Raising Biracial Children – What did you just say to me?

June 14, 2016 josierk 3 comments
Photo Colored By: Charliegh L.

My child stood in the bathroom after I ask her to do something and she replied “yes masta”.
I have no clue where that came from, but I almost lost my mind. My response was both immediate and instinctive. I gave her an age appropriate history lesson and a little lecture. I told her she was better than that. I probably even crossed the line a bit when I told her I had better never hear that come out of her mouth to a white person again (even to me, her mother).
In my defense she identifies as brown. I KNOW the history of biracial children and what became of them (no, she doesn’t yet). At 6 the only things she knows is a long time ago there were some white people that were mean to black people. Today she learned that “masta” was on of the names that the bad white people made brown people call them. She also knows that there are not many, but a few, of those bad people left in the world today. What more can you tell a 6-year-old child? I mean, we are almost having to censor the news as it is.
I never want her to think she is beneath me or anyone else in this world. I am not perfect, but I do not want her abused or taken advantage of. I do not want her conditioned to accept anything less that respect and demand it.
We have an instinctive reaction to protect our children, and looking back I think I would have told her the same thing, only a bit calmer. I lost my chance to find out where it truly came from by not thinking through my reaction. What I did find out though is that these kids are talking, and their conversations start young.
We want to nurture our children’s inner need to be who they are. It is important, no vital, that we do not sway that to suit our own interests. We definitely don’t want to “plant” the seeds but instead allow them to decide their racial identification on their own. We have to know how to parent them according to what that choice is.
Children start identifying very young, and all we have to do is watch in order to know exactly what we should be nurturing in them. Above all we must always encourage our children to look inwards more than out even after they have settled on their racial identification be that black, white or biracial. After all, inside is where “who we truly are” lies anyways. They can never lose sight of that, because if they do they are, at that moment, lost.
Charliegh identified as a rainbow last year. I mean, she was 5. The blog photo shows where her true identification is heading, and I am FINE with that. I am PROUD of that. I never tried to steer her in one direction or the other, but when I started seeing the sudden, quiet but very prominent signs that she was identifying as a beautiful brown (sometimes dark tan) girl, I started complimenting her as such.
I started exposing her more to the culture of her father’s family than ever before. I did not stop exposing her to my culture, but I am not trying to push it on her. It is clear she enjoys some events more than others. So what she loves the pretty bronzed baby dolls or wants to listen to jazz with her dad. All of that is FINE.
I do not feel bad or disowned. I feel grateful she is finding herself COMFORTABLY and naturally. I pray because of these early discoveries about herself she finds confidence in who she is. I hope she finds enough confidence that the ignorant people that she will surely encounter cannot shake the foundation in which that confidence was built!
I feel amazed at this beautiful child that is not black or white, but who is just mine to love. I am proud of her accomplishments, and I am behind her 110%. The only thing white about my daughter is her mother, and yes, I am cool with that. The way I see it this world will try mold them into some ideas of what it thinks they should be. God knows they don’t need it from us too.
I will say, I understand more now the struggle of a black mother. I can never grasp what it is to be a black woman in this world. I won’t try to even act as if I possibly could. However, I now have the same parental concerns for my child, and it is not the same set of concerns I had for my white children who are now grown.
Charliegh has been exposed to both sides of her family. She goes to a blended school. She has been exposed to many different cultural events throughout her young life. There is no one culture more profound than the other in her environment. This is something that she has chosen based on what she sees, feels and the way that society has sculpted or accepted her to date.
If it changes, that’s cool. I will encourage her as long as she is on this journey. However, I am fairly sure she has come to terms with who she feels she is. When they truly identify, you just know. We just have to look, see, listen and hear.
Our children often tell us where they are without saying a word. Its easy to get caught up parenting, adulting or trying to make things work and miss the messages. These are messages that cannot afford to be missed, because the most beautiful things we will ever come to know is our children.


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~Spring L.
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3 Comments on “Raising Biracial Children – What did you just say to me?

  1. Mixed kids can/will identify with the different races in their family at different times in their lives, based mainly on their experience with the outside world (Friends, extended family, peers, TV etc). Our responsibility is to help them find and be bold about who they are through the journey.

    1. Love your comment. I completely agree with you. It’s so important to help them build self esteem and also support them throughout their journey of self identification.

    2. Perfectly stated, and thank you! I will continue to support whatever she feels is embracing who she is at that moment. The thing is we all go through changes, so denying them the right to do so I denying them a basic human rite. I feel trying to mold them into what we want is also wrong on several levels. To be honest I love my daughter so much deeper than skin and surface that I do not see a color, and the only reason I care is because it matters to her. To me she is just Charliegh, and Charliegh is momma bear’s heart.

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