Talking Cultural Diversity

a discussion board for cultural and diversity issues by Thomas Kochman and Jean Mavrelis

Mixed Race Mix-Ups

By Jean Mavrelis - 04.25.2010

I met a woman in Oregon who is racially Black and culturally Italian.

My daughter has a friend whose Mom is Irish and African American and whose Dad is German, yet she is racially Black.

My son has a friend with a Polish Mom and African American Dad.

How does this impact mixed race folks where what you appear to be is not who you are, but to claim to be who you are seems to suggest that you are rejecting a “minority” part of yourself ?

I have experienced this at some level, growing up with an Irish Mom and a Jewish Dad, and being the only kid (except for my siblings) named Goldstein at St. Luke’s.

I resented assumptions that I was Jewish, but I’m not sure if it was because I had no Jewish religious upbringing, and it was a misrepresentation, or if it was because of the anti-Semitism I picked up in the environment as a Catholic kid (they told me my Dad killed Jesus).

I’d like to hear from mixed folks about how you deal with being raised culturally one way, yet physically appear to the world as something else.

One Response so far

I had never given thought to your being half Jewish as being a problem in your life EVER as of course I have never been prejudice to any one at all being around so many different nationalities and religions all my life. I guess I was blessed. My heart just ached when I read your blog and thought of you having to go through such cruelty as a kid, but then children CAN be cruel. Having always been overweight as a teen I knew THAT as my burden to carry at times, but my sense of self always seemed to get me through it all right. I also think it always helped me to try to help those who had any burden of their own to tote.

My Granddaughter has a friend who is a beautiful little red haired girl with darling freckles and dimples and bright green eyes. She has the fair skin of any redhead and of course has to stay out of the Mississippi sun without the heaviest of sun lotion or burn to a crisp. She is an African American. Her mother is white of full Irish decent and her father is of American Indian, African, Irish, English, French,and Scottish to boot.and all generations claiming to be pure to the last drop!– except for the Frenchman who is her father and from New Orleans whose mother was of Black African decent. This makes her father half African American and while he is as white as his father must still claim his black heritage and his daughter must still claim the African American because she is technically 1/4 and the law states she is and must claim her African American heritage. I thank the good Lord every day that my granddaughter was raised to have no prejudice and to have the kind heart of her mother who gave her the sweetness she has. While others ridicule this darling girl to the point of actually throwing mud and chocolate pudding at this child to say nothing of calling her the lowly “N” word at every possible opportunity she has not just my one grandchild, who is her best friend, but alllllll of my grandchildren, to come to her defense.
It was an incident involving this little girl that caused last weeks trip to the school board and my granddaughter’s 3 day suspension from school. I will continue to fight for the right of my granddaughter and her friend to fight for what is right and hopefully someday soon bring justice to the situation. The little red-haired girl also got 3 days suspension.

I understand it is the South and they are set in their ways as to heritage and purity of races. I understand they are trying to change the system and come into the proper century with their thinking and it won’t happen overnight. But I will NEVER understand the persecution of an innocent child! So as I gather more forces from the NORTH the SOUTH better get ready for a swift kick in the MORALS! Oh Geeeeez You just asked for an example, not a tirade…Sorry….but venting helps my thinking process…and makes me realize I Must remain calm and rational at all times when dealing with the enemy! They DO have home court advantage..sighhhhh.

Nori Williams

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