“Culture makes the world go round.”
In the earlier article, we touched upon Robert’s family. In this article, we will be zooming in on his daughter and cross-cultural kid (CCK), Terri Mairley. Mairley is an African-American woman who grew up in Littleton, Colorado.
- First Experience with Culture
Littleton is predominantly a white-cultured suburb, and Mairley grew up in a black household.
“I didn’t see a difference so much until junior high,” she expressed. “But I think if I would have grown up somewhere else, I would have been a completely different person, which is really interesting.”
- Impact of Culture in Her Personal Life
“I think it’s really important to embrace other cultures and learn about other cultures,” Mairley said. “How they perceive and do things as opposed to the way I’m used to it. Maybe even take some their beliefs and use them. Sometimes you can relate to those even more than the things you grew up with.”
Mairley puts those words into action by practicing and teaching yoga, which originally comes from Indian culture. It brings her inner peace and humility, which she also would like people to achieve hence helping them reach their yoga path.
- HER FAMILY
Mairley married twice, and both her husbands were of different races and cultures than herself. Thus, her children identified with several cultural backgrounds. She said this created “an interesting family dynamic” within her family.
- HER SONS
Her eldest son didn’t think his race was a polarizing issue until he started school when he realized that he “had to be black or white.”
“I remember once they kept asking him who picks you up from school? And my son said, “My mom,’” Mariley said. “They told him, ‘Well, all we see is the black lady that is in the white car.’ And he said, ‘That’s my mom.’ After that, it is as if they made it a thing and started saying, like, ‘Oh, did you know Austin’s black?’”
That is when Austin began to experience an identity crisis.
“He had to decide if he was going to be black or white, so he decided to be black,” Mariley said. “He decided to be black. Like, very black. Like straight outta Compton.”
Mariley began watching her other son to see what his experiences were being multiracial. She began to believe that these “lost-identity” crises come from the outside the house and not from within the family. Her sons became aware that some people tie a total human identity to one defining characteristic.
“I think, at the end of the day, we just have to lean to accept cultures,” Mariley said. “It’s not that one is bad and one is good. It is just what it is. There are great things about cultures.”