By Candace McGee
My husband is Black and I am Mexican.
It is odd for me to speak of this here because in our household and family, it is a non-issue. But, apparently, for many conservative, non-Black people, and in some corners of our nation, are so against it is still not accepted. Recently, on the ABC reality show Primetime: What Would You Do? with host John Quinones, they presented a set-up scenario of a couple (both actors, one Black, one white) talking about their upcoming wedding and on meeting the white in-laws.
A white woman in the next booth was hearing the conversation and chimed in about how they should not marry. When Quinones revealed himself, the woman cried as she explained that she’s not against Blacks, but they should not enter into interracial relationships. She was worried about the children and the harassment they would face in their lifetime.
I’m 46 years old, happily married for almost 18 years and we have two daughters ages 17 and 9. Our daughters come from a mixed heritage, which can sometimes make things interesting.
I can’t even begin to count the number of times my older daughter, Mariaelena (a Mexican name) is not believed by her classmates when she tells them she is half Black and half Mexican. Not even her name is convincing. There have been times when her classmates see us together (which is often because I am a Cheer Coach at her high school) they ask if I am her Stepmom! My daughter takes this in stride and let’s them know I am her real Mom.
Nowadays you cannot tell anything about a person’s heritage by their looks. America today is a melting pot of diversity, a mix of cultures, Black and Latino being the largest and fastest growing demographic, so more often than not, you will only know that a person is of a mixed culture.
My mother, Maria Elena Serna Redmond, taught us to respect all people, no matter their skin color. My mom, like her mom and her mom’s mom, all had first-hand experience with racism. They did not want me to grow up as someone who did not appreciate all cultures, walks of life, rich or poor.
After my mother divorced my father she remained single for many years, devoting her energy to help with the newly formed United Farm Workers cause with Cesar Chavez. Her work with Cesar took her to Quebec and there she met the man who would become the love of her life. He was this handsome, Irish-Canadian who looked like Robert Redford!
They married when I was 12 years old and from then on I referred to Larry as my Dad. Accepting this Irish-Canadian into my life was no big deal. It didn’t matter to me that he was not from our culture; I just cared that he would treat my mother with respect, and he did until the day he died in 2009.
We celebrated American. Mexican. Irish. And, now we celebrate Black along with our other family traditions.
When I married my husband, it was interesting because although I was brought to respect all cultures I still had wondered if my family would really accept him or not, but of course they did.
Even, my grandmother (my beloved Nani) who was not old-fashioned or traditionalist in any way… accepted and loved my Paul. I love our family get-together…it’s like the United Nations…how beautiful is that!
Keep it real!