How My Interracial Marriage Changed the Way I See the World, And How I Parent

Bilingual and bicultural: the author’s husband and children pictured here ( Michelle Acker Perez )

“Mama, why did that man ask if Daddy was the gardener?” my almost four-year-old daughter asked from the back seat, equal parts curious and innocent.

I paused. Not because I didn't know the answer, but because I didn't know how to explain stereotypes, racism and classism to a preschooler. I glanced toward the rearview mirror to catch her deep brown eyes staring back at mine and uttered a half-truth: “I am not sure, mi’ja.”

We were visiting friends in Santa Barbara, California, for spring break. Lovely mission-style homes with nicely manicured lawns lined the neighbourhood where we were staying. Friends of ours had offered to let us use their home while they were away. As we were loading up the car on our last morning there, my husband carried our suitcases to the trunk and then two trash bags to the curb just as one of their neighbours walked by with his dog.

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