Monday, January 16, 2012

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Have you ever thought about what exactly this day does mean?  Or what it actually means to you personally?  Do you think it affects you?  Well, for me and my family, it does.  Quite a bit actually.  Obviously for the better.  Let's chat a bit.

Can you imagine it?  I know there are movies and people that have experienced some serious racism, but for the white folk out there, can you even imagine it?  What blows my mind is that people thought it was okay!  People thought it was okay to act like they were better than someone else because of their skin color.  People thought it was okay to think that blacks were less than them, even less than human.  It  And the innocent 'let's all be happy' girl in me wants to act like people don't think that anymore.  Like we've moved on.  Or if I just turn my head, will it all go away?

But I can't turn my head.  I am married to black man who has experienced for himself first hand some of this ugliness that I speak of.  I actually have witnessed it a bit as well.  Nothing with calling names or abuse or anything as blatant as that, because let's be honest, who in their right mind would try to beat up my husband? :)  But with remarks and statements, it makes me really sad.

I do think, however, we have come a long way.  We don't experience as much racism as we would have maybe 20 or 50 years ago.  We are able to be happily married without too much from other people. (Our college dating story on the other hand... oohhheeee the racism!)  I think the biggest problem is ignorance.  People don't know how to act around my husband because he's different.  He's big and black and has an accent.  People like me are drawn to it, but there are people who are just plain scared of it.

But then, I have to think about my beautiful, mixed babies in this world.  How will people view them?  Honestly, I don't care if people see them as black or white or mixed or just plain gorgeous.  I care about who they are as men.  I also care about how people treat them.  One of my biggest worries when we move back to the states is that people won't know how to treat them.  They are interracial.  They are intercultural.  They speak another language.  They are huge.  They look different.  I hope and pray that the transition is easy and that the parents where we live are bringing up their kids to be loving and accepting to different.  To embrace them.

But my number one thing I want my boys to know if this doesn't happen.  It is OK.  Daddy loves you. Mommy loves you.  Most importantly, God loves you.  You do not, let me repeat, do not need these people's acceptance to know that you are loved.

So if Martin Luther King Jr. hadn't stood up for what he believed in, for what is right, would we be where we are?  Would I have married my husband?  Would I have my beautiful and oh-so-precious babies?  Praise the Lord I don't have to think about those scenarios because he did.  The course of history was changed for the better and I pray that it only continues to do so.

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

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ohhollyf said...

My hope for your boys is that they will be judged according to their character alone.
Today is a day I teach my boys' that a Christian man stood up for what was right...even tho it cost him his life.
B/C isn't that what we want from our kids ? To stand up for what is right at all cost ?
I have distance family who worked the Underground Railroad. Since it was documented, I am able to show them that everyone can make an effort to do right.
We also watch Youtube clips of MLK, and chat about how he expressed for many, in a public form the way our country needed to head.
I also hope your boys learn that if anyone has a problem with their skin color...that it's just that, a problem, BUT not theirs !

Alyx said...

I love this post. And for your kids' sake, I hope that they never have to deal with any of that. Let's just pray that other parents teach their kids love and respect the same way that you've taught yours.

Gina said...

Such a lovely post, Natalia! Your boys are so lucky. So many kids don't know about other races or cultures because they are rarely exposed to them...this is often something that just happens, not something parents do intentionally. The fact that your boys have been a part of several worlds their entire lives will do nothing but enhance who they are as people.

the hollie rogue said...

so so beautifully said! i think your babies are just about the most gorgeous babes around! thanks for sharing!

Bonhomie Jewelry said...

Well said, mama. I worry for my boy all the time because I didn't have it so great growing up. Thankfully, yes - it has gotten better. And we will raise our boys to know their worth :-)

Chloe Jacqueline said...

Beautiful post! Really thinking about this day made me speechless! The things that were normal were so ugly, but one man with a dream helped change that! Martin Luther King Jr. was an amazing man! This is a beautiful day!

Unknown said...

Natalia, Maybe it's because I was listening to lectures from Dr. King on NPR earlier today, but your post made me all teary- especially the part about your boys. Your family is gorgeous!
ps. I like your blog!

Jen | Our Happy Family said...

What a wonderful post! I too am in an interracial family (though my husband is Japanese) and we also have gorgeous mixed babies :) It is sad that racism is still all too real, but it is a good day to remember how far we've come.

Jaime G. said...

I love this post. It made me get a bit teary-eyed to see I am not alone with the hopes of my son. Our family is unique that our oldest is black & Mexican (& adopted) and our (so far) youngest is as white as the day is long. I know our youngest will grow up with the benefit of having Jax as an older brother and learning that the color of skin doesn't matter when it comes to friendship, love, family, business, life, etc. But I pray that Jax I shielded from ignorance. He is a sensitive soul and I know I'll go a bit nuts the day he comes home and tells me he was picked on for being "different." I pray he grows to be an intelligent and kind and passionate Christian man, with thick skin and it sucks that I have to add "thick skin" to the list.
*sorry for rambling and probably not making much sense. But, point bring... Beautiful post.

Jenny said...

This is a really touching post (as are the comments from readers). I'd be interested to hear more about how you feel about racism (or lack or racism) in France. And you do have the most beautiful babies ever. xx

Anonymous said...

very good and genuine words natalia.

growing up in southern virginia, i experienced racism at its finest...but ive also experienced integration and coexistence at its finest. virginia is home to older generations who are ignorant, racist, and intolerant. virginia's new generations are educated, appreciative, and willing to get along.

i played basketball my entire life and my travel team was mostly black. i never really saw color. my parents were raised in the north, so they never saw color. but i was surrounded by it. it is a wonder how values and morals can be instilled in a child just from watching their parents words and actions.

i think martin luther king jr. was such a vital part in our willingness to live together and get along because when he spoke, people listened. not just the blacks...but EVERYONE. it is a wonder what a little bit of education and some eloquent words can do to a society.

Marilyn said...

Natalia, this was a touching post.. I TOTALLY admire your adversity and courage to share something so intimate.. Society although has changed, still carries a lot of the negatives from past beyond, but with a mom like you, your boy's are beautiful and will know to to embrace both sides of their heritage and be proud of who they are.. My lil boy believe it or not has already been exposed to racial comments at the tender age of 10. He's very aware of his identity and quickly has the best response to hold his head up high and be proud of who he is no matter what color is seen on the outside.. It's sad we have to worry about things of this nature as parents, but the common ground is to all unite and allow for the kids to understand their heritage, embrace it and be able to embrace other's simply for who they are and not by their backgrounds.. LOVE this post.. Great comments too.. Wishing you a HAPPY WEEK.. ;))

MiMi said...

When I watched The Help I was physically sick that people acted like that. I mean, WOW. You have a beautiful family and I'm so glad we live in a time where they will not be made to feel bad or less because of their color. They are gorgeous!

Nicole said...

go girl!

love you and your perfectly adorable family.


Maticakes said...

I am an interracial. My mother is white and my father is black. Born in the early seventies and settling down in a predominantly white town, in Calufornia was easy until I got older. Living with parents who would tell us that people were staring because we were so beautiful was amazing but not truthful.
We had a brick go through our window, some one made a very rude racial comment about my father's comic strip that ran in the local paper, my mother was excluded from neighborhood get togethers with moms. I didn't find this all out until I was personally attacked outside of work after the Rodney King verdict.
However, I had confidence and I owe that to my parents. Sheltering me from it as a child wasn't always the best way but it helped me live a very happy life. Feeling like I didn't fit in didn't come until now as a 40 year old woman.
Not because of the color of my skin but because of my dress size (I am a size 8), financial status or whom I know socially.
I am confident that your children will fit in as long as they are confident that they do no matter what anyone says. <3
Email me any time.


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