Dear Mixed Mama ...
An advice column by Trula Breckenridge
Dear Mixed Mama,
First, you should know that I'm only 14. But like many looking at this site, I'm racially mixed, black and white. The thing is, I'm probably the lightest "half black" person you've ever seen. Well, maybe not. My white friends think I'm kind of dark, they like my skin color. My older relatives also like my skin color, but maybe they're still thinking that lighter is better. But then, I don't even know what the black kids my age think. My black cousins see me as being really different, I can tell. But maybe that's because I live in predominantly white country town, and I'm not used to their city, "upbeat" life. But I'm getting off topic. The thing is, that I'm very light skinned. But I really don't want to be! Books on racially mixed teens don't really help me because they are mostly talking about how they are considered black in America. I'm not really sure if people would even guess I'm mixed. Well, my hair is extremely curly curly. So maybe they can tell by that. But, for some dumb reason, my face loses tanning color pretty quickly. I just kind of want to know if there's something wrong with me, or if there's nothing I can do and I just have to live the rest of my life as looking white. I kind of have to take that back because I think that people my age do realize at least a little bit that I'm mixed somehow. Maybe you can't reply with anything because you don't even know what I look like, but I just thought I'd give it a try. Thanks very much. If you could just email me back with a little something, I'm sure it would help.
I also thought I'd tell you that my friends at school (all white) think of me as one of the most "black acting" people they know. But black people probably think I'm just a white country hick or something. Thanks again!
No, there is nothing wrong with you. Mixed people can take on the coloring of either parent, and sometimes a mixed black/white person can look white. Your coloring reflects your heredity. In other words, you look white because you are part white. There are mixed black/white people who look black and few people can tell by looking at them that they have one white parent. Although I would say that most mixed people look obviously biracial your looks are not unusual, just part of the range and diversity that exists among multi-racial people.
I think that part of your confusion may be a result of you feeling that you are black and therefore should look black. I understand this, even though you are mixed biracial black people are generally not seen as a separate race from black people.But whether you choose to identify as biracial or black, it is important to know that black people come in all colors and hair textures. You coloring is just as valid for blackness as mine, for instance. There are mixed-looking black people and near-white looking black people who have two black parents. I dont think you should worry about your skin color so much, but accept it as a part of who you are.
You also mentioned that your white friends think you act black. I understand that you want to identify with black people, but just like there is a range of diversity for how we look there is also a range for diversity in how we act. Just be yourself, dont speak or move or behave in the manner that you think black people do, because there is no general black behavior. We are truly a diverse people with lots of individuality.
Dear Mixed Mama,
I want to say I was so happy when I found this sight. . There has been no one to turn to ask the questions I need answered. I've had two marriages that have failed. I met a man over a yr. ago and we became friends. Thats all we wanted was friendship. Little did we know we would fall in love. I've never had a biracial relationship, but I know that i love this man with all my heart. I feel hes tense about our age diffrence,i'm 41 and hes 65. I've told him it didn't matter. My two girls have accepted him and like him. He dosent have to worry about meeting my family, both my Parents are deceased and i am an only child. I am meeting his sons for the first time soon, and I get the feeling there will be some tense moments. I don't know how they will feel about their Father dating a Black woman. I don't want to cause friction between them. How can I prepare myself for this meeting? How can I relax enough to pull through this?
Thanks for your time,
You can start preparing by asking him about his family background and his parenting views on race. How was he himself raised to view black women? Has he dated a black woman before? How did he raise his kids to view black people? Did he raise them among all or mostly white people? What did he teach them about racism, civil rights, integration, etc.? It may be hard to ask these questions but knowing this background will give you a better understanding of how his children will respond to you.
To relax before and doing the meeting take deep breaths frequently. This helps me to calm down when I feel nervous. Remember that you can only represent yourself. You cannot make them like you, but dont go into it assuming that they wont like you, either. Be confident and upbeat, and your love for their father will come through as will his for you. Good luck!
Dear Mixed Mama,
I am a 34-year-old single white male. I am very much in love with a 28-year-old single black female. The problem is she has a deadbeat boyfriend. This guy is a womanizer (and) has kids all over the place. I've tried to talk to her. I've sent her gifts, flowers, taken her out, treated her real nice yet in the end she still goes back to this guy. He's black I'm white. She says it does not matter I have no kids but would love very much to get with her. I live in Alabama and most of the black women down here let their guys dog them out and they go right back to them. what should I do?
I think you should move on. I understand that you may be feeling this is a race issue, and on many levels it may be, but more importantly, this woman does not want to be with you. I could speculate on why she is staying with this man, but why are you insistent upon being with her? You have tried, and its time to move on. Gifts and flowers and being treated well is great, but what youve given her and how youve treated her means nothing if she doesnt feel you in her heart. For whatever reason she is stuck on this other guy and your attempts to persuade her to be with you has come to no avail. It may hurt, but you need to just leave her alone. I am positive that there are other women in your area of any color who are looking for someone nice who treats them well. Dont continue to waste your time with someone who does not want you.
Dear Mixed Mama,
I am a black female with white cousins through a family marriage. I have grown up with my cousins since I was 15, and we're now in our late 20s, early 30s. Although they all love me very much, one cousin keeps talking "slang" to try to relate to me. I don't speak slang. I didn't grow up in the 'hood, but the suburbs. In fact, some may say I "talk white." But he slowly slips into this slanguage each time we hang out. How do I tell him this is offensive without making him feel bad? I know he loves me and doesn't mean to be offensive.
You can tell him by saying what you wrote to me. Say: I know that you dont mean to be offensive. I know that you are not trying to hurt my feelings. I want you to understand that I am not trying to make you feel bad by telling you this. When you talk slang to me, I find it offensive because I dont talk like that. That shows me that you feel that you have to speak to me in a stereotypical manner in order to relate to me because I am black. You dont. I would appreciate it if you talked to me the way you naturally speak, and not how you think I would or should speak. I am not a streotype, I am individual. I know that you love me, and Im counting on this love to enable you to understand my feelings. Please stop it, ok? Tell him that verbatim or use it to give you some idea of what to say to him.
Dear Mixed Mama,
I stumbled across this site in some research I am doing for class and feel it necessary to say something. I am a 22-year-old female born and raised in New York City, the most diverse city I this country I might add. I am currently attending university in Illinois. I am the child of a Black mother and Black and White father. I am very fair complexioned with long hair that is what people call "good hair." I have faced endless resentment, jealousy and have been ostracized by many all of my life for not being "Black enough" or "White enough." This has been going on since I was a little girl going to the playground with my brothers and I can still hear the
taunts and name-calling I was subjected to. Sticks and stones may break my bones but yes, words can also hurt me!
I think people who decide to marry or reproduce with another outside of their own race need to stop and think first. Think of the ramifications for your children. Because truth be told the parents, at least most, have no true understanding of what it feels like to be disliked and even hated for your appearance (something in which you have no control). My family has been supportive of myself, my siblings, and my cousins whom have all faced similar if not worse situations than I have. However, support is a long way from undoing the damage and the hurt that has been inflicted upon us by our own people for years. So all I say is to the interracial couples, please take heed and at least consider what you may be subjecting an innocent child to before you decide to bring them into this world.
I feel bad for all the pain you suffered but surely you enjoy and value your life just as much as any mono-racial people. Or do you truly feel that your life has no value because you are mixed? That is what your letter is saying to me, and it simply is not true. You are also wrong in writing that most parents have no true understanding of what it is like to be disliked or hated for your appearance. This is untrue! Certainly your own father knew, as well as your mother. Certainly most of the black parents know what it is to be disliked, judged, and hated for their appearance by racist white people. Using your logic then black people shouldnt reproduce because then their innocent children will be subjected to hate. http://TrulaBreckenridge.com
Words do hurt, yes indeed, but black people have survived far worse than name-calling and continue to survive. I would never agree that mixed people shouldnt have children, because that is giving in to racism and prejudice, that is agreeing that the the lives of our children have less value than the lives of mono-racial children. It is also assuming that hate, racism, prejudice, and ignorance will continue on ceaslessly into the future of humankind. This is a ridulous assumption! Think of the social progress regarding race and color that has happened in this country, from slavery to segregation to the civil rights movement and more. Things do change. Attitudes change. Culture and society changes. Things improve and will continue to improve.
Parents of mixed children need to be prepared for the negative attention their children will get. They do need to understand and teach their children how to deal with resentment, jealousy and being ostracized from both sides, both cultures. But this resentment, jealousy, and name-calling does not mean that mixed people shouldnt exist. There are ways to deal with it including but not limited to learning better parenting skills so that you know how to bolster your childs self-esteem, moving to a less racially hostile area, and speaking to the parents of the children who are mean to the mixed-race child.
I would also suggest that you seek therapy for the damage and harm you feel about how you were treated for how you look. This may help you to understand that you do not have to let how others treated you control your life today, your perception of yourself, or your view on mixed people. You need to realize that you cannot let others opinions control what you do with your life. Because someone out there will hate my mixed son, for example, does not mean that I should not have had him. Mixed couples have the right to have children, love their children, and enjoy parenting like mono-racial couples.
Sincerely, Mixed Mama
aka Trula Breckenridge