I'm 26 years old, and I am 9 weeks pregnant and happy about the pregnancy. I'm white, my boyfriend is black...he is also happy. My parents have always been against interracial relationships, so I've kept my relationship from them because I felt once I told them they would want me out of their lives. I told my mom 2 days ago that I am pregnant and that my boyfriend is black. She said she was shocked and embarrassed by me, and that I needed to have an abortion. I told her that abortion was not an option - both my boyfriend and I want the baby. She started crying, claiming that I didn't care what her family and friends would think. I left their house and my mom called me 2 hours later to ask if I was ok and to tell me that she told my dad and he was also disappointed and embarrassed by me. I know my boyfriend and I can raise this baby in a loving and stable home.
How can I get my parents to look past our races and accept the pregnancy and the baby when he/she gets here?
I feel proud and honored to be able to respond to your question, and in that way have at least a marginal association with you. You are very brave people, and may God support you and be with you during your life's journey.
You and your boyfriend have chosen a rocky road for yourselves, but then that's the lot of all brave pioneers. Throughout the ages, in every place, it has been people like you who have changed the world for the better.
It is not just a question of black and white. Think of Catholic and Protestant, Jew and Gentile, Serb and Croat...all the many other ways people have artificially divided themselves into "us" and "them" and then despised and hated the other group. The only thing that can break down such barriers is your tool, and also God's tool: LOVE.
Your tragedy has been immortalized by Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet. Right now, there is another couple you can draw inspiration from. He is Palestinian, she is Israeli. They are married, but neither of their governments recognize the marriage. They are continuously harassed and persecuted, but are standing firm.
But love goes beyond the relationship between man and woman. Do you know the story of why Gandhi was assassinated? This was in 1948, when a bitter civil war raged in India between Muslim and Hindu. Gandhi was addressing a crowd of 3000 Hindus. He asked, "Suppose your beloved little son has been killed by Muslims. What should you do?"
Calls for vengeance came from the crowd. "No," he said. "Find a little Muslim boy of the same age, both of whose parents have been killed by Hindus. Take him into your family, give him your love -- and raise him as a good Muslim."
For this, he was killed. And yet, he was right. That Israeli-Palestinian couple are right. Juliet and Romeo were right. You are right.
You can carry on the work of Love by being committed to each other and to your child, by indeed giving that new person a loving and stable home, by continuing to be good people.
It is possible that once you have your beautiful little baby, your family will soften and give their acceptance. A lot depends on what their background is, the social atmosphere and traditions where they live, the rigidity among their friends, business contacts and so on.
It is possible that some or all of your family will reject you, and cast you out for life. Or they may do so at the start, and then relent in time. Time can be a great healer. If and when some of them are open to discussion, you can pass on a few facts from me:
1) The genetic difference between black and white Americans is very small. You can choose a black person from Africa and a person from, say, Sweden, who look almost identical, except for the skin color. I have seen matched pairs of photographs in a text book on social psychology.
2) The genes governing skin color have no other role to play. They do not influence intelligence, personality or anything else. People are just people who vary in many different ways.
3) The main and almost only difference between black and white Americans is culture. That of black people involves a long history of being the victims of discrimination, exploitation and cruelty. All the negative aspects you so often see are the symptoms of victimization. Black people are then despised for suffering from these symptoms.
4) People of every group have both good and bad things. This includes your boyfriend's people and your parents. Both cultures have wonderful traditions, which have enriched American society.
5) Everyone, always, has choices. You are going to choose the BEST from both traditions, and reject the bad.
6) And there is always the message I started with. The way to improve the world is through love.
I'm very interested in how things turn out for you. Maybe, in a year or two, you might be able to send me an email and let me know (firstname.lastname@example.org).
This question was answered by Dr. Bob Rich. Dr. Rich has 30+ years of experience as a psychotherapist. Dr. Rich is also a writer and a "mudsmith". Bob is now retired from psychological practice, but still works with people as a counselor.For more information visit: http://anxietyanddepression-help.com