In a lot of ways my family represents the (new) South. We are interracial, in love, and doing life like everyone else in the South. We work, have a mortgage, and go to the town festivals. Our Sundays are spent at a multiracial church where two of our core values are loving people unconditionally and standing united. On Sunday mornings, our Church truly contradicts Martin Luther King’s thought that “ the most segregated time in America is Sunday mornings.” The south is more diverse and progressive than many may think. That is why as a born and bred New Yorker I chose to stay.
However, we don’t lose sight on the fact that it was just 47 years ago that our marriage was not just unheard of but forbidden in North Carolina. The amendment, outlawing interracial marriage, remained a part of the North Carolina Constitution until 1971. It still shocks me to know that 47 years ago our family would not be recognized as a family.
At times we do still experience racism in real tangible ways. For example, when my husband and I go out on date night, yes after 19 years I still date my handsome fella, we are given separate checks. Small I know, but it still has a huge impact. It doesn’t happen every once in a while, it happens every time. I’ll never forget the time my hubby went to a local pizza joint with our son and he was asked if he was our son’s “social worker.” Or how about the time my son was called a ‘nigger’ at summer camp by a 4-year-old. I could go on and on about the disrespectful way some have treated our family but when you are at the heart of changing the way people view families it will come with challenges.
It’s not always easy to have to explain to our son at such a young age that some may never like him because he is multiracial. Too many times we have been forced to have difficult conversations with him about why things are different for us. So why stay?
We stay because we see hope. Hope in our friends who are raising multiracial children in our area. Hope in churches like ours showing what it means to love one another deeply. Hope in our family that we are changing the narrative about what it means to be a multiracial family in the South. Hope in knowing that our family is a Southern family with strong values and love of all people. We are the new South and proud of it.