Inter-racial Marriage with Mike and Leah Stancil


In this episode of the Building Us podcast, co-hosts Erik Garcia, CFP® and Dr. Matt Morris, LPC, LMFT interview Mike Stancil, PLPC, Counselor at Dr. Matt Morris & Associates and his wife Leah Stancil, Head Coach of the Tulane University Women’s Swimming and Diving Program. Mike, who was born and raised in the US, and Leah, who was born and raised in Barbados, share their stories and experiences as an interracial couple and discuss how they are navigating raising their multiracial children in the current climate.

Episode Highlights:

  • Erik introduces Mike Stancil and Leah Stancil. (1:14)
  • Mike and Leah share their backgrounds. (2:44)
  • Is Barbados predominantly black? (3:59)
  • Geographically, is Barbados closer to South America? (4:29)
  • Leah shares a little fun fact about Barbados. (4:36)
  • Leah shares that she represented Barbados in two editions of the Olympic Games, the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta and the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia. (6:37)
  • Mike and Leah share how they met during their grad school years. (7:26)
  • Mike says that Leah’s accent definitely attracted her. (9:36)
  • Erik mentions that English was not his first language. (10:08)
  • How did their relationship progress from grad school? (10:17)
  • Leah explains why she had a rough year in 2004. (11:37)
  • Mike says that you really get to know people when you’re driving with them. (16:31)
  • When did Mike and Leah realize that they were attracted to each other? (17:12)
  • Leah shares that her faith grew significantly when she met Mike. (17:36)
  • Leah mentions that both of them had dated interracially before. (20:54)
  • Did Mike and Leah hear or receive some messages from their community, or family about their relationship? (22:28)
  • Mike says that being an American, the race is a bigger deal in America and more importance is placed on it. (22:40)
  • Matt shares that he remembers receiving bad advice about interracial relationships when he was young. (24:58)
  • Leah says that there may be prejudice from a classic system perspective. (27:57)
  • Leah mentions that Mike loves to mimic accents. (30:08)
  • What were Mike and Leah’s thoughts and discussions about having kids? (32:55)
  • Mike mentions that they got married in Barbados. (33:03)
  • Mike shares the time when he had a conversation with his son Noah about Black History Month. (36:26)
  • Leah shares their tough realizations as parents. (37:00)
  • Mike says that he is trying to be more educated about race issues, especially race issues in America. (43:44)
  • Leah says that the black Caribbean Barbadian culture is completely different from African American culture. (45:47)
  • Has skin shade come up as part of the discussion for their family? (48:05)
  • Erik shares that skin color was such a convenient way to mark a group of people, and that’s what was so diabolical about the American system of slavery and we’re still seeing the impact today. (52:29)
  • Leah mentions one of the great things about Mike. (53:38)
  • Leah explains the significance of communication. (57:03)
  • Mike shares a piece of meaningful advice. (58:15)

Key Quotes:

  • “Sometimes people assume that because someone is with someone of another race that that means that they understand it all and I think that’s a really dangerous assumption. Not everyone has the same motivations, not everyone has the same experiences, and not everyone’s relationship is exactly the same.” – Mike Stancil
  • “Communication is key, but not only expressing what you’re thinking and feeling but also, being willing to hear and listen to the other person without trying to change that person’s mind.” – Leah Stancil
  • “I don’t have to wilt under the weight of the past. I have to recognize that it happened, and have to recognize I have a place in making it better.” – Mike Stancil

Resources Mentioned:


About Erik Garcia

Hi there, I'm Erik. How you manage your money and other resources impacts practically every aspect of your life. I help individuals and families invest plan for a more secure and predictable financial future. Thanks for taking time on my site!

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