Today we're happy to introduce you to the Oliver family from Central California! Nicole and I went to high school together and it is no surprise to me to learn that much of the Oliver's time is spent around sports!
Both Durant and Nicole are teachers and coaches and their kids play a variety of sports. In fact the two met at the gym while they were both college athletes. So enjoy learning more about this active family!
MEET THE OLIVER FAMILY:
Durant, age 43 years
Black from California / African American and some Native American but details of complete background are unknown
Nicole, age 37
White from California / French, German, Native American, English- a Euro mutt
Kiara, age 14
Bi-racial born in California
Jason, age 11
Bi-racial born in California
HOW DID THE TWO OF YOU MEET?
We met at the gym…both of us were college athletes, at different times and schools, so it fitting that we would meet in that setting.
My husband graduated from USC and played football. I graduated from CSU and ran track. Both of our kids are heavily involved in school and sports with the emphasis on school.
WERE THERE ANY SIGNIFICANT OBSTACLES IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP CORRELATED TO YOUR BACKGROUNDS?
I grew up with the belief that my family wouldn't be OK with our relationship… I found out otherwise and there weren't any obstacles from my side.
The biggest obstacle on my husband's side was that his parents had passed before we met. So his family, though around, were not heavily involved.
We dealt with many people who were hateful and judgemental in our professional lives when it came to our relationship and kids. That opened up my eyes more to the amount of ignorance that still exists and how important it is to not ignore it when I see it, but to also understand what my kids will have to experience.
WHAT TRADITIONS DO YOU CELEBRATE IN YOUR HOME?
We celebrate the traditional American holidays and usually stay home to be with each other.
IS THE COMMUNITY YOU LIVE IN DIVERSE?
Where we live is not hugely diverse but our city as a whole is diverse. Our kids have grown up with all nationalities around them since both of us are teachers and coaches in very diverse schools.
DO YOU OR YOUR PARTNER SPEAK IN MORE THAN ONE LANGUAGE IN YOUR HOME?
We both speak as much Spanish as our students teach us. I have a few French words here and there. My kids had a Spanish speaking daycare for the first 4 years but they didn't retain much.
ARE YOUR EXTENDED FAMILY SUPPORTIVE OF YOUR MULTIETHNIC RELATIONSHIP?
Yes. Very much so.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR PARTNER'S ETHNIC-CULTURAL BACKGROUND?
I enjoy the food for sure.
DID YOU FIND BIG DIFFERENCES IN THE WAY YOU GREW UP VS. YOUR SPOUSE DUE TO DIFFERENCES IN RACE?
I dont think it was race that shaped our differences in how we were taught Our families had different beliefs and customs, but both of us grew up being taught very similar rights and wrongs and how to treat people. The experiences that we had because of race may have been different, but what was learned from those experiences is what stuck with us.
WHAT ACTIONS HAVE YOU TAKEN TO TEACH YOUR CHILDREN ABOUT EACH OF YOUR BACKGROUNDS?
Our kids know they are black and white...the best of both of us. They refer to themselves as caramel. Dad is dark chocolate and mom is peach. It's funny to them now but they still use it.
HAVE YOUR CHILDREN ASKED ABOUT RACE? AT WHAT AGE?
I think we have always talked about it as they had questions. Kiara's hair is obviously different than mine but still not the same as her paternal cousin so she has always wondered and asked questions.
DO YOUR CHILDREN IDENTIFY AS MIXED OR SOMETHING ELSE?
My daughter does but my son will jokingly say he is Puerto Rican because he says he looks like his friend's family.. he knows he is mixed but likes to be himself.
HOW DO YOU RAISE YOUR CHILDREN TO HONOR DIVERSITY IN OTHERS? We have taught them that people are not the color.of their skin but the type of character they possess.
WHAT UNIQUE CHARACTERISTICS DO YOUR CHILDREN HAVE FROM YOU AND YOUR PARTNER?
My kids are their fathers twins. I don't think they have any physical characteristics like me, though some may disagree.
WHAT DOES BEING MIXED MEAN TO YOUR CHILDREN?
They know they are the best of both worlds. They are proud to just be and race is not who they are, it is their character that we teach them to care about. .
WHAT IS YOUR DREAM FOR YOUR CHILD'S FUTURE AND THE FUTURE OF AMERICA IN REGARDS TO RACE?
As our society becomes more blended, I hope that the amount of racism that still exists will lessen. Generational racism is a huge problem. Kids are being raised to hate and not trust those of another race. It's not always taught through words but expressed through actions and our children learn through those actions.