On some level, being part of a multiracial family is no big deal. It seems that in one way or another, most people are and most onlookers don't look twice. (Although I did have a tax accountant once who firmly believed people should not wed outside their race and so he set up my then-single Scandinavian best friend with a Scandinavian guy he knew. It turns out the only thing they had in common was their ethnicity. This guy took freak to a whole new level and I'm pretty sure it was the weirdest blind date she's ever been on. But aren't all blind dates weird? Okay that's a different topic for a different day. The point is, said Scandinavian married a nice, not-so-freaky half-Mexican guy.)
According to a recent story in The New York Times, Census Data Presents Rise in Multiracial Population of Youths by Susan Saulny, "the multiracial population has increased almost 50 percent, to 4.2 million, since 2000, making it the fastest growing youth group in the country." The article also says, "The number of people of all ages who identified themselves as both white and black soared by 134 percent since 2000 to 1.8 million people, according to census data released Thursday." While I find this information to be hugely reassuring in terms of Sabine's growing identity (if she sees more children who look like her, she will feel less marginalized), it's not yet reflected in our community or surrounding communities.
And as a result, some people do look twice. Because people don't usually notice if there isn't disparity in facial features or skin color (for example, my Scandinavian friend and her half-Mexican husband), I'm left to wonder if it's the striking difference in physicality of my family members that makes passersby sometimes stare or take a second look? Maybe yes, maybe no. I don't plan on asking them so I will never know. And a second look isn't that big of a deal. Staring or shaking your head is. And so are comments from the under-exposed.
We live in an apartment building that is diverse, but mostly light-complected. One Caucasian child was playing barefoot in the flowerbed one day. She lifted up her leg and saw the dark brown film of dirt she'd acquired on the bottom of her foot and said, "This is the color of Sabine's skin. It's dirt color!" It wasn't malicious and it was a perfectly innocent observation, but I still got the chills. I just wonder how Sabine might feel about this when she's older and perhaps, but hopefully not, still in the minority when it comes to skin color.
There was another time when a Caucasian boy, who is also about six-years-old, said to me, "You're white, your husband is black and you got a black baby!" And then he started laughing. If it weren't for the laughing part, I might've replied, "Good job, genius.". But since he included the Children of the Corn laugh, I wanted to push him off of his bike. I didn't because his mom is the resident manager of our building. But again, I cringe at the thought of Sabine growing up and potentially having the majority constantly commenting on or pointing out her skin color. Pubescent girls have enough to deal with, don't you think?