Just 53 years ago today, the Supreme Court struck down the laws banning interracial marriage in the remaining 16 states. Over 50 years ago, Matthew and I couldn’t be married in the state we actually live in… in fact, it was a crime! In light of our current state of social injustice, inequality, and lingering racism, we decided to share what we wrote two years ago to help shed some love over the dark times we are facing.
I didn’t think a thing about it when he asked me out for the first time, got down on one knee and proposed, or moved into our first home together. It wasn’t until we had our first baby did I realize, that we are a multiracial family, we are different. You see, I grew up biracial and it became all I knew to celebrate different cultures, traditions, and customs. What’s funny about this, is I grew up in a predominately “white” state. People often tell me I don’t seem like I’m from Idaho and I know what they mean… a culturally deficient person is to be expected coming from a secluded under-populated state, right? It was my amazing parents and their ability to diversify my brother and I into loads of culture whether it was travel, foods, or discussions, that helped me become enlightened. I never once thought about the fact that we were “different” or “blended”. Immersing myself in my husband’s culture was all too natural for me and applying his culture to my daughter’s life was easily practical. Having a child of my own instilled an urgency to embrace my family’s traditions as well as my husband’s and find our perfect blend. No other family growing up shared our same holiday routine or family structure but I was fine with that. My desire for Pia is to embrace this same feeling, of being different and loving that about herself. I’ve heard hurtful comments and witnessed unsettling looks towards our blended family, but truthfully, the supreme court struck down the law prohibiting marriages like ours only 50 years ago, some people probably still don’t understand. Despite what people say, I dislike the saying “I don’t see black and white” because that’s not true, everyone does. I do see my beautiful black husband and my lovely white self and my adorable caramel daughter; I see a colorful happy family; I see love.
The day I told my family I REALLY like this girl from school they replied “What does she look like?” I told them, well… she’s Asian, and white… basically, she’s not Jamaican. I grew up in a Jamaican church, with all my Jamaican aunties and all my Jamaican uncles and to bring a non-Jamaican girl home, let alone ask her to marry me, was sort of big deal. My family wanted to know everything about her family, they were curious about her background… and to be honest, so was I. I went home with her for her college graduation party and that’s when I realized how different we grew up. My only disappointment was this family function didn’t serve curry goat. All jokes aside, I loved her family, her traditions, her funny 4’6″ grandma. Everything about this woman, I loved, especially her different skin color. I see the “Black Love” podcasts, and “Black Excellence” hashtags but I don’t believe the strength of love is defined by the color of their skin but of what’s within. Although I see how people feel so strongly about a black woman finding a black man and keeping their roots strong, but eventually we will all be mixed with something. When we first found out we were pregnant people would say our daughter is going to be so beautiful because she’s “mixed”. I would smile and say, “she’s going to be beautiful because look at her daddy!” (ok, ok.. Look at her mama) I cannot hide that issues do pop up while combining our cultures. We may bicker about who makes the best curry or argue if we should do Santa Claus for Pia but we always end up embracing each other’s points of view and pave new practices for our family. My wife has brought culture to myself and the rest of my family that I don’t think would have ever happened if she didn’t marry me. Now our daughter will grow up in a rich diverse lifestyle, full of acceptance of change, knowledge of cultures, and love of all. I believe in the soon future the current image of what an American family should look like, will look something like ours.
In 2018 a stranger, now friend, reached out through social media to write a piece for their blog. It could be anything we wanted; I had free range to write whatever came to me… and I wrote about our blended family. It has been and will forever be our intent to immerse our children in all cultures to love. As parents, we have a small window to nurture their minds, so use it wisely. May tomorrow shine its light upon a path towards love, peace, and most importantly, justice.