Let's talk about offbeat couples of color #Site News#blogging#couples of color December 13 | Ariel Meadow Stallings offbeatariel As one commenter pointed out, we don't tag white couples. Original photo by Tim Simpson Photography, used by Creative Commons license. Back in 2008, I started a discussion about what I saw as a distinct lack of racial/cultural diversity among Offbeat Brides. As I said then: "I see a bazillion tattooed white women, but very very few black hippie brides, goth asian brides, steampunk latina brides, rockabilly native american brides, etc." Based on reader feedback that it was "hard to find any weddings of people of color," we started tagging posts that featured couples of color to make them easier to find. Tagging is how we make all sorts of things on the site easier to find: Kansas weddings, brides in glasses, grooms with long hair. We've got hundreds of tags. We wanted to make it easier for readers who were frustrated by the experience of feeling like they only saw white couples across wedding planning websites. What we heard from our readers was that when it came to wedding blogs, they felt under-represented and invisible. The goal with the tag is to counterbalance some of this invisibility. The issue was discussed extensively back in 2008, both on the blog and the Offbeat Bride Tribe, right down to readers weighing in on the wording choice for the tag. Recently, however, we gotten feedback from current readers that they find the tag misguided tokenism at best; racism at worst. Obviously, we take this feedback seriously. Offbeat Bride has a history of being sensitive to issues of labels and identity, and although the tag was original established to address a reader request, we're totally open to the fact that it may no longer be serving its intended purpose. If the majority of our current readers don't like it, we've got no attachment it. Tagging or not tagging won't change anything on our end: we'll keep featuring the same diverse range of weddings, which includes our ongoing editorial priority to seek out a wide range of ethnically and culturally diverse weddings. So, we're doing a poll: (poll now closed) UPDATE: POLL RESULTS So, the poll results make it clear that people want the "offbeat couples of color" tag to stick around. Even if you eliminate the people who didn't care, the results are still overwhelmingly in favor of the tag. None of the alternative tag titles resonated for us — some of the most common suggestions included multicultural and ethnic, which don't quite ring true. Others suggested breaking things down by specific ethnicities, which feels like over-engineering things (we're a wedding blog, not the census!) and opening a nightmarish can of worms in terms of cataloging/taxonomy. Based on comments, it feels clear that the issue is not the tag itself, but whether or not we as editors are applying it to people without their knowledge or consent. Everyone seems to agree: people can call themselves whatever they want, but it's inappropriate for Offbeat Bride editors to visually identify people as "of color." This in mind, we're committing to only applying the tag to wedding profiles where the submitter has either A) checked the "couples of color tag" when they submitted their wedding or B) mentions their race/ethnic background in their wedding story. In this way, we ensure that the tag is only applied to folks who identify. Related Post Offbeat Bride & Diversity I see a bazillion tattooed white women, but very very few Black hippie brides, goth Asian brides, steampunk Latina brides, rockabilly Native American brides, etc...where... Read more That said, we will not be going back retroactively and de-tagging existing posts, unless we are contacted by the couple in question… which has happened! I got a very sweet email from a bride who'd been tagged "couples of color," asking me to remove the tag from her wedding. "I'm very proud of my heritage," she explained. "But I'm not comfortable with the tag. I'm all for letting other folks self-identify that way, though." I respect that completely, and removed the tag from her wedding. All was well. Mostly, thanks so much to each of you for taking the time to weigh in on the subject and sharing so many thoughtful, well-stated perspectives. While there's no way to make every single one of our hundreds of thousands of readers happy (especially not with a complex issue like this), the discussion was hugely enlightening for me. Race is a sticky, difficult issue to discuss (especially online) and as always, I love that Offbeat Bride readers can talk about tough issues respectfully and intelligently. Thanks again, everyone! Reporter Name * Reporter Email * Original text Enter the original text here. Edited text* Enter your suggested copyedit here. Notes You can add a note for the editor here. * Required information. Fix Typo Ariel Meadow Stallings Author of Offbeat Bride: Creative Alternatives for Independent Brides, Ariel acts as the publisher of all the Offbeat Empire websites. She lives, loves, and dorks out hard in Seattle, WA. @offbeatariel @offbeatbride PREVIOUS Monday Montage: poofy pink dresses, babes in white and some silly storm troopers NEXT Fiona & Sean's 1950s strawberries 'n' cream wedding Toggle comments [ 138 ] As a person of color, I greatly appreciate being able to find posts that feature people like me. I'm not trying to be a bitch, but I wonder if the people complaining are people of color themselves? If they are, I'd actually love to hear their point of view. Otherwise, the reason I ask is because I don't think you truly can appreciate how difficult it is to find something as simple as a mixed race cake topper couple (it's easier with Etsy but it used to be impossible) or to see pictures of brides with natural, unstraightened hair(try googling brides with afros and enjoy the two pictures you get). The truth is, we seem weirdly underrepresented which is why things like "black" magazines are still relevant. It's impossible to find images of ourselves with fairie wings, with tats, with nappy hair or dog collars or tiny birdcage hats. I know it seems wrong to focus on race but the truth is, people of color (of lots of colors) are not terribly represented on the internet yet. It's getting better compared to just five years ago, but it's still slim pickings. I say keep the tags unless the people of color are doing the complaining. 128 agree Reply I agree with your assessment. 2 agree Reply Agreed. I think that there should have been a 2nd question on the poll: Do you consider yourself to be a person of color? 8 agree Reply Here's one example of the issue being brought up by a reader of color: http://offbeatbride.com/2010/11/fiji-wedding-porn/comment-page-1#comment-81360 1 agrees Reply I'm going to go ahead and agree with this response. Since the labels are opted-into by submitters, I think it's great to make under-represented attributes easier to find for people who are looking to find more folks that represent their particular community, if the submitters are comfortable with that. That being said, as a non-PoC bride (since you asked ), I don't think my opinion on this particular topic really is the point, nor should it be. The important thing is that whether the PoC tag stays or goes should reflect the desires of PoC brides. 11 agree Reply Well, the self-identification issue is where we're a bit inconsistent and there may be room for improvement. We've let brides self-identify as "couples of color" on their bride profiles for the last year or so, but we also apply the tag when one partner was visibly non-white OR they mentioned that race was an issue with their wedding planning. There are also instances with wedding porn posts where the couple doesn't have the opportunity to self-identify, when we have used the tag. In fact, there was a post when we didn't use the tag, and a commenter got irritated. I totally recognize that editors identifying couples as non-white is a sticky issue. I'm open to suggestions for how we can keep the tag useful (since it seems like the majority of readers appreciate it) while also keeping it respectful. Reply Perhaps adding a box to the submission process which says "I'm okay with Ariel and the gang adding tags they think are applicable to my wedding!" would clear this issue up. 29 agree Reply OOH! This is an excellent, EXCELLENT idea. Thank you! 6 agree I guess my issue is that while I look white, I have Native American blood in me, a trace of Asian, and a trace of African American. So what box would I check? I self identify with Southern American as my culture, but I've studied enough about various cultures to realize that just labeling a person by the pigment of their skin doesn't do justice to describing who they who- we're identifying based on one factor that we can't see and ignoring so many that we don't know about. 6 agree Reply I would love to see a multiracial brides tag for this purpose. My partner doesn't really identify as being a person of color, but she is definitely biracial (white/Asian). 2 agree yES i agree with this totally. totally!!!!!! and i am a person of color, non-american raised!!! great post Reply I'm a white woman who married a black man. I can not begin to tell anyone reading this how helpful that tag was to see couples like me and/or my husband get married. Non-white people are not nearly as represented in the wedding complex. 12 agree Reply As an offbeat lite afro-latina I completely agree! Although it may not seem pc, this would help me find brides like me faster. Planning an offbeat wedding is difficult enough especially when you're going against your cultural grain. This site is my only real support through the wedding planning craziness so finding brides like me would be a great help. I do not mind the tag at all and see if for what it is, a tool to find what I want faster. 5 agree Reply Is there a "bride with afro" tag? 4 agree Reply Wow, you really weren't kidding about the two pictures thing. That's super crappy. Reply Yeah, that was a big part of our impetus to get this tag archive going: http://offbeatbride.com/tag/natural-hair You'll find more than two afros in there! Reply As an offbeat-lite woman of color (hahaha, what a mouthful!), the tag really doesn't bother me at all. It can be reassuring to see other people who look like me doing really cool, interesting things for their committment/wedding ceremonies and receptions, and fully expressing themselves and their love. I see it as being analogous to marking some weddings as "lesbian" – it's gives you a way of finding them easily if you're interested in them, but it's not like they've been separated out from the rest. I doubt I would use the tag to find these weddings, but it's nice to know it's there if I wanted to. 38 agree Reply I remember someone at some point a while back saying "Why not say Ethnic Offbeat Weddings?" but more often than not ethnic pertains to your country of origin, and a lot of the time when you say "ethnic" weddings, people think you are taking cultures from the old country, which may not necessarily be true. I personally think the tag is fine. 9 agree Reply Ignore my cartoon avatar…I am a very mixed girl who looks "black" if you wanted to throw a label on me. Personally, I think the tag is fine. I like being able to sort down to brides that look like me. It is often that I have a hard time picking out accessories or dresses because with darker skin and natural hair, I know what it looks like on the average model, wont be how it looks on me (especially when it comes to hair accessories). So keep the tag, rename it if enough people ask, but all in all, it is nice to be able to search for a bride that might look more like me quickly. Thank you ^_^ 9 agree Reply Why does it have to be pointed out and seperated in it's own tag? Just show more diversity in your regular posts and problem solved…No one is left out or singled out. 8 agree Reply Diversity is a HUGE editorial priority for us, and all my editors actively seek out diversity in all our posts. Diverse content is almost always bubbled to the top of the editorial queue. 6 agree Reply They do better than many of the other wedding sites out there, problem is, they can only show what's submitted. It's easy to sit back and say "be more diverse," but I know these guys are likely busting their butts. 28 agree Reply i really don't see a reason to sort people according to how they look. are we gonna tag people according to weight & hair length also? why single out skin tone? now, maybe "ethnic" as far as regional traditions is concerned, but not on the actual person. 6 agree Reply Well, that's the thing–there *is* an option to tag yourself as a plus-sized bride or a short-haired bride. As long as the tags are being applied by the submitters, rather than the OBB staff, I don't really see an issue. 27 agree Reply See my comment up-thread about how we tag. This is an instance where, while we always tag when brides self-identify, we also tag sometimes based on observation or race being mentioned in the wedding profile. Reply This raises the rather uncomfortable question of whether you would tag a larger bride who did not self-identify as plus-size, based solely on observation? What about a gender-queer couple? Is it only the mixed-race couples who get the eyeball treatment? If so, is that necessary? I know that from an administrative standpoint, you've got to be able to whittle down the number of tags and unify the language of each tag to keep OBB searchable. If we had one big box where we could input all of our own tags for our weddings, you'd be seeing things like "Wiccan wedding" "Wiccan handfasting" "handfasting" "handsfasting" "wican wedding" and "wiccan_wedding," all of which would be read by the site as different tags, but all of which should probably be in the same category. So yes, the admins are forced to put some qualifying statements into the site just to make it searchable. That, unfortunately, sets up a necessary double standard–promoting every kind of offbeat wedding you can find AND categorizing them into different kinds of offbeat. What a headache! It seems to me that you could a) add a "Go ahead and add more tags" box to your submission profile, which I suggested above in response to the comment you posted (before I read this) or b) develop a list of static tags (anywhere between 20 and 50) and make submitters choose 5-10 of them. If you take the first suggestion, you could end up with some mixes reactions as folks get tags applied that they might not feel are appropriate for them. If you take the second suggestion, there are going to be some folks who feel like *none* of the 50 tags apply to them (these people are always going to be out there… "You don't have a tag for a Libra-Pisces wedding! I'm soooooo offended!"). It's possible neither of these suggestions are appropriate solutions… Just thought I'd add my two cents. Hang in there! 7 agree Reply Lots to chew over, but to answer your first question: "plus size" is so subjective, that we never apply it to anyone unless they apply it to themselves. This has caused some awkward moments where brides have self-identified as plus-size, and commenters have been like "Why is this curvy woman tagged as plus-size?!" Erm, because she identified herself that way. All relative! Race is a slippery slope of relativity too … but since the goal is about visibility, I've always opted toward visually identifying people in addition to letting everyone self-identify. I've had many brides who "look white" identify themselves as "of color" (light-skinned latina, mixed race, etc etc etc) but never had, say, an African American bride who was tagged "of color" write in and say "WTF WHY DID YOU TAG ME THAT WAY!?" 3 agree There's no reply-to option for your comment, Ariel–just wanted to let you know that I read it and appreciate your response. You answered my big question there ("How do most of the non-white brides feel about having tags applied to them?"). Yeah, comments can only thread so deep … at a certain point, WordPress gets confused. *Suppresses urge to comment on comment comment comment comment comment's comment.* 4 agree I think that race should, perhaps, be treated the same way as plus-size, which is to say leave it a matter of self-identification. Or, perhaps, there could be some communication with the bride who submits the wedding: "I noticed you didn't select the race or queer category. Do you mind if we put it on, to help other couples?"(I know, you guys are crazy busy, and I'm suggesting even more work. But maybe for an issue as sensitive as race, it's necessary and/or worthwhile?) 5 agree The purpose of tagging is so that readers can find weddings that they're interested in. If, for instance, you are a plus sized woman, who is looking for beautiful plus sized weddings, there is a tag that you can use. People tag themselves, so our brides are only identified how THEY want to be, no one is pushing any labels on them. It's not a way to single people out, it's a way for readers to feel less alone. Kind of an "OMG there ARE people out there like me!" "Look Mom, my wedding won't be ruined because I'm not a size two!""See I CAN have a pixie cut and still be a sexy bride!" 25 agree Reply There actually are tags for hair length or style, glasses, particular dress colours that are popular, and a whole lot more. Trust me. I've combed through to find specific tag/category links for the Show Us threads on the OBT. Like Ang said, it's about being able to see yourself in the pictures or experiences. I like being able to find rockabilly brides in red dresses so I can look and say, "Yes, that totally works for me!" The comment about seeing how certain colours or styles work on body types or skin tones is right on. Sometimes you just want pictures and other blogs or wedding dress sites aren't helping. 3 agree Reply As an African-American, same-sex coupled bride (and a few other random categories included in there), I appreciate the tag line and the category. I don't understand how the act of tagging is offensive and I fail to see how the category name is offensive. 24 agree Reply Speaking as a white person, I don't feel equipped to have a legitimate opinion on this issue. I wouldn't mind my wedding being tagged as a "Pagan wedding," but I also don't have the cultural experience of being oppressed based on that identification, so I don't think it applies in the same way. :/ This is a *really* sensitive and thorny topic for a lot of folks, so kudos to you, Ariel and the OBB crew, for being so willing to confront it and listen to those of us who do feel strongly. 16 agree Reply I think the concept of allowing people to easily find pictures and inspiration in other wedding pictures, but yes, the idea of labeling someone as "of color" can be tricky territory. I don't mean this as an attacking criticism (I love OBB and the amazing job it is doing!), but simply to highlight that issues of race are always going to be complex and require thoughtful consideration. For example, how does OBB decide to tag a couple as "of color"; is it based on the couple's self-identification? or based on how they appear to OBB staff? Must both partners be non-white, or just one? Is this an issue of just that, color? As a very light skinned mixed-race girl, I identify as "non-white", but at face value, I definitely don't appear to be "of color"! However, with a mixed family and siblings of every shade from ivory to deep sienna, I'm eager to see pictures of other Latin brides and their weddings; what they did with their hair, what dresses/outfits most flatter their curves, etc… I don't think this is really ever a conversation that can be neatly packaged, but I always appreciate that OBB isn't afraid to address a myriad of issues openly. 6 agree Reply This! I'm also a very light skinned mixed-race Latina, and I don't ever know if I should classify myself as "of color" because I identify most strongly with my dad's Hispanic family but look most like my mom and her German family. Same for my FH. He's also mixed race, although less Hispanic than I am, but has the added confusion of being raised in a Hindu home. Are we a couple of color? Where do we fall in? I think it's a convenient tag, just like the rest of the convenient tags. I don't think it's offensive, but I am rarely offended. 1 agrees Reply I'd say it is pretty much up to you. Ariel said that she and the staff tag based on obvious appearance of one or both of the couple, or if issues of race came up in the profile. So if you feel like tagging yourself that way, do it. If not, then don't. It's not like you have to tag yourself a certain way. 1 agrees Reply As a Filipina married to a Mexican, I really appreciated having a quick, go-to label while researching weddings on offbeat bride (as well as the offbeat-lite option)! 3 agree Reply At least for me there's the added "use" of this site, in that I have sent friends and fam who don't quite get "the offbeat 'thing'" from my description alone. Not that we need to justify our choices, and frankly I am OBL too, but you really can't overlook the power of showing someone outside of OBB examples of couple who look like their own fam. 2 agree Reply Personally I prefer the label ethnic, but that's partially because I realize that ethnic minorities extends far beyond racialized lines. It would be nice on occasion to see weddings tagged by ethnicity, just because it can be hard to find information about having a bilingual wedding or weddings of certain ethnicities. As someone who is marrying a man of a "non-visual minority", I can find it hard to get information even from offbeat bride since we technically fall under the white couple tag Really though, "white" couples don't need the tag…we dominate the majority of wedding industrial complex marketing, its easy to find information and resources for the average "white couple". I would honestly love a bilingual tag though if bilingual weddings get represented on Offbeat Bride. Finding resources and support for my bilingual wedding has actually been quite hard (although as always the ladies on Tribe are awesome) 5 agree Reply My husband and I planned a bilingual wedding too, however I didn't even bother looking for online resources. Catalan just isn't well-known enough! But while I think we did an awesome job in the end, I would have loved to have been able to search for bilingual ideas. Reply We've featured several bilingual weddings! Reply Score. Now I know what I'll be reading for the next hour. I think context really matters, as this is one of the few sites I'd actually be ok with tagging me as latina (not as if my last name wouldn't tip people off) if it would be helpful to others. However, I think self-identification is usually the right way to go to avoid the guessing (and corresponding mis-identification) that could otherwise result. Reply Ariel, maybe it would be useful to clarify which tags you/the editors apply if they fit (e.g., "circus" – less charged and more simply descriptive terms) and which tags are only applied if the submitters specifically apply them (I believe that "plus-sized" is only applied if the submitter uses it? Is that still true?). That might clear up some confusion about how decisions are made. On a blog that was less committed to this type of conversation, or if I thought that the labels were being applied randomly or in a "tokenizing" way – I would feel differently. But since it's THIS blog, I have no problem with it. That being said – I'm a white Caucasian bride-to-be, and my partner is Latina/Cuban. Having an "of color" tag *is* helpful for us, for the reasons stated above – it's nice to have a quick way to find related posts without having to sort through everything. Reply This issue of self-identification is clearly the biggie. See my comment up-thread: http://offbeatbride.com/2010/12/offbeat-couples-of-color/comment-page-1#comment-83998 Reply I think the tag is more about bringing us together than separating us. It allows us to be a part of one community that celebrates the love between people choosing to spend their lives together, while still allowing us to see specific weddings that cater to our own cultures. Although I donâ€™t personally like to focus on race or ethnicity, it does play a part in the choices I make in my life and in my wedding. Culturally there is certain music I listen to, foods I eat and traditions I uphold. Itâ€™s nice to be able to see that without having to go to a community who only caters to a particular kind of wedding. Should my friend have to go to an Asian wedding blog to find other couples who are holding similar ceremonies and I go to a multi-racial blog to see how couples have blended cultures. Can we not visit the same site and get it all. And find it easy too. Maybe the tag â€œColorâ€ is just too broad. Perhaps the tags based on race or ethnicity should only apply if it was present in the celebrations. Such as â€˜Hindu Ceremony.â€™ I have seen weddings tagged this way. I also find it very interesting that people are asking why you donâ€™t tag white couples as so. Iâ€™m curious why they feel they need the tag when 90% of the weddings are white couples. Just as many of the weddings are heterosexual couples and there isnâ€™t really a need to tag them as so. 9 agree Reply There are a whole lot of tags and while having lots can be helpful, having broad tags can also be helpful. That way someone could pull up "colour" weddings and then limit to "Hindu" but wouldn't have to. It all depends on what you're hunting. Are you looking for appearance, ceremony traditions, etc. Reply Here is html question,from a non-savy html person: can you have a tag within a tag and have BOTH words show up within a search? say you have the tags "bride of color" and "native american" and instead of using them separtly put them together as "bride of color-native american" and when someone searches both terms come up. Maybe this would let the individual self id AND allow for broad term to help id differernt races and cultural groups? 1 agrees Reply This probably wouldn't work unless OBB's chosen blogging platform supports nested tags (most don't, as far as I know). Reply Yeah, this isn't something WordPress does. Nested categories: sure. Nested tags: nope. Reply I dig it. Frankly I'm still annoyed how little representation I see in bridal mags (sometimes the only brown models are used for the budget line of dresses… uh, what now?). So ANY way to see more representation is a good thing for me. It's a move toward inclusiveness as much as LGBT or OffBeatLite or what have you. I don't mind you call it (POC doesn't bother me) as long as the functionality, options are there. 5 agree Reply I am an offbeat bride of colour all the way from South Africa which up until 15 years ago was still in the throngs of apartheid and I have zero issues with the tag. It doesnt bother me just like the plus size tag doesnt bother me which I also happen to identify with. I think its awesome to be able to click on the plus size bride tag and see women my size looking amazing on their wedding day. Its hard to find it anywhere else. And for me the same goes for brides of colour. At the end of the day its all about the context. If for example the tag was used to mock and or insult I would be the first in line to demand its removal.But here at OBB thats not how things work. I have always found the posts respectful,insightful and beautiful to the point where all I'm seeing is a happy couple having a wedding that is a perfect reflection of them. I dont believe that any of the tags used are meant in any kind of derogatory way. So in closing I say keep it *End Rant* 31 agree Reply I have read all the comments on this, and yours resonates the most with me, CrazyShi! Thanks for addressing this issue, Ariel and OBB! Reply It would be nice to live in a world without labels, but the truth is, we don't. If I understand correctly, OBB uses self labeling? The submitter chooses what labels will appear on the profile? I see no harm in this, if a bride considers herself a bride of color, then it can hardly be racism. I can see how some brides (and grooms) would want to opt out of being labeled, but I have to admit, I love the tags. I love bouncing around from plus-sized weddings to goth weddings to blue wedding dresses to weddings of color ect. It's a useful tool. 5 agree Reply Yes, we all like to think we are past labels, but we're not. We all label people, places and things to make them fit into our worldview. Black, white, conservative, liberal, gay, straight, urban, suburban. I know when I meet people they have a hard time categorizing me. I get asked by strangers while waiting for the L if I am mixed or Hispanic or what my ethnicity is all the time. People talk to me in spanish a lot because they assume I am Hispanic. One of my bridesmaids told me when she first met me she was excited to see another Puerto Rican working in the office (I'm not Puerto Rican at all). The fact is that I am a light skinned black woman from Northwest Indiana who lives in an ethnically diverse neighborhood in Chicago. I've just labeled myself. But people use labels all. the. time. regardless of whether or not you are using them yourself. And when we don't fit into a preconceived label, people don't know how to process it (or come up to you on the L platform and ask!). Reply This is a reason to stick with self-identifying. My entire family is white (I practically glow in the dark) but some of us have been mistaken for other races- my grandmother was thought to be black in elementary school, my mother was told over and over she "really should register as Native American, there are a lot of benefits you're entitled to" and my sister, with the same tanning but straight hair, is assumed to be Latina by the end of summer. That was a really long way to say, I think its good to be able to find couples of color, but we should really make sure the couple applies their own label, rather than being labeled by OBB. Reply As a teacher in London, UK, i work with diverse group of people. Much like offbeat bride. Some people consider that you are racist if you 'see colour'. I completely disagree. Different ethnicities, cultures, religions, beliefs, sexualities and lifestyles are something we should celebrate, not hide. We should be proud that we are all different. However, tagging lifestyle choices and religions is quite different to tagging someone by the colour of their skin. Perhaps your tagging system needs to be as diverse and flexible as the brides on here? 'Of colour' really means nothing. 3 agree Reply "Different ethnicities, cultures, religions, beliefs, sexualities and lifestyles are something we should celebrate, not hide. We should be proud that we are all different." YES! Although I disagree that skin color is irrelevant. I'm white, so it's easy for me to find photos of brides with the same skin tone and hair texture as me. But if I weren't, I'd certainly appreciate racial tags as a feature on OBB. They don't even necessarily have to be racial, but perhaps general skin tone tags (because not everyone identifies with the race they appear to be outwardly). Reply As a white woman, I can enjoy the privilege of finding lots of stuff aimed at people "like" me- be it wedding related or not. Media speaks to me. I don't feel I can speak for a woman/person of color as to how I'd like things about people of color to be categorized. As a white person, I don't think it's my place to say. But it seems to me that if tagging makes it easier to find, it's a way of leveling the playing field, so to speak, so that people of color don't have to feel marginalized and left out once again. 7 agree Reply The individual who submits does the tags themselves, right? At least for something like this? Reply See my comment up-thread addressing this issue: http://offbeatbride.com/2010/12/offbeat-couples-of-color/comment-page-1#comment-83998 Reply I think the tag is a little odd because what exactly counts as "colour" ? Like you mentioned Native American as an example-I'm part native, part irish, part dark German…. does that make me 'of colour'? Do you have to be full blooded? Or at least Half? And of what? It's kind of like on any paper work that ask for race or ethnicity, I always list what I am under other. I don't like the tag. I can see a point in it, I guess. But it seems pretty close to having a tag for … redhead brides, ya know? Maybe red heads would like to be able to search for brides who look like them….. but it seems a like a nit-picky detail. Reply We do have a tag for red-haired brides: http://offbeatbride.com/tag/red-haired-bride 4 agree Reply The only one who could or would decide if you are "of color" would be you. You get to choose how or if you want a lable/tag at all. As far as redheads, there is an option to lable yourself as other and fill in the blank. So it's all up to you. If you find it annoying or unnecessary then don't do it. That simple. 2 agree Reply I feel like removing the tag is a slight to the brides who have chosen to tag their wedding celebration in this way. It was clearly important to the couple to highlight their race/ethnicity through the tags while submitting their wedding, so why take that option away? If the submitter finds it positive and useful to include, they will do so. Those couples who find it uncomfortable or pointless will choose not to do so. I find it endlessly helpful to be able to filter posts to see how other people have chosen to incorporate their identities into their weddings. It just seems that removing this tag is just an annoying hurtle for brides who are seeking weddings that look different from what they see in bridal magazines and on other mainstream bridal websites. I know that a lot of people are uncomfortable with discussions or separations of race. However, the intent of this site is to celebrate the ways that we ARE different from the mainstream. I feel like each tag is a checkmark in the category of "this wedding celebrates the people in it, not the meta-wedding-dream." 19 agree Reply totally agree! 1 agrees Reply I agree. Also, I often feel that people who are uncomfortable with "labels" are people who are in positions of cultural power and therefore do not have to contend with being constantly labeled by others. I think finding ways to ensure that the tags are opted into by the brides/couples themselves is a great idea, but I do genuinely wonder who most of the people raising questions about these policies are. 6 agree Reply I think it's worth noting that the color of your skin and the culture you're from can be two very different things, and especially for the people here on OBB, might require two different sets of tags. One person might be looking to see how someone with dark skin chose a wedding dress color that looked good on them or did their hair, while another might be looking for fellow dark-skinned brides to see how their African American family handled their steampunk and legos wedding from a cultural perspective. 3 agree Reply i am brown skinned, my fiance is white skinned. i am trinidadian, he is mid-west american. i have lots of tattoos, he has no tattoos. i always feel good whenever i see on any site, frankly, a couple of color, or a couple of different colors and cultures 2 agree Reply I'm white as a sheet but being that I'm latin a I guess I could be considered a woman of color. I don't think women or couples of color should be tagged truth is we come in all varieties not just dark, tan, chocolate we can be ivory too. 4 agree Reply That is part of why people can self-tag. If you want to identify as being "of color" then you can. Ariel just said that they tend to tag couples who obviously are of colour or who dealt with race issues, but they don't remove the tag from people who self-identify that way. Personally, I see it as a great way to get a reminder about diversity. 1 agrees Reply I'm a black girl and my man is a white dude. If you choose to group my pictures according to that as well as my blue dress, DIY veil, card monster, etc. Feel free. It does not make me feel like an "odd ball" in the slightest. Tagging helps to group together things of interest seeing a tag for "couples of color" is A-OKAY with me. 6 agree Reply So if a bride tags herself as "of color" and you look at her and she "looks" white, you can just skip to the next bride tagged as "of color" until you find the look you are going for, right? 1 agrees Reply Honestly, this sounds like a darned if you do, darned if you don't kind of quandary. If you put the tags up due to reader request, I really don't see a problem. I may be a white girl in a heteronormative marriage, but I like being able to search weddings by different criteria. Perhaps the best thing to do is add a section on the application to be featured that includes tags (pre-made OBB tags) to choose from. Leaves the issue of identification up to the submitter, but by using pre-made up tags, it'll make it easier from an administrative standpoint. 2 agree Reply I'm a proud Latina, and the tag isn't remotely offensive to me. As other commenters have said, it's nice to be able to click a tag and get fashion/hair/makeup inspiration from women who share my color, shape, and bone structure. 1 agrees Reply I think some people just look for ways to be offended. There are offensive ways to title these tags and this isn't it. 7 agree Reply it seems to me that by obsessing about stuff like this, people are just perpetuating racism. you know what we're going to think and say about race issues and skin color and such when we've ironed this all out? nothing. we're never going to mention it; we're never going to think of it; it's going to literally be a non-issue. we'll be thinking and talking about *people*, instead of dividing them up into groups in our heads, alienating them from one another, categorizing them, thinking in terms of us-and-them. that's the goal: to think of people as people, instead of thinking of them as this color of person and that color of person. they say that if you want something, you should visualize already having it. imagine how it will feel, how you'll think and speak about it once it's yours. and that when you can visualize that, you'll start acting as if you have it, and that mindset and behavior will draw it to you in turn. i wish we could stop being so damn politically correct and just think homogeneously; get down to the business of being *people*, and make all these perceived divisions we cling to disappear. just my (admittedly kinda rant-y) two cents. pax… 4 agree Reply "we'll be thinking and talking about *people*, instead of dividing them up into groups in our heads, alienating them from one another, categorizing them, thinking in terms of us-and-them." That's exactly the reason to get rid of the tags. It sounds like the opposite of perpetuating racism to me. Reply As a bride of color, I find the tag of African-American, "of color", and ethnic very helpful. I want to see what different makeup looks look like on women of my complexion. I want to see how different colors match and enhance my natural beauty. I want to see hairstyles that work for my hair texture. I want to see how other brides have incorporated important African-American cultures and customs within their weddings. For instance, "Jumping the Broom" is an African American tradition. I would LOVEEEE to see what some of the Offbeat brides of color might do with their brooms. This is not something you might encounter in weddings from different cultures. It's not about separation. It's about celebrating who we are in the context of an entire online community. Reply "i wish we could stop being so damn politically correct and just think homogeneously; get down to the business of being *people*, and make all these perceived divisions we cling to disappear." I agree with you to an extent, but here's the thing- we ARE different. What looks great on a plus-sized tattooed hottie will not look good on my short, small-chested plain-Jane frame. While your comment makes sense in a lot of contexts, I don't quite think it applies here, if someone is looking for ideas. I'd love to see what other short, small-chested plain-Janes have done (are there tags for that? :)). I love checking out the goth weddings, the steampunk weddings, the same-sex weddings, and this site does a great job of treating everyone as AWESOME and CREATIVE regardless of "grouping." But if you're looking for something that represents YOU-well, tags are handy. We're all people, but we do come in different shapes and sizes and colors and clothes. If we come here looking for ideas and support, why not make it easy for people to find what they're looking for? 8 agree Reply But say that to someone who is systematically oppressed due to their skin color… race may be a sociological construct, but it is *real* in our society. 3 agree Reply I think that as long as the tag/label is self-identified, or if the people featured have given their permission to be tagged as whatever they're being tagged as, it's fine. Labels usually aren't a problem when you're picking them yourself. I see like this: We either have tags for things like plus-size brides, or brides with glasses or short hair, or people of color, or colorful wedding dresses or whatever so it's easily sortable, or we have to look through thousands and thousands of posts before we can find ideas for a style of dress that will look good on our non size 2 body or prove to our grandma that we can wear glasses at the altar and be pretty, or find inspiration for a way to honor our mixed race background as a couple. There's nothing inherently offensive about the term "people of color" or "plus-size" or any of the other tags, it's the connotations that each individual brings to the words that make the terms seem offensive to that individual. And if people are given the ability to self-identify, as they are here, than getting upset about the tags is a little bit futile, since the couple or person has stuck the label on their own selves. 4 agree Reply Would it be possible to have a gizmo that allowed submitters to tag themselves? A question on the submission form along the lines of "We are an offbeat couple of color and we would like our wedding to be featured with this tag, so other offbeat couples of color can find it. YES/NO" Then those who click "yes" get the tag, and those who click "no" do not, at their behest? The same could be done for a plus size couple. 1 agrees Reply Oh, it seems like you do that already, or some form of it. I haven't actually seen the submission form because I haven't submitted yet! FWIW I think "of color" is a better tag than "ethnic" or "multicultural" or any of the other options. As someone who is not a woman of color, but hails from a long line of Old Country traditions on both sides (Armenian on one, Polish on the other), the other options are somewhat confusing while "of color" is clear while still being respectful. 3 agree Reply I agree with Channamasala: neither 'ethnic' nor 'multicultural' would be useful tags. On a website that showcases so many incredibly different weddings, and so many different traditions, I don't think that either tag would really help a person who was searching for something specific, whether that is a particular look or a particular tradition. Using 'multicultural' this way also bothers me on another level; it's a useful term for describing a society, or an event, but I'm not comfortable with using it as a label for individuals. It seems like a 'multicultural' tag would either imply a wedding in which two or more cultures mixed in some way (not necessarily the case), or imply that people of colour are somehow 'multicultural' while white people are … not? I am white and can't speak for how people of colour feel about 'multicultural' as a way to self-identify, but to me there's something very wrong with it. 3 agree Reply Well I think both ethnic AND multicultural would be useful tags – but not for this. Ethnic wedding: did you have one of those Norwegian cookie towers? Did you dance folk dances? Did you wear culturally traditional garb? Multicultural: Did you wear culturally traditional garb of two different cultures (kilt marries sari)? Did you dance the hora and then a jig? Did you have a Norwegian cookie tower AND Spanish paella? I think these could be incredibly useful tags. I know this blog has had some truly beautiful and inspiring multicultural weddings, but I don't have the first clue on how to go find them 2 agree Reply "Kilt marries sari" Hahahahahaha, this sounds like my wedding! Irish dancer chick marrying Catholic Indian boy who grew up in Dubai. I'm wearing mehendi with my white dress down the aisle and probably will wear a sari to the rehearsal dinner. Maybe we'll even manage a ceili at the reception, who knows! Oh, totally true! It's just using those words to describe individuals that gets to me. I would assume multi-cultural means many cultures combined. I am multi-cultural by blood and I am in an interracial relationship. So yes, it is interesting to see how people combine and represent their cultures into their wedding ceremonies. It helps me to search when I need ideas of how to connect things. Reply I think the concept is fine — like a commenter above said, sometimes readers just want to see what a certain skin tone looks like in a certain color dress, etc. But the "of color" phrase is a bit odd to me. It lumps together ALL who are not white/Caucasian. Perhaps you could get more specific? Caucasian origin, African origin, Indian subcontinent origin… I know that's really clunky, but it's clearer and easier than trying to tag a gradient of skin tones. 1 agrees Reply The potential problem I see with this tagging idea is biracials will stare at the tags and think, "What should I tag? Should I tag anything?" I consider my South Asian roots to be as important as my more Teutonic origins, so I'd be hemming and hawing over this for a good while. While I could just not give it a tag, I have no problem with tagging myself as a biracial bride and would hate to choose. I did it elementary school on a standardized test form (before they started even putting "other" as an option), and I still remember that because I hated having to pick just one. I'd…rather not encounter that here. 2 agree Reply Could you choose more than one? School forms usually only let you pick one, but if someone is, say, Irish and Chinese, could they pick "European bride" and "Asian bride" if those are options? Or something along those lines? Reply Funny thing about school forms is that "mixed race" starting appearing on the SAT's back in 2000 (the earliest I can remember), so I started choosing that. If I see it on a survey or something, that's what I normally choose. As for "European bride" and "Asian bride", I can see some confusion arising from those tags. The wording would have to be tweaked so they don't get confused with the location tags. You never know when someone might click the "European bride" tag looking for weddings in Europe and end up seeing a European descent bride getting married in Brazil (although it could end up being a happy accident). And then there's the messy, messy business of saying "Asian" to encompass a massive continent and cultural backgrounds that vastly differ from one another. Reply I'm interested to see if the people complaining about the tag are people of color themselves. Who complains about a tag that lets you identify yourself and others without having to shuffle through irrelevant tons of posts? I like that OBB uses that tag to identify the non-pink peoples. I also like that it doesn't sub-divide PoC into the smaller ethnic groups. If people are really offended by the PoC tag, let them visit the Knot where the minority-specific features and forums are broken down by specific ethnicities. 2 agree Reply But again, why not tag white people as white then? Only labeling "people of color" as such is making us The Other on a site that is supposed to make us feel LESS like The Other than The Knot (and the WIC in general). 6 agree Reply The point of tags is to be able to find what you're looking for. It's not hard to find weddings on this site, so we don't tag each post as "wedding." You don't have to look past the first page to find white people, so we don't tag "white people." When the site gets to the point where that isn't the case, making a "white people" tag would make way more sense. Also – one of the things I like about this site isn't that it makes me feel less like The Other. I like that it makes me feel that "The Other" is a really fun type of person to be. That I can find Others and have a good time with them too. That I can share my particular Otherness with people who might find it strange at first, but most of them will love me and have a good time at my big party anyway. 3 agree Reply I am all for self-identifying, and for submitters choosing what categories or descriptors best fit their wedding. I have no issue with the tag, but I think that we should expand the options. Perhaps a list of 20-50 pre-generated options that a submitter can choose 5-10 of. Among them can of course be "couples of colour", but I also think that there is a place to classify by nationality or ethnicity as the individual sees fit. For instance someone may be of a very pale skin colour but self-identifies as African. Or someone may have a dark complexion and self-identifies as Irish. I don't think that "Couples of Colour" accurately describes what these couples are, and that there needs to be more range within that to identify as they see appropriate. We are all "offbeat" in some way or another that makes us a unique couple (or triangle in some cases!) and while I understand that OBB can't accommodate every single varying degree of eccentricity, there has to be a way to make it more encompassing. 1 agrees Reply I feel like label or not, "couples of color" is missing the point. I am half Indian and half Scottish/Welsh/English/German, and my boyfriend is Jewish with family hailing from Lithuania, Belarus and Austria. I'd say that's pretty diverse, but looking at us you'd probably think to yourself "white couple." If two people of different colors marry, it doesn't automatically make it "diverse," and that shouldn't be the focus. The focus should be on the fact that two lives, however different or similar, have come together in whatever unique way they choose. That said, if a couple wants to label themselves as a "couple of color" or an "ethnic couple," far be it from me to deny them that. But I don't think I would feel connected to another half-Indian bride any more than I would be connected to a bride with whom I share no ethnic or cultural background. I'd feel connected to a bride whose wedding ideas I share, and that can come from anyone. 2 agree Reply how about a tag for handicapped? i know that when i was looking for ideas on how to incorperate my husbands wheelchair without making it "the elephant in the room" it was hard to find couples anything like us. there was one that i saw with the girl in the wheelchair. (freakin awesome wedding)its possible that there just arnt enough weddings like ours to tag but its an idea. Reply We have a disability tag, which includes several weddings with wheelchairs: http://offbeatbride.com/tag/disability (Using "disability" instead of "disabled" or "handicapped" avoids labeling people.) 1 agrees Reply yay! i guess i should have asked earlier huh? lol. thanks ariel! Reply i definately like the idea of the self tag. that way noone gets to be upset about something they tagged themselves Reply I'm a latina that also happens to look "white" – I personally don't have an issue with the tag but perhaps might tweak it if need be. I personally look for other tags that relate to me and my culture. It seems (just my insight) most folks on OBT are also more open or come from a wide diverse background and don't quite fit the mold in the regular cookie cutter white wedding that you see in mainstream mags. Like someone else said we can come in all shades: Vanilla, Peach, caramel and chocolate. Also being a Latina I don't see myself tagged as "Couples of color" I honestly think that would be me if I were marrying an African American. Anyways isn't white a color too? A quick suggestion? Perhaps the tag should be "cultural weddings" or "Bi-racial couple"? Both tags would fit for me and my beau. For example we are incoporating our my cultural background by conducting an "arras" coin ceremony. Just my two cents. Reply I left one of the comments that Ariel tagged above. I also just almost crapped my pants when I saw this post (you listen!). I am black, and I hate the suggested notion that my skin color somehow makes my wedding different than another person's wedding. I also resent the idea that because I'm black, I would need to specifically look at other black people's weddings for ideas. The content of the ceremony and the feel of my reception are offbeat because I'm offbeat, not because I'm black – which is NOT (offbeat, that is). If people are looking for examples of cultural traditions in weddings, maybe "cultural traditions" could be the tag. But seeing a backyard wedding tagged "offbeat couple of color" drives me bananas when the only perceptible difference is someone's skin color – especially on a site that seems to pride itself for not relying on labels. 2 agree Reply I completely agree with you. That is the only reason the tag bothers me. I'm biracial mexican/black and I find the lumping together of "people of color" to be offensive. It bothers me that we are all put into one group solely based upon the fact that we are brown? What the hell? I could understand cultural labels or something, but my family has been in this country for a long-ass time and I'm American as apple pie, so I see no difference from me and other white brides. 2 agree Reply But for some people, skin color is an issue. The most obvious issue that seems to come up in the Tribe forums is the number of people who fret about finding cake toppers with the right skin tones. A wedding is an event that has a lot to do with visual aesthetics and how one looks is part of that. 2 agree Reply Perhaps for you that tag won't be useful, but I have found these types of tags to be incredibly useful. I like to see women in wedding pictures that look like me. I like to see how different cultural elements meld together. I like to see how a particular hairstyle or makeup looks might look on a woman with my complex and hair texture. It's not about labeling people and dividing them. It's about helping people find ideas that they are looking for. And what you might be looking for will be different than what someone else is looking for. Reply As a so-called "person of color," I completely abhor the term "people of color." I feel that this term reinforces a binary mode of viewing race as simply white vs. non-white, when in reality, white is also a color and race/ethnicity is much more complicated than looking at whether or not someone is white. Furthermore, the moniker "people of color" lumps all non-whites together as if the most salient aspect of their race/ethnicity is simply that they are not white. Black, Asian, Latino, etc. are not the same just because they are not white. While I certainly enjoy seeing non-white couples and non-white weddings highlighted on OBB in general and would like to be able to search for these weddings, I think it is more respectful and more accurate to tag things exactly as they are, such as "black wedding" or "African wedding," "Chinese wedding" or "East Asian wedding," "Mexican wedding" or "Latino wedding." "People of color" is far too nebulous and encourages all people to continue viewing race solely through the lens of whiteness. 5 agree Reply If possible the idea of self tagging in submissions would be great. I'm having difficulty articulating exactly what I mean but here goes: If a person wants to tag themselves as "of color" I think it should be divided into two separate options. One for appearance and another for cultural differences. Of course you would have to figure out two different names for them to not confuse the categories. This allows a couple (my fiance and I)to identify themselves as both a biracial couple (White and Asian) and people who look white-ish (both my fiance and I) Because while we deal with the facets of creating a wedding reflecting our cultures, at a first glance we both look like we're white. (I'm Asian and have the dark hair and brown eyes but my skin tone is not on the yellow side and I have big prominent eyes instead of hooded or monolid) I like the ideas of the tags not only for categorizing purposes but also just to be able to self-identify. Personally, I think the key to eliminating racism is not looking past race but seeing race and respecting it. 1 agrees Reply I am white-skinned, however, as a lesbian I LOVE that tag because it allows me to combat some of the facets of privilege that straight people have. Like, visibility! Lesbian weddings have little to no visibility, and adding tags helps improve that visibility by filtering out weddings that aren't as relevant to my interests. White people/straight people have SO MUCH privilege when it comes to finding media that represents them. I feel like this could apply to POC but I am not one, so as many others have said, I defer to them. 2 agree Reply Being white I don't really feel that I can weigh in on the discussion (except to say I'm totally tagging my wedding as both 'white couple' and 'hetero wedding' when I submit) but I did want to make an obsevation based on the comments: It seems to me that the issue is as much about the percieved purpose of the tags as which tags are used or how they're applied. Some readers seem to view them exclusively as search terms; all weddings are initially lumped in together on the blog with no catergorisation and the seperation only comes if you choose to search for 'offbeat couples of colour' so it's a way to narrow down the field and help readers find what they're looking for. Other readers seem to see it as a way of catergorising the weddings themselves, kind of saying "and today we're featuring a couple of colour in their outdoor rockabilly wedding" instead of just another offbeat wedding. I think this could be part of the issue. If you see all the weddings mixed together and then choose to seperate out certain ones by searching for them it's hard to be offended that the seperation has occured, whereas seeing someone else making that distinction and calling attention to it is a much more sensitive issue. (I also agree that for people using it as a search term to find other couples like them it's maybe not helpful because it only removes one group, even if it is the biggest one. I can imagine an asian bride getting frustrated that she searches for 'offbeat couples of colour' and has to scroll through pages and pages of black couples to find the asian ones in the same way I'd be frustrated, and have been on other sites, if I had to search just for 'coloured wedding dress' and scroll through pages of red ones to find the blue ones I'm actually looking for.) 2 agree Reply Although there are some massive downsides, why not include white as a search term? Instead of making white the norm, and people of color the others, why not let brides tag themselves the way they want to identify? Plenty of white people will not identify themselves as white because they don't feel like they have to, and that privilege hurts brides of color. 2 agree Reply To be honest the main reason I've never liked the term white is because it literally makes it a 'black and white' issue. That and it's not really anymore accurate than black, or 'of colour'. Everyone, white people included, are various shades of brown. Just darker or lighter ones. (Except I'm mainly black and blue right now thanks to a new job with heavy boxes.) Also I'm English too, and identifying as white and English when talking about race issues of almost any kind is pretty much (to my mind) standing up and saying "Hey! Guess who's descenced from the people who caused the bloody problem in the first place? Me!" But I do agree that maybe it'd be better to have options for many different races, including white, and let people tag any and all they think are relevant to them like the reader survery did. 2 agree Reply I'm Black, the groom is white and we're both trained librarians. What you have is a cataloging problem. The tag serves like a subject heading, to help people looking for "brides with glasses", or other "couples of color". As OBB gets bigger and older the tags will come in very handy for [fill in the blank] brides to find the tag of their interest buried in the straight 20/20 (or contacts wearing) couples of European decent. It seems the point of the tag is ease of use and ease of finding things. This conversation re: tagging has been batted around before and I thought the idea of self-identification was the safest bet. However the problem is when the editors go looking or find offbeat weddings not submitted by the couple (I'm thinking the cool Russian goth weddings). If there was a strict rule regarding self-identification the result would be not adding useful tags to weddings that are awesome cool, for example if a Star Wars themed Japanese-American wedding in the California desert popped up on the internet? 4 agree Reply Mari, a cataloging problem is exactly what we have. A cataloging problem mixed up with an issue with long, cultural history of strife and fucked up emotions. I wish there was some way that Offbeat Bride's taxonomy could somehow find the magic way to fix an issue that 100+ years of American history haven't, but I'm not sure we're going to get there… 5 agree Reply I work in an archive that deals with American History and we don't try to fix history. What we try to do is provide people with documents so they can do with it (ex. find relatives who were in Japanese internment camps) as they will by describing them as best as we can so researchers can guide the future by making us as Americans accountable of the past. Your taxonomy will help by giving people the tools to bring forth justice. 4 agree Reply As an african american bride with goth/vintage tendancies I understand the desire to both keep and remove the tag. From perspective of keeping the tag–the most frustrating part of planning my wedding is not being able to find pictures of brides (dresses, hair and make up) that I can use for inspiration. Have you ever tried explain to a make up artist you like Dita Von Teese's look, but you have dark brown skin? Or a hairstylist that you want xyz and look using a picture with a hair texture that is entirely different from your own. Blank stares, people…that's what you get. Or …non-helpful suggestions about why don't you look at so and so generic looking site geared toward African Americans (full of brides with uber wedding industry complex weddings). I feel that a lot of people expressing the "we're all one people" ideology have not had to deal with the practical realities of being a bride of color. The tag has been really helpful in finding ways to articulate my inspiration to vendors or even examples I can use–that both reflect the practical realities of me having a different skin tone/features, but also expressing a certain individuality (or offbeatness if you will). From the perspective of removing the tag, I understand people who get tired of being lumped into a group purely on skin tone. Or having certain assumptions are made about how your wedding/family/personality is due to skin tone. Trust me..as a goth lite black Orthodox Jew I get it…I have spent most of my life defending the reality of my personality from people's expected perceptions. In this case however, I don't think that's what it is. I really commend Ariel and Offbeat bride for recognizing the importance of diversity and understanding the needs of wide variety of brides. I think her current method of allowing people to self-identify allows people to categorize themselves. And for those who her and the editors tag–I think allowing people the option to prevent additional tags from being added is a way to prevent people who don't wish to be labeled a way to opt out. If you don't need to search using the tag don't, but for those of us that do–it's really been invaluable. 17 agree Reply This so hard! Walk into a hair salon with nappy hair and talk about wedding hair and the first thing they tell you, "Have you thought about straightening it?" I have to go through the phone book and call all the salons in my area and ask "Do you do black hair?" and the majority (in Lansing MI for god's sake) say "Nope". These are very real things and it's frustrating as hell to be so poorly represented. To have so little options in terms of hair style, in terms of ethnic touches. I'm hispanic and black with nappy hair and when I see some afroed or even dark skinned people represented on the OBB I jump on those posts because I'm STARVED to see people who look like me. For me it's entirely superficial. I'm not looking for cultural traditions. I'm looking for validation that I can pull off looks and that things will work for me and not just on white models or white brides. I just want to be represented wearing the pretty! So anyhow, blah blah blah, I like the tags, I'm not offended. I get why others might be but I feel that pretending that diversity is unnecessary and that we aren't different is more offensive than simply saying, "Hey, these people are of color." Well ya are. Why is that offensive? Perhaps white tags/hetero tags would diffuse some of this feeling of tokenism. I think it's completely unnecessary but it would level the playing field so no one is singled out as being oddballs or unusual. 6 agree Reply " Trust me..as a goth lite black Orthodox Jew I get it" I really hope the site features your wedding. Goth and Orthodox Jew are not things I am used to thinking of together, but sound AWESOME 2 agree Reply It really seems that enough women of color have voiced their opinions that this tag serves them and they appreciate it. Getting rid of it because of fears of "tokenism" just sounds like liberal white guilt talking. 5 agree Reply Meaghan, it's not my "fears of tokenism" — it's very real feedback we've gotten from readers, including several who posted in this thread. Reply Actually, I hear plenty of conservatives argue that mentioning race at all is racist. I can see where some of the critics are coming from. I know fellow Hispanics whose idea of tolerance and acceptance means being considered honorary whites. Personally, I think that's kind of sad. It still perpetuates the idea that being identified as non-white means being thought of as "less than." However, if an OBB contributor does feel that way, she has the option not to tag her wedding as a "couple of color," so I agree that there's not a problem here. 2 agree Reply I'm not a BoC, but I'm marrying a groom of color, it's nice to have the tags to find other weddings of people who might have things in common with me. I'm really finding some of the dialogue very helpful when we're wrestling with issues. 2 agree Reply I'm a black, natural, queer soon to be bride of color. The people of color tag works just fine with me, it is easier for me and even though I love OBB and the ideas I see nothing resonates more to me than seeing weddings that I can relate to. It is important because I feel as a POC (especially a queer, POC) we aren't recognized in the media at all or we are marginally. So, sometimes I like to cut to the chase and see what people out there who are like me are getting themselves into. 2 agree Reply I think this is classic over-political correctness…I'm a pretty PC, liberal, open minded gal, but I don't freak out when someone says "black" instead of "African American" (nor the black people I know) and I used to work with some people who thought doing so was the equivalent of waving the Confederate flag, and it's just not the case. Let them whine. 1 agrees Reply I know a lot of offbeat brides want to shed white American traditions, but for me, incorporating my ethnic traditions into my wedding IS offbeat. There aren't many places with resources for holding an atheist wedding with Latin American traditions! Without tags, I'd never be able to find anything even remotely close. 1 agrees Reply I am worried about making this a "majority rules." I would guess that the people this matters most to (couples of color) are in the minority. Now I would guess that most voters are allied with couples of color, but I dunno, it still troubles me. I also wanted to say that I'm not only fine with it (as the survey says), I really really like it. I often sift through looking at couples of color in hopes of finding interesting stories from other Southern, fat black girls trying to figure out how to have an offbeat wedding their family will enjoy. As much as I understand the other side, I have to say that I resent that someone else's discomfort might mean that I won't be able to do that search. Really, there's nowhere else for me to go. 2 agree Reply okay – got worked up and wrote more: These tags don't make me feel Less Than or unfairly divided out. I feel precisely the opposite way. To me, being Black (and recognizably so) means I'm going to have experiences that lots of other privileged internet denizens (from a range of backgrounds) probably won't have and I'm going to (not definitely, but possibly) have a culture that people primarily steeped in white, mainstream culture would find somewhat foreign. I'm not only not offended, I'm positively grateful for the tag since it acknowledges the fact that it's likely that my being of color means that I might have experiences and concerns not reflected in the posts of white brides. I don't like for those experiences to be erased. As for lumping people of color, I certainly recognize and agree with the arguments against it. But – I don't know that there are enough brides of color represented here that it would make sense to have a bunch of subcategories. As much as the white/color divide is problematic, it's also – in many ways – the reality that people live. To me the tag says: "When this bride started putting her wedding together, she did not see couples with a similar phenotype to hers in wedding mags" or "When this couple tried to merge traditions rooted in their families' background with the largely white subculture they were part of, things got a little weird and she might have some good perspective on that." Whether or not they look like me specifically, there is a good chance we have that shared experience. 3 agree Reply Firstly, I'm not a WoC so I can't speak from personal experience. However, I was wondering whether it could work better to split the tags into more specific elements based on what readers are actually looking for. From reading through the comments above, it seems that the reasons for which brides of colour wanted to see other brides of colour was for things like inspiration on how they styled their hair, what dress colours they chose to work with their complexion, or how they incorporated their home culture. Based on that, would it work better to have tags like "afro hair", "latino culture", and tags for different complexions such as "very pale", "pale", "olive", "dark", "very dark"? I recognise that the complexion tags could be offensive to some, in which case it's a no-go, and I think it would have to be done on a totally self-identifying basis, but it could possibly work, for PoCs and white people alike. Speaking as a very pale white woman I would be interested to see how other beyond-the-pale ladies may have dealt with wearing head-to-toe white! 1 agrees Reply I might have worder my comment badly — I want to emphasise the use of the word 'complexion' rather than 'colour'. To me, 'complexion' is a word linked with the beauty industry and styling, and it takes the issue away from race and towards what readers are actually looking for, i.e. make-up and fashion. 1 agrees Reply I was talking to one of my other inter-racial soon to be bride friends about this. Neither of us are plus sized. My friend is pretty small and I'm…I dunno average. Anyway, neither of us care about the plus sized tag because it doesn't apply to us IF we're looking for weddings like ours.** But who are we to take the tag away from this group? The tag helps people weed out weddings that do not apply to them. "offbeat couples of color" helps me and my friend and many others weed out the Ken and Barbies as we search this wonderful blog. **I, for one, love looking at weddings regardless of tags so please know that I gawk at ALL weddings Reply The only thing that I would say could completely erase the "otherness" of the tag "offbeat couples of color" would be to tag any NON offbeat couples of color as "white offbeat couples". However, I think that that would be a giant waste of time, and more than a little over-board. I know that this site strives to be better, but it's just a part of life that white, hetero, non-tatooed, barbie and ken couples are "normal" and all of us who are not that are "other". I don't find it any more offensive, at all, to have a tag for couples of color than having tags for LGBT couples, brides with tatoos, grooms with long hair, nerd couples, etc. Just as having all those other tags allows people to better access weddings that they feel are pertinent to them, so does having a tag for "offbeat couples of color". Reply i'm not entirely sure how many different tags you have, so this may be too unwieldy, but: could you add checkboxes to the profile submission form for people to self-tag? with an explanation that this is for *tagging your post*, not necessarily self-labeling (i say that because i would gladly tag my wedding "lesbian" so people could find it, even though we don't strictly identify that way). anyhow, that would only help with the profiles, but that's a big part of things here. Reply The submission form already includes exactly this. Reply So I'm very late to this conversation but I wanted to applaud the attempt to highlight people of color on the site. I do, however, have a problem with the use of 'couples of color' when it refers to a person of color marrying a white person; it's just incorrect. A couple of color is two people of color, two people who share the experience of being people of color and has a distinct difference from couples where one person is white and one is not. It's like calling a couple a 'Chinese couple' or a 'French couple' when only one person is Chinese or French; you don't take on your mate's race or ethnicity just because you are wedding. I think 'brides of color' or 'grooms of color' would be more accurate. 2 agree Reply I love the tag! As a mixed race girl planning a wedding with a "Hawasain" girl, finding couples like us outside of our friend circle is almost impossible. My hair causes big problems so I love being able to find ideas this way….and integrating our different cultural backgrounds gets complicated. Being able to search for ideas and examples of people more like us actually makes me feel more included and thought of Reply Way late to this party but will comment anyway. As a bi-racial OBB who was honored to have her wedding featured and who just happens to look white. I don't really have any issue with the tags of color. I think it does help people who maybe find it easier to identify with someone like themselves, or find new ways of celebrating their culture,or not. I know for our wedding feature it created some controversy due to people not understanding my racial identity due to skin color and general misunderstanding. But if you put yourself out there then expect people to comment and for me I hope it opened some minds. I love OBB and wish I had known about this tag when we submitted our wedding. Because you know not all people of color look like they are people of color ie like me So yayyy for brilliant tagging Ariel and team! Reply Join the conversation Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * Comment Notify me of follow-up comments by email. No-drama comment policy Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy. Biz owners & wedding bloggers Please just use your real name in your comment, not your business name or blog title. Our comments are not the place to pimp your website. If you want to promote your stuff on Offbeat Bride, join us as an advertiser instead.