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The following Featured Post comes from Under 25 Group 1, Thread 3.

1. I'll start something!
Tue, Sep 14, 1999 - 11:44 PM/EST
totow

I'm anxious! What can I say?!

So here it is- question #1: If you had (or have) interracial children, would (do) you live in a larger city to avoid discrimination? Or would (do) you feel that it's up to rural society to learn to accept them, and children to deal with it?

My son is still a baby but I've already made up my mind on this. He's Asian/white and right now we live in Philadelphia. Although I don't plan on him growing up here, I am certain we will always live in a big city. I have many reasons for this, but my main concern is that in a smaller town he wouldn't receive all of the cultural exposure he could otherwise, and he will receive more of the ignorance a LACK of culture provides. I, personally, would love to live in the country but the mentality is just not supportive enough of my lifestyle. Whether you like it or not, the community has a hand in raising your children- so I find it important to find a supportive community! I just don't believe that a whole town would conform to my needs and the needs of my children.

totow

2. thanks for starting
Wed, Sep 15, 1999 - /EST
leelee977

I grew up (and currently live in the same) all white community with a population of about 5000....when I was 13 my family moved to a very diverse town that was 4 times as large. I had my first experience with someone outside my own race. Now, I recognize that 20,000 people hardly constitues a large city, but I will certainly be moving back there if the relationship I'm currently in leads to be a long lasting thing.

That would be the same if I were in a same race relationship though...I don't think children should grow up in a community like I did, never coming in contact with someone outside of their own race...it's not fair to them to be so sheltered. Not to mention if my children are bi-racial I certainly would want them to be living some place that is going to be more accepting, and generally larger communities provide that.
Leann

3. City Kids or Country Kids
Wed, Sep 15, 1999 - /EST
spyiispy

Totow....your question is one I find myself dealing with right now. I am in an interracial relationship, but we do not have kids. However, I do have a 4 year old baby sister who is birracial (long story :) who lives with my mother. They live in the country. At first, the stares were evident, but you really didn't know if it was because she was such a beautiful child or if they were stares of disapproval. Mom did get the occasional "Is she yours?" but everyone now is aware of her and knows the situation and we have found that people are pretty vulnerable to the smile of a child, no matter what color.

Have you ever read anything by Mark Mathabane? He is an excellent writer on these topics. You might find his one book especially helpful, "Love in Black and White: The Triumph of Love Over Prejudice and Taboo." I read it and loved it. It's not only about black/white relationships, but how to raise children with a good sense of self (has a particular chapter about country vs. city. Good luck.

Lisa

4. Never thought about it
Wed, Sep 15, 1999 - 10:53 AM/EST
alrey

My son's are both biracial (black & korean), and I have never thought about where I should live at least not with that concern. But for me my children for the most part look black (at least to me), I have had people ask are they hispanic or something or if they are even mine but for the mere fact, we don't resemble each other (spitting image of father). How you act in your house will give him, his first impression on culture. Do you a hang around a diverse group?, your child(ren) for the most part will mimick what you do or don't do.

No matter where you live you, you will never, I repeat never find a town, city, village that will ever conform to your needs or child(ren) unless you have a lot of money. You will have to conform to where you live and re-emphasize you standards and values in the home and in public of what you expect of your household. If you don't catch on to that you are setting your self and your little one up for some pretty hard let downs.

5. part 2
Wed, Sep 15, 1999 - 11:07 AM/EST
alrey

I come from a rural part of Illinois on the border of Iowa. My family is mixed from my grandmother to my cousins, you will find, whites, mexicans, puerto ricans sitting at the dinner table. Nobody in town seems to mind or notice, but then you will see a lot of other mixed children and adults. And I can actually say this a pretty rural town, they just got a MickeyD's about 3 1/2 years ago, and the department store Jacks is bigger then Kmart. They don't have a Jewels-Osco or an Aldi's. The biggest factory is the slaughter house behind Jacks (go figure). It could be me, but it doesn't seem like you get out much.

6. alrey
Wed, Sep 15, 1999 - 12:54 PM/EST
totow

I get out plenty, thank you. You may be fortunate to live in a more "liberal" small town, but those are more scarce than you think. I lived in a tiny town in Southern Illinois as a child and I would not go back there with my children to live. In general I find that people in small towns tend to have a small town mentality. That is that they think what their parents thought, and their parents, and so on- and have been affected very little by the cultural manifestations happening in other bigger cities.

For instance, it's quite possible that I'd move my family to somewhere rural and the older men in the town would snuff my family. I'd assume it was just a race issue, but it's more likely that they're still pissed about the war and find it disturbing that I'm married to a Vietnamese man. Then they would start telling their children about the war and the Viet Cong, who in turn tell their own children... all of a sudden my husband is branded some kind of monster and my children are unnatural. My husband wasn't even born in Vietnam! But it is so possible that would happen. Just because I'm cautious doesn't mean I "don't get out much"- I just want to protect my kids.

totow

7. thanks totow
Wed, Sep 15, 1999 - 1:11 PM/EST
leelee977

I get out plenty too. I get out enough to know that David and I aren't welcome in the city next to where I live. I get out enough to know that there are places around here where if you sent a bi-racial child to school they would come home everyday crying because of what their peers would say. I'm not saying that tolerant small towns don't exsist, obviously you're saying they do. But I do think that a large city is going to be more accepting than a smaller one.

Where I live all 5000 of my neighbors look just like my family, we all have pasty white skin, we go to one of about 3 churches and most of the people around me have never communicated with someone outside their little white world...I didn't like growing up out there as a child, I can't even imagine trying to raise a bi-racial child there. It would't be fair to them. I dont' care how diverse my group of friends is, my kids will need a peer group that they can fit with and who will accept them...it's hard enough to do that in school without having to worry about racial issues. Fact of the matter is that cities tend to have more different cultures coming together in one place than rural towns. Alrey, you were lucky enough to find an accepting community, but I assure you most of them aren't like yours.

8. Trying to find a home
Wed, Sep 15, 1999 - 1:56 PM/EST
serenity

I am about to marry a white male. We have talked about this toipc so much I sometimes think I am turing blue in the face. However we have not been able to come up with a solution. We both feel differently about the issue because of our backgrounds. I feel that we should live in the city because I remember what it was like for me to visit my grandparents in the south when I was younger. I have always had a light complexion (nick named high yellow), blue eyes when I was younger now hazel, and long strait brown hair. These features come from a realtionshp my grandmother had with a man no one really wants to talk about.

When we would go "up town" as they called it I remember the evil stares and the way I felt about myself when other children would lick out their tongues at me or roll their eyes. I never wanted to go away from the safe feelings in my Grands house, but I had to. So I don't want my children feeling the same way when I have them. This is why I want to live in the city. I feel like the size of the city wouldn't give people the chance to stare down your back and make you feel like an outcast, as much a tiny town where you couldn't excape.

My fiance however grew up in a small all white town named Thief River Falls. He feels like the sense of community is stronger and our children would benefit from it. But none the less for the next six years we can only request where we would like to live. He will be leaving for the Airforce in less than a month. Then we have to live where ever we are placed. So I think that the best thing we can do is just teach our children that they are special. I will be able to share my experiences with them but I dont think that will be enough. So we will just have to keep praying and beliveing that God will only allow those things necessary to happen to us.

11. I'll take the cities, but leave America
Wed, Sep 15, 1999 - 9:14 PM/EST
winston

I do not yet have children - nor may I ever perhaps - but you can be asured that if and when I do I will make every effort to move to a large Canadian or European city to raise them. I have very specific reasons for this. I will list them briefly.

1) An ethnic or biracial child requires - in my opinion - the access to images like his or her own amongst the icons of the community in which they live. Positive images and meaningful rolemodels from identifiable ethnic and economic groups are essential to balance the effects of continual and inevitable racially skewed actions and sentiment from the community and the media. These images and rolemodels may be teachers, police officers, politicians, storeclerks etc.

2) Larger cities offer a greater exposure to culture and diversity of all kinds which is vital to the developement of a truly open minded person. I believe it is safe to say that an individual who grows up in a diverse egalitarian evironment is more likely to have a more balanced universal concept of socioty. The ability to learn and accept foriegn concepts, beliefs and ways allows an young person to see value or at least the legitimacy in different ways of doing things.

3) Major cities in Europe and Canada lack the obsession with race and the paranoia of the U.S.A. Though racism exists everywhere, it is not a struggle or a fundimental unit of measurement. Both whites and blacks I have spoken to in America are super sensitive to any racial issues that may be discussed. I have lived in cities in England, Spain and Canada over the last ten years and have never encountered racial animosity and distrust of the kind I see around me here in Las Vegas.

All of this, combined with the fear of crime and associated paranoia are the major reasons why I will almost certainly leave the United States to raise a family.

W.

Read more featured posts here or continue reading thread 3 from Under 25 Group 1.





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