Black White Man

My mother is black, and my father is white. I walk among you.

Archive for October, 2013

On Coming out as biracial

This excellent essay on Coming Out As Biracial was forwarded to me by my sister (who is also biracial, not all of my siblings are!) and really hit a chord with me. The combination of the awkwardness and necessity to explain your race to people is something I constantly feel. When I’m first meeting people, if I think we’re going to end up being friends, there’s a part of my mind which is always just looking for the opening to explain my heritage to people. Being Black is an important part of how I think of myself. So, I think that on some level I find it disjointed to be “passing” as White, and I’m acutely aware that I’m passing by default unless I say something. On the other hand, I really don’t think it should matter that much, and I also really don’t like having the conversation — along with it’s corollary doubts and my having to prove what to me is obvious. I make jokes to get through it (my dad is of Scandinavian descent, so it’s easy to poke fun at his alabasteriness). But the whole thing is just uncomfortable, and even more so because necessary. I very much appreciate Ms. Georgopolus coming out more publicly and sharing her thoughts with all of us.

The odd desire to thank multiracial families

Now that my older son is in school, I’m seeing that multiracial families are far more common than they were when I was a kid. A see so many families with multiracial children, and especially when I see families with a white dad and a Black mom, I have this deep urge to run up and hug them and chat them up. I love my family, I really do. And although I know a lot of people in the Black community look down on multiracial families and interracial adoption, I can’t help but see myself in it and be proud. So, I always have this desire — but I usually end up just starting at the family creepily. They probably think I’m a racist who disapproves, which is ironic and funny.

I’m sorry to say…

I learned about the verdict in the Trayvon Martin case while I was at a fancy party filled with rich white people. My son goes to a public school here in Chicago, but it’s a high performing lottery magnet school which happens to be in the very wealthy Old Town neighborhood. There’s a certain preference given to people who live near to a school when they do these lotteries in Chicago, so 40% of the kids at my son’s school come from said wealthy neighborhood. So, the fundraising dinners tend to be pretty “nice” affairs at the opulent houses of rich families who have committed to their local public school — which is entirely commendable, I think.

But, it was a little awkward for me, as I reeled from the emotions of hearing that Martin was found not guilty, to be surrounded by cocktails and cocktail dresses and smiles and chit-chat. My wonderful wife was the only one who knew I was hurting, and she did a fantastic job of running defense for me while I tried to hide my anger and disappointment.

It’s indicative of the life I’ve built here. Chicago is a very segregated city, and we found it easier to find a real estate in our price bracket on the north side (I would have liked to have moved to Hyde Park, but the houses we liked there were too expensive). I have a few Black acquaintances. I’m very glad we chose to send my son to a diverse school. But, all of my good friends are white or Hispanic. I miss my peoples.