Podcast Episode 176: On Interracial Marriage and Parenting – A Conversation with Poets and Actors Ingrid Alli and Hamilton Graziano

Welcome! To listen to today’s episode, scroll all the way down to the bottom of this post and hit the triangular “play” button. Enjoy the show!

When We Turned Out Okay turned 2 several months ago, I asked you all for ideas about what you wanted me to address on the show.
Listener Kerri said “I would like to know as a white person what I need to do to be sure my children are not contributing to the racism that is hurting so many.”

Today, I speak with married, interracial couple Ingrid Alli and Hamilton Graziano, in possibly one of the most moving conversations I’ve been able to bring you yet.

Ingrid and Hamilton are newlyweds, just starting out in their married life and, as yet, do not have children.

They want kids, though – and they come on the show today to share their thoughts on what it’s like to be part of an interracial couple, what it was like growing up for Ingrid, as an African-American, and their hopes about race in this modern world.

Notice: I did not say “hopes and fears about race”… Ingrid and Hamilton are curiously, delightfully fear-free. They know what’s at stake, they live every day in a divisive America, and they take the positive stance that love wins.

They’re performance poets, and I know you’ll love, as I did, their award-winning performance of their poem, “The Lovings,” about an interracial couple who fought nine long years for the right to marry in their state of Virginia.

Ingrid and Hamilton got their marriage license 50 years to the day, in Virginia, from when the Lovings got theirs. (Click the link below for the full show notes to this episode, where I’ve embedded YouTube video of Ingrid and Hamilton’s performance of this poem.)

Ingrid and Hamilton have also got great advice in response to Kerri’s question, and it’s the sort of answer that transcends today’s conversation about race. Their answer to Kerri’s question is also the answer to worries about parenting, feeling good inside ourselves, and alleviating that guilt that many of us carry around – vague, uncertain, but there nonetheless.

I hope you enjoy this episode. It won’t be the last one about race and parenting – Kerri’s is a two-part question and once the back-to-school mayhem settles down, we’ll return to this issue.

To read the advice Ingrid and Hamilton share about how to help make sure our children aren’t contributing to the racism that hurts so many, go to weturnedoutokay.com/176!

Hamilton and Ingrid’s first meeting was in a class, and one part of the class involved “eye-gazing,” where participants look – really look – into each other’s eyes, seeing and acknowledging the others in the class.

Hamilton describes how he and Ingrid could not look away from each other, he describes their mutual gaze as “a tractor beam.”
From their very first meeting, they felt a deep connection that had absolutely nothing to do with appearance, and everything to do with connection.

During the part of our conversation where we discuss Kerri’s question – “I would like to know as a white person what I need to do to be sure my children are not contributing to the racism that is hurting so many” – Ingrid shares about being the only black kid in a high school class where racism was being discussed, and the teacher and other students completely denied Ingrid her viewpoint. They could not see from any other vantage but their own.

Ingrid’s response to Kerri’s question is “put yourself in an environment that you’re not usually in.”
In other words, see things from others’ perspective, not just in a metaphorical sense but a real, true sense. And make sure to bring along your kids, who also need first-hand exposure to other cultural ways and mores, who need experiences outside their comfort zone so that they can develop empathy.

Hamilton’s advice on Kerri’s question resonated with me just as strongly: he tells that we all need to be “learning how to listen better.”

Growing up, my brothers and I use to label my dad’s lectures: “oh, this is lecture number 27, Always Change the Car’s Oil In A Timely Fashion.”

We heard them so often, and because in those moments of lecturing Dad wasn’t listening to us, they had far less impact on us than Dad hoped.

The best times were when he didn’t lecture us, but instead asked a question of us, and then really listened as we shared our perspective.

Luckily, the latter happened more often than the former!

We can ALL learn to listen better – to our kids, to the world around us, to each other. Certainly, I’m still working on this, and my teenagers now label my lectures, I’m sure : )

But listening back to today’s conversation, it reminds me anew of the power of listening.

Even better: this episodes reminds me anew about the power of getting outside my comfort zone while I listen.

Key Links:

Ingrid and Hamilton share a TON of links! Please let me know if I missed any, here are the ones I wrote down:

Click here for the HBO documentary The Lovings.

Ingrid and Hamilton are actors, and thus really knowledgeable about movies…
Click here for the movie Hidden Figures; here for Wonder Woman; here for Black Panther; and here for I Am Not Your Negro.

Click twinsoulpoets.com for Ingrid and Hamilton’s website.
Go here for their instagram, and here for their YouTube channel.

Are you worrying about the insanity of back-to-school time? Join WTOO’s Streamline Your Mornings challenge, where we’ll spend five days in early September making your mornings better! (9/3/17: Click Here for the Waitlist, so you’ll know immediately when I offer this challenge again.)

If you’re struggling with all of the difficult stuff that parenting brings, consider joining the community where I help parents with, well, all that stuff!
Click here to learn more about the Ninja Parenting Community.

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