Category Archives: interracial relationships

From a Mixed Race Child: Tips for a White Parent

By Special Correspondent Thea Lim

The other day in convo with a friend, I burst into tears when he mentioned a couple he knows who are in the process of adopting. As a Korean couple, they have been discussing the potential race of their baby and whether or not having a Korean child is a priority for them.

My reaction was pretty over the top. Maybe it was because I was tired and stressed. Maybe it was because it was close to 4 p.m. and I hadn’t talked to anyone except my cat that day, and I don’t deal well with isolation. But the truth is on an ordinary day, when I hear parents talk about choosing their child’s race, or the politics of having a child of a different race, I immediately clench up.

My mother is English and Irish, and my father is Singaporean Chinese. Neither of them are particularly involved in radical race politics, and I will never know what or how they thought about having mixed race children before my sister and I were born, because (at least at this point in my life) I am afraid to ask them that question.

I often imagine that their thought process was similar to that of Nicole Sprinkle. In her article for the New York Times Magazine, Sprinkle talks about being the white mother of a white/Colombian daughter*:

When I was pregnant, the thought of having an “exotic” looking child based on our combined genetics – Jose’s inky black hair, dark eyes, and round face coupled with my waspy, delicate looks and tiny build – hadn’t really occurred to me.

Sprinkle talks about how this attitude changed after the first time she and her husband experienced discrimination as a mixed race couple:

Would her choices of where to live or travel be compromised by her looks? Or would her mixed genes work in her favor? Not being quite Hispanic-looking enough to make her a victim of racism, but enough for, say, college scholarships? Maybe she’d walk through different worlds at will, be whoever she needed to be for any situation. Nice in theory, but the idea of conveniently shifting identities to protect or promote herself left me cold.

One of the first posts I wrote for Racialicious discussed mixed race parenting, and I remember being quite moved by a comment Abu Sinan made:

Thanks for the article. As a father of two bi-racial children I try to understand as much as I can about the issues they are going to face here in America.

As the daughter of parents who, for better or worse, never discussed what it meant that my sister and I were mixed race (except to regularly tell us that we were “beautiful” and “special”), I am captivated by parents who want to talk and learn about how being mixed race might be a big deal for their kids, and even further, white parents who can admit that – even though they came forth from their own bodies – their children will have experiences that they themselves can never understand.

Sprinkle goes on to describe her family’s attempt to navigate the hairy terrain of multi-racial experience, and even lovingly accepts the reasons why her husband is hesitant to speak Spanish to their daughter, based on his own experiences of discrimination. Yet despite her initial sensitivity, Sprinkle quickly lost me.

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Your Sex Acts–And Partners–Aren’t Uplifting the Race

By Sexual Correspondent Andrea Plaid

My gurl S., who followed the Justin Timberlake/Ciara post and thread very closely, just about fell out while we talked on the phone.

She was apoplectic over Timberlake pulling Ciara’s chain in the video, of that salient image of BDSM (and possible race play) as well as the article about race play I linked to in the comment thread. Too through, she told me she “had to get up from the computer when I read about race play.” “I mean, I knew about it, but I never read about it in detail. I just can’t believe it!!”

“I know,” I told S. “I know.” ‘Cause I’ve heard this reaction to race play before. Talking to another blogger, she flipped out pretty bad about it. I had to calm her down by saying, ‘I feel you. Personally, I think of race play and, yeah, I feel the body memories of slavery, too. And, yeah, I even felt a negative undercurrent in Hernandez’s piece, one of ‘This isn’t uplifting The Race!’ But, S., I’ll tell you what I told the blogger: the reality is–whether we like it or not–people are into it.”

“And, I added, “you can’t flip out about race play [with the Racial Uplift] argument because some folks can use the same argument about your liking anal beads: ‘The slavemasters–and white men–have stuck all kinds of objects into us to violate us. Why would you want to do something like that? That’s not uplifting the race!'”

S. got quiet. “Yeah, you’re right.”

Unfortunately, this argument gets whipped out among people of color when a PoC steps out of sexual line of “acceptable” sex practices and partners, especially in a public space, like Ciara did in her “Love Sex Magic” video. On the thread from the other day, she gets “read” as a slut corrupting the youth or a victim of the patriarchy or both. Some of the comments:

“Ciara is clearly desperate…her albums aren’t selling like the execs thought they would…in sense she is a slave…so the video is perfect fit.”

“The video is way sexualized to a point that’s unnecessary…My issue is with the fact that Ciara chose to go so far that she came off as tacky.”

“I don’t know that I’ve witnessed this much (grand plié in 2nd position) crotch, thigh waving and close-up butt rumbling by non-brown bodies in a music videos of late…She is dancing around and below him, she is an armrest for him, she is performing for him (and us – not an essentially bad thing, but a thing I’m keeping in mind) . . .”

“Ciara tends to be very sexualized in general. Did anyone see her performance with Chris Brown at the BET awards? This is how she markets herself…But I feel Ciara’s video is too sexual, and I blame that all on her. We need to start making women accountable in these situations.”

“I think the portrayal of Black women in general, rather a Black rapper or rip-off artist like Justin Timberlake, is discraceful no matter who does it. We have girls and boys, Black, white, latino, asian, in middle school watching this crap, and thinking this is how men and women act, and women should have to get half naked to get status while boys have to be immature, crass, and disrespectful, its alienating to the self and destroys creativity. What ever happened to convincing and natural sexuality?” Continue reading

Interracial Marriage Rate Declines Among Asians

by Guest Contributor Angry Asian Man, originally published at Angry Asian Man

The Washington Post has an interesting story on recent trends in interracial marriage in America — specifically, a decline in the rate of Hispanics and Asians marrying partners of other races in the past two decades: Immigrants’ Children Look Closer for Love.

Sociologists and demographers are just beginning to study how the children of recent immigrants will date and marry. Conventional wisdom has it that in the open-minded Obama era, they will begin choosing spouses of other ethnicities as the number of interracial marriages rises.

But scholars are coming across a surprising converse trend. According to U.S. Census data, the number of native- and foreign-born people marrying outside their race fell from 27 to 20 percent for Hispanics and 42 to 33 percent for Asians from 1990 to 2000.

Scholars suggest it’s all about the growing number of immigrants. It seems that the large immigrant population fundamentally changes the pool of potential partners for Asians and Hispanics. Thus, the second generation is more likely to marry people of their own ethnicity.

It’s not quite like it was before, when there were only two Asian kids in your school — you and this other boy/girl — and everyone thought you two should go together to the prom. Forced coupling. Now half the school is Asian, so it’s not such a big deal. Something like that.

More musings on interracial relationships

by Guest Contributor Ryan Barrett, originally published at Cheap Thrills

I noticed a funny thing while visiting my family in D.C. for Christmas. Simply put: every female in the house (my mom and aunt, who are African-American, and me and my cousin, who are interracial) was either involved with or married to a White man.

Hmm…

That’s curious.

The truth is, the topic of interracial dating is always bubbling in the back of my mind. I went out on a limb and wrote a post about it some time ago on this blog, which got me into some deep water with a few of my readers (a disagreement that I haven’t fully resolved in my mind).

But just recently, the issue resurfaced during a conversation I had with a fellow blogger (a White male) about how personal Obama’s candidacy was to many Americans. I know, I know… interracial relationships? Obama? The two are linked, sure, but they don’t really go together. Which is what made the conversation so poignant.

My friend asked me whether or not Obama was well liked among the African-American side of my family.

“Of course!” I exclaimed. “My family has always held a fondness for Obama. But what truly won our hearts – well, mostly for my mother and aunt – was his marriage to a dark-skinned African-American woman.”

“Wow, really? Even though they’re both married to White men?” My friend was baffled. “That’s… strange.”

Before that point, I had never thought of it as strange at all. But maybe it is. And after that, a troubling question began creeping into my mind: do some Black women hold an interracial relationship double standard? Continue reading

Being Married to a Black Woman is *Really* Exasperating!

by Guest Contributor SLB, originally posted at PostBourgie

I know it’s a little late to be bringing up Lakeview Terrace. Typically, reviews for feature films appear in publications the week the film opens. But let’s be real here: despite its Week 1 box office triumph, Lakeview Terrace is the kind of film you wait a week or two to see… at a matinee showing. And that’s exactly what I did. Frankly, though, I’m fairly certain I would’ve been better off waiting on the DVD release or the bad BET overdub on basic cable (You know it’s coming… in 2011).

But I’ve digressed.

I can’t imagine what drew audiences to this bizarre race film last weekend. Was it director Neil Labute’s arthouse reputation as a skilled provocateur? Was it the involvement of Will-and-Jada’s profitable Overbrook Productions? Was it Kerry Washington’s alleged “hotness?” Or was it simply that surefire, time-honored Sam Jackson delivery of the classic trailer line, “Ah’m the POE-LEASE! You HAVE to do what I say!”?

Maybe it was a little of everything. For me, morbid curiosity was the driving force. I took stock of the premise: black cop terrorizes the interracial couple who move in next door, simply because he’s anti-miscegenation and protected by the badge, and I decided that there was no way this could be executed well. But I certainly wanted to see folks try.

I’ll give you the short version of events here and please note that from this point on, there will be HEAVY SPOILERS. So if you still intend to support Will, Jada, Sam, Kerry, or Patrick Wilson with your box office dollars, STOP READING NOW. Continue reading

Lakeview Terrace : When the Definition of Racism is Racist

by Special Correspondent Thea Lim

Can you judge a movie by its trailer?

Opening this Friday, this is Lakeview Terrace’s premise according to the LA Times: “Jackson plays a law-and-order racist who doesn’t like the interracial couple next door.”

The racial relationships appear to be secondary to the film’s central, upper case question: What do you do when you can’t call the police??? (Gasp! Can you imagine such a topsy turvy universe? Oh, right.)

But I couldn’t help but chafe at the way the Lakeview Terrace trailer presents racism and interracial relationships. What kind of harassment do interracial couples face today? While a few years ago interracial relationships were met with hostility and violence – and still are – today there’s also the possibility that you’ll get a whole other type of gross response. Like maybe a high five (Way to bag a Asian/Latina/Black chick!) or cooing (Do you think you’ll have little chocolate babies?).

This is the mind-blowing contortion of contemporary racism: racism no longer simply outlaws interracial relationships, it also encourages them.

This is because racism these days often takes an inclusive form. Living in an urban, liberal city, the kind of racism I see most often takes the form of cultural appropriation: going to a restaurant and seeing our cultural foods co-opted into some sort of mayonnaise hybrid; hearing non-Black hipsters calling each other N***** to show how “down” they are; attending a yoga class and seeing statues of sacred deities being used as coat racks; and of course, the exoticisation of women of colour, and the asexualisation (sorry, making up words) of many men of colour. See Esther Ku – or Samurai Girl! – if you want proof.

As a culture we seem to define racism solely as an act that involves burning crosses or violence. Sometimes it seems like mainstream North American culture will only agree it’s racism when physical suffering is involved – and even then it can be a tough sell. But I see that there are two kinds of racism: hostile racism, and benevolent racism. The first kind involves burning crosses, the second kind involves people wanting to befriend you because they think you can teach them kung fu. If we privilege one kind of racism over an other, we are less equipped to spot, call out, name, validate our experience of, and stamp out the other kind.

But the way Lakeview Terrace highlights hostile racism isn’t it’s only problem. At least from the trailer, the movie seems allergic to the idea that benevolent racism exists.

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