Managing human difference

Different remains divisive, or at least remarkable, even in East Coast Blue states like New Jersey. For mixed family, old racial tensions remain part of life shows that people who cross racial lines to marry will run into unpleasant remarks and stares, as well as teasing that is meant to be good-natured but can be awkward.

The accompanying slide show includes a powerful photo of the family walking down a New Jersey boardwalk enjoying the sun, while a man stares at them (the photo does lack clarity — one hopes that the picture was taken because the man is staring so openly, and the photographer snapped it. But it could be that he’s staring because a photographer is taking pictures of them). The diversity in this woman’s family came through wonderfully in the accompanying Web video.

Yet the worst episodes in the piece happened a generation ago, to the parents of the mixed-race mom in the story. And it notes that on contemporary college campuses and in cities, young people are far less likely to care. Honestly, the mom in the story has run into far more flak than my family has, either in California or here in Massachusetts. Not that we haven’t heard some things, from crass remarks and disbelief (one of our boys had blue-ish eyes as a baby) to curiosity. But in Millis I was able to write this piece on race, Seeing Family in Black and White.  And now that we live in Cambridge, there is so much diversity in their school and at the bus stop and on the soccer field that I forget my kids are “different.” Different from what?
Even our church is multicultural, though church remains a place where Americans tend to separate. Weird, given how the Holy Spirit worked in Acts.

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