Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
American Love Stories . Featured Posts | PBS

American Love Stories

Featured Posts
DialoguesStoriesTV SeriesDig Deeper

Visit the Dialogue Archives at Web Lab

The following Featured Post comes from TV Series Group 1, Thread 17.

1. Does the mother's race and/or coloring impact the bi/multiracial child?
Thu, Sep 23, 1999 - 1:30 AM/EST

When I think of the word 'biracial', I always imagine someone who has skin with stripes on it. My three kids aren't striped, but are sort of...beige-y tan. They look more like each other than either of us. When our family is out together, people stop and tell us what beautiful children we have. This is a nice thing to do and I never hestiate to thank friendly strangers for their kind words. We have traveled to some places where people don't ordinarily see families that look like ours, but that's okay. It's never too late to learn about the wonders of genetics, and I make it my business to be friendly and accessible.

I have observed on many occasions the disapproving looks cast in the direction of white mothers and their duskier offspring. These mothers carry an enormous burden and are, in a way, contemporary versions of Hester Prynne, the scarlet-letter bearing adultress of the famous novel. They have committed an "offense" which to some is worse that being unfaithful: they have lain with a black man.

As a black woman married to a white man, I can say unequivocally that my path has been easier than that of some of these women. My husband, just by being a white guy, gives me instant credibility in new social situations. I am accepted and more "acceptable" because of this.

I couldn't help but admire the pure love and strength petite Karen poured into her family, all so unlike her in looks. When she looks at the faces of her daughters, her own is not reflected. How does that make her feel? How do her daughters feel, not seeing any of her features blended into theirs? I think that Cicily struggles still to accept that she is perceived as a black woman by the outside world, regardless of her personal reality. Because it is important to her to honor and acknowledge the deep bond with her mother.she feels conflicted when asked to choose her racial identification/affiliation. Comments?

2. blackfire327
Thu, Sep 23, 1999 - 2:08 PM/EST

I am so glad that someone notices the burden a white woman carries when she has a "bi-racial" child!!! I have often thought that I was being too sensitive when people stared. I fought with myself to control my temper and not just scream out "What the hell are you looking at?"

I wish people could just see me as a single mother trying to raise a child. I hope that I can raise my daughter to be proud that she is a black woman and equally proud of her mother regardless of what my race is. My daughter used to always say she wished she was white so she could look like me. It was my responsibility as a mother to reaffirm that she was my daughter no matter what color she was. I try to raise my daughter to surrend herself with people of all colors and it does hurt when I think that she will come across many people who won't accept her.

3. Does the Mother's race or coloring impact the bi/multi racial child?
Fri, Sep 24, 1999 - 6:17 PM/EST

It generates questions from other people like "Are you adopted?, You're Mother's White? and so on. This makes a child race conscious whereas before they interact with others race is never questioned.

My oldest daughter is now 20. She used to say when she was four that she was orange. I don't know why she picked that color, but she told everyone if they asked her. When she was 12 she was embarrassed to be seen with me because all of her friends assumed she was "black" and never suspected her Mother was white. She grew up in a racially diverse, more black than white, metropolitan area and identified herself as black. She now never dates any man much darker than she. Who knows what attracts us to one another? When I ask her if she thinks she had it harder because she was bi-racial, she says no.

Now I also have an 8 year old. My husband is from Trinidad and this child (second marriage)has hair that is more like mine. She also looks somewhat East Indian because of that racial mixing from her father's background. With this child I get many more questions because the black/white thing is not so obvious, so if they see me with her, people think she is "latin" or "indian" or something else but not black. She asks questions about how to answer questions from other kids, but otherwise has friends of all ethnic and racial backgrounds and is well adjusted.

4. "Through A Mothers Eyes"
Fri, Sep 24, 1999 - 8:44 PM/EST

These comments are from true "mothers" who look at their children, and see just that..their children, do I notice the color of my childrens skin? Only when my baby daughter(10) and I take a bath together, then of course my "casper" legs are a noticable difference... I had to laugh out loud at Jackie's comment to people who stare at "our" children..."WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT?!" I have to share a story (funny to look back on now) while at the local grocery store many years ago, the cashier kept looking at me, and then my daughter sitting in the cart, me, my daughter, then she says "is she yours?", I said "yes", she keeps looking, says "is she adopted?", I said "no", of course I knew exactly what she was as she handed me my change and reciept, I leaned over and very quietly said....."I was raped", I smiled and walked out of the store, never looking back....I only hope that "poor" little young cashier learned a lession in "dignity and respect" my 3 girls (21,17,10) still laugh over "mom's cashier story".

Read more featured posts here or continue reading thread 17 from TV Series Group 1.

Partners   Produced by Web Lab

Copyright © 1999 by Zohe Film Productions and Web Lab