I don’t think it’s any secret that Tia Mowry (and Tamera) are biracial. Whille it was a minute before we saw their parents, their mother, Darlene Mowry, is Black and their father, Timothy Mowry, is White. You might imagine that growing up in that household was a bit different than living in the household she does now. And it is. On her YouTube channel, Tia Mowry’s Quick Fix, she shared the racism her parents experienced when they were initially dating, the racism her mother experienced that her father didn’t, and how it’s different having a White father vs. a Black husband in terms of racial treatment.
See what Tia had to say about all of this below.
Her parents’ love story
My dad’s White and my mom is Black. They met in such the cutest way. They were both in high school. My mom is from Miami, Florida and my dad he was from Boston, Massachusetts but at a young age, he moved from Boston to Miami.
Growing up, my mom was on one side of the town and my dad was on the other and there was a railroad track that would separate the two towns. Now, my dad lived over in an area that was a little segregated, where there were predominately White people and my mom was on the side where there was predominately Black people. And my dad would always go over there on the other side.
They met like in 9th or 10th grade.
Because of the tension that sometimes comes along with dating outside of your race, my mom couldn’t handle it anymore. She decided to break up with my dad and to get away from it all, she enlisted herself into the Army and my dad found out. And he was like, ‘You are not going anywhere, I am in love with you.’ And he basically followed her into the Army. They were so young and they were madly in love and they are like, ‘We’re going to elope.’ And that’s what they did and they ended up having my sister and I at 21.
The race talk with her parents
Growing up, we never had the conversation of ‘Your dad’s White. Your mom’s Black’ until we as children started to experience racism outside of the home and that was the first time I remember being aware of my mom is Black, my dad is White. Because growing up in the house, we never thought about that. That’s my dad, that’s my mom, they love each other, we’re a family. That’s it. But when you get out into the real world, you get hit with reality and not everybody is nice.
I was actually called the n word—I was living in Texas at the time, I was in third grade. And I remember being called that and it was just really weird. And I knew that something was wrong because of the reaction I had gotten around me. I remember, I was near my locker and it was this boy—and I actually had a little bit of a crush on him. He was really cute. He was a White boy and he called me that. There were kids around us and the reaction, that’s when I knew, ‘Okay, this is wrong. This is not right.’ I went home and I discussed it with my mom and dad. That’s when I remember them sitting down and having the conversation with us and explain gin g to us about race and racism.
They were so full of love and they continued to instill in me that love is greater than all of that. And what was the most amazing advice was their actions. So, when they were telling me that love is greater than all of that and you see them together and they’re Black and White, that is the biggest advice that you can get is when you see it coming from actions and them being an example.
To be honest with you, I got over it rather quickly.
Where it was tough for me was in high school. You had the punk rock kids, you had the Hip Hop kids, you had the Valley girls and I could never find where I would fit in. I couldn’t fit in with the White kids and I couldn’t really fit in with the Black kids. Where I found myself fitting in was with the mixed kids. So that was rather interesting. Where I started to see more racism, really, was with my parents. I would see how people would react and respond to my dad and how people would respond to my mother.
Racism with her mom, her husband and preparing her son
Airplanes, when you get on an airplane, you’re separated by class. What I mean by that is finance. You’ve got first class and then you have economy. I would see that with my mom. We would be getting on the plane and people would automatically assume that she was in economy. And they would say, ‘Excuse my ma’am, are you in first class?’ And my mom would be like, ‘I’m here with my husband and my children. You didn’t ask my husband…’
I grew up with a White father, so my dad, I didn’t experience racism with him. But now I’m living in a household where my husband is Black. The racism that I experienced with him is mind blowing. I had to learn how to adapt to seeing my husband get questioned about buying something very expensive. My husband was walking into some sort of pharmacy and the security guard is questioning him, first it started with him eyeing him down and asking questions. It’s just weird because I didn’t grow up with that type of behavior with a male figure, living with my dad. But now, living with my husband I do see that.
The first time I had to have a conversation with my son about race, was when my husband and I were having a conversation about police brutality. My son was there, but we were just in our own little world. And my son goes, ‘Mommy, I’m afraid of the cops. I’m afraid of the police.’ And that was when I had to sit down and have a conversation with him about racism and how certain people of a certain race can be treated differently because the color of their skin. And then not only that, he was told that his skin color, the brown color, was not a pretty color. And he was told that at 5. He was at camp. We ended up having a conversation with the camp counselor and they talked to that kids’ parents and we ended up sorting it out.
But that’s when I had to sit down and have the conversation with my son. ‘You know we live in a world where not only people treated differently by the color of their skin, but their sexual preference, their socioeconomic status.
They always say that with men they’re attracted to women who look like their mom. And women are attracted to men that look like their dad. Growing up, I liked all kinds of guys. I had crushes on Black men, I had crushes on White men, I had crushes on Latinos. All races, really. I didn’t really date a lot. Cory’s the only guy I’ve ever dated and I ended up marrying him. My husband has a lot of my father’s qualities as a person. My dad is very patient. My dad is very kind, shy at times, quiet, very nurturing. He’s always wanting to make sure that you’re okay and that’s my husband. So I guess what I’m saying is, my husband’s not White but my husband is like my dad, when it comes to here, in the heart. And that’s what I’m attracted to.