Before anybody thinks I’m a racist, I would like to say that I have absolutly no problem with it. My question is one of pragmatism in today’s society. It is an immediate question that one of my friends is dealing with, and we had a long discussion about. Its not really about relationships as much as it is chlidren. Would being in an interracial relationship cause you to reconsider having kids? Growing up is a pain in the ass anyway, wondering if you belong and trying to find a sence of identity. And I can only imagine how feeling like a part of two different worlds would complicate it. Plus the fact there are lots of asshole of every race, who would give the kid a real hard time. Now I have spent a decent portion of my life throwing my voice(and fists and face sometimes) into the fight aginst racist ignorance,but I would not be entirely conforable forcing someone else to spent there entire life on the front lines of the war with no choice in the matter. I’m assuming some posters around here have had to deal with it either as the parent or the child, and would like to hear their input. And for anybody else, what would your attidtude be: damn the racists I’m gonna do it, I’d have to move to a more enlightend area first, or it’s just not worth it in a difficult world.
I have not personally dealt with this, but I feel strongly that biracial couples should not feel “guilty” about having children.
I know a white couple who have 2 biracial children (because the woman was in a prior relationship with a black man). Sometimes things do happen, like a moronic stranger in a restaurant who called their beautiful biracial daughter a “nigger”. But even if the child were 100% white, that would be no guarantee against the world’s hateful stupidity.
Children on the playground (hey, PEOPLE in general) can be quite brutal over trivial differences. Humans tend to enjoy feeling superior and try to find something “wrong” with everyone. I’m sure people on these boards have been mocked for being too tall, while others have been teased for being too short; too fat or too thin; for being a “nerd” in school or a “dummy” in school, etc. No way to isolate children completely from this sort of thing; a good parent will try to teach the child how to deal with it.
Maybe biracial folks still freak certain people out because biracial people are evidence that the “races” aren’t really so different after all (I’m sure some morons out there would like to believe that the races are separate species; i.e., incapable of producing offspring together).
But if you let those jerks’ attitudes influence you and your children, you are granting them control over your life that they have NO RIGHT TO HAVE.
My current SO is the same race as I am, but if I were dating someone of another race I would not have misgivings about having a child with them. As it is, I would welcome the opportunity to adopt a child who was a different race or biracial. We’ll never have a colorblind society if people make themselves live according to the rules of the racist morons.
In response to your question. Absolutely not, it would have no bearing on my decision. To be fair, I grew up in very liberal areas, I live in San Frnacisco. But, even if Iwere currently living in a conservative area it would have no bearing on my decision.
Whoa wolfman, do you think these hypothetical biracial children would rather have not been born? Your friend and his gf should make the decisions of life according to their life and not according to what some idiot might do one day.
This is coming from a tri-racial mutt who is so glad her parents didn’t give a shit about what other people thought.
Since I’m a parent of biracial children (white/Asian), I obviously didn’t let fear of other people’s reactions stop me from having children,but I did think about the issues involved and how I would deal with them . What I would advise considering is such questions as where you are going to live ( we expected more problems in a mostly white or Asian area, so we chose a pretty mixed neighborhood where neither one of us would stand out) and how to handle dealing with the inevitable stupid (even if not cruel) comments.For example, I’ve heard “I always wanted to adopt a Korean child!” more times than I can count when my husband is not with us and someone I once worked with was stupid enough to say (after hearing that my husband is Chinese) “Oh, I thought your daughter had Down’s syndrome”. I’m sure there are more than enough stupid/cruel comments for every racial combination,and it’s easier to handle if you’re prepared for it.
This is such a minefield I’m gonna walk very carefully, now. And please note–blessedly, finally–the mines are becoming fewer.
Some people will only see skin color and try to project tidy categories of identity, e.g. not really white, black, asian, whatever. That perception is a fact for some people (becoming rarer, or at least quieter) but it doesn’t mean their perception matters a hill of bean–or ever did.
I’m insanely fortunate. I’ve lived long enough to see this change, honestly change. “Miscegnation” has been under examination for a long time. My father, the WWII vet, somewhat grasped the idea, partly fuelled by South Pacific’s song “Carefully Taught” about a French planter with children from a marriage to a Polynesian woman. Race mixing! Children! He totally freaked when I palled around with a Japanese guy in college. Huge respect and admiration for the Japanese…but we were just friends, right? Friends, okay, but…?
But he purely hated the very idea of black/white marriage in the Tracey/Hepburn Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner; walked out of the theater. Forget the fact that Sidney Poitier had to be a $%#&@ doctor with the U.N. This is very anecdotal but "what about the children! is last-ditch defense for the indefensible.
Here’s another glorious fact. My work is intensively public service and I’ve lived to see happy, unselfconscious interracial couples just noodlin’ around and being human. Their children are gorgeous, simply heart-breakingly perfect blends of this/that/and the other. Totally unique, every one of 'em, and the best possible refutation for convenient labels.
Children aren’t the risk of interracial unions; they’re the vindication.
Be still, my fluttering heart.
What a great end to a great post. Thank you, TVeblen.
I’ve dated a couple of black men in the past (I’m white), and though neither were terribly serious relationships, I don’t imagine I would have thought twice about having children with them if circumstances had been different.
Not to have a child with a person of a different race is little different than choosing to abort a biracial baby for fear that their life may be a little more complicated because of it. (I am pro choice, generally.) As TVeblen put it so beautifully, children aren’t a risk…but a vindication.
I have friends in interracial marriages. Robert (6’3", skinny redhaired white guy) married Li, who is Chinese. They have a daughter who is an exotic beautiful child with “asian” features and red hair. And with both parents being phycicists; Li a professor and marathon runner, she is already smart as hell. They don’t have a single misgiving about her future.
Dwayne and Hannah have three biracial children. Dwayne turned down a lucrative promotion which would require a move to Wyoming, because they feared it would be difficult in school for their kids. I thought it a shame they felt compelled to take their family makeup into consideration like this, but perhaps it was a realistic decision.
My current SO is Eastern Indian, and I’m a white guy, and we have no problems whatsoever discussing our future children (Yeah, I know I’m still real young, but I’m looking forward to it and I do think it’ll be her).
In any case, many of our friends seem to think our children will be simply beautiful. I live in Toronto, which has every race/mix possible, so stereotyping in schools when I grew up was almost nonexistant. Kids got teased for being fat/thin/tall/short/nerds/whatever, but I dont recall a single incident of someone having thier race commented on. I barely even noticed the differences, except wanting very desperatly to learn Cantonese. Which I did.
I’ve not thought twice about having brown/white kids, because I know that almost noone would care. And those who did would quickly be dealt with, be it by my SO’s scathing vocal abilities or my (ahem; if necessary;) physical size
I dont think it’ll come to that though. Things are looking up, at least around here.
Of course I cant tell what happens elsewhere. I remember once we got a choir who came to our school from Nowhere, Wyoming or something, and they stared and stared at all the people who werent blond/white. They didnt seem like they hated them, they were just really SHOCKED. And they couldnt understand my Canadian accent at all. Which I found hilarious.
Okay, I’ve talked enough. In short; I dont think my future biracial kids will have many problems. And if they do, it’ll be dealt with. So there!
Everyone is multiracial.
This is too weird - I was just talking to a girl I work with about mixed-race children. She’s Taiwanese, and her boyfriend is German/Indian. We were doing that teenage-girl thing where you imagine what you and your boyfriend’s children will look like, and this girl was ecstatic that she would have multi-racial children. My boyfriend (British/Scottish/Irish) and I (Chinese) have also had comments along the lines of:
“If you two ever had kids, they’d be so beautiful!”
“Your kids will be half-Chinese! Oooh, you’re so lucky!”
Slightly strange comments to a 17 and 18 year old couple, but still nice to hear - and infinitely preferable to any negative or hateful ones. I’m lucky that I live in a area where the large majority of people wouldn’t bat an eyelid at a bi-racial or multi-racial child. I’d venture a guess that most people I know wouldn’t even consider it an issue (aside from viewing it as an aesthetic advantage).
In response to the OP, if I lived in an area where being more than one race were frowned upon, I would definitely move to somewhere more accepting. In effect, it is damning the racists - they’re the ones who won’t ever have the privilege of getting to know my beautiful, wonderful children.
Thanks you for that! I couldn’t agree more.
I had a neighbor a few years ago, a very attractive white girl who had previously been married to a black man. Sadly, her father had basically disowned her because of it, adding insult to injury when her marriage failed. She and her ex-husband remained friends and I had the pleasure of meeting him on several occasions. He was truly a great guy, it just didn’t work out between them.
Their kids, Stef and Chris were beautiful. There is no other way to put it. Beyond being gorgeous, they were polite, intelligent, well-adjusted kids that I am thankful that I had the chance to meet. I made it a point to let their parents know how I felt on several occasions, and the kids had an open invitation to come over to my apartment, and often did just to visit. They affectionately referred to me as their big brother. My heart melts, just thinking about it, and I cherish the time I spent with that little lady and gentleman. I think of them often, though I moved away a year and a half ago.
I doubt that they will have any more trouble in life than any other well-loved, and well-adjusted middle-class kids. It is a shame that they may never know their mother’s father, but I believe that they will probably be that much better for not having such a hateful bigot as a part of their life. I don’t think being multi-racial has as much to do with their quality of life or how they will turn out as much as having loving parents and other adult role models who set a good example.
Ok. So I dont plan on ever having kids, so there isn’t any insight I can give to this topic. But I do find this thread facinating. One thing confuses me though, why does everyone feel the need to comment on how beautiful, gorgeous, attractive the children are? I dont know why, but it bothers me a little about how obsessed everone is on this topic. Will children feel the smack of prejudice if they are pretty?
Great posts so far in this thread.
As many here already know, my SO of almost 5 years now (sheesh, I’m getting old…) is black and I am white. Beyond the fact that I am not ready for kids yet (be they white, black or whatever else), the fact that the woman I am most likely going to have kids with is black and my kids will be mixed is fine with me. I would not even think twice about not having kids, due to the race thing. Maybe I’m looking from a biased viewpoint, but I think black/white mixed kids are beautiful, typically more so than “pure breeds” of either race. My GF and I refer to these cute little kids as “Half-fro babies”.
Thanks for reminding me yet again why you are one of my favorites around here.
(In preview I just saw racerx’s post)
Because, when I am talking about or looking at interracial kids, that’s usually the first thing that I notice. Its not that I feel the need to comment on, it’s a feature that jumps out and you can’t help but comment on. If you are asking about sugar, and 9 out of 10 people tell you it tastes sweet, I wouldn’t call that “obsessing” - I’d call it stating the obvious. You say you don’t know why this bothers you, interesting. I am very curious as to why.
I don’t buy the idea in the OP that it’s so hard feeling like you’re part of 2 different worlds. My dad’s Jewish (my real last name is NOT Fantasia!) & my mom’s Catholic. I certainly feel like I’m from 2 different worlds, but I don’t think it’s made my life difficult. (Though there are things about me that my mother has never been able to understand, like why blueberries do not belong in bagels & why you can never have too many paris of shoes.) It’s cool to have 2 cultures…I don’t feel confused or torn, but enriched. Admittedly, people don’t look at me & know my heritage, but I did want to address that point.
My best friend’s black. If he & I ended up getting married, we’d have kids. The world needs more smart, cool people (which our kids would no doubt be, since we are both smart, cool people), of whatever race. Anyhow, it’s not like he’s from another planet or something. We both grew up listening to Nirvana & eating at Taco Bell & watching the Simpsons. He didn’t, like, live in the jungle pounding bongo drums.
Now for some true life experience:
I and the rest of my family are all crackers. It was a major adjustment for my family when my older sister brought home her baby, which happened to be covered from head to toe in brown skin (1978, in Boondocks, SC). My sister (who, unrelated to this situation, is–and always has been–nuts) was never stable enough to take care of him on her own, or even when she was married to his father. As a result, he was raised by his grandparents. My mother accepted him readily, and without question. My father, well, it took a few weeks. At first he just ignored him, until he finally realized that “Hey, it’s just another baby. This one just happens to be covered in brown skin!” Thereafter, he treated him as though he was one of his own kids (actually, much better than his kids).
Now, make no mistake, for years there were all sorts of weird glances and hushed conversation about it from both friends and relatives. This sort of thing was not unheard of back in late-70s rural SC, but it was very uncommon. The point there, though, was that my parents knew about it, but never made any big deal out of it. They knew who they were, and they didn’t care. Knowing some of them, it’s not as though they had anything to be proud of themselves. But that’s one of the things that makes racism an important thing in redneck mentality. You have to have somebody to look down on. In that way, you are elevated.
However, despite that, he said that no one ever said anything negative to him (my nephew) personally. He knew he was a different color from the rest of us (one time, when he–about six years old at the time–and my father had gone fishin’ during cold weather, he made the comment that he had “almost turned into a chocolate popsicle”), but if it ever really meant anything to him, none of us ever say it. And no one ever gave him a hard time about his situation.
So, returning to the OP, if it’s just a matter of color and any related social consequences, it would not be an issue with me. My family went thru it at a time and in a place that was hardly ideal for this situation, and my nephew came out of it relatively unscathed. The point, though, was that he did have an intact family that actually cared about him, and that’s a good lesson for everyone regardless of the ethnicity/coloration of their partners.
Beauty is subjective and somewhat worthless. I get frusterated at a vision driven society. I don’t feel that any child’s worth is greater simply because they are beautiful, regardless of the origin of that beauty. Now, you didn’t say this, but it seem as though people are placing emphasis and therefore noteworthiness and therefore worth on beauty. That bothers me.
My wife’s white, and I’m half chinese-asian and half white. I don’t know if that makes ours an interracial relationship. I never think of it as one.
When I was growing up I was occasionally made fun of for looking chinese, or having a chinese last name. No one bothered to mock me for being “bi-racial.” I wouldn’t even say the kids were racist, it was just the standard kid tactic of “Let’s pick something different about this person and make fun of it.” It was certainly no greater hardship than being mocked for being a “brain” or wearing glasses or any of the other things people teased me about. And I never felt like I was coming from “two different worlds.” My folks are two different people, but I don’t base my identity on who they are. So if I were to have kids, I certainly wouldn’t think twice about their potential racial make up.
My folks had a bit of trouble when they got married. My grandparents on my dad’s side (chinese) decided that white/chinese kids looked okay, so they approved. On my mom’s side, her step-dad stopped speaking to her. But, oddly enough, when my sister and I were born, he realized he was missing out and resumed contact.
As for everyone referring to babies as beautiful, I don’t get it either. I personally find them rather unpleasant to look at. But to each their own.
To answer the OP, no, it would never stop me from having multi-racial children.
For my personal experience:
My SO is of Latin American heritage and I am white; we have been together for nearly three years. We are most likely to get married, and we have discussed about having a family. We know about the possibility of our future children having to face ignorance, but we plan on arming them with education and tolerance (and maybe a few martial arts classes, just in case).
What got us, was one day we were at a family gathering (his family), and his brother brought home his girlfriend for the first time. She was a lovely black girl–very nice, very kind, and it seemed that the couple cared for each other. After they left, the two grandmothers were up in arms, as they could not believe that he was dating a black girl… my SO broke in and said, “So? I’m with a white girl. Is there really a difference?”
One of the grandmothers replied (mind you, this exchange was all in Spanish, so I’m giving a basic translation), “Your girlfriend is white, so you’ll have beautiful babies. She’s black, so they will have ugly babies.”
Sometimes, it’s strange where certain prejudices come from.
i am biracial (Chinese/white), grew up in the land of the mixed kids (Los Angeles) and live in the Bay Area, also home of many multiracial people. while at UC Berkeley, i was pretty heavily involved in a nascent multiracial community on campus (this was the early 1990s). my girlfriend of 7 years is also mixed, as well as many of my friends.
i tell you these things to help you understand where i’m coming from. i have known many many, multiracial people, have spent a lot of time thinking about these issues, and i’ll be tackling this from the point of the view of the children.
please note that the children of interracial marriages often believe very different things than their parents.
people in interracial relationships should most definitely consider what being mixed means for their children because it most definitely is going to be an issue. it can be massive or minor, but it’s going to come into play. and having our parents romanticizing about how beautiful we are and how wonderful life will be for us is not only naive, it can be downright unhealthy.
America is obsessed with race. multiracial children challenge/stand outside of racial norms and can expect to have attention spotlighted upon them. even on superficial levels: when people interact with you on the streets, it’s common practice to determine what race a person is (i think this usually happens right after determining gender), which means people are going to be looking. a lot.
if you’re mixed child wants to assimilate and become culturally white, they won’t have too many problems. but if you’re going to try and hold on to your culture, your background and phenotype are going to be an issue. sometimes too large an issue to overcome.
i feel like i am a happy, well-adjusted person, comfortable with my identity. i can’t imagine being anything other than mixed. however, i have had to do a lot of learning and introspection to reach this point, and i’ve had some unhappy times because of my identity issues. my circumstances made this process relatively difficult, but i’ve been able to overcome this. people as similar as my brother and sister have not been able to come to terms with their identities. the difference between me and them? hard to tell–maybe 2 degrees of self-confidence…
i know plenty of mixed people who are not able to work out their identity issues. does being mixed make life more difficult? i think, by and large, yes. does being mixed also offer opportunities to experience the world in new and interesting ways? yes. is the payoff worth the risk? that’s up to the parents. but i hope that they are thinking about it.
parents need to learn and accept the reality of a society very concerned with race and push the idyllic ideas to the side. you need to tackle these issues. you need to provide opportunities for your children to experience their cultures. and if you think none of this matters, you might be putting your child at risk for real unhappiness.
(i apologize–this is really all over the place and badly-focused. hope i’m not scaring people off–feel free to ask further questions and i can clarify my points. new thread title: Ask the Multiracial Guy!)