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race & relationships

I went to spend this past wknd with my mother to celebrate her bday and Mother’s Day, since they’re so close together, and I don’t get to go over that way too often.

In the course of talking, we ended up talking about whether there really is a disconnect between black feminists and white feminists.  I told her about the recent flare-ups in the blogosphere, and some of the things that I’ve only begun to think about, in light of all the discussion.  Considering that there are differences in the stereotypes applied to black women and white women, certainly combating those stereotypes would take different tactics.

From that, we moved into talking about basic assumptions that we make about people.  [I’m not sure how that happened, but there was some sort of segue.]  That’s when she told me about something that happened at her job, when we lived in Hawaii (the 80s).

There was a woman who came in to her office to temp as a secretary for a while.  They chatted over some days, and eventually the woman saw pictures of me and my sister on my mother’s desk.

She asked, “Who are those young ladies?” (or something like that)

Mom replied that they [we] were her daughters.

The woman looked at her, and then said, “Oh, you adopted?”

Mom said, “No…they’re my biological children.”

Then the woman looked at mom with a seemingly new understanding, and before she could stop herself, said, “So, you’re one of those.”

Puzzled, a bit apprehensive, but curious, Mom asked.  “One of those what?”

“Oh, uh, you know.”

“No.  I don’t know.  What?”

You know.  Those people.”

No. I don’tWhat people?  Go ahead and say it.”

“Sluts.”

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I think Mom had told me about this once before, but at the time I didn’t really think about it.  Now, four days later, I’m still digesting.

The issues that come up with interracial relationships are myriad, and you could probably keep coming up with things all day.  Latoya P’s intro to a conversation about interracial relationships got me thinking about how things have changed since my parents got together.  What things are like now vs. what they were like 30 yrs ago.  And what things are/were like for interracial multiracial kids.

Anecdotes from multiracial kids and their parents could go on and on with incidents.  Cuz they have been happening for years, and they still are.  People still parrot the things they’ve heard.  Like:

The kids won’t know who they are.  They’ll be confused.  Or ridiculed.
The relationship can’t last, there’ll be too much adversity – the world isn’t ready to accept you.
Couldn’t you find anyone of your own race?/Oh you only like them now?

I don’t feel like going on.  But I could.  For some reason, there’s this drive for people to request a background history to legitimize the relationship.  As though there’s something unnatural about people with slightly different *physical* features getting together.  When, in reality, it’s been happening for thousands of years.  Yup.  (specifically for Bob Jones U.) it was happening in the Bible, too.

So, I’ll be keeping my eye on the discussion over at Racialicious, just cuz I think it might get know it will be interesting.  It already is.

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4 thoughts on “race & relationships

  1. I just happened to see this post. I can’t believe that woman said that! omg, my blood boils at the thought of it!

  2. yeah. apparently, this wasn’t so uncommon. my parents regularly dealt with that kind of thing.

    people are actually much bolder than you might think.

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