I am came across Stacy-Ann on Twitter checked out her blog and loved her point of view and thought her beautiful family would be perfect for Swirl Nation Blog! She is a busy mom and weather anchor in New York and through her blog and many social channels she shares stories about her family and her journey. I think you'll love getting to know the Goodens!
MEET THE GOODEN FAMILY:
Paul, American of Irish and German descent
Princess, age 5
O, age 2
The children are multiracial
WHERE DO YOU LIVE?
HOW DID THE TWO OF YOU MEET?
We wet while in college. We worked together.
WERE THERE ANY SIGNIFICANT OBSTACLES IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP CORRELATED TO YOUR BACKGROUNDS?
Unfortunately, not everyone accepts interracial relationships. There were times when we were discriminated against at restaurants. Sometimes people would stare at us and whisper to each other. It was pretty obvious that they were talking about us.
Prior to meeting his family, I wondered how they’d receive me. I wasn’t sure of my family’s reaction as well. Fortunately, our immediate family members were extremely welcoming. However, I’d be lying if I didn’t say there weren’t any cultural differences. I’m Jamaican and he is American, so some of our traditions are different. But we’ve managed to compromise, for the sake of our kids.
WHAT TRADITIONS DO YOU CELEBRATE IN YOUR HOME?
We try our best to combine our cultural backgrounds by celebrating holidays and traditions. As a matter of fact, that’s one of the reasons why I started my Weather Anchor Mama blog. My core mission is raising my children to weather the storm. My series, Lessons for Our Kids aims at guiding them through life.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CULTURAL FEATURE/TRADITION OF YOUR SPOUSE'S RACE?
Thanksgiving isn’t celebrated in Jamaica, but it’s a holiday that we’ve adopted here in the states. I love the idea of giving thanks, and that’s certainly an important lesson that we teach our kids.
IS THE COMMUNITY YOU LIVE IN DIVERSE?
Our neighborhood is somewhat diverse. The daycare center is predominantly white, but our school district is mostly black and latino. After doing some research, we were able to find a more diverse school, which our daughter now attends.
ARE YOUR EXTENDED FAMILY SUPPORTIVE OF YOUR MULTIETHNIC RELATIONSHIP?
DID YOU FIND BIG DIFFERENCES IN THE WAY YOU GREW UP VS. YOUR SPOUSE DUE TO DIFFERENCES IN RACE?
Yes and no. My husband grew up in a white neighborhood, but attended a mostly black and hispanic school. I grew up in a predominantly black neighborhood and attended mostly black and hispanic schools. So there were some differences, but also some commonalities too. The core differences involved my caribbean background. There are differences in food and the way we celebrate (or don’t celebrate) certain holidays like Christmas and Halloween.
ARE THERE ANY COMMENTS YOU ARE REALLY TIRED OF HEARING FROM PEOPLE IN REGARDS TO RACE/CULTURE?
When we started dating, people would always ask whether or his family accepted me. Once we had kids, I’d get the nanny comments all the time and it’s annoying. Sometimes it’s seems as if they’re dissecting our children and that can get pretty frustrating, especially when they touch their curls. It’s surprising how some people have no filter and ignore boundaries.
WHAT ACTIONS HAVE YOU TAKEN TO TEACH YOUR CHILDREN ABOUT EACH OF YOUR BACKGROUNDS?
We read a lot of books about our cultures. We also talk about and celebrate various traditions. In fact, I blog about how we implement these teachings into raising our kids to give them a sense of identity. It also serves as a reference point for when they get older. They can always refer to the blog and our YouTube videos to learn more about their backgrounds.
HAVE YOUR CHILDREN ASKED ABOUT RACE? AT WHAT AGE?
Absolutely. My daughter began talking about her race at an early age. I believe she was 2-years-old. I was 100% honest with her.
DO YOUR CHILDREN IDENTIFY AS MIXED OR SOMETHING ELSE?
There was a time when my daughter considered herself “blond,” meaning white. I actually wrote a post about it.
Race is something we DO NOT shy away from. While my husband’s family never talked about race, I grew up in a household in which race was discussed. I think every family should talk about it. That’s how we achieve racial tolerance and understanding.
WHAT UNIQUE CHARACTERISTICS DO YOUR CHILDREN HAVE FROM YOU AND YOUR PARTNER?
I like to think that both of our kids are a perfect blend of the both of us.
WHAT DOES BEING MIXED MEAN TO YOUR CHILDREN?
We simply talk about backgrounds. We tell them that they are both beautiful, inside and out. In response to my daughter’s identity dilemma, we started a series called “Curly Hairstyle of the Week.” The idea behind this series is to teach her to embrace her curls and love the skin she’s in. We put together video tutorials highlighting various hairstyles for curly biracial hair.
WHAT IS YOUR DREAM FOR YOUR CHILD'S FUTURE AND THE FUTURE OF AMERICA IN REGARDS TO RACE?
I just want them to be comfortable with themselves. I don’t want them to feel like they have to conform to society standards. We want them to feel comfortable in any setting, no matter race, religion, or sexual orientation etc.