Raise your hand if your family photos are starting to look a little colorful … especially those that include your cousins and their spouses, or your grown kids and their spouses … or maybe your remarried parents and their new spouses.
I’m not so country to say, “Whoooo boy! Times are ‘a changin’,” but they are! I come from an Indiana born-n-bred family, and mixin’ and matching wasn’t always very common. But today, our family is as about as it gets.
I love diversity, and to be honest, I’m pretty glad folks can actually marry who they want without going to jail! Anybody see the movie, Loving? These folks, an interracial couple, took on the state of Virginia in a 1967 Supreme Court case that ended all race-based legal restrictions on marriage. They spent a year in jail for JUST GETTING MARRIED, y’all.
In fact, because of that case, biracial adult children of interracial couples from the late 60s and 70s are actually known as The Loving Generation. There is an amazing documentary, The Loving Generation: Checking Boxes, on race and identity that is totally worth watching, sharing, and absorbing if you’re a biracial or multi-ethnic person of color, or you love one.
Our world is changing, and we’ve gotta change with it. I like to believe we’re beyond, Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner, but the truth is, some of us just aren’t … and that’s on both sides of the fence. I totally get that people want to preserve their race and keep bloodlines “pure”…but at what cost?
Multiculturalism is here to stay. Let’s get ourselves some diversity inclusion sensitivity training so that we are ready for it – especially at home. What does that look like? For starters, be open to whomever the person is sitting at your table. Know that he or she is coming to your environment not only as a new member to the family, but also as a person who is different from everyone else at that table. Know that this person had to have a pretty huge helping of courage just to be there. Secondly, do your best to offer something on who YOU are; don’t make them guess or have to mine for information. The great thing about that is you’ll find you probably have more in common than you think and after awhile, your differences in skin color will be more of a common denominator than a blaring beacon of “other”. Lastly, do some research and some reading and overall educating yourself on where that person is coming from, and if you like, find some books or info on you that you’d like to share. Maybe watch the Loving Generation video together and start a conversation so that you feel inclusive of one another and openly sensitive to one another’s unique differences.
If you’ve found some great tips or even funny stories on who’s come to dinner and how the family handled it, let me know in the comments below!