With all the divisiveness currently going on in our country, it is a little bit scary having a family that is multi-ethnic. Still, it is something I wouldn’t change for the world.
I have a confession to make. When I first got married, I faced the dilemma of whether or not to follow in old traditions and change my last name. There was a little part of me that resisted because I believed that my last name was part of who I was as a person. I got over that, especially now that I have children – it’s part what ties us together and makes us a family. Still, there was a bigger issue that popped up, that I had never thought about before. An incredibly important issue that made me look at life in America, or in the world as a whole in a completely different way. I didn’t want to change my name because people would assume I was a minority… aka… not white.
What did that mean to me? Having this new last name meant my life was going to become harder. This wasn’t something I had thought about before and it wasn’t something anyone said to me. This was a subconscious knowledge I had. I know this term is tossed around, and there is a lot of angry debate about it, but there really is something to “white privilege.” As a “white” person, I never realized it until I it was gone.
What does that mean? Well, at first (before I had kids), one of my biggest concerns was employment. When you send out a resume for a job, you present your experience, and your name. Would mine be tossed into a pile of rejects simply because of my name? Will people choose to enlist someone else’s services over mine because of who they perceive me to be based on my name?
Now, my biggest concern is for my kids. I fear the day when we have to explain to them that people will make assumptions about them, not based on who they are as beautiful individuals, but simply by where their family came from.
So where is the joy in all of this talk you might ask? There is a huge amount of joy, actually. The first one is that I have this AMAZING extended family! Not only do I have the wonderful people in my immediate family, but I have married into a family of some of the most loving, accepting and joyful people I have ever met. I now have amazing in-laws, cousins, aunts and uncles who treat me as if I’ve been part of their family from the beginning.
This life change has allowed me to stand with my husband and (now my children) and say “we are in this together.” I can’t pretend to understand what he has been through or what my children may (hopefully not!) go through, but I can stand by their sides and let them know that I will always have their backs, and will do what I can to change the world for the better.
My parting words of advice for all of you out there: Imagine what your life would be like if you were judged simply by your outward appearance, by your name, or by how much you have or don’t have, then make a change to make the world a better place!
Have a great Father’s Day to all the dads out there!