I’m so glad that it’s Friday. If it were a person, I’d kiss it straight on the mouth.
I’m glad that you’re back to read the next installment in our series. If this is the first time you’re joining us – WELCOME, it’s good to have you. Here are the other features in case you want to catch up.
Here’s a little bit of background as to why I want to do this series and why I want YOU to read it and share it with your friends. I am one half of a mixed race marriage (if you want to read my story, check it out here) and we have had our fair share of adjusting to this new life that is often not accepted by everyone.
Besides the odd intentional racist, I feel like a lot of the hurtful comments floating around are actually just brought about through ignorance about how their words will affect other people. Thinking only of our own personal situations with little regard for others, because that’s all that we know. So in an effort to broaden what we know, I thought I would interview a wide range of South Africans that have a variety of different situations – from mixed race couples to single race couples that adopt cross racially to couples that share the same “race” but differ vastly in terms of culture. A bit of a mumble jumble of everything really.
So let’s get started!
If you would like to join in and be featured in this series or know of someone that would, please feel free to get in touch with me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
I want this to be a safe space where we can share stories and encourage each other to be more accepting of our fellow South Africans of all races, cultures and situations. So while I want to encourage you to comment and open a discussion, I will not tolerate any abusive or troll like comments here.
Tell us a little bit about yourself – what you do, what you like to spend your time on etc
I am a work from home freelancer and blogger in the mornings and in the afternoons I play moms taxi/soccer mom. I would love to spend my time reading, visiting coffee shops and having my nails done regularly but in reality I spend a lot of time watching my kids do a sport, which I do secretly love and drinking wine with my delinquent friends.
Ed’s note – go check out Laura’s blog – Harassed Mom, it’s one of my many favourites. Specifically because she knows how to keep it real and I need that.
Tell us a little bit about your partner – what they do, what they like to spend time on etc.
David is in Aviation Insurance and he actually does what he loves and spends his time doing stuff he enjoys like fixing the dishwasher, washing the dog and cleaning the pool.
Give us a bit of insight into your racial/cultural backgrounds.
David, Jack, Emma and I are white and the two older children Cameron and Kiara are coloured/mixed race. Their father was coloured.
Your situation is different to others that I have interviewed in that you and David are from the same race, but your oldest two children are not. Can you share this story with us?
I was married to their dad, a coloured guy, for about 4 years before we got divorced.
Where do you live? Does how you are “accepted” change when you visit different places?
We live in Pretoria which is traditionally a very conservative city but we have never had issues while living here and nothing has really changed. People aren’t really sure how to deal with us because our story is rather unique and the babies are blonde with blue eyes, the older two are dark and David and I are white but with dark hair – so no one is really sure who belongs to who and how.
Did you have any fears/concerns about having “mixed race” babies? Do you still have any of those fears or concerns or new ones as they have grown older?
No but I can be rather naïve about these sorts of things. I do sometimes worry that the older two will struggle to find an identity because they are being raised “white” and have no contact with their coloured heritage at all.
What kind of role does race play in your family dynamic?
None. It’ not something we are aware of or even realise. It usually hits me when I look at photos and the white two are next to the brown two.
How did your families react when you met your first husband?
My parents have always been very accepting. They welcomed him and accepted him but when we divorced my mom did share some of the concerns she had around crossing cultures.
Your kids are much older than most of the kids that have featured in this series. Have they ever spoken to you about racial issues that have concerned them or been a problem for them?
No, they honestly haven’t. They do get asked why David is white or if he is their real dad or if I am their real mom but they handle it really well and it has never been something that has appeared to upset them. Cameron did have a small issue when he joined swimming that he was the only coloured child but once he started competing he realised that it is still predominantly white. No one was nasty to him, he just felt a little bit out but a year on and he has fitted in beautifully.
Have they been affected by their race as they have headed into primary school and become more of their own person apart from you?
Not that they have verbalised with me. Both of them have very diverse friendship circles comprising of boys and girls of all races and religions so they have never really had to deal with it.
How did David feel about being a father to your kids from your previous marriage?
We actually broke up after a few months of being together – it was too much for him. He is 5 years younger than me so to enter into a relationship and suddenly become a dad was a lot to take in but we worked through it and as soon as he met them he committed to being a part of their lives and has treated them like his own from the start.
Are there big differences in your marriage relationship that are affected by your kids heritage/culture?
No but I think that is because they have no contact with their biological father so it is not something we have had to ever actually deal with.
What are some of the ignorant and hurtful things that have been said to you and your husband about this issue?
Honestly we have never really had major issues. I think the hardest one for David was when he took Cameron to a high school open day and the secretary asked “So who are you to this child anyway”. He has been in Cameron’s life longer than his biological father so that wasn’t fun.
What do you think we can do to combat this ignorance/stupidity?
I think dealing with stupid comments head on is the only way to deal with it, it’s not always easy but when people need to be called out on the nonsense they talk.
Do you have any advice for those in a mixed race families that are facing judgement because of it?
Do your own thing. Focus on your family and creating a happy place for them. Teach your kids right and wrong and equip them with the tools to deal with situations.