Standing Up To Your Own Family’s Racism

If you don’t already read the blog, “Shades of Black and White,” I strongly encourage you to do so. The writer is really good and she is so honest and unflinching in what she shares. This particular posting, which I link below, is incredible. As you will see it is about what she has experienced and dealt with since her parents have shunned her and her family, including their own grandchild, because she dared to marry a black man.

I have recounted before here how my wife and I share a somewhat similar experience, though not quite as drastic. My wife grew up with a Mom who regularly used the “N word” and who made it clear that blacks were considered less than Mexicans (or Mexican-Americans), which she is. Somehow my wife was able to grow up with that and still find a way to fall in love with whomever she chose, which happened to be me, a black man. I totally tip my hat to her and anyone who can overcome that kind of upbringing to make this kind of choice. What strength.

I was a bit luckier. I grew up mostly around only blacks, but my family did not openly exhibit any racism. I don’t recall ever hearing anything that was negatively directed at whites or others. And frankly, thinking back, now I think how strange and wonderful that was of my parents, particularly considering I grew up in a small town in Southeast Texas in the 60’s and 70’s. So I was very lucky. And to this day, no one in my family has ever said anything about my choice nor have they treated Dianna any differently than anyone else from what I can see.

Now I don’t say this to say my family was better, only to make the point that I am really amazed at people like Shirl and my wife, Dianna, who can deal with what they did growing up and be so amazing as adults in going against their parents. I wonder if I could be so strong were I to have that kind of situation as a child. Most people simply accept and become their parents when they grow up. It is just the way the world is.

So kudos to these two particular women, and anybody else who stands up to their families and racism. I am in total awe and truly do thank you for having that kind of courage.

Here is the link to Shirl’s posting.


3 thoughts on “Standing Up To Your Own Family’s Racism

  1. Shirl says:

    Earnest – Thank you so much, both for your generous words as well as the link. Dianna, your wonderful wife left a very insightful comment on the post you are mentioning here. I will go back and read her words often. She is clearly a very strong woman. One of the biggest challenges of my life has been to “go against” my parents, but the rub is, it is one of the choices I am most proud of. We all have to stand for something and often times I think we shy away from doing so when the consequences can be painful or difficult. Thanks again for your words, you made me sit up very tall today!

  2. MilesPerHour says:

    Lucky for us my GF and I don’t have to deal with it within our families. We would go on our merry way if that was the case.You’re right, Shirl is a gem!

  3. Squeaksdaddy says:

    Earnest, I’ve just come across your blog via Shirl…And now I’m happy to be following you. I’m bi-racial (multi-racial, really) and new to this whole blogging thing. But I’m happy I started. Blogs like yours, Shirl’s and MilesPerHour’s really make me think and inspire me. Life is good… JJ

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