Yes, they are my REAL kids

Paul David Binkley
Delaware, OH

My wife of twenty two years and I are interracially married, she black and myself white.

Over our years together we have dealt with countless thoughtless comments and questions.

Here is one such event recalled here to explain my six word story.

A few years back, when our youngest still fit in a grocery cart, I was shopping alone with the three of them, engrossed in a price comparison, when an older woman approached and asked bluntly, “are those your kids?”

Wincing, I glanced over at them. My oldest daughter was tracing the colorful letters of a cereal box with her finger. My son was standing with his binkly in his mouth and fingers of one hand gripping the cart. And my baby girl was just sitting there quiet, not even remotely misbehaving.

Reconsidering her question. “Are those your kids,” I realized its true nature. Thinking myself clever, I answered, “Would I bring them to the grocery store if they weren’t?”

To which she humorlessly rejoindered, “No. I mean are they your REAL kids?”

Too desensitized to be deeply offended, I gritted my teeth and answered plainly, “Yes, they are my REAL kids.”

Only later did the true implication of her question occur to me. What if my wife and I had been unable to have children and had adopted three siblings of light complexion? How hurtful would the question have been, “Are those your REAL kids?”

Keep the conversation going - comment and discuss with your thoughts

  • Kianna Young

    I can’t say that I know completely how you feel, because I’m a 16 year old girl with no kids, thank God, but I can say that I understand; and that’s as close as I can ever truly get to your feelings. I have a few relatives that married interracially and get asked constantly if their kids are biologically theirs, it’s gotten to the point where even my cousins are starting to feel uncomfortable and one even questioned if they had been adopted. I would hate to find out what would happen if your kids had been adopted and someone had asked you that question. What makes it so hard to believe that two people from different nationalities can come together and have kids? This is more a fear, a very common fear apparently, of marrying outside your race. I think the reason we question this so much is because we rarely see past race, we have put ourselves in the mindset that dating outside your nationality is a taboo. I would hate to find out what would happen if your kids had been adopted and someone had asked you that question. I think the reason people question other interracial couples on whether their kids are theirs or not is because they wonder, if they were brave enough, if that’s what their kids would look like. Or they could just be really really jealous that you have gorgeous looking kids that are mixed and they are stuck with children that look like everyone else in their race. :)

  • Nancy Y

    I had a similar experience while visiting the grocery store with my son when he was a few monrhts old. It was very jarring. 26 years later I have gotten used to looking the “odd parent out” since both my sons strongly favor their father who is latin and dark. I am white and fair. Fortunately both sons have come to view their mixture –looks, cultures, etc –as an advantage , something that enables them to navigate and feel comfortable in a multiethnic, multiracial world.

  • Lawahine

    My son happened to get a full force of both my husband and my white haves. We have brown hair and eyes and my son is blond and blue eyed. I know some strangers probably think I’m his nanny. I know people will ask if he is adopted. These people aren’t important, obviously, but what is is open dialog with your kids.

    From first hand experience, let me tell you, it is important for your children to understand how you feel about these interactions with strangers. It will help them as they integrate on their own into society. My parents chose to ignore race and that left me on an island alone.

 

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