Renée Sylvestre-Williams says that being from a multi-generation, mixed-race family means not having to deal with race questions. What it does mean is answering the more important ones.
There’s a certain freedom in growing up in a family that has been mixed race on both sides for five generations. We’ve never had to worry about our family’s reaction to a mixed-race relationship and when you’re mixed-race, every relationship is a mixed-race one.
I’ve never had to worry about family’s reaction to the race of whatever boy I brought home. I’ve never had to fear being disowned like my paternal great-grandmother (white) who married my great grandfather (black) in 1898.
I know I’ll never have to hear, “But think of what your children will go through.” from relatives. There’s a chance I may have to hear it from passive-aggressively well-meaning strangers but they’re not important. I’ve gotten a few looks when I was with my ex but again, those people? Not important.
As I thought more and more about my particular situation, I realized that it was starting to sound like I was saying that because I haven’t had problems there are no problems. That is not true at all. Read through our #ethnichat and #ethnicchat held last Friday and you can see that we are not as post-racial as we like to think.
So what does a mixed-race family think about when potential family members are introduced? Not surprisingly, the same things that concern every family: Values, education and personality.
Call the next step in the interracial dating game. It’s what you look at instead of race. Do the two of you have the same level of education? Do you share the same religious, spiritual, political values and ethics? Do you agree on things like money, lifestyle, career and, depending on the seriousness of the relationship, children?
Most important of all, does he or she treat you right?
The interesting thing to ponder about this entire situation is that while my family won’t care about the race of my partner, there is always the possibility that my partner might have to face the uncomfortable questions from his side of the family.
I’ll be ready if that ever happens.
This post is part of the Ethnic Aisle blogging project. If you’re interested in race, ethnicity, diversity and the GTA, check out the other posts by some great writers.
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