biracial children in the usa - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 35 Old 12-20-2008, 06:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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hello

i am german and live in germany, together with my little daughter. her daddy is afro-american and lives in LA. we have a good relationship and want to visit him this year so he can see our daughter for the first time. we are very excited about the trip to come!

once, he mentioned on the phone that he rarely sees "black-white" couples in L.A. (sorry for the wrong word for it, please correct me if there is a better one), there are obviously a lot of caucasian-hispanic couples, but no african-american-caucasian couples or children. the most famous family is heidi klum (german) and seal (yummy!).

do you see a lot of couples on the street or is this a rare "picture" ? and how does the "general" american society think about interracial couples?

of course, with obama being the new president (yes, we can!) i hope that he helps open minds in america and everywhere.

sorry if my posting may be a bit confusing, i guess i just worry how our trip will be like.

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#2 of 35 Old 12-20-2008, 07:59 AM
 
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Race, and inter-racial relationships are still very confused in America. Some places, people will barely notice you. In others they may just "forget" to serve your table in a restaurant.

Depending on what part of LA, you will probably get a funny look or two, but I wouldn't expect anything openly rude. His family may or may not be accepting, ask him how they feel. That can set the tone for the whole experience, IMO.
I know of many black American men, especially of earlier generations, who chose to stay in Germany with their German wives instead of taking her back home to face the poor reception from Americans of all colors. But things ARE getting better!!

OH, where in Germany are you? I'm near Trier.

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#3 of 35 Old 12-20-2008, 09:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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mntnmom:

we live up north, in hamburg:and wait for the snow to come over christmas!

thanks for the info, i have to say i am a bit shocked over the possibility of not being served

of course, racism occurs all over the world, also in germany - even here it is more likely a hidden kind of racism (which doesnt make it better).

the family of my ex lives back in east-africa so it will only be the 3 of us.

btw, i have an aunt living in trier! nice area:

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#4 of 35 Old 12-20-2008, 01:30 PM
 
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Hmm... I live in L.A., and it's so diverse here, I can't imagine anyone looking twice at a mixed-race family. I hope your trip is fabulous!
-e

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#5 of 35 Old 12-20-2008, 06:08 PM
 
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We live in Pittsburgh--children come in all shades here. I doubt anyone would look twice at a multi-racial child here. There is such variety.

Oddly though, I don't actually see a lot of black-white couples around. Every once in a while, but it's not that common. Maybe would be more common if we lived closer to the university areas and downtown?

Dh is black and I am white, and even though we were "something different" in the little hick town we lived in before (appalachian/southwestern pa), we were never mistreated, and our children, if they were noticed at all, were admired and complimented up one side and down the other for their looks.

We have never left PA except for one short trip to VA and one to Wash. DC since we left, so I really have no clue what it's like in other parts of the country.
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#6 of 35 Old 12-20-2008, 06:46 PM
 
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I think in many places in the US, interracial couples and their children are widely accepted. And generally even those who are less accepting keep their mouths shut. I've lived in Georgia, North Carolina, Mississippi and Louisiana and while things are so much better than they used to be, racism is still accepted in some places. About 10 years ago I used to spend a lot of time in LA. I lived in Mississippi and my boyfriend at the time was from Lafayette-New Iberia, LA area. We were both white, so I didn't experience racism firsthand, but I would see it. I remember seeing signs that had been nailed to tree's along Interstate 10 that said "David Duke For President", and I remember hearing comments from others that were obviously racist. Even as a white woman, I was held in prejudice when I applied for a technical job (more in the mans domain) that I was fully qualified for (maybe even a little over qualified), and was instead offered a job as the receptionist! Oh, I was so mad and didn't take the job.

I would think that if you are in a larger city, like NO or BR you might see less racism. Baton Rouge is a college town, and they are very proud of their college football team, the LSU Tigers. My ex was a huge fan and we went to a few games. I remember at that time the quarterback was AA, and people in the stands would yell, "Get that *horrible racial slur* off the field!"

I guess I'm saying be prepared to either witness it, or maybe even have such things directed towards you and your DD. It's horrible, really. It's so shameful that there are people still holding on to the hatred. Have explanations ready for your daughter if she's old enough to ask. I don't want to worry you, but I do think that being mentally prepared should you be faced with such a situation would be good. Since your DD's father is living there, hopefully he'll be able to guide you all around so that the places where these dark hearted people are won't be the same places you will be.

I hope you enjoy your visit to the US. Start working up your taste buds for some yummy spicy food! :
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#7 of 35 Old 12-20-2008, 07:29 PM
 
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Where I live multi-racial families are less common than same race families, but not uncommon enough that people take notice.

I work in a school and in the 140 or so children in the grades I work with I can think of at least 10 (probably more, but those are the ones who come to mind) who have mixed ancestory, both black and white.

Also, I wanted to comment, because I know you're from another country, but in the U.S. the word "colored" or "coloured" has very specific, negative connotations when applied to African Americans due to it's use at specific times in our nation's history. Most AA/white families would refer to themselves as "multiracial" or "biracial" but not "multicoloured" for this reason.
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#8 of 35 Old 12-20-2008, 08:18 PM
 
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congrats on your trip! Thats quite a trek! I know that I live in a "less progressive" area of the country and even here 99% of the population will not say anything, either assuming you adopted or the father is another race. 1% will make ignorant racist comments. The 1% is to be ignored :

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#9 of 35 Old 12-20-2008, 11:18 PM
 
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It's very unpredictable. Be prepared for discrimination, but you might very well not encounter anything serious at all during your visit.
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#10 of 35 Old 12-21-2008, 05:59 AM
 
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In larger towns and cities very few will think twice about it. There may be certain nieghborhoods that it is better to avoid, but those don't tend to be areas people gravitate to anyway.

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#11 of 35 Old 12-21-2008, 06:25 AM
 
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I am in Fort Worth Texas, and there are many multi racial couples here. Noone i know really thinks twice about it, there are some that do (but i would assume you would get that anywhere)

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#12 of 35 Old 12-21-2008, 10:47 AM
 
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It certainly depends on where you live. I live in NYC, so multiracial couples/families are not such a rarity. If you go to some areas, though, you may get looks or the odd comment.

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#13 of 35 Old 12-22-2008, 04:54 AM
 
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It really does depend on the location. Some places aren't as open minded but even those places people know better than to say something especially to a child.

In my state (Hawaii) multicultural families are the norm. No one looks twice at interracial couples or multicultural families. There's a lot of diversity in Hawaii.

I hope you enjoy your visit here.

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#14 of 35 Old 12-22-2008, 05:06 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Momily View Post
ancestory, both black and white.

Also, I wanted to comment, because I know you're from another country, but in the U.S. the word "colored" or "coloured" has very specific, negative connotations when applied to African Americans due to it's use at specific times in our nation's history. Most AA/white families would refer to themselves as "multiracial" or "biracial" but not "multicoloured" for this reason.

That's a good point. Words carry so much history and weight.

OP, I think you probably know not to use the word "Negro" either. You didn't use it at all but I thought I'd throw it out there because I have an uncle who lives in a foreign country and he refers to African Americans as "Negroes". He isn't trying to be racist. He doesn't realize it's not an acceptable term in the USA anymore.

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#15 of 35 Old 12-23-2008, 12:46 PM
 
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I notice interracial couples all the time where I live (suburbs of New York). It's not super common, but not super rare, either. More than half of the kids my son plays with are are of multiracial backgrounds actually, though none happen to be black/white. There's a family on the next street over that we met on Halloween with a daughter his age, though -- which reminds me I *still* haven't gotten it together to go say "hi" again .... Grrr. I'm so disorganized.

Anyway, I've never yet noticed anyone giving my husband and me weird looks. (He's Indian, not black, but has dark skin, which I most emphatically don't.) I'm pretty oblivious, though. My husband notices it occasionally. It's funny that someone mentioned Hawaii. My husband loooooves it there (so do I), not least because of that.
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#16 of 35 Old 12-23-2008, 04:20 PM
 
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Originally Posted by LuckyMommaToo View Post
Hmm... I live in L.A., and it's so diverse here, I can't imagine anyone looking twice at a mixed-race family. I hope your trip is fabulous!
-e
I believe OP is referring to Louisiana - the postal abbreviation is LA.
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#17 of 35 Old 12-23-2008, 04:40 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mean_jeannie View Post
I believe OP is referring to Louisiana - the postal abbreviation is LA.
I thought she meant Los Angeles too. If she means Louisiana then that is a very different story.

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#18 of 35 Old 12-23-2008, 05:25 PM
 
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I thought she meant Los Angeles too. If she means Louisiana then that is a very different story.
Oh, yes! Now I went back and re-read her post and I am unsure which she means!
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#19 of 35 Old 12-24-2008, 07:28 AM
 
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i can comment as a black/white (with out going into the gillion countries) person in los angeles but not louisiana)

it's all good (most gennerally) in los Angeles! actually where i have been in louisiana it has been good too, but there is lot of louisiana i have not been too.

: the sun is always shining here. loving life with DP and DS
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#20 of 35 Old 01-04-2009, 04:22 AM
 
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I live in a medium sized city in the northeast, and black/white couples are very common around here. There are some UAVs who might be negative behind your back, but I doubt anyone would be openly nasty. In a small town, though, it could be a different story.

OT, but my DF is German, from near Bielefeld. I'm using his laptop right now, and have to keep retyping the y's and z's. Are you guys waiting for a visa too? We've been waiting over a year just to get the paperwork we need to apply in the first place, and our DD was born in the meantime.
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#21 of 35 Old 01-05-2009, 03:27 AM
 
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I'm in the middle of the Midwest married to a wonderful and very African dh My kids are obviously mixed and all I ever hear is how cute they are.

*WE* don't get out together much, , but when we do here---we've never not had our table served or had anything negative happen.

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#22 of 35 Old 01-05-2009, 07:29 AM
 
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But do you notice how there's rarely black-white couples in television? TV shows or advertising. One of the things I like about the home design channel is they so frequently have "real" looking couples, whether it's an older lesbian couple or a young inter-racial couple, they don't seem to care because the focus is on the kitchen remodel and the family is secondary to their before/after home photos.

I don't watch a lot of TV, but what I do, it's just something I rarely see. (Although I was excited to see the most recent episode of House!) TV and movies in general seems to be divided into "black" and "white" targeted audiences. Even shows that have cross-appeal like Bernie Mac, it's like the industry considers it "white people who like a black show."

Okay, I've sort of hijacked this in another direction, I'm sorry. We just judge standards a lot more than we realize by what we see on TV... for example most people think that most people's houses look like those on TV when in reality the TV sitcom settings are usually above-average class-wise. One study found that people who watch a lot of TV estimate the number of friends they have as higher than people who watch less TV. So, back to my point, maybe we think we see fewer inter-racial couples than we actually do because of media influence?

(And if that's true, I think we should all be writing to the networks to encourage them to show more inter-racial couples as a way of fighting racism.)
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#23 of 35 Old 01-06-2009, 04:43 PM
 
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i think it all depends on where you are and some places are definitely more liberal than others. in a country built on racism and oppression, some people have yet to overcome that hurdle and see people as simply being people.

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#24 of 35 Old 01-06-2009, 04:59 PM
 
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I've known quite a few black-white couples, although most tend to be black man, white woman. (I've just met my first black woman-white man couple.) Is that typical, do you think, or just a coincidence?

FWIW my husband is Puerto Rican and our two kids look nothing like one another. I've experienced some racism after changing my last name to his, which is ironic. He was born and grew up in the U.S. and I was born in another country, but no one knew? cared? until I changed my name to a Hispanic one. (My naiden name was def. foreign too but not Hispanic.). And now all of the sudden, I've noticed subtle racism. It's quite weird.

Example: Once I was in a crowded doctor's office with DD. I was the only white-looking individual. The doctor came out and read off my name from the chart. I go up to him and he barks at me to sit down and wait my turn. I tell him he just called me and he said "I called XYZ, not you." in a snarky voice. : I tell him that IS me and he then looked quite apologetic... People definitely have odd expectations on race.
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#25 of 35 Old 01-08-2009, 12:11 AM
 
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in NYC they're a dime a dozen. I have tons, literally TONS of friends who have one black parent and one white parent. You see it all the time. No one bats an eye.
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#26 of 35 Old 01-08-2009, 12:15 AM
 
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I believe OP is referring to Louisiana - the postal abbreviation is LA.
OOOHHHHHH!! I was SO confused. LOL
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#27 of 35 Old 01-12-2009, 04:12 PM
 
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I'm a child of a biracial couple, as is my partner. I was born and brought up in the UK, my father is from Africa. My partner is African American and Euro American.

While I don't think you have too much to be concerned about I tend to disagree with others that no one will notice, say anything, etc. It all depends on how sensitive you are to it, I suppose, and judging by your concern I'm guessing you'll be a bit more aware of it.

My partner and I look a lot alike so we don't get comments about that per se. But we get a lot of weird questions veiled in "friendly curiosity" such as "You're both so exotic looking. What are you?" To which we often respond vegetarian or I'm a woman and he's a man. Of course, people generally don't find that amusing and perhaps we should be more serious if we want to effect change but it does get tiring. As children out with our parents we both got a lot of comments and experienced some pretty aggressive racism at times but I think that will be more unlikely nowadays. So my point is you might get some seemingly polite people peering at your child and asking is she both of yours and their response to your response might vary. You may only experience a few curious looks but those might feel just as bad or you might get nothing at all. I'll admit I sometimes find myself fascinated by multiracial families and I may appear to be staring in a strange way! The truth is I just feel so moved and emotional when I see the people around them simply accepting them. So don't always judge those looks as negative! Either way I hope you have a lovely trip and I suggest you try to let it roll off your back as much as possible. You deserve to be a family as much as anyone else and you'll be a beautiful family just like everyone else.

My partner are I are expecting our first child next month and we're both a bit curious as to how it is going to play out for she/he. We're both worried they'll experience some of the hurtful things we did but since we look a lot a like we wonder if she/he will avoid the adoption, is that really your mother, how come you're so dark questions. Then again who knows which of our blood lines he/she might take after!

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#28 of 35 Old 01-15-2009, 10:51 PM
 
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I live in Atlanta, GA where interracial families are common. Most of the time its AA man and a CC woman or CC man and Asian woman. Sometimes you will see AA woman and CC man. My ex-girlfriend and I were an Asian and AA couple respectfully and we NEVER saw couples like us.

The reason why the OP's husband probably won't see very many AA/CC couples is because there are not very many AAs in LA to begin with. Only 7% of the population indentify themselves as AA. Whereas, Latino, Caucasian and Asian people are pretty much everywhere (except maybe the extremely affluent neigbhorhoods like Beverly Hills- but there may be exceptions)
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#29 of 35 Old 01-21-2009, 12:30 PM
 
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I live across the river from St. Louis, and we've got just about every kind of couple around here. It always warms my heart to see them, because I tought I was the *only* (Gasp, the dra-ma) kid with a mom darker than her dad when I was younger (mom's American Indian, tho she doesn't know which sort. Lousy adoption records burned up, like I'm told they always do. grumble grumble). Especially when this older couple comes into the store I work at. They're so sweet. And imagine back in the day when they got together! The things they must have gone through! At any rate, unless you're in a really backwards place, people don't tend to look twice. Unless they're me, and I only do it to smile.

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#30 of 35 Old 01-22-2009, 07:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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hello again and thank you so much for all these answers:

the trip is closer to come (ok, we plan to come in may, but its close in my mind) and we are really getting excited. our daughter is just turning 3 so for her its gonna be even more exciting (even the fact to fly on an airplane and to see her dad for the first time).

thanks for the comments on the terminology, i just edited my original text above. of course, the "N..."word is never being used, i am very sensitive in this matter. even where i live (hamburg, one of germanies biggest cities up north) you'll find still some people who use that word. i always explain to them why it is not to be used but am shocked at the same time that they dont know.

i also noticed that there arent too many interracial couples on tv, same in my country though.

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