The Reality of Raising a Mixed-Race Child.
I say, “okay, we’ll work on letting yours grow and we’ll get you something similar to that” because he has super tight curls.
Then, he says “Mommy, I’m afraid to be a big kid and grow up”. I say “it’s okay, take your time, stay little as long as you want … but why are you afraid”?
He says “because I’ll be black when I’m big”.
There’s so many things I could have said and so many different ways I could have handled this. But when you are in the moment with spontaneous questions being thrown at you throughout your day, you just do the best you can.
I said “your beautiful skin tone isn’t changing; you are a blend of both cultures”. He says “so, I’m not white and I’m not black, I’ll never be black?”
He is five.
Then he says, “okay, good, black people are treated bad, are brown people treated bad too”.
My heart breaks. He hasn’t seen the news. He doesn’t know about current events other than bits and pieces of conversations he must hear or pick up on.
Both sides have their beauty.
There is a thing called white privilege and some white people are ignorant to it. When black or white is reaching out to each other and treating each the way they treat anyone, somehow, this needs to be embraced. The person cannot be punished and held responsible for their race and the bad that has happened within it. I feel like that happens sometimes.
My heart breaks when I see or hear about racism. I grew up in a white neighborhood. I went to white schools. If memory serves me right, there were maybe four black kids in my high school. I didn’t know anything about black culture. Today, because I have black people in my life whom I love and cherish, I know at least something about black culture now where I use to didn’t know anything. I feel like I am so blessed to be a part of two beautiful cultures.
There’s a black man who is 75 and a white man who is 75 in my life. I have talked with both of them about racism. The black man tells me stories about visiting Mississippi recently. He holds onto a lot of pain from his experiences in the 50’s and 60’s! I learned things from talking to him that are not taught in history books. I heard a terribly sad and disturbing story about public pools and even in the 70’s how he and his family couldn’t go to a public pool without a problem. I had no idea that this had happened. How heartbreaking! The white man tells me stories of growing up in rural America where he never seen a black person until he was 18 years old and ventured out of the small town by bus. He recalls being at a bus station in Chicago and seeing black people. He said he didn’t speak. He kept his head down. He was afraid. Why was he taught to be afraid? BOTH of these men do what they can to end racism. BOTH men have people in their lives of both cultures.
As I live life with white people and black people in our lives, we know we are fortunate to understand both sides a little better. I know that how blacks have been treated and are treated is not okay. It is not acceptable. It needs to change.
For our family, we enjoy learning about the different attitudes, customs and food. We are doing our best to blend some cultural aspects and appreciate it all in our home.
We feel it is so important for our children to grow up knowing about both cultures. We want them to see the good in both black and white and brown. We intentionally make sure they have good positive role models in their lives from both cultures. We want our children to have a healthy image of themselves.
As my child experiences racism from time to time, I have found and believe it is important for my child to hear wise support from both cultures. Being different is an especially hard thing for a child to accept. They don’t believe us when we tell them it’s okay but we keep saying it anyway and someday hopefully they’ll believe it.
With the current events that have unfolded, I have thought I have protected my children from knowing about them. They are smart and seem to at least catch onto the tension. I recently found myself in a strange awkward moment. We were driving. I saw the road ahead blocked with flashing lights. Fear struck me and the FIRST thing I did was turn around to see what was in my children’s hands and what they were doing. How frightening that my first thought was to make sure nothing looked like a weapon that they were holding … and my kids do not even own a toy gun.
My heart hurts. My heart worries.
Our world is desperate for change. We need to do so much socially, politically, economically and educationally to begin to make this world a place of true freedom and equality.
I offer no answers. We need more people working toward equality, liberty and justice. The world needs minds which can break through some walls of plain simple ignorance. The world needs minds to open the vaults in the dark corners of evil. The world needs voices to speak love and beauty. The world needs voices to speak truth and power.
I hope that somehow, through a miracle this world can become fair and safe for the next generations. I am working toward it in my own life. I am not prejudice. I am not only not prejudiced; I do not accept or tolerate prejudice. I will work toward making this world a better place for my children and for their generation. This process must start and end with love.
Hate isn’t winning.
There are so many fights to face. Winning is when we choose to not let someone else’s act of hatred cover up our loving hearts. ~Francine Dylan
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