Today, we found out that my brother and his girlfriend are having a baby. To make a long story short(er), my mom is quite upset about the fact that my brother is having a baby with a white woman. My family is a deep mix of several cultures on both sides. My mother thinks it was perfectly okay for them to date. She's had the two of them over for extended stays and invited the girlfriend back for more visits. However, she is really quite upset about this pregnancy. She doesn't like the fact that, of all her children, only one of us chose to co-parent with someone she'd consider non-white AND on top of that, they wound up breaking up. So, all of my mother's sons and daughters-in-law are white.
At first, I thought it was a bit funny because my mom is mixed, but she still doesn't want any more of her children having kids with white partners. Earlier this evening, I was laughingly discussing this with a few acquaintances because it seemed like such a odd idea. There were a few other multi-ethnic/mixed folks in the conversation and I appreciated hearing about their experiences and the experiences of their ancestors who are/were also multi-ethnic. It wasn't long before I realized that they were the ONLY ones willing to talk about this. All of the white people just went along their merry little way, nignoring (feel free to familiarize yourself with the meaning of the term) the conversation going on around them. It didn't matter that most of them were white people who were well-acquainted with several of the people of color in the conversation nor did it matter to them that what we were talking about was a problem that mostly existed due to the actions of folks in THEIR communities.
At that point, the situation that my mom is worried about stopped being funny to me and I realized that there are no groups of white people, or groups with many white people, where they behave differently. Multi-ethnic people from various parts of the globe were discussing how whiteness had fucked over them and their families and, at best, the white people simply remained silent when this happened. Now, in a conversation on the internet, where the majority of folks in the "vicinity" are white, we were watching the same thing occur there, too. In fact, it wasn't until one of the women of color started talking about something else that anyone white spoke up again. Is it any surprise that this conversation did not end well?
My mom is proud of her heritage and has done her best to instill that pride in us. We were taught to never be ashamed or embarrassed about who we are. She taught me to reject it when people of color tried to say that I was too brown to really be mixed. She taught me how to answer white people who questioned why my relatives looked like they did. My mother says she's concerned about whether my brother's partner is really aware of what it means to parent a child who is a person of color. After listening to some of the experiences of several multi-ethnic people who were talking about mixed identities, I am a lot more sympathetic to my mom's views.
When that Justice of the Peace from my state got a lot of attention a few weeks ago because he wouldn't marry inter-racial couples, it was bothersome to see so many white people failing to consider the fact that a significant number of inter-racial marriages in that area (Hammond) really DON'T last. It's a really small place and it's known for being one of the most racist parts of the state. My mom lived there for a while but she was forced to move when my oldest brother was a baby. It seems like white people may not want to deal with that reality. I feel like none of the outsiders who were "OMG offended" about what he did really gave a shit about the situation that inter-racial couples or multi-ethnic people face from those who have no qualms about announcing that they think "race traitors" and "mutts" shouldn't be allowed to exist.
My mother's views about inter-racial couples having children are based on the realities that she's seen and experienced folks like us face. I suspect this may also be true with the justice of the peace. White societies aren't prepared to do a damned thing about how whiteness forces so many multi-ethnic people to live lives where other people of color have legitimate reasons to worry about whether any vestiges of white privilege will lead us to fuck over them in the same way that white people almost always will at some point. At the same time, we have to deal with how white people are never done with reminding us that whiteness is a club that multi-ethnic people of color will never be "mixed enough" to join. At best, we are expected to be less threatening versions of people of color--just mixed enough to make white people think their world isn't lily white, but not so mixed that we start exhibiting those "pesky" tendencies often associated with the non-white world. Like my mother, I hope that my daughter and my nieces and nephews will never be mixed up enough to be willing to settle for playing that role in the lives of white people they will encounter throughout their lives.
"No Santy Claus? Well, I'd expect a heathen niglet like Riley to say something like that, but Jazmin I'm surprised at you! Being a mulatto and all, you s'posed to have more sense."
(A Huey Freeman Christmas)
The above quote is taken from a conversation that starts at 8:23 on this video)