Category Archives: LGBT

I Am Not Color Blind, Are You?

Here in the United States there are some people who believe we live in a “post racist” society.  Apparently even some of my fiends on social media believe this to be true.  It always amazes me when I see comments such as “I am not racist, but…”  or “I believe this….but”, etc. That “but” says a lot about how you really feel inside, whether you know it or not.  While explicit racism is not as common as it once was, (although in the past 8 months it has become more common), implicit racism is very common.

So then “what is implicit racism?”  Let me explain. Explicit racism is overt, obvious……using the N word, talking openly about people who are not white, or Christian, or middle class as being “less than” or not as good as the person who is doing the speaking. Shouting Nazi slogans walking down a street in Virginia. Openly being a member of the KKK. These people are open about their dislike for non whites, or homosexuals, or Jews or Muslims. It is easy to see and hear their racist beliefs and we can choose to avoid them, if we don’t want to be exposed to that bullshit.

Implicit racism is not obvious, and are usualy thoughts or stereotypes or biases we believe and act on, whether we are aware of it or not.  Such as crossing the street if we see a black man walking on our side of the street, clutching our purse a little tighter, thinking poor people are “lazy”, or just don’t try “hard enough” to get themselves out of poverty. Thinking or speaking as if the world would be better if we all “just took Jesus Christ into or hearts”. Or that children would be better off in a heterosexual home.

I see another form of bias these days. Some people want to be seen as nonbiased, or NOT racist, so they say things like “I don’t see color when I look at people.”  Or “I am colorblind.” Let me tell you why I think this is a ridiculous statement.

Now before you get your undies in a bunch, and get mad at me for “callng people oyt”, let me say that I DO understand what they mean, but I think by saying they don’t “see color” they are actually devaluing diversity and differences.  There are cultural differences (in my humble opinion) between races.  They may be small, but they are there.  I think these differences should be celebrated, not done away with.  Cultural diversity (in fact ALL diversity) makes the tapestry of humanity more colorful and vibrant, it doesn’t detract from that.  Why would we want everyone to be the same??? What an incredibly boring world that would be!!

So I am going to say I DO see color when I see people.  I see all the beautiful shades of skin tone, and hair color and hair texture.  I see eye color, and body size, and fully-abled or less-abled bodies.  I see gender, whether male, or female or other.  I see age, and sometimes I can see wealth or poverty.  I see all of those things when I look at people.  That doesn’t make me a racist.  It makes me observant.

diversity

In my opinion, the problem is not in seeing our differences, but in assigning stereotypes and biases to the people we see based on what we see.  To assume when we see a black person that the color of their skin somehow tells us something about their character is the problem.  To see an Asian person and assume they are good at math is the problem. To see a brown person and assume they are not hard working is the problem.   To place stereotypes and bias on a person merely by looking at them IS THE PROBLEM!! This does not just apply to the color or “hue” of someone’s skin, but also their gender, their physical bodies, their mental abilities, their sexuality, age, religion, etc!

Think about it, we can’t even assume that a person with darker pigmented skin is “african”.  They may be of Caribbean, or African, or Middle Eastern, or indigenous heritage.  They may be biracial, or multiracial.  We can assume very little about someone based on external appearances.  Assumptions and assigning stereotypes is the enemy, NOT seeing their “color”.

I think if we do want to truly become a post racist society we really need to think about this, and start valuing all humans for their differences, not try to make all humans the same. Do you “see color” when you look at people?

Go ahead and “see” a person’s color, and celebrate it!  Move past bias and stereotypes and get to know the person,  no matter what they look like on the outside. Find something of value in them, and remove the stereotype! THEN maybe we can become the post racist society I dream of!

I Am Not Color Blind, Are You?

#lovenothate

Love is what makes a family!

A few years ago I wrote a blog about how my oldest son Zachary wrote a paper for English when he was 15. In the paper he wrote that he thought his “gay mom was cool”. In the years that have passed since I wrote that blog post (he is now 20) a LOT has happened.  Some good, some not so good and some great!

When my partner Karol and I first decided to blend our families together, we definitely had concerns. We were concerned about what the kids would think,  about Karol’s job (she was on Active Duty in the era of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell), about what the community would think, about what our families would think (her family didn’t know), among others. What we found were that some of those concerns were very valid, and some weren’t as big a deal as we thought they would be.

Where it all started

Where it all started

When we came together as a family our kids were 13, 11, 8 and 6. Our main concern was the oldest, as she had already started rebelling and was NOT happy about another adult in her life “telling her what to do”. The boys were not as complicated and didn’t seem to care at all.

First family vacation 2007...the girl refused to get in the photo....

First family vacation 2007…the girl refused to get in the photo….

Fast forward 14 years. The kids are now 24, 22, 20 and 17. Looking back on the way our family has evolved I can tell you there were some good years and some not so good years.  Our daughter did end up moving in with her dad for a few years to avoid “a new adult telling her what to do”, and that ended up being a disaster. Her father was a very ineffective parent and even though Katarina was living with him, Karol still ended up doing most of the parenting. AND she was having to do it while her ex husband AND his wife were working against her.  Those were some of the not so good years. Then she ended up having to come live with us her senior year because her father “didn’t want to deal with her crap anymore”, and that was another not so good year.

All the kids Christmas 2008

All the kids Christmas 2008

The boys never really gave us the same problems, and living with them was not perfect, but definitely not as problematic as with our daughter.

All of us in 2010. Photo courtesy of Leila Wylie.

All of us in 2010. Photo courtesy of Leila Wylie.

However, even in all of that drama and family conflict we had lots and lots of fun! We vacationed together, and laughed and played, and went to high school graduations, and proms, and all of the things many many other families do.

As I have talked more with other parents about our family struggles I have come to realize that LOTS of other families had trouble with one or more of their kids. And not just gay families, but straight families too. And not just step families, but also all biological families. And not just girls or the oldest, or the whatever.

ALL families have some complications, or stress, or a kid that acts out, or fails a grade, or smokes weed, or gets in trouble at school, or cracks up the car, or rebels, or a million other things that kids do and families deal with. Death, divorce, drama, fights, sorrows, joys, etc.

I guess my point is that ALL families are essentially more the same than different. So during this week of PRIDE I want to say that what I have learned in the past 14 years of raising my family, is that we are the same as a million other families out there. The fact that this family has two moms does not really play much of a part in it. Because in the end what truly makes a family a family is the love we have for each other and that we work together to overcome obstacles and dealing with “stuff”.  A family is not about biology, but about love!

And to be honest, my “family” is much more than my partner and kids! I have people in my life I call my “chosen” family. Women I consider sisters, men I consider brothers, and many kids I love to pieces!!

They are my family, and I am so blessed to have them!!

Because what it boils down to is that:

Love makes a family

A few years ago I wrote a blog about how my oldest son Zachary wrote a paper for English when he was 15. In the paper he wrote that he thought his “gay mom was cool”. In the years that have passed since I wrote that blog post (he is now 20) a LOT has happened.  Some good, some not so good and some great!

When my partner Karol and I first decided to blend our families together, we definitely had concerns. We were concerned about what the kids would think,  about Karol’s job (she was on Active Duty in the era of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell), about what the community would think, about what our families would think (her family didn’t know), among others. What we found were that some of those concerns were very valid, and some weren’t as big a deal as we thought they would be.

Where it all started

Where it all started

When we came together as a family our kids were 13, 11, 8 and 6. Our main concern was the oldest, as she had already started rebelling and was NOT happy about another adult in her life “telling her what to do”. The boys were not as complicated and didn’t seem to care at all.

First family vacation 2007...the girl refused to get in the photo....

First family vacation 2007…the girl refused to get in the photo….

Fast forward 14 years. The kids are now 24, 22, 20 and 17. Looking back on the way our family has evolved I can tell you there were some good years and some not so good years.  Our daughter did end up moving in with her dad for a few years to avoid “a new adult telling her what to do”, and that ended up being a disaster. Her father was a very ineffective parent and even though Katarina was living with him, Karol still ended up doing most of the parenting. AND she was having to do it while her ex husband AND his wife were working against her.  Those were some of the not so good years. Then she ended up having to come live with us her senior year because her father “didn’t want to deal with her crap anymore”, and that was another not so good year.

All the kids Christmas 2008

All the kids Christmas 2008

The boys never really gave us the same problems, and living with them was not perfect, but definitely not as problematic as with our daughter.

All of us in 2010. Photo courtesy of Leila Wylie.

All of us in 2010. Photo courtesy of Leila Wylie.

However, even in all of that drama and family conflict we had lots and lots of fun! We vacationed together, and laughed and played, and went to high school graduations, and proms, and all of the things many many other families do.

As I have talked more with other parents about our family struggles I have come to realize that LOTS of other families had trouble with one or more of their kids. And not just gay families, but straight families too. And not just step families, but also all biological families. And not just girls or the oldest, or the whatever.

ALL families have some complications, or stress, or a kid that acts out, or fails a grade, or smokes weed, or gets in trouble at school, or cracks up the car, or rebels, or a million other things that kids do and families deal with. Death, divorce, drama, fights, sorrows, joys, etc.

I guess my point is that ALL families are essentially more the same than different. So during this week of PRIDE I want to say that what I have learned in the past 14 years of raising my family, is that we are the same as a million other families out there. The fact that this family has two moms does not really play much of a part in it. Because in the end what truly makes a family a family is the love we have for each other and that we work together to overcome obstacles and dealing with “stuff”.  A family is not about biology, but about love!

And to be honest, my “family” is much more than my partner and kids! I have people in my life I call my “chosen” family. Women I consider sisters, men I consider brothers, and many kids I love to pieces!!

They are my family, and I am so blessed to have them!!

Because what it boils down to is that: