The Joy of a Multi-Ethnic Family

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!

7 thoughts on “The Joy of a Multi-Ethnic Family

    1. This is your doing sis… you made your kids who they are ❤️ Good job … I don’t know what hapoen to me … mom tried
      Lol

  1. Honey, do not think your name has anything to do with not getting a job or getting a job.My sister in law married dave arroyo her and her beautiful daughters have good jobs.( irish, puerto rican ) My neighbor mary (irish) married Freddie ( puerto rican ) they all have good jobs and beautiful children just like yours.
    Look at our names they scream ethnic
    Burek- vitale- Gaffney- what about people who do not like italians? Or Irish
    Or Puerto Rican? People are who they are
    We are a mixed society and today that is the norm. ❤️

    1. Thanks for your response Aunt Cathy! I appreciate the examples that you’ve given of the positive things that have come from mixed families, it’s so important to see that! I hear what you’re saying, and I agree our society is becoming more mixed, I just wish everyone saw that as a positive thing. Perhaps I’ll never know what implications my last name does/doesn’t have, I just see lots of evidence in the media about the biases that still exist, and I became aware of my own biases when faced with the choice to change my last name. I think that’s just what I was trying to bring to light, that I had a bias that I wasn’t aware of and now I see it. For me, it’s been important because now that I see my biases, I can do something about them!

      What you’re saying is true, that there are people out there who will not like others based on whatever they feel like picking on. The thing is, I haven’t had to deal with the direct, in your face discrimination and hatred that friends and family members have had to deal with just because of what they look like or what their names are. I’ve had friends tell me about racial slurs flung at them by complete strangers in the subway for no reason, or how they were told they wouldn’t get a “real job” because of their ethnicity. So even though my name is ethnic, it’s definitely different being part of the majority.

      I’m glad that this has gotten us all to talk about the world, and I appreciate the different perspectives that we all bring to the table, that’s what makes the world great!

  2. Those people are mentally ill.
    When we were kids none of this mattered. My friend June was black
    We use to say things to maje eachother laugh. we were best friends. We really didnt see color, my fruend sergio was cuban we were best friends and he became an air traffic controler. Maybe because we dont see the outside of people but what is inside.
    However I do not think your last name will ever stop you or your beautiful children from anything this world has to offer.
    People will always call people ethnic slurs this is nothing new and unfortunatly will never change but you let it roll off your
    back, you know how many names they have for the italians omg lol
    Just remember you are not here to please anyone you are here to be you the
    Most loving, kind person you are
    Do not let this world change you!❤️

    1. I appreciate the conversation! The only thing I would say in contrast is that people who discriminate are not mentally ill. The reason I say this is that if we say they are mentally ill, it excuses the behavior and doesn’t address the problem. It also makes it seem like there is no hope for change! People who discriminate may be filled with hate, fear or simply haven’t had personal encounters with people who are not like them. In any case, we’re trying to instill in our kids that it doesn’t matter what any other people think, don’t let them stop you!

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