How do you deal with racism when it's in your own family?

Xandria - posted on 03/03/2010 ( 15 moms have responded )

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I am a 26 year old black female born and raised in south Georgia. I have never dated a black guy, not because I don't find them attractive or wouldn't go out with one but where I am from I am considered kind of odd because I don't drink, hang out, and I like to read and stay home most of the time so most black guys my age found me to be boring. I am now married to a white guy and I am extremely happy and I have never been bothered by my family and their stupid comments before but now that my daughter is here it is starting to piss me off and I don't know what to do so I have been avoiding them which is hard to do since most of them don't live close by but I am running out of excuses to dodge them.

Here are examples of the things that they say and do that just through me. For my baby shower they had them remove the baby from the cake because it was a black baby and didn't think it was appropriate. My aunt swears that my daughter who is seven months old and has seen her three times won't go to her not because she is unfamiliar but because she is never around (points to her skin and mouths black people). Hello, WTF! I am black, I'm darker than most of my family! They call my daughter whose middle name is LIlliana "White Lily" mind you I named her Lilliana because she was born exactly the right time after my wedding and my wedding bouquet and table arrangements were lilies so I thought it was appropriate. One of my cousins has made the comment that she had to be switched at the hospital because there is no way that she is black, (I will admit that if people don't see her dad who she looks just like they think she is hispanic).

I think the thing that gets me the most is that it's my family that says it. I expect it from strangers who don't know any better but what do you say to your own family. It's jacked! If I can't protect her from the comments of my family who tell me that I am overreacting and that I need to lighten up and get a sense of humor then how do I keep her from getting screwed up when other people who don't know her make comments later?

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Tiffany - posted on 03/12/2010

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I understand fully what you are going through! I am white & my ex-husband is of Asian coloring. My close friends have no issues with my daughters coloring at all. She has a beautiful all over olive color. BUT. My parents have a BIG issue with my daughter. My Mom says she will "tolerate her (daughter)" but she won't be a part of the family, as she is not "one of them" & she has old ideas, like " black/ brown shouldn't mix with white". They only visit every 2 mths. My daughter now asks why her Granny won't hug her. I tell her that Granny has a poor head, that she says things that may hurt, but that I have PLENTY of kisses/love & cuddles for her. At the moment she accepts this.

Monica - posted on 03/13/2010

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See, that right there is why mixed babies are "confused". It's not about them being different...it's about the family that they are raised around. You got the white side making comments about black people or using the "N" word.....or you got the black side making white comments or inferences....THE KIDS HEAR THIS STUFF....then they do get a bit "confused" because they are both of these things. So if you are talking stuff about 1 of these races, the kids are gonna start thinkin there is something wrong with them, cuz they are partly this race or that 1. I've had this problem with my family as well, I get really pissed off with this subject, and with racism period. I'm white, my kids are black and white.....n my family likes to use the "N" word. Now, I set them straight and they don't use the word around my children, or me.....but when we run into 1 of their friends for instance....they might use the word, and then I get pissed off. Then, my mom for instance will say.....well, they're gonna have 2 deal with it in life anyway. What makes me so furious is.....Y DO THAT HAVE 2 LEARN IT FROM FAMILY AND FRIENDS??? Like you said....i excpect them 2 deal with it @ school and life....but not from FAMILY....so girl....i dunno either....but if u find out how 2 set these people straight....let me know

Crystal - posted on 03/12/2010

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I had this same problem, I simpily told my family that if they wanted me and my children around then they can keep their opionions to themselves or go to HELL!! My G-mas are from a time where mixing was prohibited bc "dark people were bad, drank, did drugs and beat their women" I told them I knew more white men who did that more then any other race. And they should look at their own family of drug addicts and alcholics before casting them stones. YOu need to be brave enough to walk away if they don't stop. Much luck to you.

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Shea - posted on 03/13/2010

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Hi Xandria,



Well, I don't really know where to begin. I guess I'll tell you I've experienced the same type of opinions in my own family. I am a multi-racial woman. I have a rainbow of colors withing my family. Odd thing is the darker (not all) part of my family at times gave me a hard way to go because I had lighter skin (high yellow, red bone) and what they termed "good hair". The lighter skinned where often know to use the term "Lighter the Brighter". My younger siblings figured I wasn't black enough because I too am an avid reader and enjoy what they term "white people stuff". The irony behind that is their mother is as white as they come. lol



Presently I have 2 children..1 light 1 dark ..they have heard their share of crap. What it all comes down to is your level of comfortable. What you allow in your home, life and albeit your childs life. I don't think you should lighten up. not at all. If anything demand your family's respect. Only you can set boundaries and enforce the consequences if said rules are not followed. It's hard! Those that respect you and love you will do as you wish. Which is leaving the racial profiling at the damn door! If not they aren't worthy of you and your beautiful family. Be strong and know it's not about color unless we let it be. Be honest with your daughter and above all instill in her self confidence so when she is faced by such ignorance she will prevail no matter where it comes from.



Best Wishes!

Brittany - posted on 03/11/2010

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I am almost going thru the same thing. My dad and i dont get along at all because of the father of my daughter. My daughter is half white half black. My dad swears up and down that she couldnt be his and everythign and that he wouldnt help me because of her dad. Almost my whole family is like that. I always tell her she is the best of both world and that i love her no matter what.

NADINE - posted on 03/11/2010

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People are products of their environment. You may never change their opinion and people have a tendency to be afraid of the unknown. Educate them. People are people we all bleed red, get our feelings hurt. make comments are not appropriate. Let them know what you will not tolerate and if it continues then you will have to do what you do.. If they love you in time you will see them change.

Tashia - posted on 03/11/2010

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I'm sorry to hear that and I know exactly how you feel. My mother-in-law is racist with a capitol 'R'. My husband is hispanic and I'm black. She even gets mad at my husband and father-in-law for referring to themselves as hispanic! She yells at them "your white" So now only does she hate black people, she has self-hatred. I've tollerated her for a few years now based solely on the fact that she's my husband's mother, but she's even pushed my husband over the edge. I finally had to explain to her "Look, your a GRANDMOTHER, not their mother. There's no law that requires that I let you see them, so don't try me because you'll never see your grandkids again, got it?!" That's YOUR child, you shouldn't have to lighten up or learn how to 'take a joke". A really awesome book to read is 'I'm chocolate, your vanilla" by Marguerite A. Wright. It's about how kids see race in a totally different way then adults do. I enjoyed it alot. Your family should respect your wishes, and if they can't, then it may be time to show them you mean business.

Xandria - posted on 03/08/2010

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Thank you all for your comments. I think the fact that I'm not that close with my family to begin with makes the comments a little more difficult to deal with. That and the fact that I have to see them all next month for a wedding and I my patience is worn thin with a teething seven month old that I don't think I can spend an entire after noon listen to stupid cracks about my daughter. It' nice to know that I am not the only one who feels that I am not over reacting or "can't take a joke".

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I think they are being extremely rude. Your husband and your baby are now your main priority. If I were you I would just tell them that if they can't keep their comments to themselves regarding her appearance then you will not be allowing them around your daughter. As she gets older it might make her feel bad about herself to hear those thigns so they need to stop it.

Erika - posted on 03/07/2010

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hi. i kinda understand how u feel. i am white married to indian (punjabi). my family never was against my husband, they like him alot....its a long story to tell, but one day my own sister who was living with us in our house, one day racely abused my husband, who was helping her alot in difficult moment. and when i took his side she same called me (racely abused) and our future born kids... so no long waiting i gave few slaps on her face and kicked her out from our home..... I know that sound bit not nice but i couldny cope with such her behaviour towards us after we have helped her so much.... after that day I never kept in touch with her or even say hello in the street, its already more than a year it happened, and i dont think i could ever forgive her for abusing us...i wouldnt care if such thing would do any stranger, but not my own sister.

Temple - posted on 03/06/2010

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Girl, i hope you tell your family that if they don't know how to act right and talk right around Your daughter they know where the door is. It is up to you to teach your daughter how to ignore hate speech in all forms and if she sees you letting people getting to you doing it then it will bother her deeply and think your weak. I raise our children in a white family and my husband is black and they only really see one black man , my husbands family doesn't care to see our kids that is there lost and they could care less. My kids hang out with both races but as soon as they make fun of there color or say anything negitive about race my kids kick them to the curb, because i kicked everyone out of my life that didn't like the choice i made and told them to take there options with them. I am from a small town in north georgia and i was on of the very first person any of my people or friends knew that went outside of there race. don't let other people make you look or feel weak or wrong. You did what makes you happy.

Chasidy - posted on 03/06/2010

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I KNOW HOW YOU FEEL , I HAVE EXPIERIENCED THAT IN MY CHILDRENS DSDS FAMILY, SOME PPL ARE JUST INCONSIDERATE , THAT DOSENT MEAN YOU LOVE THEM ANY LESS , BUT IT DOSE PUSH YALL APART, I TOATALY UNDERSTAND

Regina - posted on 03/04/2010

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Its unfortunate that sometimes the people that hurt you the worse is family. I think now is the time while your daughter too young to know that you put your foot down and let the family know that you will not tolerate inappropriate comments nor are they appreciated. If they want to have any contact with your daughter and be in her life then they will shape up. I don't see why its a big deal if they have never seen you with a black guy. BTW I think the way you can up with her name is beautiful

Char - posted on 03/04/2010

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I think it is very important that you halt this behavior from your family now. If what they say even in jest is hurting your feelings it isn't funny.



Our children face enough in the streets that they should not be teased about their race at home by their own people. When my grandmother was younger she was called high yellow and white girl by her own darker brothers and sisters. She didn't allow the that from any of us or other family members when her three grandchildren came along both light and dark skinned therefore breaking the cycle. She spoke up.



I think in every family there is some good natured teasing. I dealt with the same thing with my two boys who were dark skinned. One of my kids wouln't go to one of my aunts who was light skinned and she said the opposite. I just looked at her crazy and kept on pushing. My cousins teased me about my little chocolate boys (don't worry the switched at the hospital is a common line) and are giving me a little grief over my upcoming mixed race baby but it is not excessive and we laugh together and they are genuinely happy for me and my husband. (whom by the way they call the wonder bread).



Don't read too much into the baby shower thing. Sometimes people don't know how to be politically correct when dealing with a mixed race situation. Perhaps the removal of the baby was not to offend you or your in laws. You know there is not alot out there for mixed children. Check this out my sister recently sent invitations to my family baby shower with a white baby on them. Oh well.



Good luck to you, I hope your family will come around.

Carolee - posted on 03/04/2010

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I would just point out to them that YOU ARE BLACK, TOO! She loves you and sees you as her mother. If they would give her a chance, then she would love them and see them as her family... not just some strange people! She gets to see people of ALL colors. There's no rule that says that people can only visit with, love, and/or connect with those who are the exact same skin color, regardless of heritage! If that were the case, nobody would see my son. He's half Hispanic, I'm white, and my husband happens to be white. We also live in a part of our town where there aren't too many people who match MY skin tone. That doesn't mean that my family shouldn't make friends or get to know people!



Let them know that they need to suck it up and stay quiet. Yes, she has a different skin tone. Yes, her father is white. That doesn't mean that she's not still half black! They need to accept her for who she is, and they need to start accepting her right now.



My husband had to have a few talks with his family about their "Mexican" comments... we met when my son was 1 year old. It took a couple/few months, but they don't make comments anymroe. They love and accept my son as if he were their own grandchild. I have no doubt that your family will do the same.

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