fbpx

Isn’t it crazy how our first impressions of someone can be completely wrong? I’ve had people tell me I look more like a Keisha than a Jennifer (what?!). I’ve seen mouths drop when I state that I graduated from BYU and yes, we’re Mormon (though technically not called that anymore). We’ve all had our share of wrong first impressions.

interracial couple in an interracial marriage wrong first impression

Before my husband and I had our first date I had a picture in my mind of what he would look like. We’d spoken on the phone and I knew he grew up for awhile in North Carolina, was a big sports fan, his mom was from Atlanta (like me!) and he served a mission in the Caribbean. I assumed tall dark and handsome. I was not expecting a cute white dude from Utah. Now this is another story for another day. But what I will say is through the years I’ve continued to learn a lot about first impressions.

We met on that blind date of sorts, 15 years ago this week. I thought he was cute, but a bit quiet. A little funny. Based on that first impression, I wasn’t sure it was going to work. I didn’t know if he’d get me. But it only took a couple more dates for me to realize that this guy was made for me. From serenading me with 90s R&B, to introducing me to fry sauce and Cafe Rio.

wrong first impression of interracial families

Throughout our years together we’ve had a lot more first impression mixups. People not realizing we are together in line, people assuming I’m not my daughter’s mom, people assuming he’s not our son’s father, and other things here and there that honestly, (and thankfully) feel most like distant memories at this point. But one thing that’s bothering me more than I realized is an assumption people make when my husband puts on his work uniform.

“Do people ever call you racist?” I asked him one afternoon in passing.

“HA!” He shouted in response. “Are you joking?”

I’ll admit the question was kind of a joke. I knew angry people called him that sometimes but I don’t think I knew (and still don’t know) the extent.

“Every day,” he said. Like, multiple times a day. As in, when responding to a call, while monitoring a protest, or randomly yelled at a passerby driving down the street.

It doesn’t really bother him. He’s used to it. And it didn’t used to bother me. Mainly because I’d resorted to it coming with the territory. But recently an acronym appeared in a comment below one of my Instagram photos that sent my into a fury.

First off, let me say that this wasn’t from any of my lovely followers. The photo was of Lil’ J and I at her daddy’s graduation from the police academy about 7 years ago. I used it for a partnership about helping the homeless. Well the post was promoted across the platform and reached many many more people. Many strangers. Strangers that didn’t like 1. Our interracial marriage. And 2. The fact that he was a police officer.

I can’t even tell you the level of horrendous comments some people had the gaul to write. Most of them surrounding the fact that he would likely kill me, or how disgusting our relationship was. Some dared to say that “given the climate” our photo was insensitive. Excuse me? Are these the same types of people who would say that a black person trying not to sit in the back of the bus in the 50s was being insensitive given the climate? I’m sorry but our existence isn’t a political statement.

I digress…

I noticed four capital letters that seemed to be repeated over and over by numerous commenters (before I shut the comments off completely).

“ACAB.”

After awhile my curiosity was piqued so I googled it and learned it stands for “All cops are bastards.”

Well that’s not very nice.

My entire life I’ve been put off by stereotypes.

Assuming all women are ______.

All black people are _______.

People assuming I got the job because I’m black. Or that’s the reason I got into college, ignoring the hard work and straight As.

Then it brought me back to a section of a book I read that embodies what I was feeling.

A lot of us would get upset if my kids or I was called the N word. My husband would probably lose his mind. But do I get upset when I see someone call him a pig?

There’s a part in Brene Brown’s book, Braving the Wilderness where she sums up her beliefs and fully encompasses my conflicted feelings on the matter:

Here’s what I believe:

1. If you are offended or hurt when you hear Hillary Clinton or Maxine Waters called bitch, whore, or the c-word, you should be equally offended and hurt when you hear those same words used to describe Ivanka Trump, Kellyanne Conway, or Theresa May.

2. If you felt belittled when Hillary Clinton called Trump supporters “a basket of deplorables” then you should have felt equally concerned when Eric Trump said “Democrats aren’t even human.”

3. When the president of the United States calls women dogs or talks about grabbing pussy, we should get chills down our spine and resistance flowing through our veins. When people call the president of the United States a pig, we should reject that language regardless of our politics and demand discourse that doesn’t make people subhuman.

4. When we hear people referred to as animals or aliens, we should immediately wonder, “Is this an attempt to reduce someone’s humanity so we can get away with hurting them or denying them basic human rights?”

5. If you’re offended by a meme of Trump Photoshopped to look like Hitler, then you shouldn’t have Obama Photoshopped to look like the Joker on your Facebook feed. There is a line. It’s etched from dignity. And raging, fearful people from the right and left are crossing it at unprecedented rates every single day. We must never tolerate dehumanization—the primary instrument of violence that has been used in every genocide recorded throughout history.

My life circumstances have forced me to have a more open mind but I still make mistakes. I’m still learning. Really, we all are. And real courage comes when we’re brave enough to admit that.

In reality you know nothing about a person at first glance. You could make assumptions. But you’re risking being very wrong.

white father with biracial children don't get the wrong first impression

15 years ago I had the wrong first impression of my husband. But I’m glad I said yes to a second date.

 


Tags: , , ,

Good post and makes you think. I think we all have certain sterotypes of people in our heads and can make assumptions and it’s good to challenge those. Sorry to hear people reacted that way to your Instagram photo. I came across a pin on Pinterest recently that says, “All cops aren’t bad, all African Americans aren’t thugs and all whites aren’t racist! If we come together and unite as one we can be an unstoppable force.”. I liked the message of that.

You have a beautiful family. As a mixed race person I love seeing pictures of interracial couples and families. I enjoted reading about when you first met too. Hope you keep sharing! 🙂

Zania

Lindsey says:

Great post! Thank you for sharing. Everyone should be treated with dignity, whether or not you agree with them.

Lashawn says:

Beautiful post Jennifer!

Jennifer says:

Thank you so much for reading LaShawn <3

Allison says:

Those bullet points from Brene Brown are eye-opening. Too often, we fall to our lesser selves and are blinded to our own wrongness while denigrating others’. That really reminded me to be more cognizant. Thank you for sharing that.

I also got the complete wrong first impression of my husband when we first met. I thought he “didn’t look the type to date outside his race” and completely hid my interest in him. Fifteen years later, I’m incredibly grateful he made that first move 😊

Ebony says:

Jennifer, this is such an important topic. Finding shared humanity across all arbitrary social boundaries is a big step in dismantling the systems of fear that serve only to perpetuate our vicious tribalism.

It’s easy for all of us to judge after seeing a photo on Instagram, what passes for commentary on social media are things most people wouldn’t dare utter to our faces!

These stories help to shed light on the nuance present in everyday life, something that social media makes it easy to gloss over.

Thanks for sharing

Jennifer says:

You’re so right with each and every one of your points. So well said. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts.

Nicole says:

Great post, you have a beautiful family. The point #4 makes about always questioning if words are being used to dehumanize another group is my favorite point and is how I’ve always thought my entire life even when growing up around racist family members. There is a right and wrong way to treat humans, with very little gray area in between!

Jennifer says:

You’re so right, there’s not really grey area in between. I’m sorry you had to grow up listening to hateful things about others around your family members. I’m glad you were even able to know it wasn’t right from a young age.

Wow this is so powerful. It’s extremely sad that people can be so hateful toward someone who risks his life and safety to protect us. I’ve had police officers use excessive force on my family members but I also have friends and a family member who are police officers- men who are kind and brave and good. My husband and I are also an interracial couple so I can relate to much of this. Thanks so much for sharing. Tiffany- prettyrealblog.com

Jennifer says:

I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve had officers use excessive force on your family members. That’s horrible. Thank you for reading and for sharing your thoughts.

Meli Balleste says:

❤️ your blog post. 😐 🤬 that people made about your beautiful family. ❤️🙏 to you and your family.

Jennifer says:

Thank you so much for the love Meli.

Sharon says:

Your post was thought-provoking. You’re absolutely right. If we are truly offended by the dehumanization of some, we should be offended by the dehumanization of all. Thank you for reminding me how to be a good human.

Jennifer says:

Brené Brown’s book seriously is so enlightening. But it also helped me get to the root of something that had been bothering me a long time. Thanks for reading my post.

Rachel says:

Beautiful post! The excerpt from the book was a good reminder of balance and being able to see others’ perspectives. Thank you for posting this!

Jennifer says:

Thank you for reading Rachel.

Danielle says:

👏👏👏

This blog made me tear up. Just knowing some people feel the need to put down your family for their twisted beliefs…it makes heat rise in my chest.

That being said, I love seeing all the posts of your beautiful family. I am so sorry other people don’t see y’all as just that. You are such a strong woman, wife, & mother…that is what matters more than anything.

You, your daughters, your son, & your husband will change this world for the better. I am glad you are rising above the people who look down on you & put you down instead of acknowledging that fact!

Thank you for sharing your stories with us.

Jennifer says:

Danielle, your comment warmed my heart so much. Seriously. Thank you so much for your kind words.

Shan says:

I’m so sorry for what you guys have endured! People can be so cruel! You guys have an awesome awesome family!!!! I totally enjoy your account.

Clarissa says:

Not only do I love this post so much, but I can also relate to you and your family, which makes it even more special.

Jennifer says:

I love that you can relate too friend. There are a lot of families like us out there 🙂

Shan says:

So sorry you guys are going through this!!!! People can be so cruel!!!! You guys are awesome and beautiful♥️and I totally enjoy you Instagram page😘

Jennifer says:

Thank you Shan! And thank you so much for taking the time to comment <3

Marany says:

Hi Jennifer. Love your family. Love reading this post. I could eat up that little chunky monkey of yours. She’s just too Stinkin cute! My kids are of mixed race as well and when they joined us, I was always referred to as the nanny. I’ve given up on explaining what they are made of. I simply say, they are all mine, I gave birth to both of them. They may not look like me, but I’ve always kept them close to me (physically, emotionally and mentally). When I look at you guys, I see a happy family. That’s all that matters.

Jennifer says:

I’m sorry people mistake you as the nanny. I hate when that happens. I’m glad that you look at us and see a happy family <3

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget

headshot

I'm a part-time journalist, full-time wife and mother striving to make the world a better place and inspiring others to do the same. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day.

My Photography Course

My Photography Course

Featured Posts

diy-onsie-cardigan-tutorial

adventures-in-homeschooling

30-things-my-kids-should-know-about-me

Aurora-tutu-dress-tutorial-3

kid-movie-reviews

disney-family-travel

photo-backup-tutorial


as-seen-on-button
I’m a 2017 Iris Awards Winner

watch @jenniferborget on

Inspiring Moments Positive Parenting Spreading Joy
How My Husband Inspires Me to Give Back
Here’s a Fun Way to Get Your Kids to Brush Their Teeth
I’ve Been Trying to Drink More Water for Years and Now I Finally Am
Family Travel Food & Culture Homeschooling
Here’s What’s New at Toy Story Land
From Homeschool to Public School – We Made It!
Tips for visiting Walt Disney World with an Infant, a happy baby riding a Walt Disney World ride.
Don’t Wait to Take Your Infant to Walt Disney World
Creating With Kids (DIY) Disney Motherhood Pregnancy & Baby
5 Reasons to Take Your Kids to a Farmers Market
Biracial baby girl eating a birthday cupcake
You’re ONE! A Love Letter to Lee Lee
Better Late Then Never: What My Kids thought of Disney’s New Dumbo
Interracial Marriage Multiracial Parenting Our Family History Photography & Videos
This is How We Saved for Our Dream House
Ariel is Black and People are MAD but Here’s Why We are Here for it!
Mother and daughter Disney bound Dumbo as Timothy Mama Jumbo and Dumbo
Why I Let My Kids Watch Dumbo Even Though it’s Pretty Racist