Color Blind

iman+an
One of my favorite interracial couples, Iman & David Bowie / Image via BruceWeber.com

The idea for this post came to me last week during my annual trip down to Cancun with Mr. Mongoose and his family. While this is my seventh trip to the beautiful Mexican city (my first two times were with a BFF and the last five times have been with Mr. Mongoose), this trip made me much more aware of how we may appear to outsiders.

So, as you guys may know, I am Haitian-American and Mr. Mongoose is third generation American of Italian/Norwegian descent. Being in an interracial relationship up here in New Haven and NYC is so 10 years ago—it’s so common that we are not even close to being considered an anomaly anymore. In fact, a new census study last year showed that the rate of interracial couples in the US is at an all-time high, with one in ten couples considered interracial (and this is any mix, not just black and white couples). But sometimes when traveling to other places (whether that be a different state or different country), I notice that our type of relationship isn’t nearly as common. Now, luckily for us, we’ve never gotten any nasty or rude comments (or at least none that we’ve been aware of), but sometimes we get the “stare.” It’s more of a “well then, an interracial couple” stare than a hostile one, but still a stare nonetheless. Mr. Mongoose is usually completely oblivious to any sort of looks, while I find myself a bit more aware. And, not going to lie, I definitely feel like some sort of circus attraction sometimes (not too often, but it also depends on where we are). Despite that though, I’ve never really felt mistreated or hated on.

But sometimes these stares gets me thinking that only 50 years ago, it would have actually been against the law for Mr. Mongoose and I to have even considered getting married. It boggles my mind that there was a time when such a limitation on love was implemented, simply because of the color of our skin. We could have literally been beaten and jailed for having the audacity to be in a relationship. I feel so lucky to have been born in this era—and while of course things are far from perfect and people still get discriminated against for the type of relationship they are in, it’s still not nearly as terrifying now as it must have been for interracial couples back in the day.

At the time I was growing up in Queens, NY in the 90s, my neighborhood was a diverse melting pot. Remember how I mentioned that when my bridesmaids are together, we look like a U.N. summit? Well my tendency to seek out friendships with people from all different backgrounds had no doubt transferred over from my childhood. Growing up, my friends were black, white, Hispanic and Asian. My first crush (in kindergarten!) was half-Italian and half-Haitian. In high school, even though I often found myself as the only black person in quite a few classes, no one treated me differently or made me feel like an outsider, ever. I truly cherish where and how I grew up—it was like some idealistic utopia that you only read about in novels. And now that Mr. Mongoose and I are getting married and will eventually have a family of our own, I can only wish and hope for the same experience for our children as they grow up.

I really am looking forward to having children that will be of mixed race, but I find myself worried sometimes over certain things. For one, I hope they will never feel like outsiders. I hope they can be proud of their unique mix and learn to embrace both races (despite only being able to check off one “race” box when filling out those dreadful forms). I hope Mr. Mongoose and I can find somewhere to settle down that is as safe as it is diverse, so that no child or family stands out for looking different. And while there may be a chance that our kids will look NOTHING like either of us, it will be amazing to know that they will get the “best” of us like any other couple, traditional or otherwise :)

Are you in an interracial relationship or born of interracial parents? Has your experience been mostly positive or negative?

BLOGGER

Mrs. Mongoose

Location:
New Haven, CT
Wedding Date:
May 2013
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  1. Guest Icon Guest
    39bride, Guest @ 3:11 pm

    I’m American (at least 4th gen), mostly German heritage with some English and other misc. European thrown in there. He’s 2nd Gen American of Mexican descent on his father’s side, with a Mexican immigrant mother.

    Despite his last name, he’s pretty anglo-looking and so it’s not something anyone has ever commented on. It’s not that unusual here in Southern CA, either. I didn’t even think about it for most of the time we were dating and both our families have been completely loving and open-arms.

    We do run into challenges with family culture, though. Everything from a difference sense of time/schedule, to the language challenges (my Spanish sucks, and many of his family members know even less English) and things as subtle as my understanding of family dynamics now that I am the wife of the family patriarch (father deceased).

    I guess we’re very lucky to have loving, accepting family, but it’s still a challenge because there’s a whole ‘nother layer of “newness” to negotiate simply because we come from different racial-cultural backgrounds. But then again, it’s another layer of richness in our lives. :)

  2. Member
    wkbee 41 posts, Newbee @ 3:12 pm

    Our experience has been mostly what you’ve mentioned- some people staring, but nothing directly negative. We also live in NYC where pretty much anything goes- but when we’re together back in northern new england where my parents are from, I definitely agree with feeling like a circus act sometimes.

  3. Member
    khalessi3 616 posts, Busy bee @ 3:29 pm

    Postive for sure. And for the record I check more than one box, always. They have a box for “mixed race” nowadays.

    2ndly, when I grew up…there were hardly any of us, now when I look around, there are sooo many more mixed kids. It’s wonderful!!

  4. Member
    mswallaby 2061 posts, Buzzing bee @ 4:46 pm

    This is an awesome post. Mr. W and I having a lot of friends who are considered interracial couples, and it’s so normal here in Houston I’ve never thought twice about it. The rest of the world has a ton of catching up to do, though.

  5. Member
    lealorali 4827 posts, Honey bee @ 4:56 pm

    I really like that you so eloquently just wrote about this issue. You sound confident and happy, and I’m so glad to hear America is FINALLY turning around and being tolerant of our rich cultural diversity. You are gonna have the freakin cutest babies!!!

  6. Member
    Miss Moxy 223 posts, Helper bee @ 5:01 pm

    I love this post!!! I am a 3rd generation Puerto Rican. My grandmother came to NY when she was 18. My fiance is 4th generation Irish-American. I am lucky enough that I live in NYC, but I do live the Bronx and some sections are a little more old school here. If we venture into Little Italy they look at me funny, if I venture into Fordham Rd., or largely Hispanic/Black areas, they look at him funny. It’s still in NYC but it’s mostly the older folks…..but when I was in the mid-west, I got snarky remarks, kids asking questions….it was pretty embarrassing.

    I’d like to think that you and I will raise our children to know what’s right and wrong, to be outstanding people and to have the utmost respect for themselves and their heritages. So I wouldn’t worry too much about that. :)

  7. Guest Icon Guest
    hmarie, Guest @ 5:23 pm

    I am born from an interracial relationship ( Korean and African American) and in an interracial relationship. It has had it’s positives and negatives….one dilemma being the “which box do I check?” But I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I love both and feel as if I got to experience more culturally because of this compared to my peers. Growing up in a predominantly Caucasian town it helped me to have a tougher skin because of all the stares and questions about my hair lol and be able to educate those who were curious. Being in an interracial has been positive…his family never had been around African Americans and my arrival kind of threw everyone off but they learned more about me and my culture and have become way more open minded.

  8. Member
    ahigg396 67 posts, Worker bee @ 5:43 pm

    I love this post! I’m white and my fiance is Mexican (born and raised there, came to the US at age 20). I’m from Georgia and we get lots of stare-downs, whether it be at the grocery store or the mall or whatever. People just like to stare. I’d say it’s about half-and-half good looks vs. bad. I love to be out and about and run into another interracial couple. They usually give a polite smile and a head nod, which I like to interpret as “Hey, I feel ya!”

    Anyway, I love my interracial, intercultural relationship. I sometimes think that I would get so bored if he were from the same background as me. Life is always interesting, given all the ways we are different. I wouldn’t have it any other way!

  9. Guest Icon Guest
    misskprek, Guest @ 5:46 pm

    I’m in an interracial relationship too. I’m black and my FI is white. We’ve had positive experiences in our area. I’m excited to have biracial children too!! Im hoping they’ll be excited about their mixed heritages :-)

  10. Member
    halolover 247 posts, Helper bee @ 5:50 pm

    This is a great post. I’m caucasian and in my first marriage my husband was too. This time around my husband is half Mexican/half caucasian. He looks pretty Mexican though and for me it is mostly the cultural differences among US that is funny. I don’t notice any looks or judgement ever. I really expected that from my rather racist parents but they have been super accepting. I’m loving the difference in culture but it takes some getting used to. It’s a very tightly interwoven family and there is always something going on. I’m glad to see that most people on here haven’t experienced any of the ugliness that used to be associated with interracial couples.

  11. Member
    faeriehazel 245 posts, Helper bee @ 5:54 pm

    I’m Korean and my fiance is Irish. White male/Korean female couples have become quite common in Seoul, so we rarely merit a second glance (although once, when we were traveling in the countryside, some kid looked at us and yelled excitedly: “It’s a multicultural family!”). We actually get more stares when we’re in Northern Ireland – I have yet to meet another Asian in NI outside of a Chinese restaurant (which many Irish still call “chinkies” – they have no idea how shocking that sounds to an outsider).

    There’s still a wee bit of a stigma in Korea concerning interracial couples, dating back to the days when most such couples were American GIs and Korean prostitutes. But my family have been very accepting of our relationship (though it has taken them some time) and his family have been nothing but welcoming since the beginning.

    I worry about our children if we end up staying in Seoul, though – Koreans still put a lot of emphasis on “pure blood” and a lot of biracial kids get treated like freaks if they attend Korean public school.

  12. Member
    mrsmay07 1450 posts, Bumble bee @ 6:02 pm

    Great post! It’s awesome how times have changed! My DH is a mix of Jamaican and German and I’m Scottish/Finnish we have 2 daughters and they are so freaking gorgeous (I may be a teeny bit biased). My MIL worries about their “cultural identity”, I don’t really see it being an issue. My 3 year old DD talks about how we are different colours (I am nearly transparent, DH is dark, oldest DD is super light skinned and baby is tanned looking), she thinks it’s pretty cool.
    There are many interracial couples here, I don’t think we get a second look most times. People do stop us a lot to talk about our daughter’s hair, have you ever seen a blonde haired Jamaican/German/Scottish/Finnish child? Pretty freaking cute!

  13. Member
    Tostones 393 posts, Helper bee @ 6:04 pm

    I am Haitian-American and he is German-American Jewish. Great post!

  14. Member
    mtnhoney 1311 posts, Bumble bee @ 6:10 pm

    Great post, thanks for sharing. I feel the same way about same-sex relationships- I am so thankful that my wife and I live in this day and age (and Canada, sorry US- you’re almost there) where we can live and love freely.

    Like you said, it’s horrible to think that so recently we could have been beaten, murdered, or had to live in secrecy. Yay progress!

  15. Member
    msmongoose 264 posts, Helper bee @ 6:11 pm

    Glad to hear that there are other interracial bees out there! @39bride: @ahigg396: You both have a great outlook–there really is an added layer of richness to an IRR :)

    @wkbee: @Miss Moxy: Yup, definitely feel the most comfortable in NYC but Moxy you’re right–it’s usually the older generation who give the most looks.

    @Khalessi3: Ooh I didn’t realize there was a mixed option to check now–that’s a step in the right direction!

    @lealorali: Haha I hope so!

    @hmarie: Glad to hear this–isn’t it awesome when people open their minds when faced with something (or someone) they aren’t familiar with?

  16. Member
    msmongoose 264 posts, Helper bee @ 6:17 pm

    @faeriehazel: Great to hear that your type of relationship is common in Seoul but unfortunate that mixed children get treated differently in school. Do you guys plan staying or moving?

    @Mrsns07: Your kids must be gorgeous!!

    @misskprek: What city do you guys live in?

    @mtnhoney: You are 100% right. Definitely a similar situation and that’s why I fully support gay marriage–it should never be illegal to marry the person you love, regardless of race or gender. Thank God times are changing!

  17. Member
    radishtime 316 posts, Helper bee @ 6:29 pm

    My parents are interracial (so I’m biracial) and despite the ignorant comments I get (People asking me “What ARE you?” like I’m an animal or something) and having to check the stupid “other” box on forms, My experience has been pretty normal I think. And I grew up in a really white town. I am black and white, and my FH is white and I’m not worried about having interracial kids. Just answer any questions they have openly and honestly and theyll be fine. Plus I think its becoming super common these days. I know a lot of other biracial people my age and I’m sure the rate is only increasing!

  18. Member
    hlayers 286 posts, Helper bee @ 6:31 pm

    Yes! I am white and my fiance was born in Nicaragua but raised in the US. I’ve had a couple comments made about our relationship in the small town I’m from in Indiana, but I don’t let it bother me. I love our love story!

  19. Member
    pinkmoon 10748 posts, Sugar Beekeeper @ 6:31 pm

    I’m white, he’s Asian. We were just on a cruise before Christmas and buying a bottle of water from a vendor on some island. He asked us where we were from, we said Canada, and he said “oh that’s why you look different.” I didn’t really get it at the time but after we left I thought he meant skin color wise.

  20. Guest Icon Guest
    Sabrina, Guest @ 7:05 pm

    There are times when I still feel like “a child of all nations,” but I do have to say that kids of mixed race tend to look way better than most. ;)

  21. Member
    nigerianpolack 114 posts, Blushing bee @ 7:08 pm

    Such a wonderful post! I am an eastern european mutt and my fiance is Nigerian (hence the clever screen name). My parents are very old school, and had a difficult time accepting our relationship at first. They have come around and realized that he is a wonderful, kind, intelligent, and polite man.

    We probably get looks, but I don’t really notice them.

    The only issue we have had is after the engagement. Sadly, one of my sisters said that I should re-think having a wedding because people were only coming to laugh at us or pity us.

    Laugh? Why? Because our skin color is different? Why would anyone pity us either? I just didn’t understand. It was certainly hurtful, but I cannot imagine those that love us laughing at us or pitying us. The thought is just silly.

  22. Guest Icon Guest
    Lurker, Guest @ 7:22 pm

    I consider myself Mexican even though DH says I have never been anything other than American (we settled on Mexican-American to compromise). The first language I spoke was Spanish and I ate Mexican food every day of my life until I was in high school. Even though I relate strongly to my Mexican side I know that being born in the US has slowed me to experience diversity like I would have never encountered in Mexico. My husband is Cuban and is always confused as an AFrican American while I’m always confused for Indian (punjabi, mostly). The times we get stares it is often from older Indians and once in a while from my own Mexicans. But no comments and no rude actions, lucky for us. Love knows no color.

  23. Member
    notbridey 720 posts, Busy bee @ 7:27 pm

    just wanted to say cheers to you Ms Mongoose and Mr. Mongoose! I’m not in an interracial relationship and not a product of one but I have very dear friends who are…one couple in particular gets the stink eye sometimes. But they don’t let it bother them and they have the most beautiful spunky little girl. She’s seriously one of the funniest human beings I’ve ever met. :)

    Anyway, yay for you and your love! And someday in the future yay for Mongoose babies! :)

  24. Member
    bludism 57 posts, Worker bee @ 7:35 pm

    You are gonna have the freakin cutest babies!!!

  25. Member
    boaconstrictor 346 posts, Helper bee @ 7:39 pm

    I’m white and Mr. Boa’s black but both of our heritages are strictly Hispanic, all of our family being from Puerto Rico. Unless you go wayyyyy back in which you’ll find our ancestors are some mix of African, Spanish and Taino which explains the wide range of skin colors on the island. We’ve never had any problem with race because Puerto Rico has from white to black and all the shades in between.

    We’ve thought a lot about what our kids will experience living in a not-so-diverse city in the Midwest since they’ll be American-Born, Hispanic Blacks or some other confusing combination!

  26. Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 7:56 pm

    This is such a great post, thank you so much for sharing it with us!

  27. Member
    panda 1359 posts, Bumble bee @ 8:25 pm

    thank you for this post, I’ve been thinking of writing a post about interracial relationships at some point and just haven’t really found the right words for it. I’m not sure I need to write one anymore ;) I hope that in our children’s generation, people will see past race and see just people. we’re not all that different after all.

  28. Member
    drmrscol 212 posts, Helper bee @ 9:20 pm

    Looking at these posts, I guess I’m an “mixed race” person, although I’ve always held the line that there’s no such thing as race (however much the boxes on forms might make us want to believe). I did hear stories from my grandmother about when she and her brothers were visiting their cousins and people talked about them being “not quite white”. Yet then her mother had a problem with her marrying a man of Irish descent… Anyway, I’m practically translucent, as is Dearest, so we don’t get the different-skin-tone or same-sex look, but I can relate in feeling watched. Turns out May-September couples are also a feast for strangers’ eyes. It sure would be awesome to ever get to the stage where everyone could just be happy there’s more love and devotion and commitment in the world!

  29. Member
    mstoadstool 2485 posts, Buzzing bee @ 10:15 pm

    I must say you are lucky to live in such a diverse culture.
    I am Mexican, and we don’t have that around here (at least in my little corner), that is why some people are not used to see people in lighter or darker skin, and that is just sad, it feels like a lot of people here just live in their own little world.
    When I was in college we had two exchange students from Haiti and they were insanely popular.

  30. Guest Icon Guest
    Ms Kit, Guest @ 12:04 am

    Thanks for sharing this!

    I’m always startled to remember miscegenation laws existed, and it always reminds me of the current state of marriage.

  31. Member
    tagme 6 posts, Newbee @ 12:54 am

    Great post!

  32. Member
    sword 1029 posts, Bumble bee @ 5:13 am

    What a great post! I think you two are such an adorable couple and I think mixed babies are so beautiful! And in regards to the fact that 50 years ago it was a crime (craziness btw)… I believe strongly that in the future we are going to look back at the GLBT community with the same frustration. Why were they treated so poorly back then (aka now)? Why shouldn’t everyone be allowed to marry whomever they fall in love with? etc. Sorry, soap box moment! :)

  33. Member
    Beltacular 51 posts, Worker bee @ 6:43 am

    I love this post! I think we don’t realize sometime how hard it must have been for the generation before us- My father is hispanic and my mother italian, and I know that when they were married and I was born, my mother’s church refused to marry them or baptize me because of my mixed heritage. Hearing your story makes me so glad and proud of how far the country has come since then.

  34. Member
    keytabell 17 posts, Newbee @ 7:43 am

    I am black and he is german (and super handsome) and we have been together for 3 years in April. I grew up like you in a melting pot where I interacted with individuals of all different races and ethnicities and I wish and hope the same for our kids. In our relationship I received black lash from my mom for him being nonblack, but in time she has come around. As far as others, we have never noticed or heard any comments or looks but at times I did/do expect it. It saddens me also of the horrors that others experienced all for love and I am glad that he and I are free to love each other and in May get married. I agree the world is far from perfect but I am glad of this opportunity to marry the man I love. I pray that our future children will grow up in a world accepting and loving as both of their parents are.

  35. Member
    msmongoose 264 posts, Helper bee @ 7:52 am

    You ladies all have some inspiring experiences and stories–I’m really glad to hear that for the most part, there hasn’t been many issues with your IRR. With people like you, our mixed children definitely have a chance to live in an accepting world :)

  36. Member
    anemonie 1578 posts, Bumble bee @ 11:20 am

    I was just speaking to a friend the other day about this. My MIL in Puerto Rican-American (FIL is Anglo-Italian), but my husband looks pretty Anglo, so we don’t get “the look.”

    However, my friend who is second generation Japanese-American has an American boyfriend of Anglo descent and is quite used to it in our rural town. She has also had to lie to her mother about her boyfriends because she says she must “marry a nice Asian boy.” Another friend had to listen to her white boyfriend’s parents chastise him for having a black girlfriend in front of her. My brother’s GF of several years is first gen. Chinese-American, and their relationship has caused also had friction with her family, who want her to stay at home until she marries a “nice Asian boy.” (Instead, she moved to Texas, got her Master’s, and moved in with my brother in NYC).

    From my friends’ and family’s experiences, I’ve assumed acceptance of interracial relationships is partly generational, with it becoming more accepted than ever by our generation and, to my surprise, not always accepted by our generation’s parents and grandparents.

  37. Member
    stephk527 987 posts, Busy bee @ 12:22 pm

    You wrote about this so beautifully, Miss Mongoose. I’m so glad that you’ve had such a positive experience and I agree with previous posters – your kids will be ADORABLE!

  38. Member
    mslemur 616 posts, Busy bee @ 5:47 pm

    This is the sweetest post, Miss Mongoose. I think your children will be adorable :)

  39. Member
    faeriehazel 245 posts, Helper bee @ 11:43 pm

    @Miss Mongoose: We don’t know yet. Eventually we want to move but we have excellent jobs here and the economy in the UK doesn’t look very promising. Like yourself, I am really looking forward to having biracial children but hoping they will be able to grow up in a place where they will feel like they fit in.

  40. Member
    msmongoose 264 posts, Helper bee @ 10:39 am

    @faeriehazel: Amen!

  41. Member
    msmongoose 264 posts, Helper bee @ 10:40 am

    @anemonie: I feel very lucky that Mr. M’s family and grandparents have wholeheartedly accepted our relationship, but you are right it definitely seems that in general, it’s an older generation that has a problem with it.

  42. Member
    msmongoose 264 posts, Helper bee @ 10:41 am

    @StephK527: @Miss Lemur: Thank you so much ladies :)

  43. Member
    cicijapan 263 posts, Helper bee @ 4:57 pm

    I love this post! I am black and my FI is Japanese. As you said, I have had mostly positive experiences in America and Japan. I think the worst I’ve gotten was a stare or a look of surprise. I feel really glad to live in this time where most people have a hyphen in their nationality and people are, for the most part, accepting.

  44. Member
    McBroombabe13 38 posts, Newbee @ 4:31 pm

    I am in an interracial relationship and wouldn’t change anything about it at all. I am African American and my fiance is Caucasian. Our love is not defined by our color but by our character. We bring the best out in each other. Both of our families were beyond supportive and nurturing as our relationship grew and now as we prepare for our wedding, we cant help but feel the support they continue to give us. There are sometimes I get looks from other people but I never let those “looks” make me feel dirty or wrong or inferior. Love is love at the end of the day..regardless of anything else.

  45. Member
    Avena 3 posts, Wannabee @ 11:42 am

    I am from an interracial family. My father is Chinese and my mother is Caucasian. I grew up in a neighborhood in Southern California where it was super common to be “hapa” – a mixed race kid. I grew up with many kids that were half Mexican/half Chinese, half white/half Asian, half black/half Asian. Since it was so common I never had any problems. Now I’m dating a German American blue eyed blonde guy. Love is love, no matter who you find it with! Good luck with your wedding Miss Mongoose!

  46. Guest Icon Guest
    Bunchie3012, Guest @ 10:03 pm

    Great post love it we catch people starring at us too , i’m little more relax about it if they don’t say anything bad and my husband is more of why are you starring . Im African and he’s white .

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