I met the Kennedy family at our daughters' elementary school in Venice Beach. I would often see their adorable daughters walking to school in the morning hand in hand with their Grandpa. Soon after I met the mom of those adorable girls, Monique, and we became fast friends!
The Kennedys are a beautiful family of 5 who live in Marina del Rey. Monique and her husband Michael own a business in Culver City, Monique also works as a personal trainer and a full time college student- all while also raising 3 kids! So it would be an understatement to say they are a busy crew! Enjoy meeting their family!
MEET THE KENNEDY FAMILY:
Michael Kennedy, age 38
- Jewish from Los Angeles / Michael's father is Turkish and his mother has Russian, German and Irish blood.
Monique Kennedy, age 33
- Black from Chicago / Monique is currently ill informed in regards to her full racial descent, but for now African American.
Micah Kennedy, age 10
Morgan Kennedy, age 8
Mayer Kennedy, age 2
- All children are biracial
HOW DID THE TWO OF YOU MEET?
Michael and I met through a mutual friend of ours.
WERE THERE ANY SIGNIFICANT OBSTACLES IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP CORRELATED TO YOUR BACKGROUNDS?
Fortunately, I can say for the both of us, we have not endured any significant obstacles in our relationship due to our backgrounds within our immediate families. However, we have not always been well received well as an interracial couple in the public. There has been quite a few times when black men have felt quite sensitive to the fact that I am with a “white man”. One incident in particular occurred at a restaurant. My husband and I were walking hand in hand and a group of five black guys decided to test him by calling us a “swirl”. Although the comment was beyond stupid and did not deserve a response, my husband was extremely offended and decided to approach the guys and things got pretty confrontational.
WHAT TRADITIONS DO YOU CELEBRATE IN YOUR HOME? ARE THEY CONNECTED TO YOUR INDIVIDUAL CULTURES? WHAT HAVE YOU PASSED DOWN FROM YOUR FAMILIES?
My family celebrate all the traditional Jewish Holidays. We also celebrate Christmas due to the fact I am Christian and have not converted into Judaism.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF YOUR PARTNER'S CULTURE?
My favorite cultural tradition from my husband's culture is Shabbat. Every Friday night at sundown we light candles and have dinner together to acknowledge the sabbath which is celebrated on Friday as opposed to Sunday in Christianity.
IS THE COMMUNITY YOU LIVE IN DIVERSE?
The community we reside in seems to be a pretty diverse community. However, I have not noticed many interracial couples in the area, if any at all.
DO YOU OR YOUR PARTNER SPEAK IN MORE THAN ONE LANGUAGE IN YOUR HOME?
In our home english is our primary language. We also speak Hebrew and quite a bit of Spanish. We encourage our children to learn as much as they can, therefore if they want to learn and speak foreign languages, we support them in doing so.
ARE YOUR EXTENDED FAMILIES SUPPORTIVE OF YOUR RELATIONSHIP?
My husbands family have always been very welcoming and accepting of me. They never pressured me to convert and I get along wonderfully with my mother-in-law.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR PARTNER'S ETHNIC/CULTURAL BACKGROUND?
What I enjoy most about my husband’s culture is how closely knit the Jewish community is. In the Jewish community, people really support and take care of each other. There are many non-profit organizations that were developed in Los Angeles for seniors and families who are in need of financial support. I don’t see much of that type of support within the African American community.
DID YOU FIND BIG DIFFERENCES IN THE WAY YOU GREW UP VS. YOUR SPOUSE DUE TO DIFFERENCES IN RACE?
I see a huge difference in the way my husband grew up in contrast to how I was raised. My husband was raised in a supportive and stable family. I, on the other was raised on the southside of Chicago. I come from a broken home and was homeless at the age of thirteen years old. I basically raised myself into adulthood on the streets. My husband was well provided for and taken care by two loving parents.
WHAT IS THE MOST SURPRISING/UNEXPECTED THING YOU'VE LEARNED ABOUT EACH OTHER'S CULTURE?
The most unexpected thing I have learned about my husband's culture is that his family are the most genuine and non racist people you could meet. I was raised by very narrow minded individuals who taught me that blacks and whites were to be racially divided because white people could not be trusted. Everything I learned and experienced was contrary to what I was taught.
WHAT ACTIONS HAVE YOU TAKEN TO TEACH YOUR CHILDREN ABOUT EACH OF YOUR BACKGROUNDS?
In our home we teach our children that it is okay to acknowledge both cultures because it is part of who they they are. We don’t consider one cultural tradition to be superior over the other. We celebrate christian holidays as well as Jewish holidays. We even send our children to Jewish summer camps. We have also hired a Jewish language tutor to teach them hebrew, and we attend church services on Sundays when we have time.
HAVE YOUR CHILDREN ASKED ABOUT RACE? AT WHAT AGE? HOW DID YOU EXPLAIN IT?
Race is a topic that never dies in this house lol! Children are very curious little beings and the fact that their mother and father look very different from the other kids parents at school, raises questions from our children, as well as their friends at school. The most recurring question is “ if daddy is white, and you are black, then what am I?” We explain to our children that they are a wonderful mix of the both of us.
DO YOUR CHILDREN IDENTIFY AS MIXED OR SOMETHING ELSE?
If my children were asked what race they are, I am positive they would say they are a mixed race. They are half black and half white, therefore they are taught to acknowledge both races they are mixed with.
HOW DO YOU RAISE YOUR CHILDREN TO HONOR DIVERSITY IN OTHERS?
We teach our children to respect others. They are taught to get to know people and ask questions if they are curious about something. My children are very mindful and sensitive to the diversity of others due to the fact they are a mixed race. They have experienced bullying first hand and they know what it is like to be offended and hurt by other children.
WHAT UNIQUE CHARACTERISTICS DO YOUR CHILDREN HAVE FROM YOU AND YOUR PARTNER?
All of our children have specific characteristics from the both of us. They all have my almond shaped eyes and they each have his ears and lips. They’re a perfect mix of us both.
WHAT DOES BEING MIXED MEAN TO YOUR CHILDREN?
To my children, being mixed means to have two parents from very different racial backgrounds.
WHAT IS YOUR DREAM FOR YOUR CHILD'S FUTURE AND THE FUTURE OF AMERICA IN REGARDS TO RACE?
Our dream for all of our children is to grow up with integrity and great moral character. We want our children to make the right choices in life more than we want them to be successful. Personally, I would like to see people become more sensitive to other cultures in society. Rather than judging others from pure assumption and ignorance, we can learn from each other and embrace each other's differences.
If you are interested in being one of our featured Swirl Nation families or individuals please email Jen at firstname.lastname@example.org!