Saturday, March 1, 2014

My Interracial Marriage


It's 2014. You would think that interracial relationships would be a non-issue in today's world, but I think it will take a few more generations before people completely stop seeing interracial relationships as “taboo.” At least in America - I don't know how things are in other places. But America has a terrible relationship with race. What is wrong with us?? Our history is embarrassing.

I was called all sorts of names for dating outside my race in high school. My fave: "nigger-lover." This was hurtful as a teenager. Some of my best friends couldn't be seen with me because their parents knew what "kind of person" I was. I was labelled as a bad influence, promiscuous, and that I was lowering my standards, just because I dated a variety of races. One particular (white) friend said to me once, "Alice Anne, we're in the same boat! All we can attract is black guys! Ain't that sad?" Uhhhhhh, what? Like we just couldn't do any "better." Ummmm, noooo. That's just who I found the most attractive to me.

I remember having to suck my stomach in all the time while in school. Not because I wanted to be skinnier than I was or had body image issues. But because any amount of stomach fat would incite comments about me being pregnant. Because of course she'd get pregnant in high school, she dates black guys. It infuriated me that people would come to that kind of conclusion, but I let people talk. I didn't feel like there was anything I could do to change people's racist/stereotypical/limited minds. It was just commonplace.

I let people think bad things about me because it was easier than to stand up to every ignorant person with a hateful heart that I came across. That would've been way too much work - there were too many of them. White guys who still wanted to date me (many considered me "tainted" and wouldn't even talk to me), would stumble all over their words to ask me if I was still dating that.... guy. I'd look them dead in the eye and say, "Of course I am."

I was told directly that the Bible teaches not to "intermix" with "those people." And that I shouldn't marry Zay because I should think about my children. <-- I laughed in that person's face and told him, "What about my children? They'll be beautiful."

Then I married outside my race, and I decided that I didn’t have to be around people who have a problem with me and my husband. I'm an adult. If someone wants to let ignorance keep them from being able to behave appropriately around my family, then those people are not welcome in my life, no matter their race. I didn't have that option in high school. I just had to endure it.

My mom always knew I'd marry a black guy. She's so silly. She said, "I knew because you loved that movie Save the Last Dance." Lol. That tickles me every time I think of it.

Photo: www.movpins.com

She was baffled by people's comments as well. Things people wouldn't always say to my face, but would say to her as if she would understand. Things like, "It's too bad Alice Anne got involved with that gang member." Or, "She should go to BYU without him and she'll forget all about him." People assumed he sold drugs, that I was pregnant and that's why we were getting married young, that he couldn't read, that I was throwing my life away, that we would always be poor, that I would regret my decision because I was so obviously deserving of something much better.

??? 

My mom absolutely loved Zay and cried the one time we almost broke up and begged me to take him back. Ha ha. She knew him well and the color of his skin is just one part of him, not a definition or a stereotype of who he is as a person.

I am dang proud of who I am, despite what others may think of me. Despite the verbal beating I took from ignorant people who don't have a clue what it means to love people equally, as God does. I love my husband and know that our marriage is stronger than most. I know God loves us both and approves of our marriage, because we center our family on Jesus Christ. We count our blessings daily as we raise this beautiful, innocent, happy child who is not defined by his arbitrary "half-black" racial assignment.

Some of my most enriching experiences as a young adult exploring the world I live in have been the times when I was engulfed in other cultures and religions not my own. It's sad to know so many people have closed their minds and hearts to accepting anyone outside of their familiar beliefs, culture, or race.

It wasn't just in high school. It wasn't just in the South where I experienced these things. And it's not always a malicious hate, but a naive ignorance - like, "Oh - does he play football? Oh - is he a rapper?" Lol. I had a former boss who used the world "niggra" to describe black people and I honestly had never heard that before. Niggra??? But he honestly acted like he thought it was an okay term to use. I had to correct him.

I hope as the world becomes more integrated and cultures and races aren't so far removed from each other that racism will die out. But I know that day is not today. Today, the Internet is a breeding ground for racists. Closet-racists suddenly have anonymity to hide behind. If you ever scroll through some Youtube comments, you'll get a taste of that. I posted a cute little video of Kal talking about what he dreamed about the night before. This is a comment I got:


Isn't that lovely? :)

Every time we see an interracial family on television, we cheer as a family. Ha ha. Like, literally we clap and yell, "Yaaay!" Because we are under-represented in the media. When Cheerios premiered their cute little black & white interracial family in a commercial, racist Youtube commenters FREAKED OUT. Honestly, I didn't even notice it was an interracial family at first. Just a cute family. It took a second to register, and then we cheered! Yaay!

Cheerios "Just Checking" Commercial:


Such an innocent commercial to start such a firestorm of controversy. *Insert BIG eye roll here!* Really? We're not past this yet? Why is this even something that requires "getting past"? Some commenters said the commercial made them "want to vomit"... well, like a friend of mine who is also in an interracial relationship said, racist people make me want to vomit!

I was proud of Cheerios for sticking by their ad and even using the same family for a second commercial during the Superbowl.

Cheerios "Gracie" Commercial:


I want to teach my kids that racism is dumb... because it is. It's an invention of hateful hearts who want to appear superior to another group of people. And I want them to know that they can date and marry whoever they want, so long as they are good people who treat them right. Nothing else matters. Cultural differences make life more interesting. Shades of skin color are just different shades of beautiful. All a part of the human race. I may not be able to make a big impact in changing other people's ignorance, but my own kids won't be raised to hate that way. I know I can do that.

And I'll just keep on living my life and loving my husband and family. Celebrating my interracial marriage. Because it wasn't always legal to marry outside of your race in America and I think that's absolutely ridiculous.





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