Disenchanted

This is a blog primarily about losing weight. But, as a human being, I obviously have many more facets to my life than just that. So I also dabble here in my work life, my schooling, my marriage.

And today I have to get some things off my chest about that last subject. You undoubtedly have realized by now that I am in an interracial marriage (pictures of the hubby here, here, here, and here). 99.8% of the time, I forget that our marriage is different in any way, that it’s somehow remarkable. Because we’re really just two average people trucking along in our life together.

But one of the things that comes along with being interracially married is that you become a guru on the subject for other people who are dabbling, considering, contemplating, or otherwise engaging in interracial liaisons of their own.

Case in point: there’s a girl named Melinda that I went to high school with. And when I say “went to high school with,” that exactly what I mean. We weren’t friends. Didn’t hang out. Had a few classes together, but that’s it. We do have a lot in common: we come from upper-middle-class nuclear families, we attended neighboring churches, we attended and graduated from private colleges, that kind of thing. I’d expect the two of us to have similar ideas and values.

Melinda works in politics in a big city. She started dating a guy. A black guy. The kind of black guy who hangs out in mostly-white crowds, who attended mostly-white schools, who fits in easily to a mostly-white life. Melinda started dating this guy and it became serious. She contacted me on MySpace with questions about how my family reacted, how I managed dealing with Lee’s family, all that kind of stuff. I was completely honest with her, sharing the good and the bad of our reality. We had some great conversations, and I think I was able to really help her.

Then Melinda and this guy got engaged! All was well!

Until I started getting more MySpace messages with more questions. Melinda loves this man. But she was having trouble with the idea of having children together. I graciously explained that of course she had a picture in her mind of white kids… why wouldn’t she? It’s just a matter of reimagining the picture and embracing it. Once I fell in love with Lee, I wanted to see him reflected in my kids.

But Melinda was really struggling in this area. She thought about adopting children instead of having biological children. She thought about not having kids at all. She agonized about people looking at her and judging her if she were to run errands with biracial kids in tow. After a million conversations, she emailed me yesterday to inform me that she had broken off the engagement. She explained that since her fiancee was clearly “racially confused” (since he identifies mostly with white friends and colleagues), she didn’t want to also have racially confused children. So she ended the relationship.

Now, I admit to seeing the positives here:

  1. No relationship is entirely about race. There obviously must have been other issues.
  2. Any woman who is even slightly uneasy about having mixed-race kids should NOT do it, so I commend Melinda for being honest with herself.
  3. Now Melinda can move on to another, easier, less-stressful relationship with someone else (at least that’s what I hope for her).

But despite the positives, helping her through this situation has been incredibly draining and, frankly, disturbing for me. It proves that while I may be thinking in post-racial terms and may have a comfort level with racial diversity in my own home, many others still do not feel the same way. I knew this, but I didn’t expect it from someone in my own generation.

I am sickened by the assumption that mixed-race kids are automatically going to be “racially confused.” My kids will know that they are loved. They will be purposefully surrounded by kids of many other races, ethnicities, and socioeconomic backgrounds. And I see plenty of white kids trying to be gangsta that looking “racially confused” to me….

I am also sickened by the fact that Melinda doesn’t seem to have any awareness of what she just put her ex-boyfriend through. Here’s a man who loved her, who wanted to marry her and have children with her, and was ultimately rejected on the basis of his race. Or, rather, on the basis of the racial identity of his potential offspring. Can you imagine? He must be devastated. I pray that he is able to NOT internalize this rejection in any negative way.

And mostly, I’m just reminded of the complexities of race outside my household. We do our own thing. We’re our own family. My value system holds diversity in high regard. My value system is built on the premise that people should be liked or disliked based on their honesty, their genuineness, and their kindness rather than by their skin color. (or accent or family background or clothes.)

Lee was born into a crappy family. That’s not his fault. He is a generous, sweet, loving, fun, and forgiving man despite what he’s been through. How could I not want to see him reflected in our children… in every way?

I’m just so very tired of this even being an issue. But as for me and my house, we’ve moved on.

Advertisements

2 Responses

  1. I’m so sorry that you’ve been through this… I can’t imagine what you’ve been going through watching this happen. I think it is very sad for the man that just got dumped because of something that might have only been in her head.

    I think that this argument could be taken in so many different variations of life… religious differences, beliefs on homosexuality… any sort of controversial issue… but you’re right Meg.

    It’s very sad, and always surprising when you see it happen. I hope that it doesn’t negatively effect you as well, because it seems that it has absolutely (and should) hit a nerve… you and Lee are paving the way along with all the other interracial couples out there, and have a great relationship. It’s unfortunate that anyone would look at the outside differences and think any less about your marriage than anyone else’s.

  2. I can’t believe this girl said yes to an engagement before she considered her own issues with children. I don’t understand it all. You love who you love and it doesn’t matter one iota what color, height, weight, etc that person is. I applaud you and Lee and every other interracial couple out there, who can say to hell with what everyone else thinks. Had one crush I had in my early twenties panned out, I’d be right there with you. I’ve had a couple of crushes on black men and not because they were black; but because of who they were.

    As for your children? They will be so incredibly loved and it isn’t going to matter to them that they are interracial. Why should it?

    Between this entry and Kim’s blog from today, I have to wonder why and how people can be so small minded.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: