Category Archives: Open Minded Conversation

Why Should I Care About Ferguson Missouri?

Greetings WWW,

There might be someone who asks, “What is Ferguson Missouri? ” “What is there to care about?”  Well…. 1st off Ferguson Missouri is a place in the mid western region of the US.   What took place is the reason so many major news outlets in the US are now shining a light on a problem deeply engraved in American culture.

On August 9, 2014 an 18-year-old black male named Michael “Mike” Brown and his 22-year-old friend Dorian Johnson visited Ferguson Market and Liquor shortly after noon.  The exact details around what happened inside of the store are unclear but there is an ongoing narrative and investigation.  A Ferguson police officer responded to a call made by a customer alleging there had been a robbery.  Responding to the robbery was a “white male” police officer who shot the young black male “Mike” Brown multiple times and he was “unarmed.”  There have been a total of 3 autopsies and a myriad of investigations surrounding this particular incident.   So many things took place after this incident that I would need multiple blog posts to go into detail.  ( Please see info on Mike Brown or Ferguson MO via search engine of your choice)

If you are a regular visitor to this site, you know that the atmosphere is very open.  There’s a glossary literally giving real definitions of race and even discussion surrounding the terms and why they are important.   What I’ve come to notice is that people really aren’t interested in the biological factors and definitions.   If solving our issues were as easy as teaching someone terms we would no longer have a problem.  People want to know about the everyday interactions  with family, relationships, friends, co-workers and etc.  But why should people who aren’t racially “black or African-American” care about this incident?  Why would people who are racially “black or African-American” care?   Part of the reason there’s a misunderstanding about “why” is that “mainstream media” does an absolutely poor job of covering the depth and complexities of racism.  There’s race, ethnicity, culture, colorism and an eternity of other variables.   Most of the time the only incidents that you hear about is when someone who is famous is “intentionally racist.”  The fact that there is structural and institutional racism that is the very thread of America is often ignored.   There is a systematic approach to covering what “seems” to be important rather than what we should actually be paying attention to.   I’ll bet that no one has turned on the news and heard terms like, “structural racism or institutional racism.”  Often you’re only going to hear individual occurences of “racial profiling or voter suppression and other personal prejudices.  There’s this term “minority” that everyone who is “non-white” has heard to describe themselves.  It seems to just toss all the crabs into a bucket except for the “blue” ones.

This individual occurrence, although it’s one of many very unique incidents that happen everyday, allows the world to actually take a look at structural and institutional racism.  Individual groups with specific collective interests can then decide how Court rulings will affect them.   We need that collectivism.  Because this incident has garnered international attention, it’s hard to ignore that there will be lingering conversations and opportunities to focus on the root causes of racism.  It effects everyone differently but there are effects.  For the people who check “other” as their race, it could be a very unique affect, but it’s almost guaranteed to reach you on a personal level because more than likely you could be “non-white” exclusively.

As this project grows and more collaborations are made I hope to shed a unique light so that we can see where and how the faces of particular demographics are represented.

Please take a look and listen to the narrative from a reliable source that is representative of your values.   I’m certain you’ll find that the narrative if reliable will illustrate that structural and institutional racism is far-reaching.

XOXO,

MarjorieIam

 

 

 

Diversity! What does it mean to you?

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Hello World Wide Web.  As I dream about a conversation; one that can entertain the uniqueness of the growing individual.  The one that is not defined by a race box, or cultural description.  Single and Pluralistic in form, I keep dealing with this pretty little word called “DIVERSITY”   I just ask what does it mean to you?  When you hear someone say, they teach or practice diversity.  I even saw a quote that said, “Diversity is not a choice, and inclusion is??” Really? Then why is there always a fight on the adult playground?  It’s amazing, that laws change, and then the expectation of, “go now, and everybody play nice” means that someone is actually being diverse.  When we’re young we go to school; make friends, even develop crushes.  Sometimes they don’t look just like us.  I remember my first crush.  He certainly didn’t look like me but I thought he was dreamy!  We talked in school, hung out….at school, and then went home to separate worlds that would never cross.  Did that make us diverse?  How do you get there?  We have all these divided islands and no bridges.  That’s the vision I have most times when I hear somebody talking about bringing people totally different together.  Where’s the bridge?  The relationship?  It takes more than a conversation to consider ourselves diverse.  It’s listening while the person speaks in passion of what you may not agree with and vowing not to change them.  Accepting their individuality. Interracial relationships; people who don’t fit perfectly into “the norm”  Do we have it?  Can we pass societal norms?   I’d like to know what you think.  Chime in below.  Do you have an idea or a vision to affect diversity?  The world needs you!  The safety of the adult playground depends on it!

Thanks for stopping by.  The conversation is going to start on Twitter and I would enjoy the thoughts of open minds and hearts @wecheckother.  Don’t forget to like the facebook page.

XOXOXO,

Others’Mother

A Letter from a Black Mother! Dear World…

Good Afternoon World Wide Web!  I want to share a letter.  This letter could be written by any mother with some of the same questions that this letter addresses.  It will pose some major questions and spark discussion.

Dear World,

I have a few questions.  It’s one that may or may not take very long to answer depending upon your views of the world that we share.  I’m preparing my son to become a productive member of our society and I would like to know what your reaction to the love of my life will be after I add all the love, support, lessons, and self-esteem I can to him at home.   In my home he enjoys a very rich experience of having multiple languages and cultures in his everyday interactions.  After I release him to you, your views, rejection, or opinions could reverse everything that I’ve placed my life into building up.  If I listen to the news, according to his melanin content that I adore, he will be profiled and have to walk in fear of being jailed because the statistics aren’t in his favor.  I love my baby.  There is nothing that I wouldn’t do to make sure that he can have every opportunity that the world could offer him.  I’m his mother!  My son is Hispanic and Black.  I know that the statistics actually aren’t in his favor on either side.  My letter represents so many who have a relationship with someone different from themselves.  We could even imagine that my son was Black and White (Non-Hispanic)  No matter the race, the question would be similar.

My afro isn’t exactly the pillar of beauty in the Latino community.  I watch television in Spanish and I can count on one hand the number of people who look like me or my baby on the collective of their broadcasts.  I fear for him because the love that he feels here at home could cause him to walk blindly into a place where he would not feel accepted.  That’s an issue for me.  When he looks at his father, who provides an un-bias love to him, I’m often reminded that everyone will not be so nice.

On the other hand, in the Black Community everyone with an ounce of black is accepted.  To be honest, in my community, once his or her hair follicle is opened and his or her skin is lightened, he becomes even more accepted.  I would go as far as to say, he becomes even more popular in my community because he or she is now, “light-skinned black”  I’ll admit this is something that if you aren’t apart of this group it may not be of importance to you.  It’s one that my race will continue to work on as time continues on.  So let me ask.

Does my son now forget his father because I’m a black woman?  As I prepare my son to be a “black” man, I often try and expect what you will reverse.   How do I protect my baby from the racism in the Latino community?  How do I prepare my son for the racism in America?  How do I help him properly nurture all of his identity?

A concerned “Black” Mother who Checks “Other” for her child

 

So there you have it.  Let me know what you think.  Thanks for stopping by.

Until the next,

Others’Mother

Cheerios Commercial-Bi-Racial Family “Just Checking – YouTube”

Great Evening World Wide Web!  “Today is a GREAT day.  We are all closer to perfection today than we were yesterday!”  I came across a video that seems to be getting some mixed reviews over the web.

Just Checking – YouTube.

 

 

I was actually surprised to see that it was!  I know that racism and bigotry still exist.  It’s one of the biggest hurdles that we face in the human experience.  This just goes to show that although it has been legal for people to choose to marry outside of their race for over 30 years in most of the U.S., there is still plenty of work to be done with our overall understanding of race, culture, ethnicity and the understanding & respect of individual differences and beliefs.  As for the beautiful, innocent angel in this video I salute her and her actor parents for making a conversation invoking commercial.  Way to go Cheerios!  I think I will go and buy some for my kiddos right now!

Let me know what you think?  Controversy? or It’s about time?  Chime in.  I would love to hear from you!

XOXOXO,

Others’Mother

 

What Makes Diversity Possible?

world baby boy girl

“Great Morning World Wide Web!  Today is a beautiful day!  We are all closer to perfection than we were yesterday.”  I’m going to do something totally out of the ordinary today.  I’m going to ask after you read this content, to exercise your imagination.  It’s going to be hard because most people who are not physically limited, see the entire world with colors.  The greens that protect our vision, the blues both above us and below us that inspire us to dream and even LOVE.  There are all the beautiful hues of flowers that in the western world are currently in full bloom.  My yard now has about 10 different hues that balance me every time I look at them.  Now imagine a world where those gifts didn’t exist.  The human experience with every single person was the exact same size, same color; eyes, skin hair etc.  That the beauty in nature was uniform and without color.   Hair was always the same texture, no variety in eye, nose or mouth shapes.  You look out on the world and the colors that ignite you and even bring you happiness didn’t exist.  I don’t know about you, but I just imagined myself right out of the joy of living.  I think if the rules applied where humans were uniform it would have to apply to nature as well.  Just try it.  You’ll see.  For anyone who feels that, “well yeah…that’s the world I want”, then this blog may not be for you, and that’s okay.  There is a blog and a world for everyone.  But for those of you who are in the right place, my point is to engage your mind.  I understand that I can’t change the world or the people in it.  Besides, the diversity of thought and physicality is truly what makes the experience.   I severely enjoy these gifts of nature.  All of the colors, beauty, and differences of existence.  I don’t want to live without them, I am working for a solution to exist and love within them.  There is a RESPECT: an act of giving particular attention to what is.  Then there is working together to find out what makes peace possible?  How can understanding happen?  What makes diversity possible?  DIVERSITY: understanding that everyone is unique.  It recognizes individual differences and encompasses RESPECT.  This is a collective effort and I feel there is not a right or wrong answer.    So after you have taken a second to visualize, please share.  What do YOU think makes diversity possible?

As always, I would like to thank you for your time & attention.  Please connect with me on Twitter @MarjorieIam.  There is also a growing audience of emerging like minds @wecheckother on Twitter and Facebook.   I look forward to growing towards a solution collectively.  Please share your thoughts.

XOXOXO,

Others’Mother

 

Pride, Prejudice, and Egocentrism

 

pledge

Greatest Evening World Wide Web!  Today is a wonderful day!  We are closer to perfection than we were yesterday.  The words that are coming from my fingers have been inside my mind for some time.  I didn’t really know how to speak on the subject without seeming like I would offend anyone.  Then I realized the very existing of children that are mixed offends some people so I won’t make everyone happy.  Well…here it goes.

Pride, Prejudice and Egocentrism.  Once I learned another language and interacted with people outside of my cultural comfort zone I started to see the world that I lived in from the outside in.  I see black differently.  I think at the same time I started to see all people and culture differently. Ladies. Have you ever walked into a nail salon with Asian employees and asked the employee to maybe change your nail polish like three times? Gentlemen. Maybe you’ve gone into a business where you’ve made a similar petition.  You can tell they are upset, and they immediately convert to speak to the person beside them in their native language.  What if it was a racial slur?  What if it was a comment that if it were in English would be illegal and enforceable by law?  Have you ever gone into an Authentic Latino, African, Middle Eastern or any other restaurant or business and right in front of you, the person started to speak in their native language?  Do you assume?  Take your business elsewhere?  Now let’s switch the scenario.  A person whose nationality is from a country outside of the USA comes into a business that is owned by an US Citizen of US Nationality.  The client upsets them  and the owner or employee says in English a derogatory comment about a protected status; race, color, religion, national origin etc.  Would it be fair to say that just because this is America and the national language is English that this is now a CRIME?  Why wouldn’t it be the reverse?  I’m not saying that we need a translator in every business where someone is speaking another language, but there should be a common ground.  I’m not saying now that people can not practice their languages of their heritage in their homes either.  What does this mean?

I am raising children that check OTHER.  They are of Latino and African-American descent.  That is two ethnicities; Latino and African American, marrying themselves IN the beautiful United States of America.  This is of course multiple races.  (Latino/Spanish is NOT a RACE; it’s an ethnicity/culture)  It’s also the largest classification other than color on the Census, assuming that everyone is an American and understanding that the country is filled with immigrants from all over the world.   Here is where my question gets sticky.  Flags, language, cultural shift etc.  I am an American and I speak, read and write Spanish as a 2nd language.  I want my children to be proud of both of their heritages.  I want them to appreciate America, immigration, and understand the WHY in all of their future questions.  Opportunity is what called most immigrants to the United States.  Teaching them about racism is important.  This is a real issue in our world.  Children of multiple races and ethnicities are perfect, little ambassadors to bridge a racial conversation that is long overdue.  My children are bilingual; learned at home.  They speak and understand BOTH languages well.    Being bilingual is important.  All too often, I’ve heard people tell me, you should speak only SPANISH in your home and let “the teachers at school” teach your child English. ” They will learn fast, my children did.”  Is that the teacher’s responsibility?  In an already stressed economy where poor teachers are loosing their jobs based on performance, and plagued by variables such as language being one that are beyond their control.   I just feel that this subject can be explored more.  The refusal to learn English by some.  Is this Egocentrism.  The expectation of a translator?  The demand that laws are enforced when they are broken in English only?   How far does this go?   Realizing that as an African-American it’s NOT normal in the SOUTH for me to hang an American flag to show patriotism to my country of origin; America.  America is the only country embedded into my being.   Can I be Patriotic?  Am I Patriotic?  Is my allegiance to the Africa that I’ve never known? When I’ve asked people from outside of the country that come as immigrants, “Who is American?”  The answer provided normally is Caucasian.   Black American is “Black”, and Caucasian is American.  I almost drifted off into another blog, but I won’t press backspace because it’s necessary.  I couldn’t properly discuss this subject without at least mentioning that  “I” am not completely recognized on a consensus as an American.  What is patriotism?  Lack of Inclusion? I’ve often wondered why “Black” people who were brought as slaves more than a century ago are kept from their heritage and all flags because of broken records etc. BUT everyone else who came voluntarily can proudly say where their lineage comes from and even waive flags of other countries of origin. I’ve met people who mark “Caucasian” as their classification, yet the only LOVE that flows from their mouth is that of ITALY, IRISH, SCOTTISH, EUROPE etc.  The people from around the world who are aware of their heritage and proudly waive their flags.   Are we guilty of looking at ethnic groups and based on their physical appearance keeping them in a country of origin?  One can not LOOK Latino, because it is not a race, but we take part in racial profiling.  The culture also practices similar racism to that of America’s past and present.  If you look Asian, (which is a valid uniform ethnic group) then you are Asian, and not an American and etc….  Can one have pride without having EGOCENTRISM?     Egocentrism? Possibly.  Prejudice?  Could be.  Pride?  I’m sure it may be….  But where is the Red, White, and Blue line?

Patriotism is a cultural attachment to one’s homeland, excluding differences caused by the dependencies of the term’s meaning upon context, geography and philosophy. In a generalized sense applicable to all countries and peoples, patriotism is a devotion to one’s country.[citation needed]-WIKIPEDIA

Let me know what you think.  Shares are recommended!!!  I would love to hear from you.   As always I would like to thank you for tuning in.  Please find me on facebook and twitter @wecheckother.  Thank you!

XOXOXO,

Others’Mother

For your reading pleasure…..

Egocentrism is characterized by preoccupation with one’s own internal world. Egocentrics regard themselves and their own opinions or interests as being the most important or valid. Self-relevant information is seen to be more important in shaping one’s judgments than do thoughts about others and other-relevant information (Windschitl, Rose, Stalkfleet & Smith, 2008). Egocentric people are unable to fully understand or to cope with other people’s opinions and the fact that reality can be different from what they are ready to accept.-Wikipedia

 

The word prejudice refers to prejudgement: i.e. making a decision before becoming aware of the relevant facts of a case. In recent times, the word has come to be most often used to refer to preconceived, usually unfavorable, judgments toward people or a person because ofgendersocial classagedisabilityreligionsexualityrace/ethnicitylanguagenationality or other personal characteristics.-Wikipedia

Pride is an inwardly directed emotion that carries two common meanings. With a negative connotation, pride refers to an inflated sense of one’s personal status or accomplishments, often used synonymously with hubris. With a positive connotation,pride refers to a satisfied sense of attachment toward one’s own or another’s choices and actions, or toward a whole group of people, and is a product of praise, independent self-reflection, or a fulfilled feeling of belonging. Philosophers and social psychologists have noted that pride is a complex secondary emotion which requires the development of a sense of self and the mastery of relevant conceptual distinctions (e.g., that pride is distinct from happiness and joy) through language-based interaction with others.[1] Some social psychologists identify it as linked to a signal of high social status.[2] In contrast pride could also be defined as a disagreement with the truth. One definition of pride in the first sense comes from St. Augustine: “the love of one’s own excellence”.[3] In this sense, the opposite of pride is either humility or guilt; the latter in particular being a sense of one’s own failure in contrast to Augustine’s notion of excellence.-Wikipedia

 

BLACK, LATINO & “OTHER”

Good Afternoon World Wide Web!  Today is a great day!  We are closer to perfection than we were yesterday.  Indeed we are.  I want to begin by sharing a personal, true story.  This story is one of many that began to give shape to a reality that I truly lived and learned something that before this milestone I really didn’t understand the dynamics of its reality.  It took place about 5 years ago.  This is based on a real life event so I will skew names just to protect the persons involved.  After the birth of my daughter; I’ll call my daughter Kaitlyn. I was invited to a then long time friend of mine’s house who is Dominican.  For anyone not familiar I will place some definitions in this post to give you as much of a visual as possible.  Let me begin by saying that I am not trying to attack Dominican culture, I am only trying to bring awareness and speaking from a true personal experience.

I entered the gathering with my daughter “Kaitlyn in hand.  The music and food were awesome!  There was great reception among the people who knew that I identify as African-American and there were some who weren’t as open; which was o.k.  After about an hour or so of being there, I was comfronted by a woman, who identified as Dominican.  She asked me, “Who’s baby is that, that you have?”  I smiled and said, “This is my daughter Kaitlyn.”  The woman, I’ll call her Emma gasped,  “hhhhuuuuhhhh!”  She almost scared me.  “De verdad!” She replied to me in spanish.  This means, “For real?”  I replied,” yes she is.”   I looked at Emma almost confused because she knew very well that my husband was Mestizo and from Central America.  The disbelief was the beginning of my awareness.  I tried to soften the blow by beginning to mention my husband.  Emma says, “You still with the Mexican?”  I told her, “Well yes, but my husband is from Honduras”   Emma continues to dig the hole, “Well Mexico, Honduras; they’re the same thing!”  I gave a blank stare.  Emma; “Well how is it that your daughter looks like that?”  I reply to Emma, “What do you mean?”  She goes on to talk about her two daughters and how her grandmother was “white” and her husband’s grandmother had long hair like another guest.  I replied, “Well that’s nice.”  I have to admit, it took me a few moments for the light to turn on but then I realized, that after her series of questions, she really identified me in her mind as though my family had migrated from Africa yesterday.  I honestly looked at her, before becoming more mature and thought, “She’s “blacker” than me.”  What I’m saying is that Emma’s skin was much darker than mine.  If she didn’t open her mouth and speak Spanish I would consider her just another “black” woman.   I have to give you a visual so that you can better understand.  You see, Emma and her husband were Afro-Dominican.

Afro – Dominican is a Dominican of African descent. Most Africans arrived to the Dominican Republic came to this land from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century because of slavery. Most of them came from West and Central Africa. Currently there are also many black immigrants, particularly Haitians, which can be included within of the Afro-Dominican community, if they were born in the country or have Dominican naturalization. Afro-Dominicans are the majority in the country, being mainly mulattos. -Wikipedia

Emma and her family had beautiful rich melanin content, and her hair texture was what I would identify immediately as a “black” or “African-American” woman, and so was her husband and daughters.  My heritage is also pretty interesting, but I didn’t feel the need or thought it would be useful to go down my entire lineage so that she could understand my racial dynamics.  I thought, “Is she really asking me this?”  As I looked around the room I saw every “race” and mixture under the rainbow.  I got a crash course in that visit of the racial dynamics within the “LATINO community.  They also have a very common acceptance of “Other” or “mixed” children, because this was their reality.  “Other” or “mixed” children to them are typical to be Latino.  Just as long as the children came from 2 people who identified as Latino.  It is very similar if not worse to that of American culture, in my opinion.    I even mentioned the incident to my husband who wasn’t there with me and he said, “All Dominican’s are “black.”  Even my husband, whose appearance is that of a typical LATINO; “Indian” or “Mestizo” carried some similar racial bias.

I have to admit, I’ve heard the “she looks hispanic” or “she has indian in her blood” and the long list of others to try to explain race and cultural relations.  What I found in that visit was an unwillingness from a racially black, culturally Latino women-Emma that my Kaitlyn who has a typical look and mixture of a “mulatto” from her own country, simply because I identify was “African-American.”  This is also one of the long list of occurences that birthed in my heart the need for my children and others like mine to have their own identities and not be shoved in or out of a culture or race for an unwillingness to accept their uniqueness and symbolism of unity.

I imagine that this takes place in MOST ETHNICITIES.  Mainly because an ETHNICITY is not a RACE.  It just a group of RACES or RACIAL MIXTURES that celebrate a CULTURE.  I’ve included some definitions for anyone from the eastern hemispehere or just not particularly familiar with the countries I’m mentioning.

 

Dominicans (Spanish: Dominicanos) are people inhabiting or originating from Dominican Republic. The majority of Dominicans reside in Dominican Republic, although there is also a large Dominican diaspora, especially in the United States, Puerto Rico and Spain. The population of the Dominican Republic in 2007 was estimated by the United Nations at 9,760,000.[2]—                 -Wikipeidia

Racial issues

As elsewhere in the Spanish Empire, the Spanish colony of Hispaniola employed a social system known as casta, wherein Peninsulares (Spaniards born in Spain) occupied the highest echelon. These were followed, in descending order of status, by: criollos, castizos, mestizos, Indians, mulattoes, zambos, and black slaves.[9][10] The stigma of this stratification persisted, reaching its culmination in the Trujillo regime, as the dictator used racial persecution and nationalistic fervor against Haitians.

According to a study by the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute, about 90% of the contemporary Dominican population has West African ancestry to varying degrees.[11] However, most Dominicans do not self-identify as black, in contrast to people of West African ancestry in other countries. A variety of terms are used to represent a range of skintones, such as morena (brown), canela (red/brown; literally: “cinnamon”), India (Indian), blanca oscura (dark white), and trigueña (literally “wheat colored”, which is the English equivalent of olive skin),[12] among others.

Many have claimed that this represents a reluctance to self-identify with West African descent and the culture of the freed slaves. According to Dr. Miguel Anibal Perdomo, professor of Dominican Identity and Literature at Hunter College in New York City, “There was a sense of ‘deculturación’ among the West Indian slaves of Hispaniola. [There was] an attempt to erase any vestiges of West Indian culture from the Dominican Republic. We were, in some way, brainwashed and we’ve become westernized.”[13]

However, this view is not universal, as many also claim that Dominican culture is simply different and rejects the racial categorizations of other regions. Ramona Hernández, director of the Dominican Studies Institute at City College of New York asserts that the terms were originally a defense against racism: “During the Trujillo regime, people who were dark skinned were rejected, so they created their own mechanism to fight it.” She went on to explain, “When you ask, ‘What are you?’ they don’t give you the answer you want … saying we don’t want to deal with our blackness is simply what you want to hear.”[14] The Dominican Republic is not unique in this respect, either. In a 1976 census survey conducted in Brazil, respondents described their skin color in 136 distinct terms.[9][14]

-Wikipedia

As always, I sincerely appreciate your time and attendance.  If you can identify, live in, or love someone who checks “OTHER” or is outside of 1 box, please show your support my liking @wecheckother on facebook and twitter.   Thank you!  Until the next.

XOXOXO,

OthersMother

 

The “SINGULAR” Fight for RIGHTS

Good Morning World Wide Web!  I would like to extend a special appreciation and Welcome to the new members of the We Check Other Community and Forum!  I look forward to learning, evolving and exciting new events in the future as we grow together!  Today is a beautiful day.  We are closer to perfection than we were yesterday!  If you are visiting this site for the first time, please be sure to become a member so that you can contribute feedback to the blog post, and or take part in the forum.  We are also growing up on Facebook and Twitter.  Please be sure to check out our page www.facebook.com/wecheckother or www.twitter.com/wecheckother.  You may also find links to both locations at the bottom of the page.

The “Singular” Fight for Rights!  We see it everywhere; there’s Tea Partying & Rallying, Civil Rights Fighting, Immigrant Rights Fighting, and a multitude of others.  Sometimes the celebration of interracial,  multiethnic  and multicultural people are drowned out by the noise as the active fights are like a trigger with an angry, passionate person behind it to “choose a side.”  Looking at major news broadcasts I see the 3 main census of black, white, and latino social classification groups fighting, “This is one of your many forms of racial suppression, we want change” or “1/2 of minorities want hand outs and government assistance. Get a JOB!”  and the Latino community, well yes the “illegal” immigrants broke the law by coming into the U.S. with no prior checks or permission, but they are hard working non-citizens and deserve reform!”  I often imagine a Group of Asian and Indian Americans sitting back with popcorn and their drink of choice watching this exchange of racial bias and hatred take place, & they seem to be just waiting for the smoke to clear to step up and actually state their petitions if any.  I’m not saying that there aren’t valid points in the message of each group.  I live in the Southern part of the United States & there are people who hang confederate flags in their front yards and paste them all over their cars and belongings celebrating an era in U.S. history where racial hatred was not only legal, but a way of life.  Ultimately this is part of A larger problem.  If you live in America or any part of the world where racial classifications and social hierarchy is measured then fair skin has been king.

A quick story.  I went to an attorney’s office.  The attorney and I were talking about the reason that I was there with my husband.  She classified herself as “white” American and of course I as “black” American.  We’re talking and in her attempt to make me comfortable she says to me, “If the 14th amendment was reversed or taken away, then I would be the first on to fight.”  I didn’t know whether to be happy or sad.  The 14th Amendment:

The Fourteenth Amendment (Amendment XIV) to the United States Constitution was adopted on July 9, 1868, as one of the Reconstruction Amendments.

Its Citizenship Clause provides a broad definition of citizenship that overruled the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857) that had held that black people could not be citizens of the United States.[1]

Its Due Process Clause prohibits state and local governments from depriving persons of life, liberty, or property without certain steps being taken to ensure fairness. This clause has been used to make most of the Bill of Rights applicable to the states, as well as to recognizesubstantive and procedural rights.

Its Equal Protection Clause requires each state to provide equal protection under the law to all people within its jurisdiction. This clause was the basis for Brown v. Board of Education (1954), the Supreme Court decision which precipitated the dismantling of racial segregation in United States education. In Reed v. Reed (1971), the Supreme Court ruled that laws arbitrarily requiring sex discrimination violated the Equal Protection Clause.

The amendment also includes a number of clauses dealing with the Confederacy and its officials.

-Wikipedia

I immediately thought, well should it be?  I was absolutely surprised that she considered it.  If I’m honest, I hadn’t paid much attention to it, less knew exactly what it said so I done some research.  This was an attorney that was going to “represent” me.  In a what I considered a failed attempt to make me comfortable, she was subtly reminding me that I was not a part of the original plan and she was.  WoW!  What a way to reel in the dough and fight for equality?  It’s sad to say but it took from1860 ish until a Civil Rights Movement that started in 1955 and went up until 1968 and beyond for any measurable change to take place in the U.S.  That’s a Hundred plus year difference!!!!  When I was on a visit to one of my in-laws house in NY some years ago, my aunt in-law, who is LATINA asked me, “Why are “Black” people so stuck on slavery?”  It’s over let it go!  I’m sure this is something that she had wanted to ask me since she met me.  Being that she was born outside of the U.S. she was really only familiar with what had been taught to her by the people around her.  I said Well, it’s more than slavery, It’s the Civil Rights Act of 1968, The Fair Housing Act, Desegregation of Schools,  The Right to marry interracial, which she is now,  just to name a few.  Although her closed mind still didn’t grasp the concept that there was a 100 year difference in these amenities that she now enjoys as well as her children, that was the “Black” Civil Rights Movement, and it happened in our lifetimes. It was much to her benefit and EVERY person who doesn’t classify themselves as “white” American.  After I calmed down the fire and tendency to want to whip out a chalk board and teach, I walked away.

There are definite points in the “Singular Fights” of the many races and ethnicities that I understand and can personally relate to, but where does that place the people who have already integrated their lives and looking to build a bridge through these present, long-standing issues.  Imagine going to the home of a person who is passionate on one of the pressing issues and your face represents the “Enemy!!!”  Merry Christmas and Happy Thanksgiving, because that is going to be a mess!!!  The truth is when families have integrated, and especially when there are innocent children involved, there has to be a line drawn in the sand.  Children who check OTHER in their racial classification boxes, 2 or multiple boxes, trying to integrate into a system that exists on racial and social classification, find themselves on multiple sides of issues because they love all sides of the table.  They aren’t truly considered.   They can’t be affected by the past or the present, because they are the future.  People have always been mixed as I stated in an earlier blog, but it is now with barriers being removed for racial segregation and the ability to “legally” marry beyond your racial classification,  that this subject can really began to be explored by people and science.  Can a child that classifies as both Black and White fight for both issues?  Is it even possible without one being the defendant and the other, the plaintiff?  Could they inadvertently represent a solution?   I feel this is a good foundation in understanding some of the barriers that some families face with having “mixed” children.   The Constitution has 27 amendments and counting…..Please reference below for anyone interested!  It’s literally a timeline of history unfolding.

The Amendments to the US Constitution are:

  • Amendment 1 – Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression
  • Amendment 2 – Right to Bear Arms
  • Amendment 3 – Quartering of Soldiers
  • Amendment 4 – Search and Seizure
  • Amendment 5 – Trial and Punishment, Compensation for Takings
  • Amendment 6 – Right to Speedy Trial, Confrontation of Witnesses
  • Amendment 7 – Trial by Jury in Civil Cases
  • Amendment 8 – Cruel and Unusual Punishment
  • Amendment 9 – Construction of Constitution
  • Amendment 10 – Powers of the States and People
  • Amendment 11 – Judicial Limits
  • Amendment 12 – Choosing the President, Vice President
  • Amendment 13 – Slavery Abolished
  • Amendment 14 – Citizenship Rights
  • Amendment 15 – Race No Bar to Vote
  • Amendment 16 – Status of Income Tax Clarified
  • Amendment 17 – Senators Elected by Popular Vote
  • Amendment 18 – Liquor Abolished
  • Amendment 19 – Women’s Suffrage
  • Amendment 20 – Presidential, Congressional Terms
  • Amendment 21 – Amendment 18 Repealed
  • Amendment 22 – Presidential Term Limits
  • Amendment 23 – Presidential Vote for District of Columbia
  • Amendment 24 – Poll Taxes Barred
  • Amendment 25 – Presidential Disability and Succession
  • Amendment 26 – Voting Age Set to 18 Years
  • Amendment 27 – Limiting Changes to Congressional Pay

What do you think?  I urge positive participation.  If you’re from outside of the U.S. and your experience is similar or even different I would love to hear from you as well.  Thank you for visiting!  Until the Next!

XOXOXO,

OthersMother

The Story of 2 Thanksgivings!!!

Good Morning World Wide Web!  Today is an OTHER day!  We are closer to perfection than we were yesterday.  I want to begin by welcoming you to the best community on the web.  A community where we can come together share, learn and laugh about an experience that is new to us.  One that is challenging yet rewarding.  If you are visiting and you are outside of the United States and visiting, this post will be geared towards a recent holiday celebrated in the USA called Thanksgiving.  Here is a little paragraph history.  If you’re familiar you can skip over the paragraph.

In September 1620 a ship called the Mayflower left Plymouth England with 102 passengers–an assortment of religious separates seeking a new home lured by the promise of prosperity and the freedom to openly practice their faith in the “New World”  They dropped anchor near the tip of Cape Cod, eventually passing the Massachusetts Bay where the “Pilgrims” as we now know them today settled establishing the Village at Plymouth.  Only half of the plagued settlers survived the trip and brutal winter season.  In March of the following year the remaining settlers moved to shore and were met by an Abenaki Indian who greeted the settlers in English.  Several days later he returned with another “Native” American Squanto, a member of the Pawtuxet tribe who had been captured the an English sea-captain, sold into slavery before escaping to London and returning to his homeland on an expository expedition.  This beautiful, forgiving soul Squanto taught the settlers (Pilgrims) weakened by illness and malnutrition how to cultivate corn, extract maple syrup, catch fish in the rivers, and avoid poisonous plants.  He helped the settlers forge an alliance with the Wampanoag, a local tribe, which endured more than 50 years and TRAGICALLY remain ONE of the SOLE examples of harmony between Native Americans and European Settlers.  In November 1621 the corn harvest was successful.  Governor William Bradford organized a celebratory feast and invited a group of the colony’s Native American allies, including the Wampanoag chief Massasoit.  The festival lasted 3 days, and is now known as what is celebrated today in the USA each years as “Thanksgiving.”

-History Channel

Every third Thursday in the month of November, Thanksgiving is celebrated with family and loved ones by coming together and having a humongous feast of all the delectable foods that one can imagine.  It’s not always the pillar of health in homes, but the food is super yummy!  The tale of 2 Thanksgivings is two separate experiences.  My story:  This year my husband and I went to my family’s house.  My older sister cooked a beautiful meal and we spent the day eating, talking and catching up. I had my brother, mother, uncles, cousins, in-laws, friends and a few family friends present.  There was turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, green beans, potato salad, candied yams, beans, pies, cakes, collard greens, and I’m sure I forgot some things but you get the picture.  For me it was such a wonderful experience.   I was in one of the most comfortable places possible.  I looked in a corner on the couch as I’m talking, smiling & laughing at my husband who was glued to the football game and hadn’t really said much to anyone.  My mind is thinking, “Is he uncomfortable?”  “Did someone say something to him?”  I walk over with my extremely loving, very supportive sister to ask was he okay or can I get him something?  I just really wanted to see him enjoying this celebratory time just as I was.  For this very reason, I have to be honest in saying that I have neglected going home to my family to “keep him comfortable” in the past.  After all, I speak Spanish and I am familiar with his culture where I have to integrate myself.  We live closer to people within his culture and family where we share a great majority of our time and holidays.  I enjoyed the entire day.   I was happy that I was with my family, but a little distracted by the fact that I can see my husband is completely outside of his comfort zone and it showed.  At about 11:30 I kissed all of my family and pulled off with my husband and children to go back home.

The next day we decided to go over to a close friend of my husband’s house to continue the celebration.  Around 6 we loaded up.  My husband’s best friend, his child and mother, my husband’s other friends were all present.  There was tamales, arroz con pollo, salchicha, pan.  These are Latin American dishes.  In Latin America there is not a celebration of Thanksgiving, but the people who live in the United States celebrate with the dishes that they feel most comfortable with.  I saw the shell bust open.  My husband was mingling, talking, eating, laughing and sharing.  I’m doing so as well.  I have to admit, I didn’t know whether to be upset with him or happy for him.  He was a totally different person from the day before.  He was in the place where he felt most comfortable.  I’ve endured some not so nice comments over the years.  In this feast, of course the typical, only American in the room, I’m paying for all the sins of the American White Race and Black Race combined.  This is something that I have become accustomed to tuning out and times, but there have been other seriously rude interactions where I haven’t been so quiet.  This was one of them.  I’m listening to the great beauty of Central America, and how it triumphs that of America; how the food is better, the culture is better, the kids are better quality, my daughters straightened hair is so beautiful, and a myriad of all the other bias in this EPIC FAIL of an attempt to try to communicate with me and I guess make me comfortable.  I’m completely convinced that it is the opposite.   At times I wish I hadn’t learned Spanish so I could sit quietly in a corner and they wouldn’t talk to me.  I could eat and imagine a world where racism, ignorance, and bias didn’t exist.   By the last comment, my top was about to blow and I just said, “I don’t want to hear this”  I’m almost ready to just scream at  my husband, because of his happiness I’m miserable.  I missed my family!  Once everyone seen that I had come to my point of this is enough, they started to explain.  I of course wanted to go into a full course of explaining to them a history of race and culture, but I knew I would be wasting my breath so, I left that part of my answering out.  I finished out the night, eating and calming my frustrations.  At the end of the night, we loaded up and went home.

As a member of a multiracial and multicultural family, I have to say that this is one of the more difficult parts of existing beside having children that don’t fit in one box in our social classification of hierarchy.  We both were forced outside of our comfort zones to attempt to make each other happy, but ultimately ended up sad ourselves.  I imagine that this is one of the biggest obstacles for so many others and this is one of the many reasons I’m creating this page and community.  To share, learn, unite and succeed at being married and having children with someone who is different in any way from you.  Tell me what your Thanksgiving story was like.  I would love to hear your reaction or anything that you would want to share.  Thank you for tuning in.  Until the next time.

XOXOXO,

Others’Mother

 

Race, Ethnicity & Our Census

Good Afternoon World Wide Web!  Today is an OTHER day!  We are closer to perfection today, than we were yesterday. WE CHECK OTHER is here to bring attention to mixed race children coming out of outdated boxes, to educate you when possible, and eventually lead up to a real discussion about race and cultural relations in the US and around the world.  I want to begin by acknowledging that I realize this idea has many facets.  There are social class items and minority relationships that have to be considered.    I have to admit that among some of even the same people who check the singular box that I check seem to think that I am betraying the “black” race with my project.  That I am not proud of my “African” heritage.  I think most of our subcultures are guilty of extremism.  I’ve seen it in every culture that I’ve had the opportunity to be exposed to.  We don’t have race problems; we have people problems.  Stereotypes and bias are road blocks.  Can we truly move forward as a nation focusing on the past?  I’m reminded of a couple that makes it 60 or 70 years together.  By this time they’ve either grown bitter or they’ve learned to take the present as the most valuable asset that they own.  We are in the present everyday.  There’s no one who can go back and change our past.  If there is, I want to meet them, only to marvel at them, but not to change a single solitary thing.  Most of us know our tests make us who we become and our resilience exemplifies our talents.  An opposite side mentality of standing your ground will not work.   The notion of standing on your side of the line and daring someone to cross it and refusing to never cross yourself.   This mentality will lay into the other side (racially) all of what you think about them, and attempt to change their mindset by forcefully displaying your own.  If you’ve ever been the only person of your racial classification in the room with a group of people of another who unsuccessfully try to relate but fail you know what I mean.  The bias, things that they like and don’t like about your race can sometimes come out in a failed attempt to relate to you.  There isn’t one race or culture that is guilty of this.   Racism is a problem in all colors of the rainbow because of the many years of forced separation, and frankly ignorance about the other side.  It’s the person who calls all Latinos Mexican, or all Asians Chinese.   A person who has never had someone at the dinner table who doesn’t a least resemble them has an extremely long way to go before grasping this concept or any other.  That problem doesn’t have a race tag on it.  Those people are only left to draw a conclusion from what main stream media gives them.       I want to share with you two articles in the NY Times that I thought you might find interesting.

NY Times Talking!!

NY Times Build Your Own Family Tree

In the late 1800’s the census included spaces for  1/4th black and 1/8th black.  There was even at points a  place for people to check mulatto with any percentile of black. The most common choices in that time were White, Black, Chinese, (the category to include all Asians) and American Indian.  That’s it.  Of course these marks were all in a turbulent time of America, where the grounds to stand on weren’t very equal.  We haven’t moved much further except for OTHER.  I would say it’s an acknowledgement that we realize that there are mixes that are going beyond our boxes but we don’t know how to describe them.  Even the boxes from the early 1800s acknowledge mixing with some of their choices, but again it was dismissed.  The “which one” are you tendency has become apart of the American culture that is deeply embed.

Someone might choose to ask me, why did you choose the name “We Check Other?” Aren’t you talking about your children?  I would reply yes,  I am talking about my children and the children of millions of other Americans and people around the world.   I’m not looking for a platform to just marvel over the “cuteness” of mixed children.  Although that is a perk, I really want to lay a true dialogue on the table.  America as we know it has changed and the more I research and look around, I see people from all walks of life trying to facilitate the conversation and brainstorm on how to move forward.  This yellow brick road will lead to DNA testing I feel.  Maybe then we can resolve some of the medical issues that puzzle us all.    Right now I CHECK OTHER for my children.  To me, the demographics themselves can’t seem to figure out the difference between race, culture, and ethnicity.  People are checking Ethnicity for race.  An Ethnicity is a group of people who collectively identify themselves as a distinct group based on various CULTURAL features such as SHARED LANGUAGE, CUSTOMS, & TRADITIONAL BELIEFS.  This has no mention of color.   I never realized this myself until I married a man who is ethnically Latino. I noticed that everyone knew the color spectrum but collectively they share pride in their ETHNIC heritage, just as American’s do.  The problem is that RACISM within their ethnicity still exists as it does in several cultures around the world.  Most commonly we equate a race to skin color, with hair texture running in a close 2nd.  Melanin is responsible for our skin tones.  Melanin ( Greek work Melas meaning BLACK) is the chemical responsible for dark pigmentation that helps protect against damage from ultraviolet radiation.  Melanin production is increased when exposed to the sun causing the skin color to deepen.  For this very reason people of darker skin are less likely to get sunburn or skin cancer than those with less melanin.  Who would have ever thought that divine creation would have created the skin to protect itself.  Popular culture makes it as though this is a curse.  I’ve always thought that the answer to some of our most puzzling medical questions are somewhere in the middle of all of us.  The place where we meet and cross.  That’s another blog post!    I’ve checked the box for BLACK my entire life and I gave birth to two children that are on 2 totally different sides of the color spectrum.  Their hair textures are even different.  There are so many really smart people scientific facts that go into explaining how and why this happens.  Unfortunately, if I go into learning and explaining the specifics I will have to charge tuition.  I’ll leave you there.  Until the next!

XOXOXO,

OthersMother