7 year old
- My son is biracial and his mom is African American and I am Caucasian.
Of course in the summer time he is darker and now he has been asking
what color I am. I have a tan but I am not as dark as him. Here lately
it seems he asks more than ever. I am scared when he gets older it wll
even be more of an issue. I love him to death and he is my heart! His
mother and I get along even though we are divorced now. I have true
joint custody and get him ever other week. Sometimes I just don't know
what to tell him when he asks the color question. I try and answer
honestly and wisely but any help is appreciated. Thanks JT
- Yes, that was I. And it happens way too often!! lol
"mulatta_loca" <rosanna_armendariz@...> wrote:
Yes, it seems that White people, like all
other people, face stereotypes regarding
how they are supposed to act, talk,
what they should do for a living, etc.
Someone else in this group, I believe it
was Richard, said that b/c of how he lives
his life people often assume that he is
Mixed as well, but he is actually Caucasian.
So funny. Maybe one day as a society we
can rid ourselves of these limiting views.
J R <jrowe322@...> wrote:
Thank you so much for your
response and feedback.
And just for clarification I am a woman
which does add another dimension.
I really appreciate your thoughtful
reflections and have often thought
about writing a book about it.
It is an amazing exploration of the
race-conscious world we live in and has
definitely made me reflect on my entire
development in a world that sees and places
values on people because of their skin tone.
I was raised in a basically all White community
growing up and when I moved to the city,
I honestly felt like I was coming home
because i was received so differently.
It hasn't been really until the last few
years that I have had the realization
of why this might be happening.
Being raised in the community I was in, I was
trained to "not see color" as well as trained
how to manage my world based on privilege.
But i never felt like I was part of that
world ever and always felt out of place.
anyway, just interesting...I kind of explain it
this way...your race or cultural background
even is dictated by two things....
1) the way you experience the world (the cumulative
effects of the history of your family and community
and the way that has developed beliefs, attitudes and
values that create a lense for you to see the world)
2) and the way the world experiences you.....
based a smattering of assumptions because
of how you look and what you do and all the
surface things that make up your "profile"
But thanks for letting me share this because
sometimes it weighs on me in ways that can
make my daily experience challenging for the
reasons you so insightfully pointed out. ............
Pierre <pierrejefferson2007@...> wrote:
JR this is a switch from the norm.
I guess one can say its extremely amusing!
but very confusing for EVERYONE that thinks your
almost everything else racially other than White.
And being White with a darker look can be liken to a
double identify for you to deal with your self daily.
In the mist of this mystery you have had
many advantages to peer deeply into
the emotions of other ethnicity's as a
mistaken member of their group or race.
Like a concealed Caucasian co-existing
with other races hearing personal information,
that these races might not have express
to you if they knew you were White.
I'm sure you derived a lot of sympathy and
advantages by being perceived as a man-of-color,
from job hiring even to promotions.
With an occupation currently that incorporates
racial Ethnicity's in your line of questioning`
many times you see no need
to inform them that your White!
it could hamper your ability to reach them`
or make them feel more comfortable
with you by doing so.
The assumption that you are one of them
shows how race is a powerful force that people
still use to group them selves, if you're working
in a racially mixed diverse environment as a
Caucasian that appears to be non-Caucasian,
i see can see how you may feel your working
under cover some how, like your almost a
non-person with no diffident racial identity,
i could say its almost like being a color wheel,
that can stop almost at any given place or
location with out question or suspicion.
From Mixed... Black..Puerto Rican ...
Spanish ... Hispanic Latino or other?
Your entire life has been a dark shadow of your true
self, actually you may be better equipped to live in
this society as a White man that's experienced the
prejudice of racism first hand perhaps in some cases.
One can read books on racism` one can hear about
people of color` but unless one experiences this
personally, they will never have a true clue
on what its like to be a person-of-color.
You have had this experience!
so in the full measure of your experience JR`
you in my opinion are a Multi-Cultured White Person"
living in a race conscious society.
Having Mixed nieces and nephews,
being intimate with different cultural back grounds
has further enlightened you and sensitized
you to respecting diversity even more`
seeing through racial stereotypes usually
as false messages with greater ability.
to seeing other races as human beings and nothing less.
I personally believe you should reveal your true racial
identity if someone asks for this frees them from
suspicion and frees you from a double identity.
Yes race shouldn't matter!
But we must be realistic it does matter currently`
but being proud of who you are
shouldn't dwell solely on 'what you are'.
Eventually if we ever get past the color wheel we can
fully see each other as people instead of races.
J R <jrowe322@...> wrote:
I have been on this list-serve for a while and
this is definitely an issue I deal with all the time.
However, the strange thing about is that I am White
but EVERYONE thinks I am something else.
It has put me in some very interesting
and awkward situations.
Especially because I do diversity work
and social justice work, I am contact
most of the time with people-of-color.
I have also dealt with employment situations where it
was clear after I was hired that they thought I was a
person-of-color and that had they assumed I was White
instead of something else, I may not have gotten the job.
I have dealt with this all my life but now, because
of the work I am in, I am really struggling with it.
Before my work environment (as a Spanish teacher)
most if not all of my colleagues were White and
White people do not talk about race...hardly ever ...
I would get the occasional ... are you
Puerto Rican? Spanish? Hispanic? Latino?
But now that my work is about race with a very diverse
work environment race comes up all the time and many
times they do not ASK me what my background is
but assume I am someone of Mixed ethnicity.
I have realized over time that different people
think I am different Ethnicities from Mixed, to
"black", to all different Hispanic/Latino groups.
I really struggle with it now because of the work
I do there is an assumption of credibility
if others think I am a person-of-color.
My nieces and nephews are all Mixed and I have
been rooted through intimate relationships in a
variety a different cultural backgrounds and I feel
very connected to issues surrounding different
communities but the fact remains that I am White...
Is it my responsibility to tell people
every time they make a comment that
infers that they believe I am a person-of-color?
I would appreciate your thoughts.
Nciole <throughoureyes@...:> wrote:
I've been reading everyone's responses and I'd like to
say a couple of more things, adding to what I said earlier:
I do think the way people can be
is insensitive and dehumanizing.
I was shocked when some posters told about people
walking up to their children and "inspecting" them.
THAT is just APALLING.
Obviously they don't realise that these children
are taking all of this in ... and might be
hurting because of their insensitive actions.
And as far as whether it's "our duty" to educate ... well ...
I would say no actually, because it can be a bit of a
burden and it's really up to each of us individually
as to how we respond to people, whether
they be genuinely curious or close-minded.
I choose to be open about my heritage
for the reasons I've already stated.
But again, I can usually tell why someone is asking.
Oddly enough, when I evaluate my own
experiences, most are genuinely curious.
But then I get the people who assume
they know what I am without even asking.
I can handle if someone actually asks questions
like, ... "What part of India are you from?", or
"You look like you're Puerto Rican.
Are you?" Then I can actually explain things to them.
But when they assume, I feel rather awkward.
For example: I once went to a job "interview"
(turns out it was a seminar for one of these insurance
companies that sells term life and health to elderly
people, and you're paid only commission)
and the guy conducting it said at one point,
"I know you can definitely reach out to people
in your community, especially being bilingual."
I looked at him rather funny, to which he replied,
"You speak Spanish, don't you?"
I know a little high school French, a little college German,
and I've picked up some Hindi and Telugu being around
my fiance and his family .... but no, no Spanish.
I replied in kind.
"Well, you should really learn Spanish, to
communicate with your community," he replies.
To which I reply,
"I'm not Hispanic.
I'm half-Black, half-White.
" His reply:
"Oh. Sorry. I thought you were Hispanic."
Such is the life.....
Nicole Nicholson, Editor, Through Our Eyes
"mulatta_loca" <rosanna_armendariz@> wrote:
Exactly, Pierre.I couldn't agree more.
In a way it is like the slave auction days, where a
person's physical attributes were put on display
and examined-- A very dehumanizing process.
And you are so right that often after someone
asks a Mixed-Race person about their ethnicity or
the ethnicity of their children, they will not be satisfied
with the answer b/c it does not mesh with whatever
preconceived notion they had in their head.
As I stated in one of my previous posts,
this has happened to me many times.
People have felt the need to argue
with me about what I am. Ridiculous!
Thank you, Pierre, for your insights.
I always appreciate reading your
comments on this message board.
pierre jefferson <pierrejefferson2007@> wrote:
For some reason some people think they
have a right to touch and examine
your children if they are of Mixed race.
It reminds me of the slave auction days as they would
touch slave and examine them like grades of beef.
Dehumanizing and totally disrespectful
to you and your children.
If you were to go over and start
touching and examining their children,
I'm sure it would be viewed as an attack on their beings.
Some Mixed race people have been treated like objects
of amusement and wonder because they don't reflect
the established images that society is accustom too.
People always want to fill in the dots and bring
closure to their suspicions by asking questions and
comparing the parent or parents to the Mixed child.
Even when they find out the truth most
still are not satisfied with the results,
and may still stare and debate the issue.
In some cases the Mixed race child have been
treated like an outcast simply by being difference
and made to fill these emotions by cruel people.
The Mixed race child must never feel that they are wrong
or unacceptable, for if they do it... could lead them into
a maze of social problems for the rest of their lives
Actually their is no problem Mixed race
people and children are not the problem.
The problem is the problem makers
that still co exist with them.
ashley smith <ashley717717@> wrote:
Thank you, Nicole!
I've been watching the threads and haven't
said much, but, it seems a lot of us are
taking offense when there is none meant.
We seem to be sometimes very touchy
because we have a problem being Mixed.
I've gone through everything mentioned here.
People aggressively walking up to check my son's
ears or fingernails,or whatever, and asking nosy
questions. We are not obligated to answer them.
I learned to establish a boundary, and
say to such an aggressive stranger,
"Please get your hands off of my son.
We don't know you, and consider it intrusive.
They do back off.
The same for nosy questions.
We don't have to cop a big attitude.
We can try to distinguish whether it is
an opportunity to educate someone,
or whether the person is offensive.
We can then decide how much info to give, if any.
We can decline calmly, with something like,
"Excuse me, but I don't know you, and prefer not
to discuss our personal information with you."
To the question of, "Is he yours?"
A simple answer of "yes" with an expression then
that indicates the discussion is over usually works.
Some people do have boundary issues, like lack
of them, and we can calmly and clearly let people
know where our boundaries are and keep them firm.
I used to also be touchy, and was at Indian
powwows where people would walk up
and ask all kind of ignorant questions.
I used to cop and attitude, but then
an elder medicine man told me not
to do that, and to act more like an
ambassador, giving people general
educational information in a patient way.