Stella and Tim Parker – Colorado:  A Mother-in-Law’s Hunch

When Stella Parker ventured west to Denver, Colorado from her home in Indiana, all she had was a dream and determination to be successful.  Working hard at her job and completing her education, Stella hoped she would find a nice man and settle down.  It took some time, but Stella would meet her future husband Tim through the most unlikely of situations  —-  her mother-in-law.

After marriage, Stella has not only been a stay home – home-schooling mom, she also fulfilled a dream of launching Custom Credentialing Services Inc.  CCSI is a professional credentials verification company verifying credentials exclusively for clients offering employment or contract opportunities to licensed Physicians, Dentists and Allied Health Professionals.  Within the past two years, Stella Parker has gone global doing business with hospitals as far away as Dubai and Pakistan.  (Originally posted on Black Female Interracial Marriage in 2008).

stella-p-3

What is your husband’s ethnicity?

White American
 

How did you meet?

His mother, my wonderful mother-in-law introduced us in June 1992.  To date, I have not met any other black women married to white men whose mother introduced them.  Even if and when I meet her (them) that fact will still be rare which makes our meeting unique.

And how long had you known him when you got married?

Sixteen (16) months.

When were you married?

December 1993.
 

Was this your first interracial relationship?

This was my first serious interracial relationship.


How did you feel about interracial marriage and relationships before you were in one?

Before, I had always thought that interracial marriage was right for others, not necessarily right for me.  However, when my “white” mother-in-law introduced me to her son and after the initial shock wore off then I knew it was right for me.
 

Do you feel any different about interracial marriage and relationships now?

No because you should be with the one you LOVE.
 

Did you ever or do you now face skeptics and criticism from friends and/or family about your interracial marriage?

 People have voiced their opinions and yes, there will always be skeptics and critics.  Nonetheless, I am very secure in my marriage and I do not waste precious time discussing what skeptics and critics (be it family or friends) have to say because it is none of their business.  
 

Do you recall how you first informed your friends and family of your interracial relationship and subsequent marriage?

In truth, most of my family and friends already knew that he was white.  Many of my friends knew because we are members of the same church.  Further, when I told other family and friends that he is/was “white”, most comments were “so what.”

What about your husband’s family?  

In the beginning, the only people who knew that I was a black female were my husband’s parents and his brother.  I was his date for his daughter’s second wedding reception and my appearance shocked everyone.  He just introduced me and that was that.  My husband didn’t think it was a big deal.

Did you or he face any criticism from them?  If so, how was it handled?

About three months after we started dating, my stepson told me that initially, he was concerned; yet, when he saw how “happy” his father was, then he was happy also.

Have you ever felt pressure or experienced a significant difference between your non interracial and interracial relationships?

The significant difference was that twice I was set up for blind dates for two different black males.  Both indicated to me that they prefer white females.  One in particular stated to me that he prefers white females because they are prettier.  I just could not believe that he made his mouth utter those words to me especially while we were having dinner.  His demeanor was disrespectful and crude.  I was so thankful that I had driven myself to this restaurant and did not have to rely on someone like him to get me home safely.  

Do you feel that there are societal criticisms in America and pressures concerning interracial relationships from both the blacks and whites?

Yes.  When I was a teenager our neighbor was a wonderful mentor.  Once she told me when she was vacationing in England, she overheard a white female state that “everyone should stick with their own race.”  Her response was “there is only one race and that is the human race.”  I will never forget her wise words because she was right.  When I was growing up, it was rare to see a black female and a white male together.   Now, it is universal and WE are a sight for sore eyes.  There have been some black women that have tried to give me grief, but it never worked.
 

Do you think this is related to the history of slavery in America and the negative images still prevalent in our communities?

That may or may not be the case.  In contrast, from a biblical standpoint, “a man shall leave his mother and father and be joined unto his wife.”  What’s more, Race is not specified.  Negative images are still prevalent in our communities because of ignorance.  Please note no one is born with these negative images of race relations.  This kind of narrow-minded ignorance is ingrained.

Do you have children?

Yes, we have a 12 year-old son.
stella-and-tim-2

How does race figure into child rearing for you? 

It is an inevitable factor in our lives that must be addressed because of our society.

Does your son know about racism and has he experienced any?

He has experienced racism from other bi-racial children who are darker skinned as well as white children.  My son appears to be multiracial with straight black hair.  This has made him a target of Latino and white children.

What is your advice to him?

The advice that I give him is that people are always watching and waiting for him to make a mistake.  I always try to impress upon him that his actions should give people good things to say about him even though they may say negative things.  More importantly, I impress upon him that “no one can make you feel bad about you without your permission.”

Where do you live?

Thornton, (Metro/suburb of Denver) Colorado.

Do you think Colorado in general is a good place for interracial couples and families?

When there is a strong family unit, I think that any place is and can be good for interracial couples and their families.  There will be challenges to face and obstacles to overcome no matter where you may live.  As a loving and devoted couple, you can rise to any occasion no matter how difficult the circumstances.
 

Do you have any suggestions for black women just entering interracial relationships?

I once asked my mother-in-law before my husband and I were married “why me, and she simply stated why not you?”  When your relationship become serious, don’t just plan your wedding, plan your marriage because you will now have a shared sense of purpose.  I am not saying that all interracial relationships workout; but you must be united with the utmost respect for each other.  Keep an open mind and allow yourself the gift of happiness because life is too short.

Thank you!