Barbara Delinsky Reading Group and Q&A discussion

Do you have hidden biases?

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message 1: by Barbara (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:34PM) (new)

Barbara (barbaradelinsky) | 33 comments Mod
Many readers have written me saying that "Family Tree" made them reexamine their own deepest feelings -- that, like Hugh, they've always thought of themselves as being progressive, but, after reading this book, wonder how they would feel if they suddenly gave birth to a baby that looked very different from them. Did the book make you think about this?

BTW, one of those readers was an African-American woman from Nashville who said that I told her story in reverse -- that when she was born with lighter skin than her siblings, her family was full of questions and doubts.

The readers who've written to me have covered, literally, every minority, nationality, race, creed. So please consider my question in the broadest sense. Did "Family Tree" make you think about hidden biases?

message 2: by Tara (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:36PM) (new)

Tara (tara_n) | 7 comments "Family Tree" made me think of my own hidden biases. I guess in some way, or with some issues, I am like Hugh. It's kind of surprising to examine your own ideas and beliefs and find out that you aren't as progressive as you thought you were. I found that I was also a bit disappointed with myself because of some of my biases. But, I look at all of it as a learning experience and something I can grow from. I learned something new about myself and can use that information to reevaluate where I stand with things and who I am, which will continue to allow me to develop and grow. I don't think hidden biases are necessarily bad, they can open doors to ideas that a person may not have thought of before.

message 3: by Vicki (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:37PM) (new)

Vicki | 4 comments Quite honestly, I do not think I would have a 'problem or doubts' with having a child that appeared non-Caucasian. My own parents were very open to all others and I haven't felt any thing different as I've matured. As the world has become more global, I'm appreciating the beauty in the differences that I haven't been exposed to before.
My husband on the other hand, has a narrower view than my own. He is tolerant but not as open. His parents have a very biased and narrow view of any non-caucasian.
I can see the generations evolving. I wonder how my children's generation will be. To me my children's generation have a good thing going. The inter-racial families are abundant. There seems to be much more acceptance now than what was when I was younger. People were a lot more hung-up on that then than now.

message 4: by Tara (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:41PM) (new)

Tara (tara_n) | 7 comments I think in terms of my own family, I differ from Hugh as far as hidden biases go. As an African-American, that race would be the dominant appearance of my children no matter if I married within my race or outside it. I was raised by parents who were very open to interracial relationships. My Uncle Don was the son of Polish immigrants and married my Aunt Marian and their children are biracial.

I can't really say how I would react if I had a child whose appearance was very different from that of my future husband and I (if say my spouse and I were the same race and our child was born with red hair and blue eyes), but that appearance could be the result of something in our genetic pasts; a generation long gone maybe. My great, great grandmother Julie (from what my grandfather and mom have told me) was "light enough to pass" and many people thought she was Caucasian: she had long light brown hair and gray-blue eyes and very pale skin. She married a very dark black man and had my great-grandmother; those traits could certainly resurface in my children.

Actually, I think I'd more shocked if my future husband and I were both African-American and we had a Caucasian child, than if my future husband was Caucasian and we had a Caucasian child, but no matter what that child is mine. I like what Vicki said about the generations evolving. I agree completely. It seems there are a lot more interracial teenage couples walking through the malls right now than when I was a teen and that was only 15 or so years ago.

message 5: by Gretchen (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:44PM) (new)

Gretchen | 8 comments It made me think of it and that yes, I have some biases. I've learned how accepting I am now that I have a child with severe handicaps. I love my boy immensely, but I also see how sometimes I look at him and see how I can make him look less "handicapped". But, it's mainly for acceptance sake. I really want my boy to be loved for who he is and I think making him fit into the mold of others will make that easier. SO, yes, I can see how I would be concerned or worried if this scenario happened in my family--but it wouldn't make me love the child any less!

message 6: by Barbara (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:44PM) (new)

Barbara (barbaradelinsky) | 33 comments Mod
Well spoken, Gretchen. You're an amazing mom!

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