The four of us were walking single file as there were other people walking toward us. These three women were walking side by side. The trail was about 3′ wide and they were taking up the entire width of the trail. Our sons were leading the way with excitement and were about 15′ in front of us.
The ladies didn’t offer to move to let our sons pass them and they had to jump off the trail into the grass.
Was it racism? Were they being bullies to children? They were three white women. Whatever it was, it was not okay. I cannot imagine not moving and giving someone else space to pass on a trail. I’ve never experienced such a thing. I quickly talked to my children telling them they never have to move off a trail or out of anyone’s way in that type of situation. We also talked about situations where we should yield and step off the trail such as if a family with a stroller or wheelchair needs to pass easily. Finally, we discussed how the ladies’ behavior was very wrong, rude, thoughtless and arrogant. I told them nobody is better than them and that they aren’t better than anybody else either.
Parenting Biracial Children
Many of us work toward a better world, practicing kindness and knowing that it’s the character of a person and state of the heart that matters. There will always be those who make immediate assumptions based on a person’s skin color.
As a happy family doing our best, here are 5 important tips for parenting biracial children that every parent of biracial children should know:
#1 Discuss the difference
I don’t walk around thinking about how our family doesn’t look alike or match. We don’t personally label our children biracial however, we cannot deny it. Often, I forget that our skin tones are different. Even though it is not part of my every thought, we need to remember to welcome and encourage discussion about skin color with our children. There will always be reminders that they are biracial and they need to understand and embrace it.
This topic needs to be revisited and information added as it is age appropriate for them. Always communicate!
#2 Care for their Hair
Take proper care of your child’s hair. Learn about the different kinds of curls, textures, styles, and products. Invest in quality products, it really does make a difference. As your children get old enough, let them make decisions about how they want their own hair to look. One of my sons always wants a “cool style” and not just a short haircut. I don’t let the learning curve intimidate me and I do my best to accommodate the look he wants to achieve.
Recently, I witnessed several three-year old children playing together. All four children had hair with different textures. They were filled with curiosity and innocence as they touched one another’s hair. The sweetness they had with each other was amazing to see and they explored the differences of their hair.
#3 They see color
People quickly notice a family that doesn’t match. They seem to have to look, stare and even ask questions without thinking. We are used to the looks, stares, and even glares. We’ll never get used to the questions as most of them are just ignorant questions that don’t deserve an answer.
It’s refreshing to me to see children playing together. They all play together despite the color and even the language being spoken. Smiles and laughter work in all languages.
#4 It’s our normal
This is our normal. This is their normal. They don’t expect families to match as our lives are filled with matching and non-matching families. While we must discuss the difference and the tough issues, this is just a tiny fragment of our life. We’re just like everyone else. Biracial children are just like any other child that is a singular color. This is normal.
We understand that our family is a “good different” and that’s because of the attention that happens from adults who are strangers when we are out and about.
#5 Racism still exists
All biracial children do not look alike. Some have light skin, hair, and eyes while others have dark skin, hair, and eyes. Their hair can also be all different textures.
As a parent of biracial children, I know the reality is that their skin color will be viewed as decisions are made about them. We see it happen and somehow, we do our best to prepare them to love themselves, be self-assured and self-confident.
It’s disgusting and sad, but true. Racism still exists even today.
Building a better world happens baby step by baby step with hope and actions by individuals, organizations, and companies.
I hope someday, character will become what people see first. ~Trina Daniels
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