1) Since being introduced to your podcast and blog, I’ve been hooked. Would you tell me more about your background (i.e. education, where you’re from), and how did you get into making podcasts?
Wow! Thank you. I’m always so excited to find out that people are actually listening and that they like what I’m doing! I’m from Queens, NY and I went to Vassar College. Many, many years after college I wound up working in Communications/Public Relations for just about 10 years. When I had my daughter, I became a stay-at home-mom just last August. I’d already been blogging for well over a year already and I wanted to talk about being a mom of color to a mixed child, but I didn’t want to just blog about it. A post on Honeysmoke gave me the push I needed so I just went for it and started a podcast.
2) You’re married interracially, and you share a family together. How did you and your husband meet, and what was the courtship like for you?
Oh lord. It’s so funny because we met online! At the time we met (about 5 years ago) there still seemed to be a little bit of a stigma on meeting someone online and in the beginning we didn’t really mention it. We got over feeling awkward about how we met eventually though. It even turned out that we had a six-degrees of Kevin Bacon connection offline. Courtship started out great until I started to feel weird about dating someone white. I kind of let some outside voices get in my head and I thought about breaking it off with him. Once I came to my senses, I realized that I couldn’t picture life without him. I wound up sharing all my fears with him and he was amazing about all of it. Here we are, 5 years later with a one year old!
3) I find writing and talking about race relationship therapeutic because it allows me to not harbor any negative emotions I may feel concerning our society’s view about race relations, but in the process, I’ve lost some friendships. Has there ever been a time when conversing about race relations with someone caused a rift in a personal relationship?
That’s a great question. Blogging for me is exactly the same. Very therapeutic and cleansing. I don’t think I’ve ever lost friends, but I do think that I’ve increased the awkward factor with some people in my life who don’t “believe” in “dating out.” I think that my clarity about who I am and about my relationship makes them uncomfortable because they can’t pin me down as self-hating and they can’t pin my husband down as the clueless white guy. Because we don’t fit their particular paradigm, it does not compute. So that makes for awkward moments.
4) You’re a contributing writer for the site Multicultural Familia, and this is a site that I find myself checking daily (I’m subscribed to it also). I enjoy the authenticity of the articles, and I appreciate how the writers are able to touch on diverse and imperative issues. Out of all of the articles that you’ve contributed, which one would you say you enjoyed the most?
I do contribute but I’m struggling with my deadlines! That said, I think I’ve organized a plan that will increase the frequency of my posts and help me to meet my deadlines! Two pieces that I’ve done have been posted, but the third one, my favorite post, “The Truth About Tom and Helen Willis” hasn’t been posted yet. It’s actually the story of how I came to make peace with all of my reservations about dating/marrying someone white. In the post I also talk about how the notion of “sticking to one’s own kind” became normalized in our culture. It has nothing to do with human nature or any kind of naturalized behavior it turns out.
5) Although I’ve always dated interracially, I didn’t become comfortable with dating interracially (particularly White men) until I got older, and when I’ve talked with other Black women about it, majority of them feel the same way. Do you think there is a reason why Black women have a hard time with being open and honest about their interracial dating desires when they’re younger as opposed to when they’re older?
I think that we’re all so damaged by racism/white supremacy that it’s a miracle we all have any kind of humanity left at all. Part of that damage filters into how we’ve been programmed to choose our partners. Because the reality of our current racial situation forces the personal to be political on both a macro and micro level, I think a lot of people make choices in their lives based on that reality. I also think that people want to be comfortable and being with someone who looks like you can be comfortable-especially in a racist society. All that said, I think that when you’re older you have a bit more perspective and that can lead you to make different choices that run counter to choices you may have made in your youth. At the end of the day, no matter whom you choose to settle down with, if your communication is off on any level, the relationship is doomed to fail. If you can’t talk about issues of race with your partner, whether you are a multiracial or monoracial couple, you’re in for problems. Especially in the case of the former. When I was younger, I was open to dating outside of my race too, but it was a very naïve point of view. It was kind of all unicorns and rainbows and “love is love.” It wasn’t until I was older that I fully understood how complicated it can be as a black woman to “date out” and the context for that difficulty. When I fell in love with my husband it got very real very quickly. For me I had to have a full grasp on the larger racial world and a full grasp upon the way I chose to navigate that broader reality in my own life. For me, that larger racial world was not going to stop me from making my life with my husband. So it’s a very complicated thing. Race/white supremacy is an intruder on the most intimate parts of our daily lives and I think people operate because of and in spite of that intrusion.
6) As time goes on, there seems to be an increase in the amount of web media that is focused on interracial dating/marriage. However, the rate of interracial relationships/marriages aren’t increasing as steadily. Do you think web media is going to act as a catalyst and have a positive increasing correlation with interracial relationships/marriages in the future?
I don’t think so. Pretty much all of the web media “promoting” interracial dating/marriage, I find highly problematic. White men/interracial dating are not the salve to black women’s perceived ills. The larger issue, with regard to a seemingly restricted dating/marriage pool, is racism/white supremacy and the ways in which black women are devalued in our society. With regard to black women as we are perceived by society, there are all these fictions about who we are that are driving these “poor, sad, spinstery, unlovable black women” memes in the media. It’s been going on a long time. Long story short, the way that these dating sites position themselves as some sort of “solution” is fundamentally flawed for those reasons (and more).
7) Your podcasts are always interesting to listen to, and I enjoy the variety of your guests. Who would you love to interview in the future on your Blog Talk radio show, and what subjects would you love to cover in the near future?
Thanks again for the compliment! I have a huge wish list of people I’d love to interview. I’d love to talk to Rose Arce who recently wrote a “not the nanny piece” for CNN. She’s a Latina mom of color –so I’d love to hear her take on things. I’d also love to talk to more dads of color to mixed kids. As for topics, I’d love to do a more in depth exploration of how mothers of color are marginalized. I have a secret wish list of guests for that show. If it ever comes together I’ll happily do a big reveal!