When Mixed-Race Families Encounter Strangers’ Hostility, Harsh Glares - Page 2
In 2011, it is disheartening to read about a family, much like mine, who is forced to deal with strangers who question aloud their identify and racial heritage in front of their children. More than a few of the people verbally accosting Heather Greenwood were demanding and obnoxious as quoted in the NYT. If this happened to me repeatedly, I know at some point, I’d probably lose my cool. But, for the sake of our kids, Heather Greenwood and I both remain calm in the face of insulting questions, even as we’d love to give the person a piece of our mind and tell them what we REALLY think.
The JMF study points out that although black/white marriages have increased dramatically in the past 20 years, barriers remain. Part of the reason is that people must decide whether or not they will marry outside their race. But is that always a conscious decision? Don’t some people just fall in love and get married? I’ve often thought that when you’re mixed, you’re always marrying outside of your race. I married the person I fell in love with. He happened to be white. I’m proud to be part of the group of well-educated interracial marriages that are changing the fabric of our community. Racism is one of the last bastions of ignorance keeping people separate, apart and suspicious of each other. When a couple crosses a color line to be together, it may remind some people of their own racism. These people, who have not come to terms with their own racist beliefs, cannot accept a family who is truly able to see past skin color. So they react, often harshly.
I only ask that people keep their opinions about mixed-races families to themselves. I’m pretty sure I can speak for the Greenwood family when I say that both our families would appreciate that simple courtesy.