5.30.2009

Multi-Racial America


Obviously you are familiar with President Obama's family history by now - how his mother was a white woman from Kansas and his father a black man from Kenya. My ancestry is pure Swedish, but my husband's mother is English and his late father was Palestinian. My mother-in-law has told stories of strange looks and bias - but this was in the 1950's and early 60's when they first were married. Things have changed a lot since that period in America, but not as smoothly or fully as you might wish. America, the land of immigrants, is naturally a place where mixture is almost common place. My husband and I have joked about our widely varying upbringings and cultural influences, but never has it been anything near a problem for us - nor has it been one for our friends or family. And never once have we encountered anything near to racial bias. But, then again, that is probably also due to the fact that my husband, in particular, does not appear any different to the common denominator - which is white. His father did not have that advantage, especially at a time in this country when mix race marriages (or relationships) were essentially frowned upon.

But we live in a different place and a different country now. Multiracial Americans have become the fastest growing demographic group, wielding an impact on minority growth that challenges traditional notions of race. This according to a recent article online at MSNBC.

The number of multiracial people rose 3.4 percent last year to about 5.2 million, according to the latest census estimates. First given the option in 2000, Americans who check more than one box for race on census surveys have jumped by 33 percent and now make up 5 percent of the minority population — with millions more believed to be uncounted.

This is not a matter of just black and white either. Every day more and more 'subtle' connections are being made - just like my husband and I. So, with the 'Global Parents' interview just posted the other day featuring a mixed race couple - the Ruhren family - I thought it might be interesting to share the story found on MSNBC. As part of the story there are interviews with 6 different couples front various parts of the USA. I'm sure you might find it interesting and familiar to your own, or your neighbor's, or a friend's story. It's not as surprising as it once was. Which is what I call progress... since LOVE has always been blind!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

when my dd was younger it took me a while to understand why people kept asking me where i got her from (meaning what country did i adopt her from). it hadn't even occurred to me that she didn't look like me... which i KNOW she doesn't... she's all her papa with sweet filipino cheeks and darker skin (i'm blond and very pale ). now when i meet other mothers who have children that don't look like them we joke about how so many people think we are the nanny. in a way it's kinda fun to keep people guessing.

Anonymous said...

I have heard some unkind things over the 8 years I am married to my husband - I am Chinese and he is White. But, I meet so many many nice people also that the bad people always fade away in my mind. USA is a very good country - and I hope everyday it becomes better and better. thank you for this story.
Jfb :)