Mexican and Black—In My Family it Works!

By Candace McGee
Spicy Cilantro

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!

Candace

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4 Comments

  1. Taíno Vázquez said:

    Bravo for Candace and her diverse family! I am though curious as to why she didn’t touch on anti-black Mexican/Latino or anti-Mexican/Latino black bigotry? My sense is that when white racists say that people should marry w/in their own race, what they mean is that whites should only marry whites and that white women should only have sex with white men. I’m not so sure that they care whether the ‘nonwhites’ are intermixing — though they’re clearly agitated about the fertility rates of nonwhites in general. But I do know that there are many w/in the Latino population who are racist towards blacks and vehemently disapprove of Latino-African American relationships. Some are racist towards blacks and nonLatino whites. And let’s not leave black racists off the hook either. Lots of black women (and men) do disapprove of a brother (or a sister) choosing a nonblack partner. Some even disapprove when the partner is black but of Latino culture. But maybe Candace and her children have been saved from such torments. If so, this too is good. It means we’re making progress — even if only in certain parts of the nation and among certain groups of people.

  2. Carla Archuleta said:

    I am a Mexican/Native American with 2 half black kids and 1 half Nicoya. I have experienced alot of “haters” because of my 2 black kids by other African American women and by others close to me. Why? I have no idea other than ignorence. No one seemed to care my youngest was mixed race. I guess I just dont get it. To me they have the best of both worlds.

  3. Carla Archuleta said:

    I am a Mexican/Native American with 2 half black kids and 1 half Nicoya. I have experienced alot of “haters” because of my 2 black kids by other African American women and by others close to me. Why? I have no idea other than ignorence. No one seemed to care my youngest was mixed race. I guess I just dont get it. To me they have the best of both worlds.

  4. darryl thompson said:

    I just wanted to start this off by saying thank you guys for your time.I’m a black man. Who love Mexicans so much.I’m so crazy about them and,i can’t until the i meet my Mexican Wife.Me personally i’ve never had a problem with skin period and,i just wanna say to those who have a problem with these two beautiful races or any other.They should slap themselves silly.Thanks Again._

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