll give you and example...I am with my daugther in Wal-Mart and a lady ask when I adopted her...I look at her and smile and tell her that I found her in a dumpster out back..lol Example #2 I goto pick up my daugther and the teacher says "kendall yoru mom is here" and another mom looks at me like I have 2 heads and ask "you are kendall's mom" my response...nope the teacher just called me that for no reason at all. My reason for these 2 examples is that Kendall knows I'm her mom and anyone who looks into her face and looks into mine knows she is too becasue we look just alike aside from skin color. People and society will always have stupid things to say, I simply hope that I raise a daughter with a quick wit and rock solid confidence an knowledege of herself.

Angela Neil said...

I'm so glad I found your blog. Thanks for sharing that wonderful video!

My husband and I are both white and we are raising our biracial daughter. She's a beautiful little girl and we love her with all our hearts. I hate that she will probably encounter racism as she gets older, but for right now, people are just amazed how beautiful she is - and they are constantly telling us too!

I hope, with all my heart, that she is accepted for who she is - and not judged on the color of her skin (which is a beautiful mocha color).

She's not white and she's not black, but like the lady in the video said, "she has a foot on both sides of the court", and I would hope she takes the best from both sides as she makes her way in the world.

Chanel said...

Riley already seems like a headstrong gal and I think she will handle it beautifully. It's very interesting being biracial, and I get so many questions myself. My mom is actually half black, half white but looks white and when people find out that she is my mother they are shocked. Its kind of like, c'mon, a white woman can have brown kids in this day and age...

Kristen Holan said...

C'mon Margaret, you know you're white.......