Love is a choice; a decision even. Love is saying I choose you, all of you, even when we differ in thoughts, background, beliefs or even ethnicities.I choose to love all of you!
Sitting here preparing to share my experiences as a wife in an interracial marriage and mother to biracial children has me overwhelmed by emotions. Thinking to myself, why is this even a topic to discuss? Tears have filled my eyes one too many times because of the actions, words or deeds of others who either don’t understand or simply choose not to.
I can remember after the birth of my oldest daughter, overhearing family members ask, “does she look white or black?” as if somehow that made a difference. Walking through stores or sitting in restaurants and trying my hardest to ignore awkward stares or questioning expressions. “Could that blue-gray eyed little girl with long strawberry blonde curls, really belong to this black woman?” It’s sickening and frustrating. What happens when there is only one blue-gray eyed baby and the others are brown hair/brown eyes? There becomes a hierarchy amongst the most beautiful and perfect drops of pure love but from those closest to you who secretly share the thoughts and feelings of some of the most hurtful strangers. Statements like “all of them are pretty but she’s special” or differential treatment creating a false sense of superiority in one while a false feeling of inferiority in the others. My heart breaks just thinking that those who you love can harbor such outdated and discriminatory feelings and beliefs.
As parents who made the choice to love each other without weighing the costs, it almost feels reckless on our parts. I don’t think I was fully prepared to challenge political correctness to cover true disappointment or those “tolerating” rather than “embracing.” There was a bit of naivety, a belief that the world has changed and that our love would be admired. Unaware of the hurdles we would have to clear has left us blindsided for some of the most difficult challenges. How do you start the conversation with those you love whose hurts cut the deepest? I ask myself this question almost daily. Where is the line drawn in the sand? In some of the worse of times, I’ve thought “why did I choose this for them?” Will our love and teaching be enough to combat the ignorance of so many around us? Do I confront those we love in pursuit of peace, true love and acceptance while risking conflict?
I look into the eyes of my 4 beautiful gifts and see perfect love that hasn’t been corrupted, perverted or distorted. It’s at that moment that I want to capture it, bottle it up and preserve it. It’s not their ethnicity that defines them. It’s not whether or not their physical appearance is more or less socially preferred. What truly defines them and all of us is our self respect, integrity, convictions, beliefs, how we treat others, our ability to love fully and completely, and seeing those same things in others.