9 Comments

  1. Mark says:

    June 4, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    Nearly everybody, except the saintly and angelic among us, perceives nearly everybody else through some sort of bias or filter that derives in a large part from that person’s race and ethnicity. Very often, we aren’t aware of or would vigorously deny having such emotional and physical reactions. For example, studies have shown things like increases in pulse rate when people encounter a black male they previously didn’t know — even in people who would *swear* that they’re not racist — even blacks were prone to this increase in pulse rate!

    As Toyin pointed out, you’re seeing white people through a different filter now and you’re aware of it. I’ve long been of the opinion that although unconscious biases are the truly harmful part of racism, being aware of them is the first step in combating them: it is in this way that you learn to deal with the individual in front of you, not the baggage they bear and give unto others simply by being members of a certain group. Good luck!

    • Martha says:

      June 4, 2012 at 9:26 pm

      Yes, I agree that being aware is the first step. The thing is, it’s not like I avoid them or fear them. I just wonder. And I think it’s a healthy attitude, especially in Texas. I’m aware that it’s possible, which is the only thing I’m thinking.

  2. Bicultural Mama says:

    June 5, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    I think that now you’re more aware of what it’s like to be on “the other side” because of who you married. It does not make you a racist; if anything, now you know more. I think there are a lot of white people who hold the same view of you when it comes to confederate flags and it doesn’t make the racists. The views stem from historical actions.

    BTW, I also have the “radar” to tell when kids are mixed White/Asian. To your point, it’s not based on skin color, but more on facial features, bone structure, etc.

    • Martha says:

      June 7, 2012 at 12:01 am

      Thank you Maria. Yes, I think that for the most part I am just more aware of the possibilities. That’s what I tell myself. But there are moments when I question some of the more subtle distinctions in what I’m thinking about.

  3. says:

    June 6, 2012 at 7:27 am

    I agree with Maria when she says that you’re just moe aware now. Maybe your previous self subconsciously identified more with white folks, it makes sense because I think we all gravitate towards the familiar. But now you see that just because someone looks like you doesn’t mean they ARE like you.

    I’ve had a lot of the same experiences you describe. I feel more accepted by a lot of black folks when I’m out with my kids. I get the nod, the smiles (not so much on my girls’ bad hair days, though ;-P)

    • Martha says:

      June 7, 2012 at 12:02 am

      Jen, I definitely hear you on the bad hair days. There have been times when I’ve picked fuzz out of Annika’s hair and then stopped for a minute to retrace my steps that day and make sure I didn’t encounter any black women! LOL

  4. says:

    June 6, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    This was such an interesting and thought-provoking post, Martha! I’ve had some similar experiences, just having that thought in the back of my mind wondering what others are thinking about my family and whether it is negative or not. Like you said, that “personal association” – VERY personal – makes us suddenly really tuned in to racism. I’ve also noticed that black people seem much more tuned in to the fact my kids are biracial and love that smile or doting on my boys that tells me they are accepted!

    • Martha says:

      June 7, 2012 at 12:04 am

      It’s very nice to hear that you have had similar experiences. It’s really great to be validated and know that there are others out there with similar experiences, especially when I don’t have it that much in real life.

  5. MW says:

    June 17, 2012 at 10:25 am

    I’ve been thinking a lot lately about part of what you described. I’m half black/half white and married to a white man. Our daughter has dark hair and eyes, and her skin is the same color as mine. People are always telling me she looks “exactly” like me. My black relatives, though, tell me they see a lot of my husband in her. I think they look more closely, are more attuned to facial features as an indicator of ancestry.

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