Why do outsiders have a harder time dealing with mixed race identity than the individuals do?

Posted by Ria, 26 Oct 11

Mixed Race FamilyI never believed such things happened until my sister told me furiously how some Chinese woman at the mall saw her pushing her mixed race baby on the pram (who looks white) and asked her if she was baby sitting. Ok! What made her livid was the suspicious look on that woman’s face. Its like she was either baby sitting or the other option was she had kidnapped someone’s baby.

When it comes to mixed race identity, it seems to me like outsiders have a much harder time dealing with it. In the baby sitter incidents for instance, I always wonder why someone can’t just ask "Is this your baby?" as opposed to assuming out rightly that since you are dark-skinned, you are the help. That is totally racist!

It seems to me that, much as people are inter-marrying and having intimate interracial relations, there are those of us that have either blinded their eyes to this reality of interracial mixing, or probably live in some bunkers and come out once every decade. Who can’t see where there is interracial dating, there will be interracial sex hence interracial off-springs? Its not rocket science?

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In a story I read in the New York Times: "In Strangers’ Glances at Family, Tensions Linger", it seems old racial tensions still follow mixed race families and individuals:

"How come she’s so white and you’re so dark?"

The question tore through Heather Greenwood as she was about to check out at a store here one afternoon this summer. Her brown hands were pushing the shopping cart that held her babbling toddler, Noelle, all platinum curls, fair skin and ice-blue eyes.

The woman behind Mrs. Greenwood, who was white, asked once she realized, by the way they were talking, that they were mother and child. "It’s just not possible," she charged indignantly. "You’re so...dark!"

Heather says this wasn’t the first time someone had demanded an explanation for her biological mixed race kids. Much as they stay colorblind as a family, its different when they are out there. The only thing people seem to notice is race – and then come the racist jokes, comments and impolite questions. Can you imagine having to stomach a joke like: "You know this little one isn’t really theirs, right? Must have been switched at the hospital." Well, that has been hurled at Heather’s way too.

Having been adopted by a White couple, Heather who is also mixed race shares her family story and how mixed they are in the interview. And looking at their story, its like she is experiencing similar racist episodes her adoptive parents experienced 30 years back when she was still a kid. Reason: she isn’t the same skin color as her daughters.

It seems to me that even after years of racial mixing and polls that claim that acceptance to interracial marriages has increased, it seems mixed race families still have to live with the same racial tensions that existed during our fore fathers days. And having read this story, it seems like the racism directed at interracial/mixed-race families is the same kind of racism that single-race minority families have to live with. Much as you try to teach your family members equality of all races, when out there, people have questions, insults and rude jokes.

"People confront you, and it’s not once in a while, it’s all the time," Heather said in the interview. "Each time is like a little paper cut, and you might think, 'Well, that’s not a big deal.' But imagine a lifetime of that. It hurts. If we could just go about whatever we’re doing and not be asked anything about our family’s colors, that would be a dream.'

Well, that’s my dream too!

For more on Heather Greenwood and her super mixed race family, read their story on the New York Times and watch the video while at it!

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