I am racially Italian-American & African-American.  I am a biracial, self-identifying, culturally & ethnically black American woman living in the segregated Midwest.  I grew up in Detroit, one of the most segregated cities in America.

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I am often mistaken for being Latina-American & one time, white.  Outside of the U.S. in countries as varied as Kenya to Switzerland people seem to think I’m Egyptian.  My hair style also makes a big difference in racial perception.

My husband is a white American with German Heritage.

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—->He is often mistaken, never.  When he is with our children, he does not field questions or snide remarks about his or their identity, not ever.

My children are also biracial.

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—-> The oldest child has big curly hair like mine but with a texture more similar to whites curly hair (but very thick).  He is often mistaken as Jewish or Latino-American almost never correctly identified as having Italian, German or African-American heritage.

—-> The youngest child has straight hair with big waves.  He is often mistaken as not-my-child.

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We don’t look all THAT different to me.  They are 8, 4.  In the 8 years I’ve parented them, I’ve learned (mourned) one sad fact: people see them as white.  People see me as not-white.  When we are together sans my white husband, people don’t see us belonging to one another, which is fine.  What is not fine?  When comments and remarks are simply over the top, disrespectful and aggressive without concern.

In an effort to understand a racially ambiguous ethnic minority carting around two white children, I become the help, the caretaker, the nanny, even the kidnapper.

In an effort to understand a racially ambiguous ethnic minority carting around two white children, people allow their curiosity about our family to target us in racially charged, albeit un-inentional micro aggressions that hurts both my boys & myself.

1119844_10101606482498112_546357137_oMy son, 2nd grade.  Myself, 2nd grade.

9 Things I Want to Say (But Don’t) To Your Curious yet Racially Charged Microaggressions against Me & My Children

10.  Random Stranger:  Hola!

Me: We don’t actually speak Spanish.  Thank you for attempting to connect to us any old way.

9.  Random Stranger:  Oh look at his curly hair, can I touch it?

Me: No.  Neither of us are here to entertain you.

8.  Random stranger: He looks just like his Dad!

Me: Are you saying this because his Dad is white? Actually he looks a lot like me.

7.  Random Stranger: They don’t look like you at all!  They have NO melanin!

Me: Thanks but no thanks that good-for-nothing racially charged micro-aggression!

6.  Random Stranger:  Where did you get them from?

Me: My vagina.  Crazy thing happened: I pushed them right out of it!

5.  Random Stranger:  Are they yours?

Me: Nope. I just let these random white kids call me, Mama.

4.  Random Stranger:  Are they your husbands from a 1st marriage?

Me: I can’t see how that’s any of your business, but yes, I stole them from her while she wasn’t looking.

3.  Random Stranger:  They look so white!

Me: Thanks but no thanks for that good-for-nothing racially charged micro-aggression!

2. Random Stranger:  Are you sad they don’t look very black? I wish they looked more black.

Me: Thanks but no thanks for that good-for-nothing- racially charged micro-aggression!

The #1  MOST offensive and painful microagression is (and I DID say these things)

::::Drumroll::::

1. Random Stranger: (Takes Rhys’ hand while he’s 1 ft. in front of me)…let’s go find your Mommy!

Me: “excuse me! That is my son!”

Random stranger: (kneels down) “honey, is THIS your, Mommy?”

Rhys (3 yrs. old): “No, that’s my MAMA.”

Random Stranger: well then, what is her name?

Rhys: CLUELESS. 

Me: Excuse me! Let go of my son.

Random Stranger: (Turns to Ransom) Honey, is this your Mommy? If so, what is her name?

I. nearly. flipped. my. freaking. lid.  Why should I have to deal with a white woman feeling justified to walk off with MY children because she doesn’t believe they are with me?  I understand the desire to protect children yet, I found this woman’s behavior to be appalling, confusing and hurtful for my children.

Honorable Mention:  When airport security asked me to “surrender my child” over to the authorities until proof of his identity could be established because I had forgotten his birth certificate for the return flight.

What I wanted to say:  Surrender these nuts!

What I said: Lock me up. Whatever dude. I am not leaving my 8 mo. old nursing child in an airport “with the authorities” UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, are you people out of your minds?!?!  You cannot be serious.  You cannot take my child. No. No. No. No. NO.  (Clearly, I needed a minute).

How it got resolved: I have a white husband.

My Advice

For the sake of my precious boys, please don’t let your curiousity get the best of you.  Truly, it is none of your business.  Not even a smidge.  Unless a child is in clear and probable danger we need not police each multi-racial family.

When you come across a family that’s different, remember this: your knowing the exact circumstances of a multi-racial (ethnic or cultural) family story is not worth the potential pain, shame & confusion it will bring on both the parents & children by being a nosy-noserson. You don’t need to know.  The end.

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These are MY babies.  And we are beautiful.

////

Inspired by these two posts: 21 Racial Microaggressions You Hear on a Daily Basis and 13 Things You Should Never Say To a Woman of Only Sons Who Have Curly Hair

 

 

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  • http://www.allthingsbeautifulblog.com/ Alyssa Bacon-Liu

    Please tell me that story about the woman who came up to your children and asked them if you were their mother is made up. Please tell me that it is a made up story so that I don’t lose all faith in humanity.

    What in the hell is wrong with people…Ugh.

    I’ve been toying around with blogging about “Things you shouldn’t say to a mixed person” and this has given me some inspiration!

    • Aaron

      Agreed, that was just absolutely infuriating. People* touching other people’s kids in general is a real hot button issue for me.

      *Who are strangers to the child and parent

      • http://www.gracebiskie.com/ Grace Biskie

        Aaron, YES. Get your hands off my child… ESPECIALLY WHEN SUBTLY ACCUSING ME OF KIDNAPPING THEM!!!

        • Aaron

          I’d say that person crossed the line into straight up aggression. It’s like an extension of Stop and Frisk policy and powers to private citizens; if you’re not doing anything wrong, why would you mind being interrogated by some random person about your relationship to your own kids? Was there any recognition from this person that they had done something wrong when it was apparent these were your kids?

          • http://www.gracebiskie.com/ Grace Biskie

            No. I don’t even think she was embarressed by it. It was a little tense.

    • http://www.gracebiskie.com/ Grace Biskie

      Yes! Do it! It would be interesting to read & learn from! I find that my CA peeps have such WILDLY different experiences than us from the Midwest or Jersey, NYC or Miami, etc. We should do a geographic link up…something like… how does being biracial affect you in your city/state/country, etc. That would be so frickin’ interesting right???

      • http://www.leighkramer.com/ Leigh Kramer

        I would love to read a link up or series about that!

      • jodylouise

        Wow. As the mother of biracial children myself, these hit home, though I haven’t yet had people try to take my children away from me…yikes! So sorry this is part of your story :( I’ve lived East Coast then Midwest then West Coast and gotten comments everywhere, though they do differ in their level of aggression and ignorance. It would be a fascinating discussion to compare experiences from around the country!

      • http://www.allthingsbeautifulblog.com/ Alyssa Bacon-Liu

        Girl. I have stories for DAAAYYYYYYSSSS. I’ll email you!

      • http://www.musingmomma.com/ Ellie {Musing Momma}

        VERY interesting!!! I live in Pennsylvania and although I know that racism is alive and well here, I’ve rarely had someone say something offensive to my face. Most people seem to keep their curiosity to themselves here.

    • h00die_R

      Yes please.

  • http://oshetablogs.wordpress.com/ Osheta Moore

    OH my word, Grace…yes! My kids are mixed too and so many time people have assumed they were white and I was the nanny, I’m so much darker than them and we live in a post “The Help” society, which really hasn’t helped with that sterotype…but I digress…. I often get from older ladies anincredulous, “They’re not all yours, are they?” When I wrote about that in my post, “Sometimes I Wish I Were White” one of those ladies, an older white lady I was friends with in a moms group many years ago commented, “Well I they they’re just wondering that because you look so gosh darn young” and I wanted to write back (but didn’t) “yeah, keep deluding yourself with your white privilege”. I’ve been on the playground with my white friend with blonde hair, blue eyes, who looks just as “young” as me with her five children and was still asked by a woman sharing the bench with us, “They’re not all yours, are they” to me…when in fact my friend was a nanny of two of the five children she brought to the park. WTF. I have a whole list too.

    • http://www.gracebiskie.com/ Grace Biskie

      Oh I am so sorry, O! It’s just so painful to keep facing…I think an every once in a while occurance would roll of my back but I get tediously overwhelmed with the constant explanation of WHAT I AM….let alone now having to defend that I’m my boys’ Mother. And we are alot closer in skin color so I can’t even imagine what you face. I just want to hug you for 5 full minutes. =)

  • Jillie

    Whoa, Grace…I had no idea you run into this kind of problem when you go out with your kids! How disturbing, to say the least!
    What is wrong with peoples’ heads??? It’s so obvious your beautiful children belong to one beautiful Momma. I think your family photos are wonderful! Designed by God Himself! And it really is nobody’s business. I understand today’s frightening world, where sweet children are taken from their families for all manner of evil purposes, but c’mon people!!!

    • http://www.gracebiskie.com/ Grace Biskie

      Thank you, Jillie for the love. <3

  • http://pursuingwhatisexcellent.blogspot.com/ Kela

    I love this so much! Most of my children are not mistaken as being mine, but my 18 year old daughter is asked all.the.time. “Is that YOUR mom?” because she’s whiter than my white husband.

    It makes it tougher sometimes because we have 6 children. You can imagine THOSE questions. Not only is race thrown out there (especially when our oldest son (whose one shade lighter than me) is walking around with his white daddy)…”are they ALL both your and his??”. I’m usually dumbfounded, but my husband is quick witted and fires right back, “Yes they are and we had a bunch of fun making them!”

    People back off because they don’t want to hear about our sex life! haha!

    • http://www.gracebiskie.com/ Grace Biskie

      LOL. Love this! Great strategy!!

  • gle1244

    Let me start by saying that I am really glad to have found your blog. Now…I can’t remember you having said where you guys live, but I live in the heart of the mid-west…Iowa for fricken sake…and mixed marriages are so common around here, I can’t imagine this crap happening. I don’t mean you’ve made it up. I know you didn’t, but it’s beyond appalling and I am glad to apparently be living in a “more or less” color blind community.

    • http://www.gracebiskie.com/ Grace Biskie

      I live in Kalamazoo, MI. But not all these things happened in MI. The airport was in Vancouver, British Columbia. But it is still, a mostly segregated place to live. Less than Detroit, but still divided greatly socio-economically.

  • http://www.margaretfelice.com/ Margaret

    I’m going to put aside my rage about that those last two stories and just say this: your family is gorgeous!

    • http://www.gracebiskie.com/ Grace Biskie

      Well, thank you! =)

  • http://www.leighkramer.com/ Leigh Kramer

    I’m trying to wrap my mind around all 9 of these and wondering how someone would ever find it appropriate to say or do any of them. I don’t get it. I understand curiosity but the way it has manifested itself in each instance is so inappropriate and hurtful. And the woman who asked your kids if you were their mom and airport security situations? I am so angry on your behalf. I hope this post is read far and wide and that people’s eyes are opened and that their ears hear.

    • Aaron

      I agree, Leigh. They’re not just inappropriately curious in those cases, they’re aggressively suspicious. I think it would be hard for any parent not to see why that would just infuriate someone in Grace’s shoes.

    • http://www.gracebiskie.com/ Grace Biskie

      Leigh, because it’s supposed to be light-hearted and good old fashioned curiousity. In the moment, it’s not seen as aggressive…it’s merely ‘making conversation.’ The airport scenario makes the most sense to me (it WAS an international flight) however, that they initiated taking him made me so upset.

      • http://www.kelleynikondeha.com/ Kelley Nikondeha

        Grace, as a white mama with burundian babies, I get lots of looks and comments. But once in London, they grilled my daughter because they couldn’t imagine the connection between us. (Even though she kept looking at me saying ‘mama, I need to go to the bathroom!’ the agent still wondered where my proof, beyond our passports, was. Now I always travel with our birth certificates and adoption decrees and family photos… it’s crazy out there sometimes.

        • http://www.gracebiskie.com/ Grace Biskie

          Kelley, well I am going to start doing that too! There’s no reason not to go that extra mile especially to diffuse some of this!

  • Abby Norman

    Even in these circumstances, the white priviledge shows. My cousin is blonde and married a man of filipino descent. She regularly gets stopped and asked random questions about international adoption, but no one has ever accused her of kidnapping.

    • http://www.michaelvuke.com/ Michael Vuke

      Ouch. That hits home. How many times have I seen a white person with children of a different race and thought nothing of it, or assumed that it was an adoption scenario? How many times have I assumed it was an adoption scenario when I’ve seen people of non-white races with mixed or different race children and thought that it was some sort of caretaker scenario.

      It is incredible how blind we can be to our own privilege, and how even when we are actively trying to treat everyone equally, we still subconsciously discriminate.

      Father forgive me, for I have sinned.

      • Lauren

        adopted parents get plenty of incredibly rude, insensitive questions and comments too! But everyone needs to be more thoughtful and mind their own business most of the time!

  • ThaunaK

    I used to get the “did you adopt her” question all the time when my daughter was young and she had a white baby sister. I did say a couple of times, “nope I birthed her just like this one.” And really 9 times of 10 the question was from people who were crossing out path for a moment and we’d never see them again. I always wished I had the guts to say “that’s really none of your business, random person.”

    • http://www.gracebiskie.com/ Grace Biskie

      Yeah, I struggle with the proper responses too. I have been for the most part (outside of the airport fiasco) pretty calm and even keel…now my boys are old enough to watch and model & I want them to learn how to deal with this is a way that isn’t unhealthy for them either.

  • http://www.motravels.com/ Monique @MoTravels

    I am the mother of two biracial girls, ages 9 and 12, and while I have had people whom I don’t know walk up to me and ask if they are “mixed”, thankfully have never been mistaken as the nanny/caretaker. I see this as God’s grace, because I do believe I would curse somebody out. The hair-thing happens more often than I’d like and few things incense me more than people petting my children. And finally, let me just say that the incident with the woman in the store and the airport security would have absolutely seen me getting stereotypical angry black woman up in there!

    • http://www.gracebiskie.com/ Grace Biskie

      Monique, well in fairness, it was in Canada. Going from to the U.S. so the laws are much stricter when traveling internationally, but still I believe the mistrust came from my being an ethnic minority.

  • Steve Servideus

    When I was young my family traveled a lot, and in places like international airports it’s not unusual for a parent to be made to prove a child is theirs. We’re all white and German-looking, but my parents still had to prove our relationship many times. Usually they did this just by showing our passports.

    So the incident that the author of this article went thru at the airport makes me think less “Why is this biracial woman’s relation to her children being questioned?” and more “Why is the relation between adults and children of the same race taken for granted?” That assumption seems very unsafe to me.

    Now the white woman who expected her child to prove the relation by saying his mother’s name, that’s someone butting in without authority. Wouldn’t be surprised if it qualifies as harassment. Any civilian who suspects abduction should report it to the nearest police officer who hopefully is trained to handle the situation more discretely, not take matters into their own hands.

  • Mya

    You have a beautiful family. #pointblankperiod. I have to say as a fair-skinned Black woman that has been identified as anything but, I appreciate your views on race, class, skin color, etc. Reading what you have to say about how you and your children have been treated makes my teeth grit and my fist clench. But I just know that the story with the crazy lady in the grocery store didn’t end right there. Or did it? I so want to know (as a nosey person myself, but in a different way). I mean, I know what I would have said to her and probably did to her, but I can’t go there without repentance. I have had my own share of experiences as a foster mom to a white child, but I think it’s different when the child is really your flesh and blood baby. It would seem like a slap in the face that someone would have the audacity to assume you couldn’t possibly have birthed such beautiful boys. They must need to get their vision checked to not see how much they look like their mama. Thanks for posting this.

    • http://www.gracebiskie.com/ Grace Biskie

      Thanks, Mya. Appreciated.

  • http://www.twitter.com/teenbug Tina Francis/ @teenbug

    Oh dear! I need to take a walk. *blind with rage*

    I’m pretty sure Kupa and I are going to go through some version of this in the future. However, our baby is probably not going be light skinned enough to be confused for a white baby.

    Maybe I should adopt a white babe to stir up some crazy in the airport?

    I can see my WANTED poster now. Hehe.

    • http://www.gracebiskie.com/ Grace Biskie

      Teen, adopting only to stir up crazy in an airport? ahahahahahaa you so crazy. =)

  • http://www.bethanysuckrow.com/ Bethany Suckrow

    OMG Grace, those stories of people trying to take your children away from you are truly horrifying and traumatic. I would lose my ish all over that, too. Thank you for putting this out there. Your family is beautiful, friend.

    • http://www.gracebiskie.com/ Grace Biskie

      Thank you, Bethany <3

  • Mechelle

    Grace, your story reminds me of a news report my roommate and I were watching a few months ago. I white father, who has lived with his family–black mother and 3 small, beautiful, bi-racial daughters, have lived in their particular town in North Carolina FOR YEARS. The father took his daughters with him to Walmart. They get home, the girls are outside playing, and the police show up at his house to arrest the father. The reason: someone at the Walmart called the police and said that there was a white man in the store with 3 little black girls, so clearly he had kidnapped them. Forget that the girls were all over him, as little girls are with their daddies and that they were heard by other patrons calling him “daddy.” Despite he and his wife both saying, “No, these are our daughters,” the police pulled the little girls to the side and asked them if the two were their parents, that it was okay to let them know if they were in any danger, and did the same thing the white women did to your son–asked them what their parents’ names where. Yes, they did.

    My roommate and I were furious! Not as furious as the parents I’m sure. Walmart’s response was that they report all suspicious incidents, and they were just glad the girls were safe.

    • http://www.gracebiskie.com/ Grace Biskie

      Mechelle, oh my goodness, that story! Sheesh. Ugh. Jesus, help us all.

    • Carena T.

      Lightning may have struck twice but I definitely heard the exact same story happen in Northern VA, a pretty middle-class and more importantly, diverse area near where I grew up. The family handled the ordeal with much tact but it was pretty clear that people in the area were embarrassed about such backwards thinking in an assumed ‘evolved’ part of the state. Is it bad that once, just ONCE, I want one of these parents to stop being the bigger person and flip the *bleep* out on the perpetrators of racial microaggressions? :)

  • http://www.michaelvuke.com/ Michael Vuke

    Once again, I am humbled reading your blog as I recognize new ways that I’ve sinned against my fellow person by viewing them differently. It’s often painful to read your blog, Grace, because it peels the scales off my eyes every time, but it is worth it. For what it’s worth, I’m sorry for the part that I’ve played in crafting an environment like this.

    Keep doing what you’re doing, Grace. God bless.

    • http://www.gracebiskie.com/ Grace Biskie

      Thanks so much, Michael. Really, really appreciate your support and candor and humility.

  • Mining4Diamonds

    Wow! First of all, l’m so sorry you had these experiences! I just can’t even imagine! Secondly…I have to admit, I do not relate to many of the issues you’ve had with race. :( I’ve had many of the same experiences, but I guess to me, it just is not something I dwell on. I’ve gotten comments about what I look like (or don’t look like), especially because of my hair and complexion (people think I am biracial or “mixed” but I’m not…I’ve gotten asked about my parents a lot)…I’ve been all around the world and so I know what it’s like for people to speak to me in Spanish, Hindi, Swahili, etc. I’ve had people (black people…white people probably wouldn’t dare, lol) ask me if my hair was mine (it’s always all about the hair, lol!) and my favorite, “what are you”… I don’t “talk black” (whatever that means), and I play the violin…I have a biracial child who has way more “rhythm” and “soul” than I’ll ever have…I’ve really messed a lot of people up, black and white! And I live in the SOUTH! To be honest with you, I get more…I don’t know what to call it, snarky comments, strange questions, etc…. from other black people (for not being black enough, I guess) than I ever have gotten from white people, although I’ve had comments from that side too. But I just don’t really care. Maybe that’s a problem in itself, but honestly…I just cannot relate to this list. :( These experiences and the feelings you share that you have had are foreign to me. I don’t know why that is. It may be that I’m just really not paying attention to the race issue…my mind is preoccupied with other things, and race and skin color and ethnicity and all of that are very low on my “list” of things I’m preoccupied with. (Having a husband who is “mentally ill” takes up way more of my energy than him being white, trust me!) But maybe it shouldn’t be so low on the list? Now, I would’ve definitely been PO’d with the lady at the airport, but my first thought would not be that I was singled out because I’m a few shades darker than my daughter. I would’ve just thought she was nuts. Which would have been true regardless. So…I don’t know…maybe I should pay more attention…or maybe it’s better to continue on in my bubble of ignorant bliss. :) (((Hugs))) to you Grace!!!

    • http://www.gracebiskie.com/ Grace Biskie

      It’s actually a good thing that you don’t much care. Sometimes I don’t either & other times I’m borderline obsessed. If all this can roll right over you, GOOD. =) Why borrow problems right? I’m that same way with other issues too. Anyway, thanks for sharing your story too! It’s hopeful! It really is! Hugs right back to you!

  • Lauren

    Oh. My. Gosh. I cannot believe that woman came up to you in the store!!!! I have an adopted biracial (African-American/Caucasian) two-year-old son and a white, blonde biological son who is four. We get plenty of odd looks and bizarre comments. What is funny is that they look VERY similar, only the younger one is darker. Their face shape, eyes, and hair are all very similar. I imagine people assume they are both biologically mine from two different fathers. But the worst comment I received – which was exactly as you put it “a racially-charged microaggression”: they looked from my blonde, curly-hair boy to my dark, olive-skinned curly haired boy and said “I bet this one (dark child) looked more like this one (nodding toward white child)” I was flabbergasted and furious. I don’t even think I said anything. But THANK GOD my children were too little to even be listening. When that starts happening and they are older it will be so very hurtful, confusing, and feel shameful. In second place, an older woman looks at my biracial son, then my white son, then back, and asks about the little one “is this one going to get lighter?” RIGHT, BECAUSE THAT IS HOW THAT WORKS. I cannot believe that (old, white) people express such a preference for the looks of my white child right there in front of me and both the boys. They don’t even realize they’re doing it, but it is sick and hurtful. And my little biracial son is an absolutely BEAUTIFUL child by any standard!

    • Lauren

      left out a few words on accident that ruined the point of my story… the worst comment: “I bet this one (dark child) WISHED HE looked more like this one (nodding toward white child)”

      • http://www.gracebiskie.com/ Grace Biskie

        good grief. people. smh. so sorry. hug.

    • http://www.gracebiskie.com/ Grace Biskie

      oh my goodness. How awful. I am so sorry that happened & probably still will. Hugs & strength to you. We’ll make it!

  • Úna Lucey-Lee

    Grace, I’m flummoxed by all that you have had to absorb and manage. You are a strong woman.

    • http://www.gracebiskie.com/ Grace Biskie

      Thank you, Una. I don’t much feel like it, but thank you. =) xoxo

  • Gonzo Leglos

    Man fuck you, your kids, your white daddy and your interracial relationship.

    • http://www.gracebiskie.com/ Grace Biskie

      You are so mature, Gonzo! Thank you for proving my point exactly.

      • Kira

        That user is from a website call The Coli in the subforum called The Locker Room. They made a thread straight insulting and disrespecting you and your family.

        • http://www.gracebiskie.com/ Grace Biskie

          Kira, yeah, I found it yesterday. It was a bit disturbing. So hate filled. And with no context, no knowledge of me or my life & then actually thinking it’s said anonymously or that I wouldn’t see it & that it’s not hurtful. It was just awful… yet they show their ignorance, so what can I do besides allow themselves to show how truly ignorant and evil they are?

        • kat karsecs

          The Coli? As in, E. coli? So they’re a toxic bacteria transmitted in feces. Okay. A subforum of the Locker Room? Sounds like they’ve been engaging in some very unwholesome type of…dare I say it?…sodomy down there. But that makes sense, and explains poor sick Gonzo’s bad attitude. He’s got distemper, poor thing.
          Anyway, liked your article, can’t believe people don’t believe they’re your kids…they actually totally look like yours. Handsome family.

    • charles minchenko

      Gonzo its people like you That have very much to Through text via phone or any two way communication but Im am most positive if you aproached or not even aproached but walked passed any by racial peopl,mixed couple , Black,Hispanics you wouldnt have Two words tobsay people like you come a Dime a Dozen you are called COWARDS the ones that sit behind your white sheets covering your faces…….

  • Gonzo Leglos

    Oh and fuck this blog too.

  • Rachel Ford

    My biracial family gets a lot of comments because we live in Asia and it’s totally normal to talk about skin color here. We take it in stride because we know these comments are not aggressive in the slightest. But how I remember the tension of America- it’s so very different there. My black sister-in-law was fairly horrified by how openly people talked about skin color when she came to visit us for the first time. It’s a different reality here.
    I was confused for the nanny once in San Francisco- when I was asked how much I get paid for two. I turned to the woman and asked her if she knew of someone who would pay me for taking care of my kids because I wasn’t getting paid anything! She was embarrassed and said “Oh, it’s because they’re so… beautiful!” (She meant dark-skinned, I am white.) To her credit, she was a nanny herself and we were in a rich part of San Francisco where I obviously stood out as “not from around there.”
    But the comments directed toward you are horrible and especially the woman who DARED to question your role as Mama. Arggh.

  • alexandra

    Aw, thank you so much for reading my post. Just had had it, with the curly hair, the comments, the questions, “Are you their nanny?” the “Bi racial children are just so beautiful, don’t you think?” Thank you so much, you answer so many questions with grace and patience. It’s a pleasure to meet you, and I’m grateful our paths crossed.

    • http://www.gracebiskie.com/ Grace Biskie

      Me too, Alexandra! Nice to meet you too! I found your post through a blogher friend on twitter (I wish I remembered which one but don’t..sorry)! In any case, it really inspired to me to try & educate on the matter as well. It’s tough. I’m so glad you wrote what you wrote!

  • John Doe

    More sexism and misoginy from the infamous Return of Kings site

    http://www.returnofkings.com/22358/10-reasons-why-foreign-women-are-better-than-american-women

    If you haven’t signed the petition to remove that site from the internet yet, then please do so now:

    http://www.change.org/petitions/www-returnofkings-com-remove-the-article-5-reasons-to-date-a-girl-with-an-eating-disorder

    Good news- we got over 12,000 signatures now.

    ,,,.,

    • Carena T.

      People- can we PLEASE stop going to that site? Just seeing the page title raised my blood pressure. haha These clowns want attention and we keep giving it to them.

  • Thomas Dickerson

    Mostly I’m just horrified and angered by the things you’ve had to put up with. But I’d also be a little bit hurt if I said “hola” to someone and their response was “sorry, I don’t speak Spanish”. I don’t speak Spanish either, but some Spanish words have entered into the American English lexicon as being pretty standard, and hola is one of them (and I happily bandy it about to pretty much anyone, because there are only so many ways to say “hi”, and a little variety is nice).

    • http://www.gracebiskie.com/ Grace Biskie

      Thomas, good point. That was merely an example, usually when people speak Spanish to me or the 1st born it’s in whole sentences and I am generally lost. I usually just smile and they get it that I don’t know what they are saying….and it’s fine. This one almost didn’t need to make the list b/c I am not offended by that AT ALL. Also, it doesn’t happen that often. But yeah, I hear you. Good pushback. Thanks!

      • Thomas Dickerson

        Glad to hear my comment was appreciated. I was a little wary of posting, since I understand that this is a very sensitive topic for you, but I’m glad I did, and that it was well received (and also to hear that if I were to say “hola” or the like, it wouldn’t be seen as a micro-aggression :) )

  • PBelfatto

    I <3 this! It speaks beyond the rich topic of insensitive inquiry as a thin veil for cultural racism and explores our rampant culture of myopic self entitlement. That you for this.

    • http://www.gracebiskie.com/ Grace Biskie

      Your welcome. Thanks for stopping in & leaving me a comment!

  • Kimberly Kimball

    People can be incredibly rude and hurtful because they dont use their brains before speaking anymore. I think you are a very beautiful woman with absolutely adorable kids. I applaud your attitude and patience. I wouldn’t have been able to be that nice.

    • http://www.gracebiskie.com/ Grace Biskie

      Thank you so much, Kimberly.

  • Julie Blauwkamp

    Thanks for your honest post, Grace. I’ve read it and some of the not-so-polite (understatement) comments shaking my head. I am saddened and slightly enraged by your #1 comment and honorable mention. :(

    When we were waiting to adopt our first daughter from China- part of our adoption training focused on the expectations of living as a transracial family. One of the hand outs they gave us was entitled, “Smart answers to stupid questions.” While the questions and comments I’ve received have been somewhat different from yours- I still get floored by the micro aggressive comments people feel like they are entitled to make. I continue struggle with navigating these comments as they still catch me off guard 8.5 years after bringing our first daughter home.

    These comments have grown increasingly more hurtful and complicated after the birth of our surprise bio child 2.5 years ago. I’ve gotten comments like, “God is rewarding you for adopting three of those poor Chinese orphans” to “Aren’t you glad you and your husband finally have one of your own that looks like you?” to “Do you feel differently about this one? (pointing to our bio son).” Sometimes these comments are made around the listening ears of my three other children.

    As my children have gotten older- I am much for sensitive and my mama bear claws are perched all the more ready to strike- mainly because they are now old enough to understand what is being said. Sadly, I’ve had to have several discussions with my 9 year old about what is being said and why and how we should respond.

    I have to remind myself that “Out of the heart that mouth (and now- the social media/internet/etc) speaks.” All of these comments and questions you posted- along with the nasty threads- show this.

    Jesus, help us all.

    Grace- you are amazing- keep on keeping it real- I’m in your corner! :)

    • http://www.gracebiskie.com/ Grace Biskie

      I’m so sorry that you’ve had to endure that as well, Julie. This type of thing will always be with us unfortunately… until heaven. At least we know relief is coming eventually, eh? It’s so tough though & can imagine in different ways for adoptive multi-racial/ethnic/cultural families! And it’s true, the internet gives a platform for that type of crazy…but they reveal their own stupidity. I’m letting it roll over me for now. Yes, Jesus help us all. Thank you for your love & support. Much appreciated!!!

  • http://www.NappyQueen.com/ NappyQueen

    1. yall look like twins in the 2nd grade photo
    2. your family is beautiful
    3. thank you for sharing this
    4. can i repost this on my blog?
    5. i like lists
    6. you are my new hero

    • http://www.gracebiskie.com/ Grace Biskie

      1. Smile =)
      2. Thank you!
      3. Thank you!
      4. Yes, email me – gracebiskie@gmail.com
      5. Me too!
      6. Aww, awesome. =)

  • Jamie Austin

    I just wanted to pop in and say YOUR children are beautiful. Your husband is gorgeous. You are stunning. If we were next to each other in a check-out line, I might be stupid enough to compliment that all that curly hair (because I’m jealous). Most of us racially insensitive mid-westerners are genuinely trying to figure out what the “right” thing to say is. We ask stupid questions because we are learning to adapt to a multi-colored world. Sometimes, we’re downright nasty (apparently, considering what you went through with that crazy lady), but we’re trying. My brother is mixed race, African-American and caucasian, and I still don’t know what to say to people when they ask questions (a typical response from me is “yeah, his father was white and mine was black” or “he’s not my boyfriend, he’s my brother, can’t you tell by how much we look alike?”). Funny, even being from a multi-racial family, I don’t automatically assume others are family units. That’s probably because I feel like my family is the exception, not the rule. You get that impression when you grow up anywhere near the Bible belt.

    I live in a multi-racial family and don’t know what the “right” thing to say is. We are at in interesting point in our evolution as a country, we want to be color-blind, but don’t know how to be. Instead, we flail about in our attempts to make polite conversation. We struggle with what the “right” thing to say is even though we know the right thing is not to say anything at all. It is a distinctly mid-western habit to go out of our way to be polite, to the point of being rude by accident. Bear with us. We’ll get there. In the mean time, enjoy those beautiful children and teach them that in general, the questioning person isn’t trying to be harmful or cruel. In general, people are good. Or, at least, are trying to be.

  • Rachael Brzys

    You have a beautiful family! That’s for sure.

    looks like China is having the same struggle, in their own way. Micro-aggression of some kind comes up in every conversation, especially when they’re trying their best to be polite and end up saying something awful like, “Are you sure you’re American? Where are the real Americans?”

    I was rolling my China family’s baby Ray to the market with his Mom and Gramma and people would ask if Ray was my mixed baby. The real Mom stayed totally calm every time that happened.

    I’m thankful I never had to deal with micro-aggression (at least not for ethnicity) when I was growing up. It’s going to be a fact of life for my own kids, because I’m going to live overseas.

    Ray is a beautiful baby, too.

  • Laurel

    As a multiracial kid, this kind of thing happened a lot to me and my family. My mother and I are just the opposite of you and your kids- she is white and I’m often the one who’s seen as the unknown factor. When I was younger she fielded all sorts of rude and pointless questions about whether I was adopted/a foster kid, if she was my nanny, and on rare occasions an outright refusal to believe that she was my mother. I know it hurt her a lot to hear people think I wasn’t hers. Just after my little brother was born, she got this type of rude question while getting groceries. The woman was so persistent in insisting that my brother “couldn’t possibly” be hers and my mother was so exhausted that she actually yelled, “WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THE C-SECTION SCAR? WOULD YOU?” in the cereal aisle.
    Nowadays, my little bro and I just introduce her as our mother. It cuts the weird questions and goes straight to confused looks. Haha. But we know she appreciates it.

    • http://www.gracebiskie.com/ Grace Biskie

      Great approach!!

  • Helyn Luisi-Mills

    i’m the daughter of itallian american and venezuelan – born in venezuela: said to me: “really? you don’t look white?” “really? you don’t look venezuelan” “really? you don’t look Latina.” “what would your children look like? (i’m married to white guy)” “but you don’t look like your mom/sister (they are more brown)” “where are you really from?” “see, i hire ppl of color”

    • http://www.gracebiskie.com/ Grace Biskie

      Sorry, Helyn. I get it. It gets exhausting fielding these types of questions/comments/snide remarks over & over again, eh? What I’m trying to remember is that my kids are watching how I respond & I really do want to respond 99.9% of the time with grace & patience…. an ongoing battle though, for sure. Grace to you!

  • ebanna22

    Beautiful family. Sorry you’ve had to go through this. I don’t know what I would do if someone tried to take my child just because they didn’t look like me.

    • http://www.gracebiskie.com/ Grace Biskie

      It’s easier to stay calm in the moment…get angry later. That’s how I roll at least.

  • http://www.musingmomma.com/ Ellie {Musing Momma}

    Grace, it always shocks me to hear that people actually still say things like this! And I’m truly sorry that you’ve had to experience this nonsense – most especially the questioning of your relationship to your son. The only ones I’ve experienced on this list are 1) can I touch their hair (which, curiously, my stepsister said never happens with her white daughter who has ringlet curls) and 2) why is he so white (asked by people I know…not strangers).

    I’ve found it interesting how my two son’s different skin tones affects my experience when I am out with them – not my experience of what anyone says or does, but my assumptions about their assumptions, if that makes sense. I am aware that when I’m with my oldest, people probably assume he is white and therefore my biological son, but when I’m with my little one they may be wondering about our relationship (is he adopted? is her husband black? is she just watching him?) and that may also impact their assumptions about me. I’ve sometimes wondered if people recognize my husband and oldest as father and son when they are out – my husband is very dark and my oldest’s skin is as light as mine – but thank God he has never been questioned. about their relationship.

    • http://www.gracebiskie.com/ Grace Biskie

      It’s going to be a journey for them for sure as for all of us biracial folks until it’s seen as more of a norm. Blessings on your beautiful family!!

  • Monica

    My responses are: “Say what? What’s wrong with people?!!!!!” and, “Sadly, some things/thoughts/attitudes/assumptions have not changed.”

    Monica

    P.S. Yes, you are a beautiful FAMILY!

    • http://www.gracebiskie.com/ Grace Biskie

      thank you. =)

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  • Alex Smith

    I don’t see how anyone could mistake your first son as “not yours.” The resemblance is uncanny.

    • http://www.gracebiskie.com/ Grace Biskie

      I know right?! =)

  • Pat

    Being bi-racial Black and Italian, Most people think I’m Latino. It has been a challenge growing up, because I have encountered so much indifference from a multitude of people. One of the most insulting every was being told, I thought there was something wrong with you. This happen in a professional setting after working almost two years with this staff. One young lady asked me about my background and wondered if I was Spanish. When I shared my racial background her response was, “I thought there was something wrong with you.” Excuse me, the only thing that I find wrong it some people’s ignorance. My family runs from blonde hair, blue eyes, to very dark skinned and course textured hair. Your family is beautiful, and it is so terrible that you have to protect your babies from ignorant people.

    • http://www.gracebiskie.com/ Grace Biskie

      Oh my goodness! I’m so so so sorry someone said that to you. How awful! That is incorrect. So sorry. Thank you for your kind words!

  • Ladymargot

    I’m so sorry that you have to experience these problems. Just know that you are absolutely beautiful and so are your babies! It’s so sad that people tend to have small minds. I’m mostly white, usually thought of as white, although I am 1/8th Cherokee, so I have dark hair and sort of olive complexion. I don’t know what olives have to do with it, but that’s what people call it. Anyway, I married a man that is mostly Danish and so two of my children are blonds. It’s so hard to believe that just the different skin tone and difference in hair color causes people to question whether my daughter belongs to me or not. So often I end up settling the matter by saying that her father is Danish, so then they understand. I don’t really see why they have to figure it all out, anyway! It’s really not necessary.

    • http://www.gracebiskie.com/ Grace Biskie

      Thank you so much. Even though it’s hard, I can definitely see the confusion & the curiousity for most people, but I wanted to expose why this can be hard & exhausting over time. Blessings to your family!

  • Anastasia Reynolds

    I don’t get it! I would never think those kids WEREN’T yours, in the age of fostering, adoption and HELLO bi-racial relationships! My sister goes through this a lot though, we are native american-germans and one of her sons she had with a guy who is white and has almost red hair, her son came out looking like a red haired kewpie doll (adorable kid), and people always ask if that’s indeed her biological son. Like it even matters…

    • http://www.gracebiskie.com/ Grace Biskie

      Anaastasia, so true. With all of fostering, adoption and multi-racial marriages there is no place for aggression. Even a simple question to me would have been far less offensive even if it was a tad annoying.

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  • Debbie Michels Finn

    OMG OMG OMG!!!!! I CANNOT BELIEVE that some people would say those things to you and/or behave that way. I am sorry that you and your beautiful family have had to put up with such rudeness and audacity!

    • http://www.gracebiskie.com/ Grace Biskie

      Thank you, Debbie!

  • Denise Naranjo

    People are so stupid! I dealt with this too when my children were little. Very very hurtful.

  • Linda

    You have a truly lovely family and I am so sorry to hear about the problems you had. Hopefully, as your children get older and can tell people what is going on you’ll have less problems. Maybe they’ll learn to just look at people who would say things like that like they are totally crazy and need to be locked away. My Mom used to do that look really well.

    We have been doing the family history and my daughter came across a picture of of an ancestor whose skin and hair make him look like a light skinned black in her dad’s family. My late husband and his dad were pretty dark so it’s possible. We thought it was interesting but my dad’s family always had “black dutch” ancestors and was otherwise racially diverse, so we’re used to the idea that we were a diverse family already. I also have cousins who are considerably darker than you. Their dad was from Egypt and really dark. Don’t know how they got away with that in the 40′s in Texas.

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  • Simone

    I think your elder son is a complete look-a-like of you when I watch you last picture on this post! stay strong! people are so ignorant, to see only the range of pigemnts…