“Oh, She’s So Cute, Where Did You Get Her?”

When I was little, people always asked my (white) mother where I was from or where she had gotten me.  I grew up in an area of South Jersey were international adoptions were common, but interracial marriages were not.  Which meant that the assumption was that because I’m kinda mocha-colored and have tightly curly / frizzy hair, I must have been adopted from some exotic locale.  It RARELY occurred to someone that I was my mother’s biological daughter.

Once, my mom came to pick me up from day care.  This was usually my dad’s job, and the teachers and other children were used to seeing me climb into his car.  But this one time, mom comes, I gladly get ready to leave with her, and one of the kids on the playground starts screaming bloody murder.  STRANGER!!!!!  Luckily, the teachers knew my mom, so things went OK and we were able to leave.

I suppose it’s not too strange that most people didn’t think I could possibly be the interracial child of my lily-white mother.  I was born in 1977, a short 10 years after the Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court decision that invalidated state laws which made interracial marriage illegal (anti-miscegenation laws).  But at the same time, New Jersey never had an anti-miscegenation law.*  Our closest neighbor, Pennsylvania, repealed its anti-miscegenation law in 1780.  Our next closest neighbor, Delaware, did have its anti-miscegenation law repealed by the Loving decision, but really, who cares about Delaware?  (Kidding!  Mostly…..)

This is all rambling towards telling you about what happened to Joseph and Keana – after a fellow customer Walmart didn’t think the family “matched up,” store security was notified and police were dispatched to their family home.  The reason?  Joseph is white, and he was at the store with his 3 mixed children.  Added bonus: this happened in Virginia, not only the state that gave us the Loving case, but also home to the highest rate of interracial black-white marriages in the U.S. (which is only 3.3%, so not awesome, but still, the highest nationwide).

I have no idea what our Belly Monster is gonna look like.  Could be lighter than me, could be dark as my dad, could have wire-straight hair like Teddy, could have my frizzy curls.  Who knows?  The thing with us mixed kids, we can take after either parent, or any of the grandparents, and there’s a LOT to pick from re: genetics for our little Bub.  My mom is pale white, thin blond hair, ice blue eyes, while my dad had dark dark skin and brown eyes.  Teddy is much darker than either of his parents, who are both medium-toned Indians, but all of them have dark dark black hair and dark dark brown eyes (Teddy’s are almost black).  Seriously, who knows what Belly Monster will look like with all that to pick from?

So I know there will be people with no filter who will say stupid stuff.  “Oh, she’s so cute, where did you get her?”  (Someone said this to my mom once.)  But the fact is, interracial marriage, not just black-white but across all races, is becoming more and more common.  I have two interracial weddings coming up next year, and many of the couples I know are interracial.  It’s just a fact, it’s the way the world is going, and people need to get over it.  And that means more and more babies are going to be mixed, and mixed is AWESOME.  (OK, I’m biased.)

I feel bad for Joseph and Keana and their adorable kids, and I wish them the best.  Hopefully the idiot who alerted store security learned a little something about the world we all live in and that families like Joseph and Keana’s – families like mine – we exist and we’re out there with everyone else.

 

Dates re: anti-miscegenation laws from Wikipedia.  I don’t have that memorized.  Jeez.

Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967).

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