I understand choosing the easier way . . .

4

October 9, 2007 by multiracialsky

. . . but damn, I never seem to do it. It looks like such a nice, quiet, peaceful road. In the sun.

I’ve been feeling a little beat down lately, like, does this never stop? ‘This’ being toddler teething, people asking unbelievable questions about/to my family, having to explain/justify my own multiracial-ness, (because I look White, so maybe I’m lying?), being pregnant or breastfeeding (or both) for almost six years straight, along with the everyday necessities of actual mountains of laundry and dinner that needs to be planned and cooked every single night. (You’d think I would have thought of these chore-related realities before I had four children in four years; what can I say–I didn’t have a mentor.)

I wouldn’t change a thing about our family, how it came to be, the (sometimes wild and challenging) temperaments of each of my I’ll-never-be-a-wallflower children, the endless endless laundry. But I get it now, in a way I didn’t a few years ago. I understand why

  1. Multiracial people identify monoracially, often with the ‘racial group’ they most resemble (physically).

  2. Couples, who are able, only have biological children.

  3. Families have only one or two children.

  4. Families choose same-race adoption.

  5. Transracially adoptive families choose international adoption.

  6. Domestically adopting families choose closed or barely-open adoption.

  7. Families space their children 3+ years apart.

  8. Parents send their children to school, public school, even when they could certainly imagine a better program. (Somedays I think, I turned down free childcare?)

  9. People, including parents, choose not to confront racism wherever they find it: in their families, in schools, in themselves, in their neighborhoods, communities, and governments. (Too hard. Too scary. A waste of time.)

  10. White and White-appearing people choose not to be actively antiracist. (Someone else is taking care of it, and it doesn’t really affect me.)

All these choices–that other people were making–used to infuriate me. (Okay, some of them still do, but my reasons have changed.) I couldn’t comprehend why more people weren’t having the same ideas and coming to the same conclusions I was.

The past year has put me (a little more) in my place. I have been going full-steam ahead on all fronts for more than a year. For the first time, it felt like maybe I had too many balls in the air. I could do it, but I wasn’t enjoying it anymore. We made some fairly minor changes about a month ago, and suddenly I’m almost back to my center (which of course makes me think, what else could I be doing?)

Swimming upstream is tiring. And isolating. But these non-mainstream choices are the only things I can do. This is what is right for me (and on some issues, what I believe is right, period). I am not just being “difficult” or “choosing things because nobody else is doing them” (these are both accusations close family members have thrown at me over the years). Although I question ideas and choices that have been fully embraced by the mainstream culture, I question every choice I make and every idea or movement I take on as my own.

But some days, what I wouldn’t pay to be able to go to the store or to an extended family gathering or open up a newspaper without be accosted, offended, or supremely annoyed. I am inclined to wish that society and individual people would change, to wish they would be something or someone other than what they are. This will probably never be.

I recognize and take full responsibility for all the choices I have made and for my life being just the way it is; honestly, I love it. I am also coming to understand why many people arrive at some of the crossroads I have faced in my life–and go the other way.

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4 thoughts on “I understand choosing the easier way . . .

  1. Y-LOVE says:

    Brilliant post.

    Remember, being “actively antiracist” for white people often means attacking their own privilege, and why would someone want to begin the arduous process of becoming “like everyone else”?

  2. Ansley says:

    Oh, honey, come to Portland! We ‘get’ you here. (Except for that whole secret-location-skinhead-convention thing last week, but we’re trying.)

    I feel the same feelings and get so many of the same reactions as you. Keep your chin up!

  3. K. Darrow says:

    It takes a great deal of courage, patience, perseverance, and maybe just a wee bit of insanity to swim upstream – to go against the mainstream grain. It sounds like it has been worth it for you though. And reading this post reminds me that our own struggle upstream is also a good thing. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  4. Kohana says:

    I am also learning to stop and listen and recognize values in other people’s choices instead of condemning them. The same values don’t look the same on different people and the fact that other people don’t fight for justice the same way I do doesn’t mean they’re not fighting. It’s hard to recognize, but worth doing.

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© 2007-2014 All rights reserved by Natasha Sky. Posts, essays, photographs, and art may not be republished, reprinted, or repurposed without permission.
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