MEET THE SHUHERK FAMILY
Half Black American and half German
Genevieve 15 months
Genevieve is 1/2 German, 1/4 Swiss and 1/4 Black American
WHERE DO YOU LIVE?
HOW DID THE TWO OF YOU MEET?
Cassie was my manager at a bakery called Kickass Cupcakes when we met. I was instantly smitten. She had just gotten out of a bad relationship and sworn of women so I didn’t even come out to her till months after becoming friends. A few months after that we started dating.
WERE THERE ANY SIGNIFICANT OBSTACLES IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP CORRELATED TO YOUR BACKGROUNDS?
WHAT TRADITIONS DO YOU CELEBRATE IN YOUR HOME?
We love holidays and celebrate both German and American holidays which is what my parents did when I was growing up.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CULTURAL FEATURE/TRADITION OF YOUR SPOUSE’S RACE?
We have adopted the American way of celebrating Christmas.
IS THE COMMUNITY YOU LIVE IN DIVERSE?
Extremely. Probably 80% of my daughter’s friends have mixed backgrounds.
DO YOU OR YOUR PARTNER SPEAK IN MORE THAN ONE LANGUAGE IN YOUR HOME?
Yes we speak English, German, and ASL at home
ARE YOUR EXTENDED FAMILY SUPPORTIVE OF YOUR MULTIETHNIC RELATIONSHIP?
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR PARTNER’S ETHNIC-CULTURAL BACKGROUND?
The food, music, and large family gatherings. They are big on comfort food and 70’s and 80’s music.
WHAT IS THE MOST SURPRISING/UNEXPECTED THING YOU’VE LEARNED ABOUT EACH OTHER’S CULTURE?
Cassie lived on a farm in rural Indiana growing up, whereas I grew up as a city girl in Germany. I think for me it was shocking how much I enjoy being out in the middle of nowhere. It is so nice to sit in actual silence and go outside and see stars at night.
For Cassie I would say it was definitely everything about going to the beauty salon from how long it takes to get my hair done to the small community formed there.
ARE THERE ANY COMMENTS YOU ARE REALLY TIRED OF HEARING FROM PEOPLE IN REGARDS TO RACE/CULTURE?
Are you her nanny?
Daddy must be very light skinned.
WHAT ACTIONS HAVE YOU TAKEN TO TEACH YOUR CHILD/CHILDREN ABOUT EACH OF YOUR BACKGROUNDS?
Currently Genevieve is only 15 months old but because so much of the brain develops by age 3 we wanted to get started early. Right now we are teaching her both German and English as well as observing holidays from both cultures and eating food from both cultures.
HAVE YOUR CHILDREN ASKED ABOUT RACE?
Currently we are raising her to be trilingual (German, English, and ASL). We also travel a lot and I hope that those two things will give her a first hand experience in cultural diversity. It’s hard to say exactly what we will say in the future.
DO YOUR CHILD/CHILDREN IDENTIFY AS MIXED OR SOMETHING ELSE?
Both Genevieve and I identify as mixed.
HOW DO YOU RAISE YOUR CHILD/CHILDREN TO HONOR DIVERSITY IN OTHERS?
Genevieve is still young and so far has only noticed that we are different because she doesn’t have a dad. I always tell her every family is different and how cool is that because life would be boring otherwise.
WHAT UNIQUE CHARACTERISTICS DO YOUR CHILD/CHILDREN HAVE FROM YOU AND YOUR PARTNER?
She has my eyes and nose and she has Cassie’s sense of humor, IQ and sass
WHAT IS YOUR DREAM FOR YOUR CHILD/CHILDREN’S FUTURE AND THE FUTURE OF AMERICA IN REGARDS TO RACE?
I look around and see that so many of her friends are also mixed and it makes me so happy. When I was younger I didn’t know anyone that was more than one race besides my brother. I hope that America continues in the same direction as far as that. I also hope we come to a place where everyone is treated equally regardless of race.