Included in the "better not try that" category was to date a person of another race or to cross racial boundaries. It was considered a risky thing to do and definitely in the category of "are you crazy" and "why would you want to do that to your children". A boundary is something that conveys "you stay over there and I remain over here". As self evident as a rock wall or a barbed wire fence, a boundary designates a forbidden line that you cross at your own risk. History shows the broken lives and broken bodies of those who dared cross this particular boundary of race.
Race and racism affected multiracial teens everywhere. They are caught between the worlds of their racially different parents who gave them a life straddling the knife edge of their racial identities; each foot with a toehold on all or none.
Who are these parents who threw caution out the door and dared to enter a world where attraction across the racial line is taboo and forbidden? In a world where one's skin color is at least a stop sign and at most a reason to hate, they dared to look at the unthinkable and the unimaginable- getting close to someone of a different race.
They reach out to make contact across that human-conceived divide based on skin color. They hold up the possibility that love can be courageous as they parachute into unknown and treacherous territory. Their children's lives often become the barometer of how well they managed the rocky racial terrain.
There are no guides and few role models for the interracial journey between men and women. There are experts who profess to know about gender relations hawking their popular self help books that suggest the notion that men and women are from different planets with different communication styles and different responses to the world. In spite of this help, the divorce rates suggest we have not done well. Race relations may not be any better.
My parents chose to cross racial boundaries. Without the equalizer of a similar class background, they reached out to one another, my father as a Black Pequot Indian man and my mother as a Japanese woman. I am the physical manifestation of this decision.
I knew a woman who is the daughter of parents with different races. Her father is Puerto Rican and her mother is of English descent. She shares that “people who marry inter-racially are people who don’t allow the pressure of society to dictate to them who they will love. They deserve to love unconditionally. If my parents had not been willing to do that, I would not be here. For them to go ahead and have the relationship, they had to be willing to understand the reality of how others would view them and not make it the basis of the relationship. It would provide them with the needed foresight.”
Loving across racial lines takes a willingness to go it alone. It means going it alone in a society that says that if you marry outside your group, you will be ostracized. It means going it alone as your own racial group conveys that your betrayal will result in your groups gene pool dying off. It means going it alone as your own family can not bear the weight of the shame and abandons you.
Reaching across racial boundaries is an act of courage. It is an act of courage to cross that well-defined, stay out, no-trespass precipice of race relations. It is an act of courage to look into the face of no agreement and into the belly of racial feelings. It is an act of courage to love.
A powerful force in the world is racism. An even more powerful force is loving another human being. People who dare to love across racial lines are ambassadors. They encourage those who want to enter these relationships. “I would encourage them to be open and willing to challenge societal norms and to love who they want to love”. The tangible results of this love are multiracial children- the future for this planet.