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Tagged as biracial, family, festival, film, LA, mixed remixed festival, race, racism
Growing up, I guess I was sheltered from a lot of racism.
At the time, we were surrounded by military bases and it seemed like everyone we knew was from somewhere else.
My dad was a Creole from Louisiana/Texas and my mom is half-Lantinx/half-Native American from Oregon.
I knew lots of mixed kids but all of us defaulted to ‘Black’ if one parent was Black. Lantinx/white defaulted to Latinx, Asian/white defaulted to Asian. White was just white but then they were regrouped by country of origin.
We learned early that every Hispanic wasn’t Mexican, Every Asian wasn’t Chinese, every Middle-Easterner wasn’t Arab and that every white person wasn’t a WASP.
Our code-switching game was tight – even the ‘non-ethnic’ kids.
I think that being good at things and willing to try non-stereotypical things and speaking SAE kind of made my childhood look like a Benetton ad.
My step dad was not well educated and from a Kentucky farm so he couldn’t fully comprehend most of what we lived through.
He tried to teach us his racist ways but we had too many non-Black friends to be bothered with that way of thinking.
If we couldn’t deal with the hood we would be seen as an imitation of white.
If we were too hood we would be seen as being ghetto.
We could play sports, roast other kids with jokes and fight so a lot of being called an ‘Uncle Tom’ ended quickly. This freed us up to do whatever we wanted to do and crossover without being ostracized.
All this to ask:
How are your daughters being treated?
How do they view themselves?
Are they able to code-switch or is it even necessary?
I’m in Texas now and I hear a lot of, ‘We can’t go there’ or ‘We can’t do this or that’. I hear it from my Black and my non-Black friends. I just laugh and say, ‘You’re dumb, c’mon’.
Afterwards they usually end up meeting cool people and thank me later.
I’m sure I did experience racism as a kid but maybe I was just oblivious to it.
I think it shaped my views as an adult because I’ve never felt inferior because of my race.
(Dang, sorry for the whole post as a comment.)
Man, you can leave a full length post in here any time you like. My girls? They are still pretty young which means their world’s are pretty small. Elementary school pretty much only consists of the 30 or so kids in your class and when that class has a lil bit of everybody (Mexican, Columbian, India, Tongan, African American , African-African, Chinese, Chinese with white parents, Korean, white Americans, White kid from Poland, Saudi) the kids aren’t really attaching greater meaning to color… a little bit on language, but none of it has social implications-yet.
The middle schooler is enough of an odd duck, and young enough, that I think she isn’t sure exactly where she fits, not racially so much as individually. She divides people along the lines of kids who get A’s and those who don’t, kids who come in first in the 100 meter dash, and those who don’t, the top level of ballet class, and everyone else… its a little terrifying to be honest. But I expect high school will change things.
Both kids very much identify as bi-racial, as in both black and white, though they understand which category American history would place them in if they were born 50 years ago. We talk a lot about all of it, I don’t think any of the other kids families talk about this stuff at all. It doesn’t mean they don’t “say things”, they just use coded language like “Make America Great Again.” Which is a bit like talking about race, but only doing so in a way that makes for very difficult adults.
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