Home > Beautifully Blended, reflections on race > What about the children?

What about the children?

Think About the Children

When Bardwell said interracial children “suffer” and are not accepted by blacks or whites, he was simply looking out for the couple’s best interest, Steve Benen sarcastically assures his readers at The Washington Monthly. “What a good point. The societal stigma on kids from mixed-race couples is so overwhelming, those kids would never have an opportunity to, say, grow up and someday seek the presidency of the United States.”

The Debate

So unless you’ve been under a rock (or at least, if you haven’t read my blog this week, which is really the same thing, right?), you know that a Justice of the Peace refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple. A lot of people are expressing shock and awe… I’ve seen several comments to the effect, “this is 2009, not 1967.”

Ummm… peeps… I hate to point out the obvious, but Loving vs. Virginia didn’t make us any more post-racial than the 2008 elections. You may not have caught it, but in an article I posted last week, Gallup surveys were cited that indicate only 48 percent of Americans approved of marriage between blacks and whites in 1994, up 77 percent by 2007.

It’s 2009. 1994 was only 15 years ago. My oldest was born in 1996.

What the article doesn’t say is that approval rating has remained basically the same since 2003/2004. It also doesn’t say that white approval ratings are 75%, and black approval rates are 85%, with similar approval ratings from Hispanics.

Think about that really hard for a minute. About three fourths of White Americans approve of interracial marriage. Now think really really hard and do some math. The answer isn’t exactly 25% disapprove; it’s actually 19%. Among Black Americans, 10% disapprove. Now this is purely projection on my part and I have no stats to back it up, but based on personal experience (my own, and from speaking with other parents of multiracial children from across the country) I’d be willing to guess that the one in five Whites who oppose interracial marriage are more likely to do so “out of concern” for your children than the one in ten blacks who disapprove.

As parents of children of color, let’s stop focusing on the fact that this JOP is asking what about the children. His intent is misplaced, but he’s not the one who should be asking. I’ve talked to PLENTY of (white) women with multiracial children who should be asking themselves this question. You know who you are… the clueless Pollyanna type, who doesn’t want to talk to your child (whether they are multi-racial or not) about race because you want them to be “colorblind.” We need to take a realistic look at the world our children are living in, and we should be asking ourselves, “WHAT ABOUT OUR CHILDREN” before we worry about whether anybody else is worried about them. What are we doing to prepare our children of color to go out into this world? What are our friends and relatives doing to inoculate white and black children alike against these racist attitudes? 

Don’t make the mistake of believing that they won’t pick up on the subtle undertones of a racialized society as long as you don’t bring it up. Children who are comfortable with their own race and racial others come from parents who (come on, you can get this one). Children who are anti-racist don’t usually get that way by accident. And make no mistake, there is a big difference between being “not racist” and being “anti racist.” Simply put, LOVE IS NOT ENOUGH.

via Anger at Interracial Marriage Denial | The Atlantic Wire.

via what about OUR children?.

  1. October 20, 2009 at 6:56 AM

    We have told our children that being biracial is like having extra special radar. If a person doesn’t like you, or doesn’t accept you because you are half black and half white, then even if you were all one race, they are not the people you want to be around.

    We point out people’s uniqueness everyday. We expose them to other cultures beyond what we bring from our own families. We celebrate diversity.

    Tell my kids they are ‘different’ and they will respond ‘duh’.

    I told them that this judge thinks they are suffering. They said ‘Whatever’ and went off to hang out with their black, white, hispanic, asian, and biracial friends.

    • October 20, 2009 at 9:54 AM

      I like that… special radar 🙂 I might have to borrow it.

      That’s exactly what I’m talking about… you talked to your kids about the possibility of encountering racism and prejudice, and gave them the tools to deal with it.

      I think too many times parents are too afraid or too uncomfortable to initiate dialogue about race with their children. I saw that first hand last year with the poor attendance at The Love That Forgives Commemoration at my church.

  2. Eiball
    October 20, 2009 at 9:15 AM

    I think the the point missed is even further out than that. It doesn’t take a marriage license to make babies. To recognize these children and their parents as legal families it does. Tell me you care about the children when you are denying them that? Tell me THAT isn’t racism.

    • October 20, 2009 at 9:28 AM

      Oh, that’s a point that the JOP definitely missed, and possibly some of the general public as well. but I think that’s something that those of us in interracial marriages or relationships understand (hell, me better than anybody 😉 ). It just really disturbs me that people are so surprised by it, because his sentiments are not that uncommon. Most people just don’t say it out loud. Laura nailed it on the head… for every cockroach you see, there are a dozen you don’t.

  3. October 20, 2009 at 9:37 AM

    THAT is an excellent point!

  4. Eiball
    October 20, 2009 at 12:21 PM

    It’s true, Cyn. I was a bit put out to read a comment on the SSL facebook post about it that said something to the effect of, “See THIS is what GLBT people have to deal with EVERY SINGLE DAY.” And I’m thinking, “I know you don’t mean to be a twit, but um, you don’t think we deal with it EVERY SINGLE DAY?” We couldn’t get married without it being a thing, we certainly can’t get divorced without it being a thing, and our children do live their lives, sometimes moreso than others, being treated like some interesting sub-species.

  5. October 20, 2009 at 2:08 PM

    Exactly… not to belittle the challenges facing the GLBT community in any way… but my children wear their skin pretty visibly, cuz, you know, it’s on the OUTSIDE of their bodies.

  6. Ei
    November 4, 2009 at 7:47 AM

    Did you see he resigned???

    • November 4, 2009 at 8:04 AM

      Yes I did… he found out he can’t be a justice of the peace and have a conscience.

      Whatever, fool!

  7. Eiball
    November 5, 2009 at 1:10 PM

    Yeah, you also can’t be a JOP and be a racist bastard.

    • November 5, 2009 at 9:29 PM

      *snort* or something like that!

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