I strolled around the grocery store with my daughter’s car seat wedged in the shopping cart. Normally I’d carry her in my wrap but she was peacefully sleeping and I didn’t want to wake her.

I got what I needed with little interruption. I’m used to the usual reactions to traveling with a baby. Longing looks, big smiles, and the extremely intrigued who will stop me and ask about my baby. All of those I’m used to dealing with, but the reaction I got as I walked to my car was a first, and hopefully a last.

An elderly woman, much shorter than me came closer. I had the car seat shade pulled down to cover her face from the sunlight, and preferably, people who say things like this woman was about to say to me.

“Can I see?” The woman pointed to my baby hidden below her cover.

Normally, I’m more than excited to show her off, but she was sleeping and I didn’t want to wake her. I hesitantly pulled the shade back to let her see my sleeping beauty.

“Oh, she’s a half-breed,” she said so matter-of-factly.

What? I couldn’t have heard her right. I must have misunderstood.

“What?” I asked with a half chuckle, trying to mask my extreme shock.

“A half-breed,” she repeated. I had heard right. I couldn’t believe it.

I didn’t know what to say. So I didn’t. And she didn’t stop talking.

“Oh, it’s ok I have a couple of my own.”

Were we talking about people or animals? The conversation obviously was over my head because she couldn’t have been talking about my baby. Could she?

I didn’t say anything else. I couldn’t because I was a little offended.

I worried about what kinds of things I’d run into having a biracial child but had no idea it would start so soon.

My husband commented to me the other day about how when we were together before our daughter came along we got some stares, but now it’s multiplied by a thousand. I don’t think they’re stares of How could they, as much as they are Awww, look at that cute interracial family. At least that’s what I tell myself.

It took awhile for the conversation to sink in.–Even if it was one sided. I tried to wrap my brain around it as I got my groceries and baby–Or is she a dog to some?–Into the car. The words burned deeper into my memory. I was fuming. Mostly angry with myself for not having a better comeback on hand.

I’ve run into similar nicknames like this in the past when people aren’t sure what to “call me.” Should I say ‘Black’ ‘African American’ ‘Negro’ ‘Colored’? I didn’t know my daughter would have the same problem.

I told my husband what had happened when I got home and he wasn’t as upset as I had expected. As I had hoped.

It made me doubt my emotions. Am I overreacting? Should I just brush it off and go on with my way? Is it just my mama bear instincts to protect my child from ignorance?

No.

I knew things wouldn’t be perfect, I thought we may run into issues from time to time, but I prayed the world had gotten better, I pray it’ll get better, and I hope I can think on my toes next time to put them in their place.


Mama Bennie says:

You had every right to be mad, she isn’t a “half breed”, she is a baby….a beautiful baby.

Kristine says:

Oh how infuriating. I felt my face drop when I got to what that woman called her. I’m so sorry.

heather says:

its like being in a special club.. its the same thing with parents that have twins and the stupid things they say to us.. you are a great mom and people just need to think before they speak..

No, you were right to feel that way. I would have felt the exact same way. I’ve been in that situation too when people are taken aback at how light my son is compared to me. I try to be nice about it because really, it’s just ignorance on their part and they (likely) truly don’t mean any harm. I say things like “yes, well my husband is white” or “actually the proper term is mixed”. I’m happy to educate people and try not to let it get to me too much. My husband gets the same kind of remarks if I’m not with them only he get’s the “oh my look how tan your baby is!” comments. He just tells people his wife is black and shrugs it off.

Amber says:

That was incredibly rude, I’m so sorry you had to deal with that! I hope you are able to brush it off as just an ignorant woman making a rude comment….don’t let her get to you! I know it’s easier said than done but if I were you (and this is coming from someone who can be very passive aggressive 🙂 and tends to hold grudges) I would try my best to move on and forget about it. Your baby is beautiful and it sounds like she is going to grow up in a very loving home; you can’t protect her from all of the ignorance of the world but you can teach her that she’s God’s child and help her see past the ignorance.

This is something I worry about too being a black woman married to a white man. Luckily interracial couples are fairly common up here so we don’t get stares that often…and if we do, we usually get a commment because he’s so big and I’m so little and we chuckle w/ the person and keep it moving.

My child having to grow up biracial in a racist (yes, racist) country is scary for me to think about. I know what I’ve had to deal with as a black woman, but now my child will be black and white, and who knows what “flavor” they will be. If someone called my baby a half-breed I feel like I would go off on them…but you never truly know what you’ll do in the instant something like that happens.

I’m sorry this happened to you, and hopefully you’ll arm yourself with witty comebacks in the event this happens again.

Sorry hubby wasn’t as upset as you wanted, I don’t think you overreacted. I wouldn’t want my child referred to in animal terms either.

Big hug and hopefully you never have to deal with this again.

xo,
Dani
http://www.okdani.com

My beautiful daughter is biracial and she’s been getting stares and tons of comments from the beginning. When my husband and I are together, we get confused stares since we are both white – which I find very funny – but i do tend to have a very steange sense of humor sometimes. For the most part people are extremely sweet and tell us how beautiful Serenity is – both white and black, young and old, men and women. Sometimes we get a hostile look or two, but that’s not often AND when it does happen I give the look right back. That’s MY Mama Bear coming out. BUT the positive comments FAR outweigh the negative looks – and it happens so often that Serenity has begun to comment on it – “Mommy when we go in Target everybody is going to tell me how beautiful I am.” “Yes baby they are.” My husband says she’s gonna get a complex! LOL! But I would suggest that you get used to THOSE comments (cause youre gonna hear them a LOT) and ignoring the few ignorant ones you might get along the
way!

Samaria says:

I am so sorry you are dealing with that so soon! I have two boys and when they were very young I was asked if they were mine and they’ve been everything from asian to hispanic which is pretty funny. I have never had anyone say that to me but I could imagine I would be just as upset as you are.

The best thing I feel you could say to someone who has no idea they said something wrong is tell them that’s wrong and why it’s wrong.

Anonymous says:

I have 2 bi-racial children as well as 2 caucasian children (well if you call half italian and half puertoriccan caucasian) we are a Blended family..had 2 children from a previous longterm relationship and 2 with my husband now we get those looks too and they can’t figure out if we are all family or not..but what I am trying to get at is that there are always going to be THOSE people unfortunetly…But the best advice I can give you is to teach your child better than THOSE people and I know you will.. My son who is 17 now had a caucasian GF who’s mother did not approve and would not even give him the time of day to get to know him and this broke my heart because he couldnt comprehend it…so I said to him that people like that do not define who you are you define who you are..needless to say they are not together but are still friends.

mo mcd says:

Ugh, she’s a BABY, not a color. No one looks at my baby and calls him caucasian! Its just silly. I get after my grandma for comments like that all the time. She says things like that often about Native Americans. She IS part Native American! *rolls eyes* *hugs* to you mama. You made a beautiful little girl!

MommyJ says:

There isn’t any way,shape, or form of life where a comment like that would ever be appropriate. Sometimes, the ignorance and thoughtlessness of some people astounds me.

As for the staring, I know when I see biracial children, I stare (and smile) because generally speaking, they are the loveliest, most beautiful children out there. There is something to be said for genetic diversity.

Michelle says:

I think the comment was rude and very inapprioriate.

Why is it that a lot of elderly people have no filter? I think a lot of them think they are older so they can say whatever they want.

Jacqueline says:

Oh wow. That is all I can think of right now. A little shocked that we still live in a world like that.

All I am say is continue to be the strong mama that your are to Lil J. When the time comes, you and your husband will show her what is to come if the world is still the same.

I am very sorry that a person said that to you about your precious beautiful baby girl. I would say just brush it off but we both know as women and especially mothers, we won’t. Just take a deep breathe, stand up straighter, stick out your chest, and keep walking.

That is what I would do.

Hugs,
Jackie

Sarah says:

I agree with Samaria. She probably did not feel it was wrong, especially if she too has biracial children. Of course I would be offended too but you did very well by holding your tongue. I know a lot of the older people in the South don’t know what is now incorrect as far as race and ethnicity. Unfortunately that is the environment they were raised in. Hopefully you can be the force in politely educating them 😉

EmberRose says:

Perfect comeback:

Nope. She’s 100% human.

Hold your head up and walk off proudly.

You did say that the remark came from an elderly woman. Old habits die hard, and old prejudices die even more slowly.

I’m sure it was common to use “half-breed” in conversation when that woman was growing up…and it’s stuck with her.

If parents start teaching their children that we’re all people, no matter how we look on the outside, I bet you’ll find those kinds of comments occurring less frequently.

Keya says:

Wow. I can’t believe she said that. I would’ve told her we don’t use those terms anymore. That’s awful. I’m black, my husband is white & we have two boys. I guess we are rare because that has never happened to us. My oldest looks just like me just lighter & my youngest is only two months, but right now he looks more like my husband, my baby is very pale & has blue eyes. My friend said to me it looks like I have one white baby and one black baby. LOL. People are crazy.

Dee says:

Wow. Just, wow. I have no idea what I would have said either. But, if someone ever refers to my daughter as a half-breed, I might shoot fire out my eyes.

Ro says:

O NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! Grrrr this grinds my gears! Im sorry this happened.. and yes- as the commenter above noted- soo soon.

I have a similar situation.. but its more dealing with an assumption..

Im black- my hubby is black but our daughter looks as though she is birracial. She has grey/blue eyes and is very fair skinned. Her hair is closer to blond than brown. No one in my family was surprised because it happens fairly often in our family.

When I was still home- we went for a walk as a family and decided to stop into Subway for lunch and the lady behind the counter remarked on how beautiful my daughter was- then proceeded to ask where her father was. My husband was with us.

This happens to us alll the time. It doesnt hurt as much as it used to, but now I stand up for myself and the assumption thats being made that she is “the mailmans baby”.

You will figure out a response that suits you soon, because I wish I could say this wont happen often, but unfortunately it might.

Little J is sooo gorgeous BTW. Watching her grow reminds me of E all the time… she’s so cute! Treasure the time and forget the negative- it slips by so fast!

xoxo

Ro
http://randomroro.blogspot.com/2010/10/one-whole-year.html

Mallory says:

Just wait until Lil’ J gets to tell people herself why her skin is darker. I have a cousin who is half Filipino. When she was in kindergarten, another little girl asked her…with disgust…”Why is your skin dark?” To which she replied, “Because I’m half jalapeno!” LOL

LegalChic says:

I would be mad too! Some people can be so ignorant, it is sad. Hopefully it will mostly die out with the older generation.

You have a beautiful baby girl and that is what matters-love is what matters 🙂

Brianna
girlscurls.blogspot.com

B says:

I am so sorry that this happened to you! Particularly in what I consider to be such a tolerant area to live (Not Texas in general, but Central Texas, yes).

You had every right to be offended, and no, you’re not overreacting. In fact, you’re a better woman than I am, because had that happened to me, I wouldn’t have been able to hold back from a bitter, angry diatribe against racist elderly.

Lil’ J is absolutely gorgeous and wonderful, and the best thing you can do to arm her against these types of people for the future is to instill a sense of self-worth and confidence in her, just like you’re doing. Keep it up, mama!

I used to get that all the time when we lived in Louisiana. I hated that feeling I used to get in the pit of my stomach whenever I heard the term “halfbreed” or “what are they?” Ugh still makes my head twirl lol. My boys are Black, German, Hawaiian, and Filippino.
I hate the ignorance of some. I’m sorry this is happening to you and others STILL.

Anonymous says:

my husband is mexican and black and the hardest thing for him was the fact that ppl look at him and see he is black so thats what he is, it didnt matter that his mother was mexican or that he enjoys mexican cultural things etc. I think thats another adjustment you are going to have to make is that ppl are going to pick one race for your child eventually and thats what she’ll be such as halle berry, etc.

Jenny says:

Some people really need be told how NOT funny they are. (I’m assuming she was joking because of the “I have a couple of my own” comment) I think you should have said “halfbreed? She’s not a dog!” right to her face. Honestly I never realized how prominent racism is until I met my husband and had to see how mean some kids have been over the years to his little sister who is mixed. We call her “caramel cutie” at home, but her parents are the ones who started it. I think it’s cute but that doesn’t mean I’m going to go calling every mixed kid I see ‘caramel’.
Don’t let comments like that get to you too bad just make them feel dumb by calling them out on their ignorance and move on, unfortunatly i’m sure there will be something truly deserving of a real lashing.
I hope things get better in the world. Good luck to you and lil J

Anonymous says:

I also wanted to add that even though my husband is black and mexican and im black our kids still get comments from time to time…sum ppl ask, what are they mixed with? and usually add they ask because their hair is so pretty..which is a whole nother discussion about hair and why my kids big floppy curls are considered prettier then my kinky hair..lol

Lucy Juedes says:

Oh, how weird! You have every right to your upset feelings. I would have been speechless too. So sorry this happened to you. I’m sure should this happen again, you’ll come up with some good retorts. Yuck!

I would have to side with yoy in the fact that you werent overreacting. But, I can warn you that the older a person is, the more matifactly they seem to speak. When I was pregnant with my sonn (I was 20yrs old but looked like i was 12) I was stopped by an old man walking iwth a walker in the mall and his words were “don’t your parents watch you, didn’t they teach you anything”. I’ll never forget that. i was 20 but he automatically assume that I was younger. I too have a half mexican half white son and I get the “he’s really your son” question all the time. Sadly it’s something you have to get used to and let it go. It’s people who don’t know any better that say things like your.
And, BTW your daughter is so beautiful!!!!

Ana B says:

?!?!? I would be very mad! It would take me a few days to brush that off! We’re white, but never would it cross my mind to say something so absurd! What is wrong with people? Seriously.

http://eco-babyz.com

Can I just say how RIDICULOUS that comment was! Holy moly. You can rest assured that if I were to ever run into you and “stare,” it would MOST DEFINITELY be only because your baby is precious.

Bianca says:

No, you are definitely not overracting. That lady is completely out of line. And don’t fall for the argument that she’s old and doesn’t know any better. It is insensitive and rude — plain and simple.

This situation is one of my biggest fears when my husband and I have kids (I’m black and he’s white). When we’re out in public we get stares all the time. And occassionally we’ve gotten a rude comment. And it is incredibily frustrating when you can’t formulate the proper response in the moment. So I can’t imagine what it is like to have a child in the equation. Nevertheless, keep your head up.

Candice says:

Some people are so rude…and BOLD!!

People are going to comment. That’s how life is. Everyone feels they are entitiled. I’m black and so is my child but I do get asked often if she’s mixed because she’s lighter skin and has very curly hair. I think its dumb to ask and I don’t know why it even matters if she was but I don’t let comments bother me. People are gonna say what they want to say. The best thing I think you as a parent can do right now is ignore it.

Rania says:

Oh wowza! That’s a tough one to have to go through. That’s almost as archaic to say as “Colored” or “Negro”. But seriously – ‘breed’ refers to animals and our children, I’d say to that woman, are NOT animals. I don’t care if she has 4 or 5 or 10 mix raced children. You should never refer to them that way.

Get ready, Jennifer. It gets better. I’m the mom to two biracial children (a boy and a girl) and I’ve had people ask me if I was the NANNY when out with my little ones (especially when my daughter was a baby). It’s gotten worse when they find out that my son and daughter are ACTUALLY mine and then they ask – as if they don’t believe me…”Did you actually ‘carry’ (pregnancy) her?”. Meaning, okay, are they adopted? Are they step-children? LOL I’ve been told by a white girlfriend that I’m taking it too personally and that they only meant that I look too young or too in shape to have given birth to 4 children but that’s not how I take it at all…

It’s an interesting thing we mothers of interracial children go through but nothing we can’t handle nor is it something they can’t handle when they get older.

I would treat instances like this one as an opportunity to educate.
“No, she’s biracial (or mixed). Breeding is a term for animals”
“Yes, she is my daughter and she’s a wonderful blend of my husband and I”
“No, you can’t touch her and you really shouldn’t try to touch children you do not know”

…hahah and so on and so on…

I have my own opinions on why your husband didn’t react as much as you did – not that he wasn’t affected (I’m sure he wasn’t happy about it either) but it cuts us as moms and as minorities a little more. We have had to deal (or our ancestors have had to deal) with little nuances of racism, raised eyebrows or veiled comments so it’s more obvious to us (minorities) than to others who’ve probably not had to deal with such comments.

Cindy says:

“I don’t think they’re stares of How could they, as much as they are Awww, look at that cute interracial family. At least that’s what I tell myself.”

You keep telling yourself that. Most people *do* look at you guys and think that, I’m sure! You guys are absolutely adorable. As for what to “call” you, I’d just call you a woman. OK. I’d call you a girl, because you seem to be pretty close to my age, and I call women my age girls. Because I can’t cope with that grown-up “woman” stuff. 😉 I think, and hope, that that old lady is one of the last of a dying generation that sees skin color instead of common humanity.

[ker-AND-uh] says:

OMWORD. I wouldn’t even know how to react to that. I would absolutely lose my mind. My son isn’t obviously biracial [as my husband and I are both black] but he has other blood coursing through his veins. I’ve had people assume his curls are going to turn into an afro just because he’s black and I’ve had to correct them and let them know that both his dad and I have curls like his but dad cuts his off and I straighten mine. Stuff like that pisses me off. So I can kind of relate. Hang in there girl…I’m hoping one day the world will get it together and racism will be a thing of the past.

Jennifer says:

I would have been more than a little offended. I would have been seriously pissed off, and I would have said something, and it would have not been nice. I didn’t even realize that Baby J was biracial. Probably because when I look at her all I see is a beautiful baby and the thought of her race never even enters my mind. I wish all people could be like that.

Kathryn says:

Oh my goodness how awful! I cannot believe someone would just say that! I am sorry you have to deal with this. And I think that no matter what you have a beautiful family!

Randi says:

Wow. I understand that you held your composure mainly because you were in shock but I would have been FURIOUS. WTF is wrong with that woman? That is the most disgusting remark and I can’t believe someone even thinks that way. Obv I would have lost my temper and literally punched her, but I think the best thing is just to be honest and say “What you just said is incredibly offensive and I would like an apology.” What in the hell is wrong with people.

So I started reading your post thinking it would be something like when that lady commented on your “spawnie” shirt, only to be horribly shocked and disappointed at those ugly words that came out of that geriatrics’s mouth! I am so sorry that you had to go through that, and with no comebacks for her geriatric butt. But how could you. I would love to think that I would have something to reply, but the truth is things like that are such shockers that anyone would be stunned.

I too have a bi-racial baby, and if anyone was to ever say that I would be forced to bring down the wrath of God on them!

Try not to let that old lady clog your thoughts. Lil J is so gorgeous it is sickening :).
*hugs*

B&U&I says:

No, you didn’t overreact at all, you had every right to be angry! In fact I got angry when I read it just as if it had been a comment made about my daughter. I was born and raised in the south so I found myself expecting those comments and thus have an aresenal of responses just waiting for the occassion. However, I have been plesantly surprised that it’s never been necessary – maybe due to the fact that we live in a large suburban area in Michigan.

I think maybe this elderly lady comes from an era when calling a child a half breed was an “acceptable” term. And I put acceptable in quotations because the truth of the matter is that it and any other derrogatory term or description is not now and should never have been or be accepted as a part of society.

I will gladly give the rundown of all of my daughter’s ethnicities if someone asks but on the same note I will gladly reposition their pattern of thought when necessary!

So sorry that you and Lil J had to experience that but fortunately to her she’ll never have to remember it. Wish I could tell you that it will never happen again, and maybe one day that will be the case, but for now just take it as a learning opportunity and move forward.

P.S. My husband is SUPER mellow so things slide right off his back and often when I tell him about something that upsets me he doesn’t react the way I want him to react either…it can be extremely irritating at times! haha.

braids says:

Its just ignorance really. I’m not defending this woman but in her ‘day’ it was uncommon to see interracial relationships and it would be more strange to her see to biracial baby although she did point out that “she had ome of her own”. Some people no matter the change around them will never adapt to change. The truth is, such comments, remarks from people are going to come and keep on coming, such is the world we live in though we would all love to live in an ideal world. I think this hits home with your hubby given his reaction. I think your reaction is just the natural mummy bear in you. All you can do now is prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for future comments and help Lil J and any future children you may have, have an understanding of the world in which we live in and help them to best deal with it (the negatiivity).

I’m currently learning how to knit and a few weeks ago I went to purchase some yearn My first project is a scarf which by the way I’m making a total mess off. There were a few eldery women sitting and happily knitting away as I entered the store. As I was selecting the colour I wanted, one of the women remarked “you darkies like your bright colours, so if I were you I wouldn’t choose that colour. I mean I’m not a racist but I’m just saying you should go with something brighter”. (By the way I was holding a brown coloured ball of yearn in my hands. Who said brown didn’t look good on black people?!)
I’m like OMG!!! I just had to bite my tongue and shrug it off because as I’ve said its just pure ignorance.

heather says:

That was just flat out rude. I would have taken it them same way. I think it’s the way she said it that it hurt so much. Usually when people see my kids and me they give a nice comment first and then ask if they are biracial. But to say “half-breed” sounds like something out of Harry Potter or something.
Sorry you had to go through with that.

Celeste says:

Well, that is just plain weird & rude. Ultimately, it probably just boils down to the fact that there are just people out there that are rude & people that do not think before they speak!

Maria says:

You are far better than I. If she called my child a half breed I would have said it was better than being a half wit like her!!!

Snarky Mom says:

We’ve dealt with this for years. We live in the South and as much as appalling as it is, racisim is alive and well in the South. We have a very mixed family through adoption as well as birth. Our oldest is caucasian, our middle son is black/Fijian and our 3 birth kids are caucasian/Filipino. We get stares all the time and sometimes comments. We have some snappy comebacks that we use when someone is particularly rude or offensive but for the most part, we brush it off. Why sink to their level of stupidity by reacting? We’re better than that and we’re teaching our kids to be proud of who they are and to not feel like they need to make excuses or explinations for the color of their skin.

I’m sorry your beautiful daughter got called something so inappropriate, even if the lady didn’t mean it in a hateful way. I hope it’s the last time you encounter it but if it’s not, remember that the world is full of idiots. Without them, the rest of us wouldn’t seem so smart 🙂

WOW. Really? That’s how she referred to your daughter? And to top it off, she has her own “half-breeds”? What a horribly uneducated, tactless person. That’s ridiculous 🙁 I’m sorry.

Chantel says:

To refer to a child as a “half-breed” is ignorant and racist. It doesn’t matter that she has a “few of her own”, it’s just ridiculous. I’m Mexican/White, and my mother would never refer to me in a half breed. Even now, when she hears someone refer to my brother or I as such, she gets very protective, and we’re both in our 20’s. I could never imagine calling a child such a thing. It actually makes me angry and sad that such ignorance exists today.

Lynece Michelle Galles says:

Being Black, White and Filipino myself, I have been dealing with this my entire life. Having grown up around both sides of my family, however, I learned from a young age to embrace all of my cultures and who I am. It is amazing how many people will ask me “what are you?” I have been answering that question since I was young and have found that most people are generally just very interested. if I see that funny, curious look on their face I usually try to bring it up before they even have to ask. It is usually followed by a kind remark about looking “exotic” or “pretty.” If I am with someone else when it happens, that other person is usually offended that someone would even have the nerve to ask. In the past few months, I have had people stop me in the grocery store as well as at my job (I work in a school). While I am typically polite when answering, sometimes I like to play with people when they aren’t sure “how” to ask and it just comes out WRONG. Such as a man at the store that stared a little too long and finally approached me and said, “excuse me…what color are you?” I replied, “Like a light brown, mocha.” Of course I had a laugh and ended up telling him.

You and your husband will do a great job raising her in a home that will allow her to feel special and embrace who she is so I’m sure she will too have no problem brushing off peoples’ curiosity and ignorant comments.

Rachael says:

Wow. That is so insensitive… maybe she was trying to make a joke because you’ve both got biracial kids or something? I don’t know. Either way, I don’t think being upset about it is wrong. It was pretty rude.

Kirsten says:

I agree, yes that was incredibly inappropriate, and you have every right to correct comments like that in the future. Though from your story, it really doesn’t sound like she meant any harm, and especially since she was elderly and “has some of her own” she probably didn’t think anything of it. She grew up in a VERY different time. I’m not saying that makes it ok, because it definitely does not; I’m just saying it’s more ignorance that rudeness, at least in this particular case. I say if it happens again, just politely correct the person. You just may save another mother and her child this same upset and hurt. 🙂

MsBabyPlan says:

She is a BIG ignorant woman who doesn’t know how to use good English in her speech.

You have all the right to be MAD, I don’t know what I would have done. I am sarcastic in moments like those. I would have said something to point out her ignorance, but I think you did well not to say anything because you didn’t lower yourself to her level.

My Hubby sometimes thinks I am paranoid about race issues but I can’t stand ignorance like that because, just like you, I would like to believe that in 2010 people are not close minded and rude as some people were with us in the 1990s.

I am so sorry you have to experience this episode at all. I hope there is no next time.

A big hug.

Lyndsey says:

I can totally understand your reaction. I have been in a similar situation, but the one I was in was fueled by hate not ignorance. I am white with two mixed children. I did not know the extent of the racism until recently when my beautiful baby girl was referred to as a “nigger baby” and I had no comeback. I was so dumbfounded and feel extremely angry about it. I just thank God that it was said in front of my baby girl and not my 5 year old or I may have committed a crime! Just arm yourself with comebacks and be prepared as it most likely will not be the last time that your beautiful baby and family are confronted with ignorance and/or hatred.

Wow, huggles to you. First off you are extremely patient and slow to anger as in that situation I can’t be sure that I would keep my mouth closed. Thankfully Lil J will be so encouraged and uplifted at home that when something like that happens, she can simply respond with “you can call me human”.

Um. That is just odd. And very rude! Some of the comments with similar stories made me gasp – I just cannot imagine that happening.

Toni says:

Sadly, I think you hit the nail on the head when you spoke of this woman being “older”. I’m sure this was a term used back in her day and was some how acceptable. It’s interesting to me how she said “she had her own…” Maybe the term was once used when she was younger, still, I’m sorry you and Lil J had to be subjected to that.

My mom taught me that we change the world one child at a time…she raised me differently and I’m sure you’ll raise your children differently…things will/are changing.

I hope not to experience the same thing come April when my baby is born. I’ll have to start thinking of responses ahead of time. Hoping being in NYC will make it less of a problem.

Monique says:

I’m sorry you had to experience her subversive language. It’s always difficult to decide what to do in the moment but I think you handled it well. I am engaged and in an interracial relationship and my fiance and I have discussed this issue often. It is no one’s business what your child looks like or what her race is, but when certain people view an interracial couple or children, they feel entitled to comment.
I once had someone comment, “that’s disgusting” referring to my fiance and I as we walked down the street holding hands. Although, I haven’t had the experience of motherhood yet. In my own sense I do know how much it stings. The fact that she has interracial children in her family does no entitle her to comment, nor use such hurtful language. I think its important for you to let yourself feel the pain of this experience but not hold on to it. Don’t let her negative vibes stay with you. Heal from this situation and then let it go. Much love to you and your family.

Mrs O says:

Aww I understand where you’re coming from. A similar thing happened to me when an old, one-legged man in a wheelchair whispered ‘nigger’ as I strolled past with baby girl in her pram! I also thought I had misheard…and asked him to ‘say that again?’. He did! I couldn’t believe it and it was only God that stopped me wheeling him into the street there and then! : )

I was so upset, so protective and shocked that at 6months (ish) my gorgeous little baby being racially abused.

The world has changed, but there are always bad eggs!

Your daughter is clearly no dog – so just push her comment aside as best as you can and I guess our task is to equip our daughters with the self-esteem they need to handle these comments well as they grow up… 😉

Jessica says:

Wow, “half-breed”? Really?! That was the most appropriate label she could think of? What is she, a centaur?? Elderly or not, homegirl would’ve caught a beat-down in the parking lot that day (at least a verbal one) once the shock wore off. I don’t care what time period or geographical location you grew up in, you should know better than to comment on someone’s child with any words other than “cute” “gorgeous” or the like. And what was she doing all up in your car seat in the first place?! People are so nosy! Ugh! I think the first comment made about my daughter will catch me off guard as well, but it’ll still probably be the last thing the offender utters before feeling the distinct presence of my foot in their ass.

Mrs. K says:

Ok, I can’t stop laughing because I am in such amazement. You know when something is so ridiculous and unexpected that it makes you nervous so you laugh. Well that’s the moment I’m having right now.

A part of my nervousness is because I know that I will be faced with similar comments one day when my husband and I have our children. Honestly, it’s probably good that you didn’t say anything to her. If she has mixed kids in her family as she said I’m sure she’s been scolded on it in the past and it obviously has made no difference.

We can only hope that it gets better in the future. I try to do my part by being a good example. I try to remind myself that I’m not only representing myself but also black women and other people in interracial relationships. This prevents me from going “buck wild” (lol) when someone says something as dumb as the above comment by that elderly lady.

Kristin says:

This makes me so sad.I grew up in a very diverse community where kids of all ethnic groups and races played together, went to each others birthday parties etc. It is so unfortunate that people can be so insensitive and rude!

I have six nieces and nephews who are Hawaiian/white and a half brother and half sister who are Filipino/white. Each of them have had moments where kids or adults have said things that brought them to tears!

The latest was my 6 year old niece coming home crying because she is the only one in her class with “tan” skin, and she just wanted to look like everyone else. She had never realized she looked different until kids in her class pointed it out. My sisters-in-law get told all the time “wow, your kids look nothing like you, are they really yours?” ugh.

Hopefully there is no next time for you, but if there is, make sure you let them know they are out of line!

Hugs to you and your adorable baby girl! Keep your chin up mama!

sssdawna says:

mm. you know you’re not alone right? lol look at all these comments. but i am sorry that people still are so ignorant these days. i agree with commentators who say that america is still a country full of racism, and that it was not ok for the lady to say that about your baby, that it may be a moment for you to educate…it’s as simple as “i don’t appreciate you calling her a halfbreed” xo

As a Spanish-Chilean-Norwegian-Swedish-African American person, I have had my share of those sorts of comments. From literally everyone – strangers, potential employers, teachers, the very first question they ask after meeting me is “WHAT are you?”

Perhaps they mean it innocently enough, but seriously? I AM A HUMAN. “THAT” is what I am!

Elana says:

I think because she has biracial children that she felt it was ok to call your daughter what she did. It doesn’t make it right, but I think that’s what she was thinking. (I believe it’s the same concept as one Black person calling another Black person the “n-word”) But yeah, you should’ve said something to her to let her know that what she said was SO not cool.

Anonymous says:

Have never commented before, only lurked. 🙂 I hope you will try not to take this woman’s comment personally. I do not believe she intended it to be rude or racist, in particular because she evidently has biracial children of her own. Many elderly people still speak in the terms that were used in their younger days and haven’t really caught up to the times. She probably experienced much more hostility than you have if she had biracial children decades ago! Of course, I don’t blame you for being upset. It would have been perfectly appropriate to explain to the woman that we no longer refer to biracial children as “half-breed,” and hopefully she (and others like you) could avoid such a situation again.

This post inspired me to reflect on my own experiences as a biracial child and the fact that I actually have some affection around the term half-breed (strange as it sounds)…
http://www.mommastuffblog.com/2010/11/biracial.html
As the previous commenter mentioned since the lady mentioned that she has mixed children too, she may have also had some affection mixed with the term (not that it makes it all right to say about another person and their family).
Amber 🙂

UAN says:

I don’t think you’re overreacting! Half-breed?

WorryWart says:

Ugh…that hurts my heart!

I always get to a place in this world where I think that we’re coming around. We all can exist together and see each other for what we are… humans!

I can’t believe that happened to you and your family and I hope that it never happens again.

Dina says:

My husband is White and I’m African-American and we have three multi-ethnic children. I purposely use the term “multi-ethnic” and not bi-racial, because I don’t know what that means — however I know what is implied.

I have stories that are funny, poignant, heart-breaking and enlightening.

Welcome to this ever-expanding sisterhood.

And try not be too upset. It will not be the last time you hear such things. Remember that in almost every circumstance, there is a moment that is a teachable moment.

Maggie says:

I’m so sorry, I get a lot of stares as well, then I’ve had so many rude questions, like your dd is not your husband’s child she is too dark..
while my dd is standing.
I talk to my dd all the time and she knows not to let those horrible remarks touch her.

I am inviting you to share your talent at our blow out linking party.
http://www.passionatelyartistic.com/2010/11/fall-grace-and-blowout-linky-party.html
Thank you,
Maggie

Mamacea says:

I have two biracial kids and haven’t heard that one, hopefully I won’t. I would have politely set her straight though. I’m sure she didn’t realize she was offensive, since she said she had a couple of her own.

I personally don’t even like my kids being called “mixed” because it makes them sound like they’re mutts.

You are not over reacting at all… if that had happened to us (I’m mixed race, my hubby is white british) i’d have been so mad i would’ve wanted to thump the stupid woman.

/end rant

🙂

Nikki says:

I have to admit, I have joked with my husband and close friends about our ‘Designer Baby’ — but never extended to a stranger! And I certainly wouldn’t want a stranger to say that to me! (I don’t even say that to my sister and her biracial children!) I think what is so shocking was her matter-of-fact way of addressing your daughter as having a ‘breed’, just like she may have addressed your dog. She may be okay with that, but you don’t have to be. It’s a very poor choice of words — babies are not ‘bred’. I’m sorry you had to experience that. What should’ve been a compliment on your beautiful daughter became soo lost in the delivery.

melifaif says:

Those words are very offensive, and coming from a mother whose child just so happens to be half and half – ha! – hope that did not offend! – I could see why you were taken back and caught off guard. Our children are not animals. And those terms are used to describe mutts, not God’s children. For shame….I hope you don’t let her ignorance upset you any longer. And I’d love to know your quick witted response to that for the next time. I get really stupid comments too….much love lady!

Jess says:

I’ve heard it all….they have even been referred to as a mutt. It’s ridiculous! 🙁

Megan says:

I’m sorry that happened to you. That’s just plain rude and tacky. Some people would be so much better off to keep their mouths shut!

What a shocking post to read—I cannot imagine how upset you must have felt. People need to be told when they’re being rude, but I honestly don’t know what I would have said in this situation. Please know that the woman was RUDE, INCONSIDERATE and downright WRONG to say, let alone think such a thing. Your baby is beautiful, and some people are stupid. Lil’ J is blessed to have such wonderful and dedicated parents as you and your husband!

Kristen says:

What is WRONG with people!??! I’m so sorry you had to deal with that, NO one should have to deal with that as most of the poeople have posted, especially so soon. You had every right in the world to feel what you felt, I’m so disgusted to know this still happens today! Little J is the most beautiful perfect little being, thank God for miracles like her. Lots of hugs, sorry you had to hear something so horrible! I. Hate. Ignorance.

Diane says:

We went to the local diner today for lunch and they usually have the 24 hour local news channel on all the tvs muted. Today was no exception. They were airing Obamas speech and Q&A session with reporters live. We heard 2 elderly woman sitting near us who were still mad Obama got in. From the gist of it (we weren’t trying to eavesdrop but they were kind of loud) it seemed like they didn’t care about what he stood for, only that he was black. Like that was some sort of horrible thing. When I was younger my parents taught me that skin color is just skin color. When we bleed we all bleed red, we are all human. It is so fustrating that so long after the end of slavery and the civil rights movement that we are still not all seen as equals!

Angie says:

I’m so sorry. one thing I’ve had to learn in this world since my son was born is that people say STUPID things and most of the time they are ignorant and stupid themselves. When my son was about 7 months old I was at the grocery story filling up our cart while he happily sat in the front of the cart grinning up at me…as I was walking down the isle a white woman looked at her black friend and said (in a disgusted voice) “White people should NOT be allowed to adopt black babies” ..that was my first experience with prejudice. I wish I could say that I turned the other cheek and walked away but my mama bear instincts kicked right in and I let her have an ear full. My cheeks were burning I was so upset. I worry EVERY single day about the impact all of this will have on my son, but all I can do is teach him that ignorance exists but that he doesn’t have to be one of them. and I will remind him of one of my favorite quotes: “You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.” REGARDLESS of whether you look like each other.

How rude!
If you have a half breed then she is a “no brain”

Aisha

Eathan says:

I hate to see such ignorance by people in 2010. And you have every right to be mad and offended.
My 2 boys and I get a few people staring at us. But for the most part we rarely have any comments.

I worry about ignorant people in the world sometimes. I can’t believe that lady said that. I think I ‘ll be able to handle a situation like that when my boyfriend and I get married and have kids. I would’ve been in shock too, then corrected the lady. How rude of her to use the word ”breed” ppl are crazy.

Jay says:

Definitely a lot of mixed feelings while reading this post, and then the various stories in the comments that followed. I’m black, my husband is white, and we haven’t started trying for a new member of the family quite yet. While I look forward to the day when we have children of our own, I’m seriously dreading any experience like yours (or the dozens of othersnin the comments). I have mixed feelings about the best way to handle such things. On the one hand, I would take solo much satisfaction in being able to tell someone off. At the the same time, I prefer to live life drama free — confrontations are not my thing. Plus, I can never think of a good zinger until well after the event has occurred, anyway. So on the other hand, I think that maybe a better approach is to turn the other cheek and teach my kids that they don’t have to give any explanations for why they are the way they are — anyone who has a problem with has a problem, nuf said. But of course, saying that I’ll try to let things like that roll off my shoulders and then actually doing it may be two very different things. I tend to internalize a lot of stuff like that, so again, I’m reaaaalllly dreading the day I have to face something like that head on. I’m not just thinking about the ignorant mean comments either — I’m also thinking about the ignorant ‘nice’ comments that might give my future kids a complex (oh, mixed kids are so pretty, mixed kids have such nice hair, mixed kids are the best kids, etc.) I personally like to think that might children would be beautiful whether my husband and I were both black or both white. Anyway, don’t let it bother you too much — if anything use it as a teaching moment to prepare yourself for the next time. And sadly, since you’re living in the south, I think there will definitely be a next time.

Oh my word I can’t believe that lady said that! I would have been very offended.

You have a beautiful family!

H and M B says:

I have a biracial son of my own and recently I actually had to tell my best friend to stop calling mixed children, including my son, “half-breeds” because it made me think of a dog. I live in California and I quickly had to get used to the stares and the questions and the shock of getting stared at because I was holding what people thought was a baby of another race. I even had to ask my husband to come with me to as many places as possible “to explain things” Now that Hayden is one I am like a seasoned pro and it doesn’t bother me anymore. Even when people stare at David (my husband) and I together I no longer feel uncomfortable.

lovemylevi says:

How sad. Especially for that womans children, having to grow up being referred to by such a name.
You stay strong mama. You didn’t say anything back because you are better than that. Never feed the fury, it only gives them a sick satisfaction. <>

Cady says:

She didn’t mean to be rude or hurt you in any way, so I’d just let it go, especially since she said she has ‘some of her own’.

As a momma of a biracial child, I totally get your outrage. In fact, when icread this to my husband (he’s white), his response was “I think in that situation, you’re entitled to punch the person. If the cops show up, just tell them you thought you saw a VW.” Kudos to you for keeping your cool!

Quiana says:

A few things:

1) I definitely agree the woman’s comment represents a dying breed; living in NYC where everyone is from all over the world no one even blinks at inter-racial couples/bi-racial children.

2) Hardly anyone is pure anything anymore; we’re currently in the middle of the browning of America and very soon all these racial ethnic distinctions won’t make a difference to anyone.

3) I think you’d appreciate this excerpt from Soledad O’Brien’s memoir reflecting on bi-racial identity: http://www.cnn.com/2010/LIVING/11/03/inam.soledad.book.excerpt/index.html

Johanna says:

You should have said, “Yes, she is a half breed. Her dad is the muggle and I’m the witch, and I’m going to cast a spell on you!”

Please forgive me for the Harry Potter reference. I couldn’t help myself. I hear half breed and I think Harry Potter.

Obviously an ignorant and tactless woman. Don’t let it bother you too much.

Karen says:

Wow. I’m sorry you had to hear that. I don’t think the woman meant to offend you though, especially as it sounds like she has biracial children or grandchildren herself. If she’s older that’s probably just the term she grew up with. I’ve had to shrug off some pretty shocking things my own grandparents have said over the years.

Chanel says:

I have experienced the very same thing and it drives me crazy when people refer to my child as if she were an animal.

It is especially harder down here in south Georgia where some people are still in the 1950s. There are many times when we go out and we get the stares. I have often wanted to move somewhere else where people live in the current century.

Chelle says:

I do not have children yet, but when I came across your blog I was hooked because I loved reading about your birthing experience and am taking notes on your advice due to me hoping to try for a baby next year. I too am an African American female. I’m more of a medium tan in complexion and people think I am mixed instead of being only 3/4 white. The white gene in the family is very strong, and I am dating a Cuban man who is very fair skin and if he and I have a child together our child has a very strong chance of looking light-skin or even white. I’m very worried about the reaction my child will get from ignorant people. What that woman said came from a old state of mind kind of place and I don’t think she meant any harm. But it was rude and hurtful and I’m sorry you had to go through that. It’s going to be a battle for all of us in interracial relationships and who have interracial families, but as long as we are strong and stand up for ourselves and our children and educate our children well then in the end they are only words and can not hurt us. Hugs to you, your hubby, and Lil J.

YUMMama says:

People are so ignorant now days. And age isn’t really an excuse anymore. A lot of older people refuse to catch up with the current culture where it’s not polite to refer to people as colored and especially half-breed. I can totally understand your anger.

I’ve had people call Moo a half-breed, a red bone and more. I don’t get upset anymore. Instead I use the situation as a chance to educate them. My child multiracial-her father is Native American, Black and Italian and my own parents are mixed. They don’t know how to respond to me setting the record straight and usually walk away.

Berta says:

Me, I always say….no this one is all human, but that one I keep locked in my closet you should see that one! hehe

swank|mama says:

Just saw this post and it’s just amazing to me how some people can be so ignorant, even nowadays when mixed families are much more common than they were say 20-30 years ago. In fact, mixed families are also really common in other countries – I think mainstream society just likes us to think otherwise. We’re getting there though, slowly but surely.

It’s hard not to take defense towards other people’s silly comments especially when it comes to your own child(ren). My step-daughter is also mixed (half Jamaican, half Russian) and people always ask me if she is my daughter. So I just say yes. My Lil J, as you already know, is also mixed (half Jamaican, half Chinese). People always ask me if I am his mother. You duma$$es (excuse the language)!! No, i just stole this child and am grocery shopping with him. Like, seriously.

One time I was picking my step-daughter up from school with my husband and she yelled out “Daddy!”. This kid goes up to her and asks “Why do you call him daddy?!”. I quickly piped in “Why do you call your daddy, ‘Daddy’??”. And he just looked so embarassed and I (even though he was a kid) just felt elated because I had gotten my step-daughter out of an awkward situation.

I think someone once asked me if I was my step-daughters nanny. Why in the world would you ask that?

And I totally understand your emotions. I feel like every time someone has an ignorant comment to share. I have to admit though, I have been getting better at the comebacks 😉

wow, my husband is black and I’m latin. People always come up to me and ask “what is he” or say things like “your husband must be black” i’m like huh. “Why do you care?” people are ridiculous. Your little girl is just too cute.

Mackey says:

I totally agree with Ember Rose. Some people are so ignorant and they speak with no filter. You had every right to respond in an equally itgnorant manner,BUT I’m glad you did’nt. ((((((HUGS))))) hope there is not a next time. And if so, you will at least have a litte verbal ammo in your arsenal. ;0)
Mackey

jeske_posse says:

At this point I just don’t even get bothered by what people say. I was called all sorts of names growing up and wasn’t really “in” with black or white kids (although the white kids seemed to like me better). I too live in Central TX. People often assume I’m my kids nanny if my husband (who is white) is not with us. I think I was offended the first time; Now I think it’ hilarious. Some people are just ignorant. Your family is beautiful.

dysblogger says:

Just a quick note: I do stare when I see biracial children. It’s not a judging stare one bit, of course, just gaping “How could someone BE that beautiful?” Everyone in my “circle” knows of my awe and shares it. Biracial is just stunning. No matter what the races going in are: every biracial child/adult I’ve met has been stunning!

And from the pictures thus far- Lil’ J is no exception! Be proud! (I know you are!)

Whoa! That is not cool. At all. You have every right to be offended. I hope you can think of a kind, but sassy comeback next time as well. She is not a “half-breed!” How ignorant! She is so precious!!!! Period. Ugh.

Sharon says:

When my daughter was a baby, we had an Au Pair from England. She took my daughter to the store one day, and an older woman assumed my baby was my Au Pair’s. She told my Au Pair that men didn’t like curly-haired girls. By the way, the Au Pair had fair skin, blond hair, and blue eyes. My baby was brown skin, dark brown eyes, and black hair.

Anonymous says:

Yep…I’ve been called half breed many times–mom is black, dad is white. My paternal grandmother raised me and I remember times when I was a child of 5 or so, we’d be at the store and I would be my grandma at the register..as soon as my grandma got done..the clerk would assume I was next and by myself. I always took that as a racial thing (grandma is white and I’m pretty dark).

A black mom one day says:

You have every right to be mad. Your hubby probably was like “awe babe ignor that idiot”. I’m black and my husband is white and sometimes when people stare or say stupid things my husband just is like awe just ignor them they are not important. The only time I ever really seen my hubby get mad was when some one referred to black people as the “N” word. We don’t have any kids yet, we are waiting but I’m sure ill hear some dumb comments. I’m already getting the “biracial kids are so cute” ….um most kids are cute…

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