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interracial havens

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
Okay, I had a weird/strange experience about 2 weeks ago. The weather was warm and sunny so we all decided to go to the zoo in downtown Washington D.C. We were walking around, admiring the animals, checking out the plants (I'm planning my new garden and obsessed with trees right now), etc. Then this white American couple walked past me and I turned and STARED. I was completely rude about it and I asked myself: why am I staring at them? Then I realized: I'd been walking around for hours and almost every couple I had seen had been interracial. D.C. is... unusual sometimes.

I've seen posts on this forum about people having difficulty because they are in an interracial or otherwise multicultural relationship and I have a different question:

Anybody live somewhere where they DON'T have that problem? My DH's work is like the United Nations. My DH set up a double-date with a colleague and his wife and I tentatively asked him if he'd told his colleague that I was black and he just gave me a blank stare "Huh?" (my DH is truly color-blind and tends to forget that not everybody else is). Well, we met up with them. My white DH, his white coworker, myself, and his coworker's Persian wife.
When we first moved into our house I thought: uh-oh. I hope we don't have problems with the neighbors. The second day we were there our next-door neighbors came over. Our white neighbor and his black wife. I couldn't believe it! There's only 3% minorities in this city. How did we end up next door to each other?

I heard San Francisco is like that. I lived in Central Texas before and felt welcome there. And I was well-accepted in Europe, as well, except for the whole "trophy-factor".

I can honestly say that being an interracial couple has never had an impact on our lives. Which I find rather strange since I've been on the lookout for racism my whole life. I keep expecting someone to do or say something negative about us but... nothing. No comments, actions, looks, behaviour,... nothing.
post #2 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by VanessaS View Post
Anybody live somewhere where they DON'T have that problem?
When I lived in Barcelona I had the bad problem. We lived in a suburb that was pretty conservative; DH is a N. African (immigrant) and I am American- we got stares, whispers, etc. Now we live in Houston though and it's great! No problems here!
post #3 of 33
Thread Starter 
Oh, yeah. Texas is great! I guess because of all the Hispanics?
post #4 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by VanessaS View Post
Oh, yeah. Texas is great! I guess because of all the Hispanics?
Yeah, that and AAs, asians, arabs, you name it!
post #5 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by VanessaS View Post


Anybody live somewhere where they DON'T have that problem?
We've lived very happily in Toronto, various smaller cities in Ontario, and now in Sydney, Australia. I suspect that most places in Canada accept inter-racial relationships - we've travelled to the East Coast and West Coast, and a little in the near North, without any difficulties.

I've encountered some casual unthinking behaviour (odd assumptions and comments) almost everywhere - but never had a real problem with discrimination.

And FWIW, we've had many more stares from older disapproving Asians (Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese - the Japanese Canadians have all intermarried long ago) in Canada than we've ever had from white people anywhere, LOL!
post #6 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ms Apricot View Post
We've lived very happily in Toronto, various smaller cities in Ontario, and now in Sydney, Australia. I suspect that most places in Canada accept inter-racial relationships - we've travelled to the East Coast and West Coast, and a little in the near North, without any difficulties.

I've encountered some casual unthinking behaviour (odd assumptions and comments) almost everywhere - but never had a real problem with discrimination.

And FWIW, we've had many more stares from older disapproving Asians (Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese - the Japanese Canadians have all intermarried long ago) in Canada than we've ever had from white people anywhere, LOL!

See, I've never found that in parts of Canada. Major urban centres are fine, smaller towns, not so cool, even in northern Ontario. My friend lives about 30 minutes to the east in Courtice, and her daughter who just started school this year is the only interracial student. At the start of the year, she came home and told her mom that she didn't want to be brown anymore. The students were ostracizing her. Fortunately, she has an awesome teacher who made it right, but that broke my heart as her "aunty", I wanted to scoop my friend and her kids up and plunk them back down in the city. BC (mind you, I just stayed on the coast), Nova Scotia, PEI were fine, haven't been to NF yet, but I'm going to assume it's fine. Calgary m'eh - better since Jerome started playing for the Flames . Small town Alberta : SK, some stares, but nothing grumpy, MB, no one cared. Haven't been to the north. Quebec and NB, probably the worst. That said, it is getting better, slowly, but surely. :

That said, I live in Toronto and I love it. I would be very hard pressed to raise my children elsewhere. I was worried when enrolling my kid in Montessori that he'd be one of the few brown faces there. I was big time relieved to find that that was no where near the case, and that many of his teachers were not white and from different cultures, religions etc. It's funny because with all the accents the teachers have, the only one I sometimes have trouble understanding is the teacher with the Australian accent. LOL

Interracial couples, while still a source of contention for some families, largely stemming from culture and religion are very common. After I come back from visiting friends and family in some parts of N. America, arriving in Pearson is just so relaxing for me. I don't get stared at, I get treated (I'm interracial) as an equal, I'm not saying the city is perfect in terms of racial tensions, but I do firmly believe based on my experience, in my part of the world, it's one of the forerunners.
post #7 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
My friend lives about 30 minutes to the east in Courtice, and her daughter who just started school this year is the only interracial student. At the start of the year, she came home and told her mom that she didn't want to be brown anymore.
That's so sad. You should tell her to wait until she's grown and then move to France. I got mobbed in Toulouse.
post #8 of 33
Around here multi-ethnic is pretty common.
post #9 of 33
Quote:
Anybody live somewhere where they DON'T have that problem?
I live in Baltimore, MD and have never had anyone say a word. My DH is white, and I am AA. I think you will find any problem if you go looking for it.
post #10 of 33
Thread Starter 
We hang out in Baltimore a lot, too. Last time I was there I noticed all of the multi-culti families there. And you're right: nobody bats an eye.
post #11 of 33
Ann Arbor, MI is great for multicultural families!
post #12 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joyster View Post
My friend lives about 30 minutes to the east in Courtice, and her daughter who just started school this year is the only interracial student. At the start of the year, she came home and told her mom that she didn't want to be brown anymore.



Quebec and NB, probably the worst. That said, it is getting better, slowly, but surely. :
That is so sad for that child. How awful. I hope it is improving quickly, and if it isn't, that there is an alternative school that is a better environment. Or perhaps homeschool is an option?

I'm a little surprised you find Quebec to be the worst. After all, Jackie Robinson played there well before it was possible for him to play in the U.S. - and I thought he was pretty well received there. My impression, based on stories from my relatives, is that Montreal was tolerant of Japanese Canadians during WWII, at least more so than anywhere else in Canada, particularly compared to the rabid racism in B.C. and Ontario. I always thought the intolerance in Quebec was religious rather than racial - for example, the persecution of Jehovah's Witness adherents by the majority Catholics. Nevermind the whole anglo - francophone thing. Hmmm, although as I type this, I am remembering all that uproar over Muslims and veils etc. recently - I guess things have changed there. Too sad.
post #13 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by ~gilli~ View Post
I live in Baltimore, MD and have never had anyone say a word. My DH is white, and I am AA. I think you will find any problem if you go looking for it.
Yeah, especially if you live in the rural greater northwest. You can go looking and find a problem RIGHT AWAY. While we regularly see Confederate flag stickers around here and go days and days without even seeing a mono-racial couple of another race (not even Latin American!), if we go to the city, there are tons of interracial couples, at least in Portland. In Seattle, there are fewer because there are fewer black people, although a lot of Asian-white couples. It depends on the racial makeup of the city.
post #14 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ms Apricot View Post
That is so sad for that child. How awful. I hope it is improving quickly, and if it isn't, that there is an alternative school that is a better environment. Or perhaps homeschool is an option?

I'm a little surprised you find Quebec to be the worst. After all, Jackie Robinson played there well before it was possible for him to play in the U.S. - and I thought he was pretty well received there. My impression, based on stories from my relatives, is that Montreal was tolerant of Japanese Canadians during WWII, at least more so than anywhere else in Canada, particularly compared to the rabid racism in B.C. and Ontario. I always thought the intolerance in Quebec was religious rather than racial - for example, the persecution of Jehovah's Witness adherents by the majority Catholics. Nevermind the whole anglo - francophone thing. Hmmm, although as I type this, I am remembering all that uproar over Muslims and veils etc. recently - I guess things have changed there. Too sad.
Her community is pretty new, so I'm not sure there are a lot of options in terms of alternative education, I think things have gotten better due to the teacher who apparently is a godsend, but golly, what a thing to have to hear from your kid eh? Homeschooling would probably not ever be an option with this friend.

I think Quebec has changed a lot due to the whole seperatist movement, it seems to have made a lot of people xenophobic. I just know whenever I go there (and it's fairly often since DH does business several times a month there) there is always some sort of stare, hostility or stupid comment. I will say that there are a lot of really nice people and I've been approached by more than a few grandmas who have gotten very affectionate with my kids, it's just a shame it's offset by some really cranky ugly people.
post #15 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by VanessaS View Post
That's so sad. You should tell her to wait until she's grown and then move to France. I got mobbed in Toulouse.
Note to self, go to Toulouse. A good mobbing might do wonders for the old ego. lol BTW, I loved your blog.
post #16 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ms Apricot View Post

I'm a little surprised you find Quebec to be the worst. After all, Jackie Robinson played there well before it was possible for him to play in the U.S. - and I thought he was pretty well received there. My impression, based on stories from my relatives, is that Montreal was tolerant of Japanese Canadians during WWII, at least more so than anywhere else in Canada, particularly compared to the rabid racism in B.C. and Ontario. I always thought the intolerance in Quebec was religious rather than racial - for example, the persecution of Jehovah's Witness adherents by the majority Catholics. Nevermind the whole anglo - francophone thing. Hmmm, although as I type this, I am remembering all that uproar over Muslims and veils etc. recently - I guess things have changed there. Too sad.
I just wandered in, but I am Canadian. My understanding of the "race issues" in Quebec is that immigrants don't vote for seperatism, so white Quebecois don't make them feel as welcome, since they don't support the seperatist cause, for the most part. In case you don't know what I'm talking about, every once in a while Quebec has a referendum vote to try to seperate from the rest of Canada and be their own country. (And take all of the maple syrup with them!! )
post #17 of 33
The Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia: It has a longggg history of being diverse and accepting of 'difference'. It's gorgeous too!
post #18 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyrunningmama View Post
I just wandered in, but I am Canadian. My understanding of the "race issues" in Quebec is that immigrants don't vote for seperatism, so white Quebecois don't make them feel as welcome, since they don't support the seperatist cause, for the most part. In case you don't know what I'm talking about, every once in a while Quebec has a referendum vote to try to seperate from the rest of Canada and be their own country. (And take all of the maple syrup with them!! )
You know what the really funny thing is. The brown (native and AA) part of my family has likely been on the continent far longer than most of the people being ugly towards me. Mind you, I don't think any of us has lived in Quebec to the best of my knowledge. Though I do carry francophone in my courtesy of my mom. Go fig.
post #19 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Note to self, go to Toulouse. A good mobbing might do wonders for the old ego. lol BTW, I loved your blog.
Was there a few times on business trips. It was crazy. I was chased in the street by strange men (really!) and my coworkers kept hitting on me. The exact opposite of the shy German guys I'm used to. It was such a relief to get back to Deutschland and finally have my peace again. My DH says it so: A German man shows his interest through his presence. If he's not present, he's not interested.
OMG. Somebody checked out my blog!
post #20 of 33
As a born and bred Torontonian, I have to say that most major Canadian cities will make a multi-cultural family feel welcome. We certainly know tons here in Montreal!

But having lived here for ten years, I have to say that Quebec lags behind Toronto when it comes to how they welcome new immigrants who are visible minorities.

IMO, the founding fathers of Quebec (read: francophone clergy) were quite the xenophobic lot, forcing Italian families to enroll in the predominately anglophone Protestant school system because they felt threatened by the Italian brand of Catholicism. What gives? Years later, the government did the reverse by forcing all new immigrants to enroll their children in French public schools. There's huge insecurity over language here in Quebec, and opportunist politicians are taking advantage of the situation... but I digress...

Add to this the fact that outside of Montreal, there are many "pure" Quebekers who have NEVER travelled outside the province, let alone met a Muslim, an Asian or a black person IRL and you wonder why they had the whole reasonable accomodation thingy last year.

So back to the OP and multi-ethnic couples. Yes, we feel welcome here in Montreal! But even though it never bothered me one bit when people asked where I was from while I still lived in Toronto, I quickly grew to hate this question being asked to me in Montreal.

Why, you may ask? In Toronto, over 50% of the population comes from somewhere else (or their parents did, like mine) so the question comes as genuine curiosity coupled with the probable fact that the person who asked the question might be a visible minority originating from somewhere other than Canada.

In the streets of Montreal, it was mainly white Quebekers who asked me this, and I felt like they were viewing me as some exotic freak. So I politely answered, "Toronto" and declined to give further details. Ugh!

Sorry for the essay...
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