What is the feeling you get when you walk into your child’s school? Do you get that feeling of knowing your child is in a clean safe learning environment, or do you get that welcoming feeling that makes you want to brag to your friends about how you receive first class service, while being in your child’s school. Whatever the feeling may be, the environment your child learns in, is very critical, and important to not only their learning but also their identity. I bring this up, because as an educator, the environment that I create for students, not only should motivate my students, it should also give them a sense of ownership in their learning.
Biracial Identity Development
The superintendent of the school district my children currently attend, sent out an announcement stating that the district will begin its cultural competence training, and how the district will look to become more competent in their diverse student population they serve. I was pretty excited to know that the teachers and staff that would be educating my children, will have a different lens on how they see students of diversity, and be more open to different curriculum adjustments. It has been one year, and the groundwork seems to be pretty solid. I even had the opportunity to present at one of the elementary schools, over biracial identity development, and what I found out through a survey that I distributed, was that the teachers did not think that biracial students struggle with identity. I will say that the training was welcomed and even afterwards some teachers shared their stories of their own children being in interracial relationships, and how they learned so much about themselves.
Advocate for your child
I ask the question to those who have school age biracial children, when you walk into your child’s school, how do you feel? When you talk to your child’s teacher during that first back to school night, do you talk about how you would like your child to be identified as, or what that even means? Does it mean that if you have a young biracial boy, he won’t be disciplined subjectively, like so many Black boys do already? Does it mean if you have a young biracial girl, she won’t be viewed as a future teen mom, a stereotype for many Black girls? Whatever you want your child to be identified as, make it clear what that means to your child’s teacher. I always tell my kids teachers that I want them to be identified as biracial, and that means that I don’t want them to be subject to SPED services, when my child is not learning at the same speed of everyone else. I don’t want my children to be subjectivity disciplined, and when they assign readings, they should include people who are biracial.
A good read for both parents and schools for how to provide that learning environment for biracial students is Meeting the Needs of Multiethnic and Multiracial Children in Schools, by Francis Wardle and Marta Cruz-Janzen. I have read this book from front to back at least 4 times, and I continue to learn. I believe it is important as parents to continue to seek out those resources that will help us support our biracial students. It is your duty as a parent to push your child’s learning environment for more support for helping your child feel comfortable with their double identity.
From my own personal experience, with raising biracial children, and being an educator, I realize that I much rather have my children attend a school with a substantial amount of diversity, than a school who is rated strong for their students academic achievements. I say that, because how are we to expect our children to learn how to solve global problems, when they are not around global people until they are 18 or 19 years of age. I will take a diverse school demographic, in both teacher and student, over a high academic achieving predominately White school any day.
I want to end by saying that, in my next writing, I will discuss relationships with interracial couples, is it a commitment or a business deal. What is it that the minority spouse is suppose to get out of the relationship and/or business deal, what is it that the non-minority spouse is suppose to get out of the relationship/ business deal. Should be a great conversation.
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