MEET THE LAMBERT FAMILY
Rick, age 38
Irish, Scottish, and English
Valecia, age 25
African American and Native American
Lorenzo, age 2
Irish, Scottish, English, African American, and Native American
WHERE DO YOU LIVE?
HOW DID THE TWO OF YOU MEET?
We met through mutual friends in 2012.
WERE THERE ANY SIGNIFICANT OBSTACLES IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP CORRELATED TO YOUR BACKGROUNDS?
Are biggest obstacle was our age difference. We are 13 years apart in age, and in the beginning it was somewhat difficult because my wife’s family did not like it. Luckily, over time her family got to know me and accepted me into their family.
WHAT TRADITIONS DO YOU CELEBRATE IN YOUR HOME?
We have found that our cultures are mostly the same. We both grew up in a working class family with the same religious background.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CULTURAL FEATURE/TRADITION OF YOUR SPOUSE’S RACE?
Her family is very close and she talks to her parents everyday. Unlike myself, I speak to my parents maybe once a month, see them even less. But now I am just as close with her family as she is, and I often go to them for advise as if they were also my blood relatives.
IS THE COMMUNITY YOU LIVE IN DIVERSE?
Our neighborhood and community is very diverse. We see a lot of mixed race couples and children. Two of my wife’s closest friends have mixed race children as well.
DO YOU OR YOUR PARTNER SPEAK IN MORE THAN ONE LANGUAGE IN YOUR HOME?
We do not speak any other languages unfortunately.
ARE YOUR EXTENDED FAMILY SUPPORTIVE OF YOUR MULTIRACIAL RELATIONSHIP?
Both of our families have been very supportive of our marriage. We both come from blended families. I have a biracial little sister, and Valecia has an Irish step-father, and a biracial younger brother. Our families are very accepting and supportive.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR PARTNER’S ETHNIC-CULTURAL BACKGROUND?
My parent’s love hunting, church, and the simple country lifestyle. Valecia’s parents are very into sports and cooking, and fishing.
DID YOU FIND BIG DIFFERENCES IN THE WAY YOU GREW UP VS. YOUR SPOUSE DUE TO DIFFERENCES IN RACE?
We honestly don’t see much difference between our childhoods because of our race. Our only difference is that we grew up in different places, and she has a very close knit family.
ARE THERE ANY COMMENTS YOU ARE REALLY TIRED OF HEARING FROM PEOPLE IN REGARDS TO RACE/CULTURE?
We both get a lot of questions about our son’s race when the other isn’t around. But when we are out as a family, we get a lot of stares and whispers for mostly older people. But we also get a lot of compliments from younger people.
My wife has had a woman come up to her and asked if she was babysitting, and another situation where the flat out asked is our son was hers. I, on the other hand, have only received positive things from people about our son. People still ask about his race, but they always tell me how handsome he is. I have had a couple of situations though where people would assume that he is my grandson because of my age.
WHAT ACTIONS HAVE YOU TAKEN TO TEACH YOUR CHILD ABOUT EACH OF YOUR BACKGROUNDS?
We make sure to expose our son to both sides of our family, and try to introduce him to other cultures as well. We have friends with many different backgrounds and cultures that we enjoy learning from and would want to expose our son to.
HAS YOUR CHILD ASKED ABOUT RACE?
Lorenzo is still too young to understand that there is a difference between us and our family. He also has not started talking in complete sentences yet.
DOES YOUR SON IDENTIFY AS MIXED OR SOMETHING ELSE?
We like to say that Lorenzo is our little panda bear. We also usually refer to him as simply mixed.
HOW DO YOU RAISE YOUR CHILD TO HONOR DIVERSITY IN OTHERS?
We will try to lead by example. We both enjoy experiencing different cultures and feel that that gives us better understanding and respect for those cultures and people. So we want Lorenzo to see this and want to have the same understanding.
WHAT UNIQUE CHARACTERISTICS DOES YOUR CHILD HAVE FROM YOU AND YOUR PARTNER?
Lorenzo Looks a lot like his father, but he mostly has his mother’s personality. He also has his mother’s smile and eyes, but everything else about his appearance seems to come from me.
HOW DO YOU PLAN ON TEACHING YOUR SON TO BE PROUD OF BEING MIXED?
When Lorenzo gets older, we want him to be proud of all that he is, and understand that even though he may look different from other kids, he is still the same. Being mixed does not make him better than anyone else, but it also does not make him less either.
WHAT IS YOUR DREAM FOR YOUR CHILD’S FUTURE AND THE FUTURE OF AMERICA IN REGARDS TO RACE?
Our only dream for our son is that he grows up happy and respectful. We want him to follow his own dreams and paths, and also have compassion for others.