Beyond Black & White » Family http://www.beyondblackwhite.com Chronicles, Musings and Debates about Interracial & Intercultural Relationships Sat, 20 Sep 2014 18:42:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 That Awkward Moment When Numbskulls Assume Your Biracial Baby Isn’t Yours… http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/awkward-moment-numbskulls-assume-biracial-baby-isnt/ http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/awkward-moment-numbskulls-assume-biracial-baby-isnt/#comments Tue, 08 Jul 2014 16:08:24 +0000 http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/?p=31535 Last night, my husband Sean was holding our 16-month-old daughter Maya as we were boarding a flight from BWI to MCO. As we stepped onto the plane, one of your flight attendants opened her mouth and inserted her foot quite deeply inside. Flight attendant to Maya: Hi there! Are you going to see Mickey?Sean: Nah. […]

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Last night, my husband Sean was holding our 16-month-old daughter Maya as we were boarding a flight from BWI to MCO. As we stepped onto the plane, one of your flight attendants opened her mouth and inserted her foot quite deeply inside.

Maya on plane
Flight attendant to Maya: Hi there! Are you going to see Mickey?
Sean: Nah. We’re headed home.
Flight attendant: Well, that explains where she got that tan!

(Miraculously, though he also lives in Florida, my incredibly pale husband does not have said tan.)

I turned to look at my husband and he gave me a smirk. Neither of us said a word. (I’m sure this is floating around in your unresponsive PR department/social media team’s periphery since I tweeted about it not long after it happened.)

You see, my husband is white and I’m black. Naturally, our mixed child is a beautiful blend of his redheaded Scottish/German genes and my East Indian-Chinese-Black-White Caribbean background. It’s not a tan; it’s her complexion; one that she inherited from us.

When we sat down, we were hurt and furious. It lingered for the entire flight. For two hours, I kept reliving the moment—how an off-handed comment could completely ruin our flight experience. Should I have said something back? My husband wondered if he should have. We murmured quietly about it, dissecting the encounter, as Maya slept in my arms.

Because this is what it means to have a mixed family: To deal with questions about if she’s ours, the looks, to be stung by comments made thoughtlessly and move on, to wonder if they were intentionally hurtful or simply thoughtless, to constantly question if you’re overreacting or not. To forgive them anyway.

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When we chose to fly with Southwest Airlines, we did not sign up to have to face this moment again. And while we are all but certain that she meant no harm, it is undeniable that it was incredibly insensitive and reflective of great cultural ignorance. We expected more from Southwest and its staff and, quite frankly, you should, too.

When finally we landed, I carried Maya off of the flight, my husband striding protectively ahead of us as if to stave off another encounter. She’s not old enough to know yet how the world sees her, but one day she will. And we hope she will deal with it with more tact and sensitivity than she receives.


Are you part of a mixed family and have faced similar situations? How have you dealt with them?

UPDATE: Southwest Airlines submitted this response to Kari:

Dear Kari,

We received your e-mail and tweet regarding your travel with us back home to Orlando on July 6, and we’re so sorry to learn that you had such an atypical Southwest experience.  We appreciate the opportunity to research this situation and respond to your concerns.

We pride ourselves on being a family airline, which means not only treating Passengers like family, but creating a comfortable atmosphere for family air travel.  With that being said, we were concerned to hear about your interaction with one of our Flight Attendants onboard Flight # 540, and we sincerely regret any discomfort or embarrassment you experienced as a result of your conversation with her when she was greeting your family as you boarded.

We realize that an Employee’s attitude when handling a situation may be remembered long after the actual incident is forgotten.  Rest assured, demonstrating a biased, hurtful attitude based on one’s appearance is not condoned at Southwest Airlines.  Indeed, discrimination for any reason is wrong.  Our Company could not survive if we believed otherwise.  In fact, a cursory view of our workforce, as well as our expansive, multi-cultural Customer base, is a reliable indicator that we exalt and appreciate diversity.  And, it is in this spirit that we apologize for having left you questioning our Flight Attendant’s behavior on earlier this week.

Regardless of the circumstances, we care about the impression we leave on our Customers, and we want them to know that their complaints are taken seriously.  Our Company fully understands that few people would take time to pen a complaint or a blog post unless they truly feel mistreated or otherwise disillusioned by their experience, which is why we carefully reviewed our Flight Attendant’s performance and want to learn from your comments.  As such, we hope you’ll rest assured knowing that the appropriate Leaders have been provided a copy of your correspondence for review and internal followup.

All in all, it is obvious that we have not scored a very “high grade” with you in regard to this situation, and I’d like to invite you back for a more typical Southwest experience.  As a gesture of goodwill and means of facilitating this wish, I’ve issued you a $100.00 Southwest LUV Voucher (SLV), which will arrive in a separate e-mail within the next two to three weeks days.  Instructions on the voucher will explain how to use it when booking travel with us and we hope it is received in the intended spirit.

We are keenly aware that our ability to stay the Leader in the industry when it comes to service depends on the overall satisfaction of our Customers.  We ask that you not allow this one incident to deter your family from traveling with us in the future.  You have our word that we will continue to do our very best to meet (and exceed) your expectations, and nothing would please us more than to share the skies with you, your husband and your daughter for many years to come as your business is important to us.

Sincerely,

Shannon Whitney, Southwest Airlines Headquarters

 

Kari Cobham is a Trinidad-born, Florida-based writer, editor and social media strategist. A former award-winning journalist at The Daytona Beach News-Journal, her work has been featured on MSNBC’s Today Books, Orlando Sentinel, SHE and Caribbean Beat magazines. You can follow her on Twitter @KariWrites.

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Interracial Friendly States, City by City, County by County! http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/interracial-friendly-states-city-city-county-county/ http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/interracial-friendly-states-city-city-county-county/#comments Mon, 07 Jul 2014 06:02:49 +0000 http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/?p=31480 I’m working on a master list NEVER BEEN DONE before (not sure why, tho) on an interracial dating blog. Back when I co-work Swirling, we created a list of interracial-friendly cities and states, and some of them were not really a surprise–Los Angeles and pretty much all of California, parts of Texas, some fly over […]

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I’m working on a master list NEVER BEEN DONE before (not sure why, tho) on an interracial dating blog. Back when I co-work Swirling, we created a list of interracial-friendly cities and states, and some of them were not really a surprise–Los Angeles and pretty much all of California, parts of Texas, some fly over states, and swaths of regions on the East Coast and South. But…we went really general. So today I thought to myself, “Self, why not pool from the incredible IR community you’re connected to and get really specific?! By the way, Self, you need to really wash your hair and you smell like soup.” 

So I’m off building the MASTER IR-FRIENDLY LIST of CITIES, COUNTIES, NEIGHBORHOODS and TOWNSHIPS that you can feel free to pursue employment, real estate, and vacation spots and know for certain that no one will throw stones, harass you, or otherwise make you feel miserable. It’s also an awesome list for the single girls and gents who are contemplating relocation.

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So here’s the working list. I’m working with the folks at InterracialDating.com to create some sort of info graphic or interactive map because we both just love you guys to pieces.

So do me a favor, folks. Look at the list and feel free to confirm, deny, vehemently debate, agree, disagree, or add your city, county, state or township along with a reason or two why it’s a good place for us to plant some roots.

Swirl-Friendly Cities

Oak Park, IL
Temecula, CA
Hampton Roads, VA
Austin, TX
Fairfax County, VA
Mount Airy, PA (predominately black—might not be a fit)
Louden County, VA
Tarrant County Arlington, TX
Maple Shade, NJ
Fredericksburg, Stafford County, Virginia
Denton, TX
Long Island, NY
Manhattan, NY
New Haven, CT
 Coventry, CT
Riverside, CA
Bay City, MI
Lefferts Garden, Brooklyn
Maplewood, NJ
Arlington, TX
Las Vegas, NV
San Francisco, CA
Los Angeles, CA
Oakland, CA
Pittsburgh, PA
Irvine, CA
Santa Monica, CA
Stockton, CA
Chapel Hill, Carrboro NC
Ann Arbor, MI
Royal Oak, MI
Ferndale,MI
Phoenix, AZ
Denver, CO
Fairfield County, CT
Porter Ranch, CA
Corona, CA
Dayton, OH
Seattle, WA
Pensacola, FL
Honolulu, HI
St. Louis, MO
San Diego, CA
San Joaquin County, CA
Tulsa, OK (?)
Monclair, NJ
Newark Ohio
Aurora, CO
Colorado Springs, Greeley, Boulder, and Longmont, CO
Washington Park, Stapleton, South Denver, and Thornton, CO
Greensboro, High Point, Winston-Salem, NC
St. Petersburg, Florida
Plantation FL
Pembroke Pines, FL
Vancouver, WA
Portland, OR
Myrtle Beach, SC
Berkley County, West Virginia
Boston, MA (really?)
Plano, TX
Sacramento, CA
Columbus, OH
Nashville, TN (ask Whitney)
Moorhead, Minnesota
Rogers, AR
Jacksonville Florida
Elkhart IN
Newark, DE
New Orleans, LA
Orlando, FL
South Haven, MI
Muskegon, MI
Charlotte, NC
Kannapolis, NC
San Antonio, TX
Raleigh, NC
Jersey City, NJ
Minneapolis, MN
Cerritos, CA
Long Beach, CA
Tampa, FL
Louisville, KY
Kalamazoo County, Michigan
Baton Rouge, LA
 Biloxi, MS
Lynchburg, VA
Virginia Beach, VA
Norwalk, CA
San Tan Valley, AZ
Decatur Illinois
White Bear Lake, MN
Cleveland, OH
Polk County, FL
Greater West Palm Beach, FL
Anaheim, CA
Reading, PA
Daytona Beach, FL
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Moline, IL
Kent,OH
Morgantown, WV
Columbus, OH
Canton, OH
Miami, FL
Hanford, CA
Placervile, CA
Newburgh, NY
Wasilla, Alaska
Waterloo, Iowa
Homerville, GA
Moorhead, MN
Rogers, AR
Elmira, NY (called Zebratown)
Newington, CT
Decatur, AL
Miami Dade, FL
Spring Hill, FL
Baytown, TX
Lexington, KY
Houston, TX (I’m skeptical)
Antioch, CA
Sandusky, OH
Woodstock, GA
Savannah, GA
St. Louis, MO
Muskegon, MI
Lancaster, PA
Birmingham, AL (really?!)
Columbia, MO
South Haven, Michigan
Smithfield, VA
Tacoma, WA
Atlanta, GA
Racine, WI
Rochester, NY

 

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Halle Ordered to Pay $16K a Month in Child Support. Is it Fair? http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/halle-ordered-pay-16k-month-child-support-fair/ http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/halle-ordered-pay-16k-month-child-support-fair/#comments Tue, 10 Jun 2014 18:10:40 +0000 http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/?p=31026 Trending right now is the unusual court decision handed down that Halle Berry pay her daughter’s father, Gabriel Aubrey, $16,000 per month in child support in a joint custody arrangement. And I see some women on my timeline kinda pissed off about it. Bottom line, as a working model, Gabriel Aubrey’s income isn’t even in […]

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Trending right now is the unusual court decision handed down that Halle Berry pay her daughter’s father, Gabriel Aubrey, $16,000 per month in child support in a joint custody arrangement. And I see some women on my timeline kinda pissed off about it.

Bottom line, as a working model, Gabriel Aubrey’s income isn’t even in the same solar system as Halle, who has been making movies in Hollywood for over 20 years. And you know what? It’s fair. We talk about feminism being about equality and moving more toward a gender-neutral society, this court ruling is a likely result of that theory in practice. The judge didn’t care one wit that the man in the relationship made less money. While Gabriel probably isn’t living the life of a pauper, he’s probably not living the jet setting lifestyle of his ex. Plus having seen him in real life, dude really isn’t at the top of his game shape-wise. I doubt his calendar is overflowing with gigs.

Oh and another thing–I don’t believe for one second that Gabriel Aubrey called Halley the n-word. What I suspect was that Halle wasn’t counting on Gabriel not only sticking around to raise his daughter, but having the gall to legally (and physically) fight for her. Halle’s father didn’t bother to stick around, and I’m sure there’s some psychological stuff going on there, and I’m hoping out loud that she’s not trying to impose her pain onto Nahla. It sounds crazy, but some mothers really can be jealous of their daughter’s relationship with their father, especially if the mother’s father abandoned her. Trust me. I know from first-hand experience.

Like I’ve mentioned, I happened to be in a cabana right next to Gabriel, Nahla and an unknown woman who had about three kids with her during Easter break. Gabriel was completely focused on Nahla and the other kids. He swam with them, playfully threw them into the pool, played ping pong…the kids were literally chanting his name. I’ll admit he was kinds of a douche to the adults around him, but her was amazing with the kids.

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Gabriel supervising the children while they swam

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Nahla taking a break from swimming to munch on lunch

I know a lot of you guys here are Team Halle, but frankly, I’m Team Nahla.

*By the way, these images are my property. No swiping without permission, ummkay?

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Let Um Know…. I’m Not Here for THAT!! http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/let-um-know-im/ http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/let-um-know-im/#comments Tue, 10 Jun 2014 03:52:08 +0000 http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/?p=30991 Time for a public service announcement from the good people that occupy the head space of Tracy Renee Jones. Read for clarity and content if you never have before. There comes a time in a girl’s life when she has to set things straight. I’m not one for confusion. Anyone who knows me also knows […]

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Time for a public service announcement from the good people that occupy the head space of Tracy Renee Jones. Read for clarity and content if you never have before.

There comes a time in a girl’s life when she has to set things straight. I’m not one for confusion. Anyone who knows me also knows that if you want an answer, or a solution, I got you. If you want a response, and a suggestion then you need to look further.

What’s the difference between the two?

I tell it like it is.

I know what I’m talking about and last, but not least, I don’t need to be qualified by nary’ a soul walking the Earth. When I take the time out of my precious existence to participate in life I do so with the intention of assisting others in their endeavors to be better people.

You can take or leave me.

In real life. I am comfortable in my skin. I like me and what I say. I like what I do and the people I do it with. Whomever is free to accept me or leave me where I stand, and I am free to do the same. Those who don’t agree with me or my lifestyle, or decisions can’t do anything about it beyond being mad about it.

Not being at the whim of others means that I get to determine who and what I am. I present to you the most authentic version of myself up to date. Not concerning myself with whether or not I am accepted is the most freeing thing I’ve ever experienced in my life.

I do what please me, up to and including things other may look down upon. What works for me, works for me, and I advise you to do what is within your power for your own good, because I sure will.

When you read my writing and don’t like what I’ve said, don’t try to change me, instead, go say your own shit and promote your own cause. Focusing on you and your specific groove is way more productive than trying to police my grown woman magic.

Think I’m concerned with being liked and accepted by individuals or nations? I mean, it’s nice to receive positive reinforcement, but my value is based on how I feel about me and mines, first and foremost. I won’t die from dislike. I’m not going to suffer a terminal illness due to shade-ism. I won’t shake in my boots behind angry Tweets and keyboard thugs.

I give no fucks.

And I use the appropriate words to express such.

I’m not here to please word police. I use all words especially since people fear words more than they do the concept behind their meaning.

I’m not here to adhere to false and sexist rules of appropriate gender behavior. You may think it crass and forward to approach a man, I have more men than I know what to do with based on what works for me, including flirting and approaching men I find interesting.

I’m not here to attend your pity party. I am an empathetic ear, I am understanding, but I am not interested in spending too much time while a person spins their ‘whoa is me’ wheels.

I’m not here to coddle the needy. I can’t become your reason for living or the human representation of hopefulness. I won’t allow you to put that on me.

I’m not here to please men, or women, unless it contributes to me pleasing myself.

I’m not here to be politically correct. Change requires activities that shake up the typical, not ones that uphold and perpetuates it.

I’m not here to do what you want me to do. YOU don’t matter. Harsh but true.

I’m not here to adapt to behaviors that aren’t serving the desired goal. Keep your advice about how to do things when you’ve never been me, or like me, or subject to anything I’m trying to accomplish. Have you dated men? Are you a gay male or a female who has successfully dated? No, then why are you talking?

I’m not here to play-nice or cheer lead. I think you are great, I hope you do too but I’m not going to convince you of the fact if you disagree, maybe you are hopeless.

I’m not here to do anything beyond those things that are true to me and what serves my goals.

Selfish and self centered?!

Could be.

But if I don’t focus on the center of myself, then who shall?

In the end, if you want to have a little piece of mind then I suggest you learn to waltz to your own disco music.

Learn to paint your own photograph and do these things in the clear understanding that someone, somewhere, will disagree or dislike you and there’s nothing you can do to change that.

Sometimes, people just dislike you because you have the courage to be you. People may hate you for simply breathing because they don’t think you deserve air. There are folks out in the world that will come to you with their shit and expect you to care about their shit more than you care about your own.

Jump through hoops if you choose.

Bend over backwards and wait on the reward if you dare.

Listen to everyone’s needs but your own and I can almost guarantee that you’ll lose yourself in the midst of it all and for what? Only to find out that their version of you isn’t your version of you?

To them, I say, I ain’t here for all that!

You will lose some friends when you become more self determined. You will gain self respect and the satisfaction of showing others that you accept yourself first.

Don’t be scared to be a one woman show.

Having the power to turn the interest of others off is an amazing thing.

 

You should try it sometimes.

Or not.

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Photo of the Day: It’s a Wonderful World. http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/photo-day-wonderful-world/ http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/photo-day-wonderful-world/#comments Fri, 23 May 2014 05:02:41 +0000 http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/?p=30644 I’m one of the room mom’s for my son’s second grade class, and this grade has a patriotic performance around Memorial Day time.   I took this shot of him, The Babster and two of his buddies. And when I looked at these beautiful children, and thought about how none of them ever blinked an […]

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I’m one of the room mom’s for my son’s second grade class, and this grade has a patriotic performance around Memorial Day time.   I took this shot of him, The Babster and two of his buddies. And when I looked at these beautiful children, and thought about how none of them ever blinked an eye that The Boy’s mom is brown and his dad is creamy peach (because kids are much more specific about colors, you know) I thought about what a wonderful world we live in. I’m so hopeful for our future.

God bless America, and God bless our kids.

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Photos, Cursed Wind, and ‘The Babster’ Policing the Garden http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/photos-cursed-wind-babster-policing-garden/ http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/photos-cursed-wind-babster-policing-garden/#comments Fri, 02 May 2014 05:01:57 +0000 http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/?p=30125 Okay before I start does anyone besides me think this looks like an erect, miniature part of the male anatomy? Well…it is a cucumber… Anyhoozle…while I was waging war on social media yesterday my poor garden was exposed to the most horrible Santa Ana winds. That’s what the weather folks call them. I call them […]

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Okay before I start does anyone besides me think this looks like an erect, miniature part of the male anatomy? Well…it is a cucumber…

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Anyhoozle…while I was waging war on social media yesterday my poor garden was exposed to the most horrible Santa Ana winds. That’s what the weather folks call them. I call them The Devil’s Hair Dryer. Occasionally, and with no rhyme or reason, the devil’s wind blows (probably in protest of Saint Ana who must really have pissed him off) and sucks out all the moisture from the air, which makes my plants very unhappy. Think young Clint Eastwood versus talking-to-the-empty-chair Eastwood and you’ll have an idea what that dry wind can do to my babies.

And in other news, WTF is up with the weather on the East Coast?! Like are you guys EVER going to have a spring, or just one long winter and then a blistering summer only for Hell to freeze over two months later?! I think I’ll take the Santa Ana’s and just mulch really well and spritz my tomatoes with vitamin water and recite the rosary. (I’m not Catholic though; will it still work?)

Also The Babster has become very territorial over the garden, and what I once thought was my haven has now become Mommy-Daughter Time, all day and every day. No matter where she is in the house…could be the toilet going Number Two…if she hears the back door creak  she’ll romp down the stairs, toilet paper trailing like a kite between her butt cheeks, into the garden to see what I’m up to.

She owns the strawberries, bitches!!

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See her little hand grasping that strawberry on the lower right of the photo? Better back away slowly…

She has opinions about the lavender too…

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No but seriously, I love that me and The Babster have something special just for us. The other kids aren’t as interested in gardening as she is, and that little fairy has been with me since the beginning when I was putting tomato seeds under the plant light in the middle of January. I loves it, just like I did when my dad was alive. There’s something really special about creating those memories.

But dang, can’t a mother have a moment’s peace to swig her vodka in the privacy of her own squashes?!

In other news, this is a beautiful cabbage.

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