I don't think I could have ever imagined how hard this journey would be. Growing up, my mother was always vocal about her views on race. It was simple; Whites stayed with Whites, Blacks stayed with Blacks. Why didn't I listen?
I was born in 1969 to an abusive single mother in Syracuse, NY. She always made racist comments about my Black friends. So I knew I could never bring a Black man home. It was something you just couldn't do. I mean, I had tons of Black girlfriends. It was okay to be friends with "them" you just couldn't date "them". I remember once seeing one of my White girlfriends kiss her Black boyfriend and thinking it was disgusting. It was drilled into me for so long that in some ways, I believed it. Then, out of nowhere, I started to become curious. Maybe it was more a feeling of rebellion than curiosity, but I started thinking, why is it so wrong? As the thoughts entered my mind, I noticed Black guys showing interested in me.
My first experience with a Black guy started my senior year in high school; from then on Black men were my preference. They always made me feel protected; something I craved because I grew up without my father. I know most of my choices were bad; instead of dating the local football star, I would always go for the drug dealers. When I was 18-years-old, I became pregnant with my son. Unfortunately, his father was killed during my pregnancy. When my son was born, he came out really light. I remember my mom making a comment like, "He is so light." I just thought, what did you expect? Even though she had racist views, she still accepted my son and watched him while I worked. But anytime I upset my mom or my two sisters, they would always call me a "n**** lover." My mom would even say, "You're not Black." because I hung out with mostly Black people. So I really tried to limit my contact with my family.
As I experienced my encounters with racism, I soon learned my son was going through his own struggles with race. His experience at a predominantly Black camp forced me to see the other side of racism. Something I could not have prepared myself for. Like most children, he just wanted to fit in. One day I was planning to pick him up when he asked if my neighbor, who is Black could pick him up. He didn't want the other kids to know he had a White mother. I thought to myself, they know you are mixed, but I obliged and allowed our neighbor to pick him up.
Years later, I gave birth to my daughter. While having two biracial kids in my family made me an outcast, it also made my children an outcast in the outside world. Luckily for me, I could go into the world and fit in. No one would know that I had a Black husband (at the time I was married to a drug dealer) and two biracial children unless I told them. But my kids didn't have that luxury. I could sit and listen to racial jokes because I was one of them or was I?
As a little girl, my daughter had a mixed group of friends but, as time went on, that changed. I noticed her trying desperately to fit in with her Black counterparts. At the age of 15, most of her friends were dark-skinned Black girls, and she was constantly harassed and attacked by other Black girls in the neighborhood because she wasn't "Black enough." I found myself sounding more and more like my mother when I shouted, "you're not Black!" The words my mom once yelled to me.
At one point, my son grew out his hair to look more like a Hispanic. But, as he got older that all changed. On his job application, he checks White (he could pass) because he sees how Blacks are mistreated and he doesn't want to experience that.
Now, divorced and dating, I've decided to try dating different types of guys. I have my own house, car, and career and I'd like a man with the same things. I don't think I could find that in this area with a Black man. I'm not saying I'm against dating another Black man, I'm just saying I'm giving White guys a try. This may be difficult once they find out I have biracial kids. But I know if that's a problem for them that's a problem for me.
Someone asked me if I could turn back the hands of time would I? Honestly, I would; I would give my children the same opportunities I have. I would have married a White man and had White babies. No, not because of the pain I've experienced, but because of the pain, my children are experiencing every day.
Written by: A mother