October 8, 2018
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room today. Yesterday I had absolutely enough. I reached a breaking point with someone messaging me, spewing venom about my bi-racial children. Today I want to tell you what it is like…
This year for the first time K (6) was asked why her mom is white. Instead of flinching, she explained that she is biracial and that her dad is a black French national and her mom Afrikaans. It is her normal. But not everyone else’s.
Race is something we talk about in our house, and the girls are lucky in the sense that they also have bi-racial friends. I used to shy away from talking about race because it made me feel uncomfortable. And I stupidly assumed that racism is over because I was not experiencing it.
But what do we (white parents) of bi-racial kids need to know?
- Stop calling your kid “exotic” or more beautiful because of their race. I see that a lot with my friends. And I know they mean well. But when it comes to mixed children, the word “exotic” tends to come up a lot often. Any child is beautiful, but they are not beautiful because of their race. Your value does not depend on your race.
- Bi-racial kids are not the end of racism. That is just totally wrong. Why is it the job of a certain group of people to end racism? We all should end it together.
- Colour blind parenting is a stupid idea. Moms: Your kids are going to have different experiences than you because of their race. It hurts to hear it, but it’s true. And it isn’t always a bad thing! But when you seek to silence conversations around race in your household, you’re erasing the difference between you and your kids, and you’re suffocating their identities.
- Sometimes you are going to feel left out. The time may come when you’re sitting at the dinner table with your children and they’re talking about experiences that have never even occurred to you, like Driving While Black or Brown or the sometimes-fragile sense of identity that can come with being mixed. You may want to help but have no idea how to contribute. It’s hard. You want to guide your kids, but this is a space that you might not have a lot of knowledge about. But it’s OK. Sometimes, the best thing to do is listen. You may be surprised by what you learn from the sweet little beings you brought into the world.