Trayvon Martin Could Be Your Son Too: Racial Profiling & Interracial Relationships

trayvon martin

Image: Flickr / Cosmic Smudge

Racial Profiling & Interracial Relationships

“Will my White husband be able to sympathize and empathize with our biracial son if he is a victim of any racial iniquities?”

I thought of this question last month, and upon asking Joseph his opinion, he answered, “I’m not sure because I’ve never had to deal with that. Yet, I will stand up for him and be there for him in any way I could.” The answer to my question is both yes and no. As his father, he would be able to sympathize because that’s his son, and he will hurt if his son is hurt. However, he wouldn’t be able to empathize because he isn’t a victim of racial iniquities, and even though he will verbalize how often Italians are stereotyped, it’s not the same. The Italian organized crime that is too often seen on television is also glamorized on and off the screen. Additionally, my fiancé’s ethnicity will forever protect him from the bigotry and institutionalized racism that is too often felt on a daily basis in the African-American communities.

As time passed by, the question was buried in the back of my mind like many other questions recently due to wedding planning, but it resurfaced when I heard about the story of Trayvon Martin. My soul cried for that young boy, and I felt compelled to reach out in any way I could. Since the story was broadcasted on a plethora of news outlets, and a variety of people have spoken out about the story, I figured the blogging world, including the interracial blogosphere that focuses on community and world events, would also speak out about the incident. My conjecture was false. Not many interracial blogs were talking about the story, especially the blogosphere that included interracial coupling with Black women. The reason for that could be for a variety of reasons, including a lack of concern and/or embodying such a strong dislike for Black men that the emotion has also transcended to a strong dislike for Black young boys and children. I don’t know what the reason is, and I’ve stopped trying to figure it out. Yet, I can’t help but to also wonder, is the lack of outreach due to feeling as though biracial children are protected from such racial profiling?

I talked about this with a good friend of mine recently at a party.  She is an African-American women and married to a White man. They live in an exclusive neighborhood, and it’s a very close-knit community. As a housewife and the mother of four children, she is very involved in her children’s lives, and she was telling me of a recent situation that involved her eldest son. Although her 15 year-old son has a “racially ambiguous” aesthetic with a height above 6 feet tall , he has been the victim of racial profiling because he still viewed as being Black to some of the parents of his peers. Even though the severity hasn’t gone as far as the incident with Trayvon Martin, it’s still serious because her son has been unfairly treated. After talking to her for a while on the subject, Joseph joined the conversation. My friend noted Joseph should really consider what will be his response because it’s a possibility it could happen to us. That night, Joseph and I had a long and deep discussion, and I shared with him some racial profiling events that happened to me in the past. It was a conversation that needed to be addressed, and I’m glad we had that opportunity.

I don’t know what the future holds for us as parents, but what I do know is that I want both of us as to be able to handle a situation like this. Racism still bears open wounds, and each new episode brings forth a keen sensation as if salt water was being flushed into the entry.  I realize that being married to and giving birth to children with a White partner won’t make my children or me oblivious to racism. Money and status don’t act as erasers for my ethnicity. As the matriarch, I feel compelled to protect my family and part of being protected includes being cognizant of reality.  Racism is real, and until society as a whole understands and realizes race isn’t a contributing factor to our wellbeing, then it will remain here.  It’s unfortunate that various types of blogs in the interracial blogosphere aren’t using their outreach and community resources to blog about this due to their unfair beliefs, but that’s alright. Since the event, society has seen support from notables such as President Barack Obama, Marian Wright Edelman, Spike Lee, and many more. Until justice is served, I feel more comfortable fighting with them. Being involved in an interracial relationship shouldn’t hinder anyone from seeking for justice; for, “An injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere.”



  1. says

    Eliss, I've actually seen a few parents of biracial kids blog about this – although not necessarily kids with black moms.
    Those are just a few that I've come across (and my own). I think that the tragedy with Trayvon has made many of us much more aware of the risks and barriers our kids face – biracial or black – and has definitely unsettled many parents of biracial kids.

  2. says

    Great post, and very real concerns. I have done nothing but think of Trayvon, and relate him to my own son, both on my blog and off, since his name first crossed my ears. I am a white woman married to a black man, and we have five kids – our oldest being the same age as Trayvon. My heart is broken and, although I liked to think I was enlightened before Trayvon, I am certainly now being further educated.