G-2LCWV30QZ8 Love and Happiness? Interracial Couples Share their Stories - TonyTidbit: A Black Executive Perspective

Episode 135

Published on:

16th Apr 2024

Love and Happiness? Interracial Couples Share their Stories

Episode Title: Love and Happiness? Interracial Couples Share their Stories

Episode Link: https://podcast.ablackexec.com/episode/love-and-happiness-interracial-couples-share-their-stories

Hello and welcome to A Black Executive Perspective ! 🎙️In this episode of the Black Executive Perspective podcast, parents of biracial children share their perspectives on race and identity. They discuss their motivations for participating in the podcast and the importance of having conversations about race. The parents also share their personal experiences with discrimination and the challenges they faced growing up in different environments. They talk about the cultural shock and identity issues they encountered, as well as the impact of interracial relationships on their families. The parents emphasize the importance of exposure and conversations in promoting understanding and acceptance. This conversation explores the experiences and challenges faced by individuals in interracial relationships and their biracial children. The guests discuss the importance of not letting society dictate their identity and the need to resist the pressure to choose between racial identities. They share personal stories of microaggressions and the impact it has on their lives. The conversation also highlights the need for open and honest conversations about race and the importance of exposure to different cultures and experiences. The guests provide advice for individuals in interracial relationships and raising biracial children, emphasizing the importance of love, confidence, and open communication.

▶︎ In This Episode

  1. Having conversations about race is important to promote understanding and acceptance.
  2. Growing up in different environments can lead to cultural shock and identity issues.
  3. Interracial relationships can challenge family expectations and lead to conversations about race.
  4. Exposure to different cultures and experiences is crucial in breaking down stereotypes and promoting empathy.

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Tony Tidbit (:

a safe space where we discuss all matters related to race, especially race in corporate America. I'm your host, Tony Tippett. In a previous episode titled, Too Black to be White and Too White to be Black, we heard from several teenagers about the difficulties they encounter as a bi- as biracial individuals. Now we're giving the floor to their parents to share their perspectives on the

relationships. In addition, they'll discuss everything from facing public discrimination, navigating their children's identity challenges, and dealing with the effects of racial microaggressions, a form of discrimination that subtle deeply affects individuals and families. Ladies, welcome to a Black Executive Perspective podcast. Good afternoon.

Good. Awesome. See you guys are chomping at the bit already. Those are all good. So, look, let's introduce everyone so everybody gets to know who you are. Let's start from the left. Your name. Tell us a little bit about your occupation and the racial makeup between you and your spouse. Hello. My name is Lindsay. I'm a teacher. I have two children. I have a son and a daughter. And their father is African-American. Thanks, Lindsay.

Hi, good afternoon everyone. I'm so happy to be here. My name is Erica. I'm a judge and I have two daughters with a white father. Welcome Erica. Hello, my name is Shannon. I'm an account executive and my husband is black and I have a son and a daughter. Welcome Shannon. So ladies, thank you for coming here. Obviously you guys have busy families.

So for you to take the time to come and talk about this topic, I really appreciate it. But that's the question that I want to ask you. Why did you want to come on? Obviously, your kids were on, and they talked about their stories. What compelled you to come on a black executive perspective to give your point of view on this topic? Let's start with you first, Shannon. Thank you. I think it's just really important to have a conversation, like you're saying, with all of us.

Tony Tidbit (:

podcast series. It's important to talk about it, make people feel comfortable, let people know a little bit about, I guess, how it is to be in my shoes or your shoes or our children's shoes and just understand other people and their situations. For me it was the title. Just the title of this podcast reminded me of my own college experience. Both my mother and father are black but

I went to a lily white school. There were 3,000 or so students, 60 of us were black. And I was not black enough for the black students, but I wasn't white. So I found myself on this island by myself. And I didn't grow up in this country. And so it really had some identity issues that came up for me. So the title was what brought me, plus my daughter did the podcast. So I'm happy to.

you know, book in that with my views on this. All right. Well, thank you, Lindsay. After my son participated in the podcast, Gail and I actually were spending some time together, having some conversations which had a lot more. My son had not experienced or thought he didn't experience things that I had to remind him about. He also didn't take in his sister's perspective on how.

she had dealt with many of the things, the girls that participated in. And I felt like it needed a further discussion. And I also needed to remind him, not everyone has the same thick skin he has. So although those experiences shaped him to who he is today, that he needs to also acknowledge and recognize how hurtful things are that may not hurt him personally, but do hurt our family or...

other children that are biracial. Got it, got it. Stop right there.

Tony Tidbit (:

Can you get in, bro?

Tony Tidbit (:

When you're speaking, just try to get as close as you can. Because I know we're doing this and we naturally do it. OK. And it's nobody's fault. And you might tilt it up a little bit. There we go. It'll move like it moves up and down.

Tony Tidbit (:

Okay, we're good. All right, so we good with her answer? Or should I ask her one more time? I'll take it one more time. Okay, all right, so on three. One, two, three. So ladies, you guys have a busy schedule. You have very active kids and the family. So why did you wanna come and talk about this topic on the Black Executive Perspective podcast? Let's start with you first, Shannon. Thank you.

I've seen the podcast, obviously our children were a part of this series earlier, and I just really love the idea that you're putting out there, just letting other people hear different perspectives, have a conversation, and hopefully educate and enlighten others, and for me myself as well, to be able to watch and learn and grow and develop as a human. Oh, awesome, Erica. For me it was the title. I think back to my college days.

I was a black student but I went to a school of 3,000 students with about 60 of us who were black and so I wasn't because of my unique circumstances I grew up abroad doing quote unquote white things. I wasn't black enough for the black students and I wasn't white so I was literally on an island on my own and had to navigate those identity issues and so for me my daughter having participated I thought it was important to book in this with my perspective.

Following the production that my son participated in, Gail and I were having a conversation, and I realized there was a different, there was things that he didn't realize that he had experienced. He also has thick skin, so things that might not bother him absolutely bother my daughter. And I felt like there needed to be further discussions. I felt like he needed to understand why the girls that participated in had feelings that they had.

that they were valid, and also continue the conversation because there are things that happen in his everyday life, as well as my daughter's, mine, that change and shape who we are today. Got it, got it. Well, number one, thank you all for coming on and talking about a topic that most people don't wanna talk about, right? Unfortunately, we have been afraid to talk about race, and because of our fear, it hasn't brought us together.

Tony Tidbit (:

So that's why we have this podcast, so we can have these safe conversations, and we can talk about these things that most people are not aware of, so we can educate people and hopefully make a big difference. So I just want to applaud you ladies for coming on and doing this, because most people would be afraid to do it, so thank you. So, since I got you. All right, we might as well jump. So you guys ready to talk about this? Yes, absolutely. All right, let's talk about it. So let's back up a little bit, because obviously we want to talk about

today and your kids and stuff, but let's take a step back. So I'm gonna start with you first, Erica, because you talked about where you were born. So let's, where are you originally from? Talk a little bit about your racial makeup. You spoke a little bit to it earlier. And then I'm gonna, and then we'll move on. I just wanna get a little background of where you're from, your racial makeup, growing up. And then I'm gonna ask you another question. Okay, so I was actually born in Springfield, Massachusetts to...

a single black mother, a college student. My father also was black. And my mother worked for the Department of Defense. So I grew up in Germany from the age of five until I graduated from high school. And so my experience with race relations was very different. I went to American schools and the...

children in the schools with me, my classmates, were mostly military children, even though I wasn't military. My mother was a civilian. So I went to, it was a very diverse student body, but the military is one of the few places where integration is mandated, right? There isn't a...

. And it sounds odd to say in:

Tony Tidbit (:

with everyone was black. And when I saw her yearbook, freshman year, I said, where are all the white people? Or where are all the, like everyone from the janitor to the superintendent was black. And that was an experience I had never had. I had a very international, my friends didn't speak English, had never been to the US, we were all pretty much well traveled. Most of us spoke different languages. I rode horses, I ran track, I listened to quote unquote white music. Like I...

My experience growing up was very different, I think, had I stayed in Springfield, Massachusetts or grew up here. So going to, I won't name my college, but going to my university was a culture shock for me. And I didn't have the experience of that black was something that I needed to be. It's something that I was. The expectations of American students, my peers,

was so foreign to me. I didn't understand why the way I spoke or the music I listened to, the things I was interested in was being monitored in that way. And so I had a crash course in race relations in the US, you know, just by coming back and going to school. So, you know, the identity issues, even though I was black, you know, other black students made me question that, which is odd. So in other words.

When you were international, it wasn't an issue. Was not an issue. And that's not to say there wasn't racism. No, no, but in terms of your identity and stuff to that nature, it wasn't an issue. It was not an issue. But then when you came to America, all right, then all of a sudden your race became forefront. Forefront, front and center was about everything. And then if you were listening to Led Zeppelin, or Journey, or stuff to that nature around black kids, they were like, what's up with you? Yes. Right, why you ain't listening to Kuhl and the gang?

or why you not listening to Temptations and stuff to that nature, right? So you ain't black enough because you listen to so-called white music, right? So that was a culture shock for you. Okay, so thanks for sharing. Lindsay, tell us a little bit about where you grew up in your background. So I grew up in Fairfield, absolutely not Connecticut. Sorry, not diverse at all. Went to college, went to Central Connecticut, still in Connecticut, much more diverse.

Tony Tidbit (:

And it was shocking to me. The dorm I lived in, on the floor I lived in, my two roommates were white, that was about it. And I found a new identity. I found friends I never knew, thought I would be friends with, changed the types of foods I ate, music I listened to. And that was the first time I started dating somebody that was not my race.

And I didn't even realize how much that would affect my parents, my siblings, other family members. They were so offended. They were so bothered by it. And I had no idea why, because for me it was just a person I was dating. These were just friends I made. And when I came home that summer, I realized a lot was going to have to change for me. I wasn't going to be able to live where I used to live.

I wasn't gonna stay friends with some of the friends I had. And it sort of was like from then on, who I dated, who I hung out with changed dramatically. Because I realized there were so many people who weren't racist, that were extremely racist. And I just didn't want them in my circle. That changed me. That changed you, so a little different, all right?

Not a lot of diversity where you lived at. Went to college, diversity, new friends, new food, new experience, started dating people, just fell in love, didn't even care what color they looked like. And then, but that experience changed the people around you, right, in terms of their thoughts, who they said they were.

You really got to see who they really were. Is that what we're hearing? Absolutely, absolutely. The other thing is I played a sport in college. And although my team was primarily white, the rest of the teams around me were not. You know, there was a lot of diversity. So it wasn't just black, white. I mean, it was very diverse, the athletes were. So those were the people, the circles I traveled in.

Tony Tidbit (:

for five years, so that changed also, sort of like who I was and what I was about. Thanks for sharing. Shannon. I think I'm realizing all of this as I'm hearing the conversations. I don't really have a reflection on myself in that way, if that makes any sense. I also grew up in Connecticut. I grew up in Milford, Connecticut. I live in a, I guess a predominantly white.

neighborhood and in school and everything like that same with my college I went to a small private college in New York I don't know if there was ever a moment where I felt a shift or anything in what I did

Tony Tidbit (:

My boyfriend in high school was Japanese, I guess if that means anything. I guess I never really thought about that either. And when I was in college though, I guess this could be a thing. I guess the music I always listened to, I always listened to hip hop. I always also listened to rock music and things, but I guess I felt very comfortable in different ways and with different people. I never really thought about it too much. When I was in college though, I did intern and then I worked for many years at a hip hop radio station in New York. So.

I guess at that point in time, I was definitely in a situation where I was the minority. Again, I didn't feel uncomfortable by that or anything at any particular time. And I'm not sure what else to say. I don't really have a moment or something in particular to that. I guess what there was a shift or anything in particular for me. It was all, I guess, a little more.

gradual or just how things play out in life, where you end up, who you end up with, and how your family develops. Okay, so let's piggyback off that. So based on where all you grew up at, right, did you, and you said your first boyfriend, or you had a boyfriend that was Japanese, right? Did you see yourself, did you think that you would end up with somebody from another race? Oh, absolutely. I have to say, my family,

Anytime I was like, oh, I was dating someone new, the first question was, is he black? Because for my family, my immediate family, that would have been a shock. Only because I grew up not just around black boys or men. No one expected me. If you lined up the people I dated, they were Pakistani, German, American, just everything you can imagine. So.

For me, it's not at all a shock. It wasn't some major shift in my life that the person that I would build a family with was not a black person. That would be fine. It wasn't that, that wasn't an option for me or a preference. I, you know, I don't have a preference. I just, it's not surprising in my situation that my spouse is not black, is what I'm saying. For me, it was a shock. It was, I actually remember the moment it came up.

Tony Tidbit (:

with my parents. I was driving home from school, from college. One weekend my mom was driving and I had a friend in the backseat and he said

Tony Tidbit (:

I heard you in the student center and you were hanging outside of the Black Student Union. Like what were you doing there? And I was like, oh, just hanging out with friends. And like the car almost like on the highway, like she might as well put it into park. And it was like question after question after question. And I mean, my father was extremely offended and things are very, very different now. He wouldn't change it for the world.

But in that moment, I really shocked my parents and the language my parents used at that time. They have, I mean, they have learned, they have changed who they are, but it was very offensive. It was very difficult time. But it was interesting. I think from that moment on, I kind of felt like this is what I'm attracted to. This is not, you know, you have to be black, but the type of person and the interests.

and the things that we had in common. So from then on, I knew there was gonna be a shift and there was gonna be a change. And there was some teasing, there was some fights, there was unkind words. There were girlfriends that were so excited. They wanted some juicy details. I have never heard of this other than on TV. I'm like, where have you been? But then I thought, wait, this was me previously. I wouldn't have known.

Right, they, at the end of the day, they was never exposed to that, right? And so when you grow up in an area, that's all you know, that's all you see, and then when somebody is, I don't wanna say deviating, but when somebody goes outside of that, then they're like, oh, how does that work, or what the case may be? So, go ahead, you wanna say something? No, I was gonna say, it's one of the arguments I would have with black students at my college. What I would say is, you cannot expect all these white kids who...

grow up around folks just like them, who worship in institutions that look just like them, who socialize, who go to school. What do you expect if the only exposure to anything other than themselves is what they have as popular media? They have no idea. Exposure matters. It matters. And Lindsay's story is a perfect example of that. She hadn't been exposed. It wasn't that she, now, the.

Tony Tidbit (:

Story about your parents perhaps is a generational thing, but your exposure and now your parents' exposure to your choices, you got them on board or not, right? But exposure matters and so it's another thing that attracted me to this conversation is that I think a lot of times people simply don't take the opportunity or don't have the opportunity to be exposed to different things and this is a way to do that. Absolutely. Shani?

Did you think that you were gonna be attracted or you think you were gonna end up with somebody from a different race when you were a kid? You know, I guess I never, again, I never really thought about it. I feel like I need to, I guess, do a little more self-reflection or something because it didn't surprise me, no. I wasn't surprised by that at all. What about your family? Was your family surprised? You know, I...

I don't even think so. It sounds, I sound like the lamest story over here. No, no, it's your story. I mean, it is my story. I remember, and I thought it was so cute, my grandparents, when I told them that my boyfriend was black, at first they were just like, oh, really? And then I showed them a picture, I guess I showed them a picture of my now husband, Robert, and you know what they said? Their comment was,

Oh my gosh, you look so young, you're robbing the cradle. And he's older than me also, I will let you all know. But that was really the response. So I think, I mean, I'm sure it was maybe a little bit surprising or everybody wasn't in love with the idea at some point somewhere in my family, but it was never a major topic of conversation. And I really, I didn't grow up in a real,

mixed environment or anything. Most people were white, where I went. Everybody I thought was Irish or Italian. Everybody was Catholic until I went to college and found out there was, oh, look at all these Protestants. I mean, it was like, really, I grew up in a very small, tight-knit white community, but I never, I guess, thought about it that way, or was? But isn't it interesting that you had to tell your grandparents? I wonder if you had been dating a white Catholic kid, would you have thought to tell your grandparents?

Tony Tidbit (:

You understand what I'm saying? Yeah, yeah, oh, I do. If I can interject with you just a quick story. No, no, sure. I love it. When I was in college, a very good friend of mine was from Manhattan, and she invited me home for Thanksgiving, because of course, I wasn't flying to Germany for Thanksgiving. And so she was a good friend, and she invited me to her house. And I went to her house, very wealthy, white, upper class neighborhood. And she had clearly told her parents.

that she was bringing me, but somebody forgot to tell her aunt and uncle at whose home we were having Thanksgiving dinner, and when they opened the door, the world stopped, and they wouldn't touch, they wouldn't shake my hand, I put my hand out, and they just didn't, it didn't register, and so I was thinking to myself, oops, somebody forgot to say that the black girl is coming for Thanksgiving dinner.

you know because of who i am it didn't in badly and they eventually no recovered and allowed me to eat in their home but uh... it was clearly uncomfortable for them and i uh... think that exposure that they had made it now i'm not saying then every black person came to their door they would touch but what i'm saying is that they

were like, wow, she's like, she's not that bad. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Like she's a human being. A teachable moment. It was a teachable moment. And again, because of who I am, right? That could have really gone left. Right? Depending on the person. Yeah, depending on the person. And then they would have painted a broad brush for everybody. Yes. Right? Go ahead, Shannon. Well, that's very nice that you're talking about how they felt, but how did you feel? I mean, that's, I'm so sorry. Yeah, I felt bad, like, but.

I understand, I'm overly empathetic, is the problem sometimes. A different person, a cousin of mine or somebody else in my family, it would not have gone well. But like I said, because of who I am, I mean, I felt like, oh gosh, somebody forgot to tell you. Do you know what I mean? I didn't feel like you racist MF-er, how dare you? I just felt like, we forgot to warn you, sorry. You know, I felt, because I, you know, it's, I think.

Tony Tidbit (:

again exposure matters right it was clear that these people had never had someone other than a white person in their home for a meal that was crystal clear to me i felt like as long as extended some grace and automatically assume my assumption was this is new for you my assumption was not you're a horrible wretched person because this is new for you

and let me expose you a little bit to how we're, I like turkey, you like turkey. I want this team to win the game this year. And it was fine. So I didn't, I don't know, I felt like, I sort of felt like they just didn't get the notice. Because they would have pulled it together, right? Maybe. Or not. So, I mean, but at the end of the day, it was really about you as a person.

Right? You didn't let the situation, you could have. You were very empathetic in that situation, right? So that shows what type of person that you are. To be fair, if anybody comes to some, if a white person comes to my door, regardless if somebody tells me or not, I'm not gonna be shocked. All right? I mean, at the end of the day, can I help you? All right? So that should be just common courtesy, but you made the situation very positive. But speaking of that,

Let's now, let's jettison forward. You're all married now, right? When you first got married, you all have kids now. They're teenagers, all right? When you first got married, knowing the experiences that you dealt with up to getting married with your spouse, did you and your spouse sit down and talk about what you would have to deal with, what your kids would have to deal with?

in terms of your relationship, anybody jump in? Well, I'm not married. Okay. So that was like, you know, another negative in the box, right? So the problem was the thing that would come up and my situation is probably different. My partner had other kids already. And so there was a lot of negative things we had to deal with prior because it was, this is a black person.

Tony Tidbit (:

they already have children. There was, you know, prejudice about that type of person and the thought of that there were too many black men like that out there. So actually a lot of these conversations happened and then we had our children and then it kind of the conversations we talked about were based on the color of their skin. My daughter's a little darker.

than my son is. You know, they both have blue eyes. That is not typical. So we kind of talked about how they would be treated based on sort of what they looked like. And that was kind of the conversations we had to have. But he had already gone through that already once. But even with the children, you know, our children look different. So how will they be treated based on that? What did you think of that though? Because you didn't grow up that way.

Now you're about to have kids. And like you said, your partner, basically like, he dealt with that throughout his life. Now your kid's gonna probably have to deal with that. So what was your thought process when you guys sat down and talked about it? The first thing we talked about was school. So they were absolutely not going to the schools I went to. And we had to very carefully decide. So they went to a magnet school. They went to a very diverse school.

when we were signing them up for baseball, when we were signing them up for dance, all of that stuff had to be pre-planned out and really thought about, are these diverse areas? Will they be accepted? I really had to think about, as far as sports, are they gonna be like the token black kid, that thought process, oh, they're gonna be really great because they're half black, half white. Even with dance, we had to deal with that. So.

conversations we had more were how are we gonna put them in a place that they're gonna feel good feel accepted feel related to other kids Wow thanks for sharing anybody else I remember a conversation that I overheard or that I was a part of before I had children or before I was married or anything and my cousin has a daughter with a black man and I was together with my cousin's

Tony Tidbit (:

call my cousin, and her dad, and we were talking or whatever and he was telling her how she's black. And I was like, maybe 18, and I was almost like offended as the white person, like, well, what do you mean she's black? She's also white, and he's like, she's black, everyone will see her as black, she has to identify as black, and I don't know, it like, it like hurt my heart a little bit at the moment, that like, you can't just be who you are or that a child has to think of how they're seen.

by others, not how they feel, and just to identify, I guess, in those two ways, like you feel how you feel, but other people will see you and judge you based on how they see you. And I guess that's just always something that really, really stuck with me. And... That's literally exactly the conversation that my white husband and I had. Now, let me just say, I could not have married a whiter man. Not possible. He's from Iowa.

He drove a pickup truck. He likes heavy metal. These are the stereotypes. All right. He is, if you were to see him, he's blonde with blue eyes. When I tell you I couldn't have married a whiter man, I could not have married a whiter man. But one of the many things I love about my husband is that he is not at all what you think you see. And the conversation we had was.

understand that our children will be treated by the world as black children. As a black mother, that's what I had to explain to my white husband. What did he think of that when you said that to him? He didn't disagree. But I can really identify, Shannon, with the hurting your heart because one of the things that has been very difficult for me as the mother of biracial black and white girls is that I...

tell them and I try to show them through what I do, do not let people make you choose. Your father is white forever and ever, amen, no matter what happens, that's your daddy. I'm your mama and I'm black and people are going to make you, white kids and black kids are going to try to make you choose. Do not fall into that trap of having to choose. Identify with who it is that you are, but I can really identify with that because I knew the world, you know,

Tony Tidbit (:

the world says, or American society says, be yourself. Oh no, not like that. Do it this way, right? So I wanted my girls to be very confident in who they are, but understand that sometimes there's a joke in our family. One girl will do something, she'll say, I'm tapping into my white side right now, or I'm tapping into my black side, but they understand that the world is going to try to make them choose, and they resist that because of what their dad and I have instilled.

in them. I can also say having, speaking of tapping into white and black sides, the other thing we discussed was the things that we were going to have to do as an interracial couple. So for example, buying a car, I would go in and pick the car that I wanted and then send my white husband in to get the car because he got the better deal. Or, and I am sure this group has lots of stories about, you know, being the white mom or the black dad or the black...

You know, we have lots of stories like that. But so the other thing we talked about, even with our children, is who we were going to send in to get something accomplished. Are we sending the black mama in? So every, you know, or are we sending white dad in? What are we doing with that? So those were the discussions we had in response to your question about what our children were going to have to experience. So we're gonna come back to that, because I wanna ask, because I know you guys all got stories about that, but I wanna get Lindsay's point of view on the question, because I know you wanted to jump in.

What Shannon said was something I had to learn. So from the beginning, family members, people would say, well no, now they're black. Like you have black children. And I had other friends would say, no you have mixed children. And I personally, it's my own thing. I don't like mixed. To me it sounds like a dog, an animal. I prefer biracial. I prefer black and white.

best of both worlds. I feel like there's all these different things. But I was offended and I would be like, no, they're not just black. But there were times where people would say things like, well, you're so lucky because your kid's skin is so light or their eyes are blue. And then I would jump on the, they're black. They're black. Wait a minute, wait a minute, now they're black, okay. You know, it was kind of like- Because they're making a point. Because they were trying to make them just white. Right.

Tony Tidbit (:

But it was funny because I was being told, if they're black, they're black. I don't care if it's 1%, I don't care if it's 50%. And I would be on the team sort of Shannon, like, wait, they're both. It doesn't matter the percentage. But when it came down to it, or anyone ever challenged that my children were whiter or their eyes, their hair, things like that, came into play, I was like...

black children. Like they became black and not white. They were not biracial. They were not, you know, both. They were black then. So I have gone back and forth in my life in experiences on what I want them to be represented as because if I wanted to advocate or I didn't like how someone was trying to make them whiter than they were, that bothered me. So I became nope, there's that like 1%. So they're black. So

Let's speak to that a little, let's dive into that a little bit further. What some of the, you just spoke about it, where somebody says, oh, luckily they have light skin, which means that they would have some type of privilege, or they wouldn't be seen as black, right? So tell us a little bit about some of the experiences that you guys have had as, it could be with you and your husband, it could be with you walking around with your kids. Let's talk a little bit, dive into a little bit of that stuff. And then your responses, or more importantly.

How did it make you feel when society was dealing with you with these different type of microaggressions and stuff to that nature? Oh my gosh, if you guys let me talk, we'll be here, A, for the next three hours. So my husband has three children from a first marriage to a white woman. She's got a Mexican parent, I think, but white.

And I can remember going to visit, you know, we would go to visit the three white children. And I'm the black stepmother and we would always go to a hotel with a pool. And I would have, you know, the, I won't name anybody, but my stepson, the little one, I'd be holding his hand, my stepdaughter would be on my back.

Tony Tidbit (:

and the other child would be with my husband and they were ahead of us because of course the little ones are tagging behind and minding somebody else's business. And so we were going to the restaurant and my husband and his white son got up to the hostess stand first and here I come two minutes later with these white children all over me and the hostess said, oh, can I help you? Now you said I couldn't curse. I said, I wanted to say exactly

Who, am I the nanny? But I held it together because she don't know. So that happens a lot. I can't possibly be with this blonde haired, blue eyed man, the babysitter, I'm somebody other than that next story and we could do this all day. When I had my daughter, I am literally holding my child that just came out of me.

My white husband went to get the car. I'm in the hospital. My white husband went to get the car. My white girlfriend is with me, you know, with my little bag and we're waiting. And this older white woman came up. She had to be maybe in her 70s. Sweet grandmother woman. She said, oh, what a beautiful baby. Do you know her name? Now you said, I can't curse. There are no words to describe.

what it feels like to be asked by someone when you're holding my child. Your baby. That I am holding this child and you wanna know if I know her name? But she caught me on a good day. Again, it's because of who I am. And I just said, you know, her name is Sophia. Because she wasn't trying to start trouble, right? She was just commenting on my beautiful child, but it didn't occur to her. It never crossed her mind that was my child.

And if my children hadn't called me mama, a lot of times people would have had no idea that they were my children. So I can go on and on. I can tell you about stories where my husband and I walk into a restaurant and there are black couples sitting at a table. And when I tell you we ruined their night by just coming in and being seated and, black women are upset, black men are upset, black men in particular are upset.

Tony Tidbit (:

But everybody's upset. Like, why are you two together is sort of the message. And not only, so let me, and here's the kicker. How does that affect them and their life? Right? They're thinking, what, who I'm with or what my kids look like, how does that affect you? But I can- How does that make your life terrible? But I can tell you, this is an American thing. And that's not to say that there is not racism everywhere.

I'm pretty well traveled. I promise you this color thing we have going on in this country is unique to this country. When I'm in Istanbul, for example, the color of my skin is not the same issue as it's about if I'm hardworking or what. It's just. Your characteristics. We don't have the same, that's a, typical is not the right word. It's an American thing. It's an American. I can't think of the word I'm thinking of, but it's.

And that's not to say there isn't racism. Of course, there's racism all over, but it's a special colorism thing we have going on here where if there's a drop of black blood in you, then everybody's treating you like you're black, regardless of how you look. That's in the law, okay? Is that still in the law? I was thinking that, but I wasn't sure. That's in the law. That's not just people thinking that. That's written, okay? So, but thanks for sharing. I know you could be here all day.

All right, I can imagine, right? I just get upset when, you know, my wife is white and, you know, we've had our issues wherever we go, right? And it's like, why is this your, why are you upset? Why is this your problem who I'm with? All right, it has nothing to do with you. Then how does this affect your life, right? So that's why I don't understand. And this is one of the reasons why we wanna have these conversations because at the end of the day,

And in a day, and I was going to ask you guys this, and you kind of spoke to a little bit like what attracted you to your partner. In a day, life is about being happy. It's about finding somebody that you love and that you can grow a family with and you're on the same page with and you can build certain things together and make sure your kids are able to surpass you. That's what life's about. It doesn't matter what, if Erica is with such and such or Lindsay is with whoever or I'm with Shannon, it doesn't matter.

Tony Tidbit (:

So that's what really bugs me about the situation. But some of that has to do, I mean there are lots of reasons, but some of that, why it bothers the black, I can imagine, Lindsay, that you get this a lot, black women are unhappy about what you got going on, I can imagine. It is really hard, waitresses, going through the airport, there are things that happen where we will be out to dinner. I-

waitress will not look me in the eye. I'm here. I'd like to order dinner too. No, you don't get to order. And I, you know. Black waitress. Black waitress. Of course. Yeah. Of course. Sometimes I wanna say brown. Right, right. It could be Hispanic. It could be Hispanic. It could be. Non-white. I am, yes. Non-white. I am offensive to people and they have a visceral reaction sometimes. And I'm like, I'm sorry. I can't help you here.

But I'm still here, so you're gonna have to acknowledge me. But some of it has to do with our history in this country. We were talking about exposure matters, some of why she's upset, right? Because that exposure, not too long ago, we didn't, the communities didn't mix, right? Intermingle, yeah, yeah. Black people hung out with black folks and worshiped in the same place and worked in the same places and sat in the back of the bus together and.

Right? And you didn't have, there wasn't an opportunity, lots of opportunities for there to be exposure to other races other than what you were. That's how it was. And with the effects of slavery and racism in the United States, how white is the standard. Your blonde hair, your blue eyes, your fair skin, all of that is the standard.

choose you, it feels like we are rejected. That's some of what black women got going on. Absolutely. And I have friends that have explained this to me and had this conversation with me. And I always joke, I said, I could introduce you to 20 white guys. Let me know who you wanna pick, you know? And kind of becomes a joke, not really funny, but it's sometimes the way to lighten the mood or to say, I hear you, I hear you.

Tony Tidbit (:

I can't tell you why we ended up together. There were things we had in common. We liked each other. But here's the thing, though. And again, if they dated your husband, they probably wouldn't want to be with him. Because they're not a fit. It's not a fit. All right? That's my point here. I get the historical stuff. I get that. But at the end of the day, who I walk in with has nothing to do with you.

Because what difference, so if I walk in with somebody black, you gonna jump up and down and start dancing? It doesn't, yeah. You don't get that reaction, yeah. It shouldn't matter, right? It really shouldn't because if the ultimate goal is to find somebody that you're attracted to, that you fall in love with, and you build a family and you're happy, what difference does it make? One of my best friends grew up in a upper middle class black community in California, and her parents used to tell her,

They're part of sort of the black elite. Father was a doctor. They used to tell her, do not date white men because you can't help who you fall in love with. And they did not want her to come home with someone that wasn't black. That was like not okay. And so of course she didn't follow that. But she's the type of person that.

you know, when we go somewhere, we were in Madeira, Portugal, and I loved it, and I said, oh my gosh, I could live here, and she said, ah, I don't think I could live here, there aren't enough black people. And I was, and we talked about how odd it was that was on the top of her list for where to live, right? For me, my own personal journey, that wasn't a priority, but for her, it was a real priority, and those are the women that are gonna give you problems, the ones who need, you know, who need that, so.

Everyone has, I mean, there are lots of reasons, but it is really, I feel so badly for people, us who have to experience this because it's just like, wow, like, you know, not only is it none of your business, but I'm not with this person because he's black or because he's white. Exactly. I'm with him because I wanted to raise a family with this person. Exactly. You know, we share the same values, so yeah, that's a tough one. Shannon, jump in here.

Tony Tidbit (:

I mean, I agree, I think it's, I mean, it's tough. You know, you never know what other people are gonna be saying or what they're gonna be doing. Everybody's had an experience where you're offended or you feel bad because of how somebody else makes you feel. But for the most part, I feel like you just got, I mean, you just have to navigate, right? Everybody has a different set of circumstances, how people are gonna respond to you and how you respond back to them. But overall, I mean, I would say that...

Tony Tidbit (:

Everyone's saying sort of the same thing in our group. I mean, I fell in love with my boyfriend, we got married, we had children, we're a family, if we bother you, look the other way. I mean, there's nothing, I'm not gonna change who I am. I'm so proud of my family and my children and my husband. And like I said, hopefully having conversations like this and learning and meeting other people and having exposure to other people.

help you understand we're not i'm not doing anything to offend you i'm not trying to bother you or my husband's not trying to bother you by being who he is we're just who we are and you know hopefully we can hang out and have some conversation get along i don't know i'm glad you said everyone has a different set of circumstances my husband at work had a picture of me and his children because we didn't have children at the time and a co-worker came by and said oh

My girlfriend's black too. My husband said, this is not a club. This is not like, right? This is not some club we belong to. And he was so offended by this, it was a white coworker who felt like, oh, you know, like it was some secret club or something. Yeah, my girlfriend's black too. He was like, yeah, okay, get away from me. But those things, I was gonna say, those things happen all over the place. I'm a teacher. I was at work one time.

and another colleague of mine offended some African American guests at our school. And the principal wanted to check in. She comes marching to my room. She wants to talk about it. I'm like, how come you're asking me? I mean, I can give you some insight, but regardless of the color of my skin, regardless of my partner, regardless of my children.

All of those jokes were not okay. Whether the people they made those jokes to were white, they were black, they could have been Hispanic, they could have been Asian, it didn't matter. The jokes were not appropriate for work. They weren't appropriate for a group of people you are not close friends with. So you can come and ask me, you know, should they have been offended? How can we fix this?

Tony Tidbit (:

You should be, anybody should have been offended by the jokes that were made, and anybody should have realized, regardless of color of skin, that wasn't appropriate for the workplace. So the stop should be there. You're coming to me, you want me to say it's okay it happened or it was okay that these guests were offended? I can understand, I can relate.

but also my skin's not black. So I can say I would have been offended if I was them, but I don't know what it feels like. And even I can't tell you what they're gonna think, how they're gonna feel, an apology has to happen right away. But when that apology comes out, it has to be more than just because of the color of their skin, because it has to say, we represent a community where this isn't tolerated for anybody. And I think sometimes those lines still get blurred too.

But often, if it does have to do with race, and someone might come and check in with me, let's see how this is. Like, can you understand? You're the expert. Because you, you're. You know, I know you can help me out because you have black individuals in your family. It's like, no, you check yourself. You have to know what's right or what's wrong. Yeah, how do you not know? Don't check with somebody because of what their family's made up of. But sometimes I feel like our children will be the people who will

move the needle forward, right? Because when I hear you telling this story, what I think about is allyship, right? And why is it that white people rely on non-white people to fix it, to address it, to tell us if it's okay? If you feel uncomfortable as a white person in a situation where there is some remark being made that you feel is racist or makes you uncomfortable,

there isn't anything wrong with speaking up and saying, hey, right? But society has us going to either the white women married to black men or having children with black men or black folks to say, well, what should we do here? So I feel like our children who are biracial may be the ones that help us progress in that sense. In other words, because they have

Tony Tidbit (:

you know white family members and black family members they have these experiences and they have to navigate these identity issues that maybe they are the ones that are going to teach us about what it truly means to be an ally so that we can you know if we keep having these conversations because we can't solve the racism problem because we don't ever want to talk about it right or we're not talking to the right people well i think though and that's the goal right hopefully the generations progress uh... and i thought that when i was a young kid

and we're still having this issue, okay? And the reason we're having this issue is because to your point, nobody's talking about it. So at the end of the day, we can't rely on our kids. We have to, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Jewish, we have to be uncomfortable and have these conversations ourselves. But Tony, it's not that we're not talking about it. We are, the problem is the right people aren't talking about it. Well, here's the thing though, it's being talked about, but it's being talked about from a divisive standpoint. It's being talked about to divide people, right?

So because there's a strategy, all right, to hold power, right? So they don't want people to come together. Think about it for a second. If it really was about bringing people together, listen to any leader, I don't care what political affiliation they belong to, there's nothing coming out of their mouths about bringing people together. It's always talking about what this group is gonna take from you, and these people trying to replace you, and this and that. It's about dividing people.

Okay, because if we came together, we wouldn't, to be honest, those people would even be in power. So the key is, it's among us, these grassroot conversations to have these conversations. Now, do they have to be in a safe space where, you know, because the fear, reason we don't have these conversations, because people are afraid they're gonna get attacked, or they're gonna get canceled out, or, you know, they're gonna be judged as a racist, or, you know, at the end of the day, and I get that.

We gotta drop that too. People, I'm black, I've made a million mistakes in other different ethnicities and stuff to that nature. I didn't know. Back to where we started this conversation, how can somebody grow up in Montana where there's no diversity around them and they're supposed to know everything about diverse population? They wouldn't. So we gotta be smart enough and guess what? Some people can grow up in Long Island or

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in Fairfield, Connecticut, I'm not picking on Fairfield, but whatever, if you live in an area and you don't have diversity around you, you're not going to know. So we gotta be okay with that, but those people gotta be willing to be educated and we gotta be willing to throw them an olive branch. And if they make a mistake, as long as, you know, going back to your school situation, somebody makes a mistake, as long as they're like, look, what did I do wrong? I wanna correct this. And it's sincere.

guess what they just became better because they learned something right so final thoughts final question I have for you ladies real quick how would if there's people right now that's watching this that's listening to this they're in an interracial relationship or they're about to get in or they're in one and they're about to have kids well they have kids and their kids are dealing with the same things that your kids are doing what advice

in terms of bringing their kids up, having multiple identities, and navigating the world and being strong in who they are so they can take on or become anything that they want to become.

Tony Tidbit (:

I go back to my don't let the world make you choose if you're black or white. Be who you are. My mother taught me that my job on the planet was to leave the world a better place than how I found it. So your goal in life is to contribute something to the world to make it better, whatever that is. Whatever that is. And exposure matters.

Tony Tidbit (:

Talk to people, be in other places, travel, do things that you normally wouldn't do. Put yourself in situations where there are people that are not like you, different religions, different value system, and learn in that way. I think you have to sit down and have a conversation with your partner about what your goals are for your children, and everything else follows from that. I would say also, go out of your comfort zone.

So you have to show your children it all. Your black family, your white family, you have to give them opportunities to experience diversity, I would think. And I think what advice I would give is, make sure your children are somewhere where they're comfortable, where they're learning, and these conversations can happen. So.

you know, what schools they go to, what activities they do. You know, just give them as many opportunities to be around all, like all people. That would be mine. It's, you know, even if I lived in a primarily black community, still taking my children to go into a white community, or because I am also white, or vice versa. So you need to give them experiences, opportunities.

with all people. That would be my piece of advice. Not just stick to what's close and easy. Right. I agree with both my fellow moms here, and I've had a wonderful time speaking with them today. I think the only, obviously everything they said I agree with and the only other part I was going to add was just make sure, like any parent, that you have your kids feel loved and confident and.

Just build the strength within them in your own home and that they can feel strong and happy and safe to talk to you about anything that comes up. And hopefully between that, their family unit, their and all the exposure and the programs and things that they're in, they'll be able to have a great life and leave the world a better place than they came in. Awesome, final thoughts ladies. What do you wanna leave the audience about this conversation?

Tony Tidbit (:

what you want them to walk away with.

Keep talking, keep the conversations going. You know, I am still talking to my son, I think it was about your daughter and hair. We talk about hair with our daughters, ask for help. So if you don't, you know, I'm not just saying about hair, but if you don't know something, ask for it. I need help with my daughter's hair and I go and get it. I had to explain to Cameron the things he thought your daughter did not experience. My daughter experiences them all the time. So I would just say keep those conversations going.

Speaking of hair, I have to say this. You asked, Tony, about conversations we had with our partners before we had children or having biracial children, is that I literally threatened my husband's life because I said, do not have my child, because I have girls, do not have my child going to school looking homeless. You are going to learn how to do this, and I have proof of him doing their hair, and I will never forget the day I brought...

my old, our oldest, Sophia to daycare, and the white teachers were like, oh, preschool, oh, we just love how you did Sophia's hair today. I said, oh, I did not do it. Their daddy did it. Oh! Sucked all the air out of the room. It was literally something that was really important to me because as a black woman, as a mother, I can pick out the biracial kids whose white mamas didn't know what to do with their hair. I know them. And I, and I.

I offer my services, but that was a conversation I had with my husband and he rose to the challenge, probably because he was afraid of what would happen if he didn't rise to the challenge, but you make these, I don't wanna call them compromises, but you learn what it is that needs to happen for your children. Absolutely. You know, that you may not have that experience with, and you know, it's great, so call me.

Tony Tidbit (:

I'm good now, I got it now. We probably could have a whole show on hair. I mean, really. I mean, I think, you know, who tells you what to do with somebody's hair, who doesn't know how to do hair, who wishes they had someone to talk to, whatever it is, we could definitely have a show on hair. But yeah, I agree, keep the conversations open. Always feel, like empower yourself to say things sometimes when you hear something that you don't like or that you just think, you know what, I could just give a little perspective on that and.

jump into a conversation because a lot of times people aren't saying things to be offensive or to offend anyone else. They just don't know. So if you have a different perspective, bring it to the table, get the conversation going. Open things up and open your heart and pay attention, listen, be a good person. Well, number one, we thank you guys for coming on and opening it up and paying attention and sharing your experiences, your perspective. So, you know, Lindsay.

Erica, Shannon, wanna thank you for appearing here on the Black Executive Prospective Podcast and talking about a very difficult topic. And we're gonna keep the conversation going. We're gonna have another episode. We're gonna keep talking about this because we wanna continue to educate people. So thank you, really appreciate it, love each one. And so I think now it's time for Tony's tidbit. So now it's time for Tony's tidbit.

So the tidbit today is biracial families are the living, breathing example of love's triumph over societal divisions, shining a light on the path towards a more inclusive world. And I'm pretty sure you got that today with our guests. So we really appreciate you joining a Black Executive Perspective podcast. You can tune into our next episode wherever you get your podcast.

and you can follow us on all our social channels, LinkedIn, X, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, on exact, excuse me, Black Exec. But my fabulous guests, my man in the background, AA, who makes this happen, I'm Tony Tidbit. We talked about it, we love you, and we're out.

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About the Podcast

TonyTidbit: A Black Executive Perspective
Reshaping Leadership & Diversity in Corporate America
About the Podcast: "TonyTidbit: A Black Executive Perspective" offers a deep dive into the corporate world through the lens of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Hosted by Tony Franklin, aka Tony Tidbit, this podcast shines a light on vital conversations around race, leadership, and diversity, fostering understanding and change.


Meet Your Host: Tony Franklin has over three decades of corporate experience and provides transformative insights into diversity and inclusion, making each episode a journey of learning and empowerment.

Why You Should Listen:
- Diverse Perspectives: Insights from a variety of voices on challenges and triumphs in the corporate sphere.
-Action-Oriented: Practical advice for advocating equity and allyship in the workplace.
- Educational & Empathetic: A focus on empathy and education to drive impactful change.

What to Expect: #BEPpodcast brings powerful transformations, empowering voices, addressing barriers, and delving into topics reshaping Corporate America. It's a platform uniting diverse voices and making a significant impact.

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About your host

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Tony Franklin

Tony Franklin, the esteemed host of "TonyTidbit: A Black Executive Perspective," is a dynamic and insightful leader with over 30 years of experience navigating the complexities of corporate America. With a career marked by leadership roles across various industries, Tony brings a wealth of knowledge and a unique perspective to the podcast. His journey is one of resilience, determination, and an unwavering commitment to driving diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace.

A passionate advocate for change, Tony initiated the groundbreaking "Conversations about Race" series in his workplace following the social unrest of 2020. This series laid the foundation for the podcast, offering a platform for open, honest discussions about race and the Black executive experience in corporate America. Through his engaging conversations with guests, Tony explores themes of adversity, exclusion, and implicit bias, while also highlighting the strategies that have helped break down racial barriers.

Tony's approachable style and depth of experience make him an influential voice in the DEI space. His dedication to fostering an inclusive environment is evident in each episode, where he provides actionable guidance for being a better advocate and ally. "TonyTidbit: A Black Executive Perspective" is not just a podcast; it's a movement towards a more equitable corporate landscape, led by Tony's visionary leadership and empathetic voice.