I’ve been blessed to have been married to my husband Andy who happens to be white from Northern Minnesota. I’m overwhelmingly blessed to have been married into his amazing family. Who have always supported and accepted our marriage and family. Having said that, living where we are, some people are not too keen to see our family in this community. Church is not a ‘racist free zone’ either. Over eleven years ago, I was attending my beautiful nephew’s baptism. Our whole immediate family was in attendance at the church. It was a beautiful ceremony. My favorite part about baptisms is to see the baby’s reaction to getting dowsed with water.
When it came at the end of the service our family started taking pictures. My former employer who was also a member of the church volunteered to take our family pictures. I’ll never forget it when he said to me “Jebeh, get out of the shot because it’s their family photo.” When I explained to him, that this was my family and this boy is my nephew, he chuckled and said “How is it possible that this baby has you as his ‘black aunt?’ Why did my former employer think I wasn’t worthy enough to be related to my own family? Did he think it was impossible for a black woman like myself to have white relatives? He then again proceeded to ask me how it was remotely possible? I remember pointing to my husband and saying “Do the math”.
Although this was a long time ago, the memory still hurts when I think of my nephew’s Christian rite of passage. From that moment eleven years ago, I promised myself to continue to be involved in both my niece and nephew’s lives. I make a point to present my cultural heritage in their classrooms and show my presence at their various sporting events. Although, I still get a few looks of surprise from some of their peers and teachers. I still receive the infamous question, “How are you guys related?” I still reply slyly “Do the math”. When it all comes down to it, I am still their goofy Aunt, who loves them and supports them with all of her heart.
How do people in your community react to your interracial family?