Friend: How can you handle so many people staring at your family all the time?
Me: What are you talking about?
Friend: Well as you walked down the aisle to meet up with me, I noticed 4 people turn around and stare at you and your son.
Me: hmm….I didn’t notice that.
The thing is, by the time my boys were in their teens, I had become numb to it. I really didn’t notice. It wasn’t always that way. I’m Black, my husband is Caucasian and we have two Biracial sons. At times my Caucasian stepson also lived with us. I guess we were quite a spectacle to some people.
Actually, when they were little the stares and rude intrusive questions did bother me a lot. And it bothered the kids. I distinctly remember my 6-year-old telling a lady, “Take a picture, it would last longer!” I would at times stare back at them until they looked away feeling uncomfortable themselves. I never liked how I felt after I did this because it made me feel angry and defensive.
Everybody has to find their own way to cope with this staring phenomenon because like it or not an interracial family and biracial kids are high profile. People WILL notice and respond to you and yours. Eventually, I chose to ignore it and I taught my sons to do that as well. Pretty soon unless they were really intrusive, I really I didn’t even notice them staring.
My family called them “Stare People.” They have a need to stare. Let them get their stare fix. We’ve got other things to do.
So…over the years, as I learned to cope with the “Stare People,” I did notice that they fell into 4 distinct groups:
The “I love interracial families” stare
These people are most often sweet authentic people who love that believe there should be no boundaries on love. People should love and be with whomever they want without regards to race. Sometimes they are patronizing but I believe most mean well. They many times will want to come up to you and express their approval of your family. They can’t help but stare because you are such a beautiful example of what humanity and true love should look like.
The curious stare
Some people are just curious and they aren’t very good at hiding it or they don’t feel the need to. They look at the Black parent and then the White parent and then the kids. They wonder (sometimes aloud) how the kid came out so light with such a dark father or how the child turned out with blonde hair with a Black Mom. Or they might see a White mom with her Biracial child and wonder if the Dad is still in the picture…all the while they are staring. There can be any number of reasons a person is curious and they will stare and ponder.
The admonishing stare
This is like a shame on you stare. How could you do that?…Race mixing shouldn’t happen stare. These people are prejudiced and they want you to know that they don’t approve. I’ve even seen people shake their heads in disgust as if the pure sight of my family has just ruined their day. My husband has been known to tell a few of these people, “God made your neck to turn both ways for a reason, you don’t like it? Look the other way!” Personally, l no I don’t care whether they approve or not. It’s none of their business.
The hate stare
Yes, we’ve progressed a long way with race relations. However, there are still bonafide true racists people out there and if you and your family plan to step out of your home, you will run into them from time to time. Sometimes these stares come with racial slurs whispered under their breath or sometimes outrageously out loud. There is nothing you can do about these types of people so the best thing is to stay far, far away and protect your children from them.
When I talk to other Interracial families, they mention getting stared at as being one of the biggest annoyances they encounter on a daily basis. Is this true for your family? How do you respond to people who stare? ~Regina
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