Wife Wonders if She Should Give Future Kids Her Last Name Instead of Her 'Ethnic Sounding' Husband's

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Interracial couple
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Living life in an interracial relationship can (sadly) come with its challenges. Because of the prevalence of white supremacy, particularly in the US, when people of different races decide to date, they are faced with some harsh realities. This is especially true for the white partners in these relationships, because this likely becomes one of the first times they've ever had to think about things on a level this complicated. 

One white woman who is married to an Egyptian man is planning on starting a family but is facing a tough decision: Should she give any children her last name in order to give them an "easier time," or preserve their heritage and let them have their father's last name?

  • The woman began by explaining that she and her husband were in the very early stages of trying to start a family. 

    "I am in the process of trying for a baby with my husband who is wonderful and I adore," she wrote in a Reddit forum. "When I got married I did not take his last name, mostly because I just didn't feel it was necessary. I also assumed I would give our kids his name if he wanted it that way (which he does). But I've been thinking it over and now I am concerned."

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  • Her husband, who is of Egyptian descent but grew up in the US, has a very "ethnic sounding" last name. 

    "This name is very divisive and causes him LOADS of problems in life because of its association with terrorism, particularly during 9/11," she wrote. "My husband gets stopped all the time, mistreated by TSA, and has had several negative police interactions. He also has a darker complexion, so obviously it is not entirely name-based, but regardless of the reasons it sucks how he gets treated."

  • The woman went on to explain that she is "very" white and has a European sounding, "bland" last name. 

    "I have never had any of the issues listed above (racism is real)," she wrote. "And my husband gets treated better when I'm around (so effed up). But this all makes me wonder if my future child(ren) would be better off with a bland white name. I want to give my kid the best start in life that I can. I recognize that this child will still have a darker complexion than I do and still face racism and bigotry in their life, but I feel a responsibility to limit this bigotry and protect my child to the extent that I am able."

  • However, the future mom also worries that this could be the totally wrong call.

    "On the other hand I wonder if it [is] racist or bigoted to want to give my kid the 'white' name to shield them from the bigotry of my country. Would I be a better person to tell those racist institutions that I won't bend to their will by doing this?" she wrote.

    "My husband wants them to have his name but we haven't really dug into it further (just had one or two surface level convos). I will obviously be discussing with him much more (and I have no plans to go behind his back or anything crazy like that), but I'm wondering what the court of public opinion thinks of this whole idea."

  • This one had a majority of Redditors scratching their heads. 

    "It would be understandable for this to be a sad decision for both you and your husband," wrote one reader, who also offered a potential solution. "Is there any way you can compromise? His last name could be the middle name and your last name could be the last name?"

  • Others were less empathetic and thought she was doing more harm than good.

    "I want to be clear, this is not about the children having the mother's name," one user wrote. "Parents can give their children any name they deem appropriate. Your issue is your fear. You want to hide your children's heritage.

    "You think that you are shielding your child from racism, but you're actually showing your child that s/he should be embarrassed of her/his ancestry and heritage," the person continued. "As you said in your post, your child will be Egyptian no matter what. Don't hide your children's heritage. Embrace it. Derive strength from it."

  • The wife was thankful for the "critical" feedback, adding that she was hoping to get well-rounded perspectives.

    "I believe my husband is proud of his name, but he has frequently expressed to me how much easier things would be for him if he had a different name -- even if it were just a different Egyptian name," she responded.

    "To be clear, I have nothing against his name at all, I just see how he gets treated at every airport and how that stigma ruins his day and makes little things so much harder for him. I wish it weren't this way, I think it's horrible that he's mistreated for his heritage, but I see your critique of fear."

    This mom-to-be has some tough choices ahead of her.