Q & A: My Growing Up Years Part Two

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I'm liking this Q & A thing, mostly because I get to talk about myself, but I also like giving people something to think about. I'm still answering questions from the comments on my earlier posts here and here about my childhood, having a bi-racial family and my experiences with racism.

Steph asked:
"Was your family upset when you married your husband?"
Ahh, the husband questions! I thought that one would have come first! LOL! That one requires a long answer so I'll address MoFM first.

She said:
"My brother in law is black. he grew up in Long Beach, CA and then went to Stanford. Like you, he has been chastised by his relatives for acting "white." Not something that I understand, never having been a minority myself."
I can't honestly say I understand it completely myself. Within the black community, there is this idea that speaking, dressing or behaving in ways that have been associated with white culture somehow makes a person "less" black.

Unfortunately, the things that make someone "less" black are typically educational and/or economically based. The fact that I liked to read, made good grades, was articulate, moved away from black neighborhoods and had designer clothes made me (and therefore my parents) a "sell out." I'd "forgotten where I came from."

It's hard for me to see it as anything other than jealousy. It would be one thing if people chastised me for not celebrating Kwanzaa (which I don't though I know a little about the history) or not knowing some of the major historical events and figures of black culture.

But to say I've lost touch with "my roots" because I can effectively string a sentence together borders on the absurd. And I refuse to apologize for the fact that my family worked very hard to buy the house in the safe neighborhood with the good schools. My parents sacrificed to give me everything I have today. Isn't that what anyone wants to do for their children?

James C. Collier hosts a great blog addressing issues just like this, among others. This is a great post that clarifies the ideas behind "acting white" better than I can.

I found these great articles offering more perspective




Hopefully that helps a little. It's too bad that there is often so much strife within our own community. Our shared skin color, history and desire to make racism a thing of the past should be enough to keep everyone friendly and helpful toward one another, but I guess there are always going to be a few bad apples spoiling the bunch.

My relationship with my hubby and the ripples it caused within my family is another looong story that I think will have to wait until tomorrow so I can address it fully. Along with Eminem.

add to kirtsy


  1. I guess, for me, interracial relationships are sort of a non-issue. It wasn't until you said what you did about your dad that it even occurred to me that your family (or your husband's) might have taken issue with it.

    Dumb, I know, since I had to deal with my own family's completely ridiculous attitudes about interracial relationships, but there you go.

  2. thanks for the response! wow. seems like we feel the same way about the perceptions...

    and, like steph, interracial relationships have always been a non-issue with me too.


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