If you’re white person with kids of color and follow WAAMU for insight of what to do as a parent, here is my advice as a mixed race Asian woman raised by white parents:
Please make an effort to help your children navigate the racism they will experience out in the world. I never experienced racism while cocooned by the safety of white family. I definitely experienced it when I was out and about on my own. I had no idea how to deal with it, address it, or navigate it.
The only reason I know how to now is because other people of color noticed I didn’t have those survival skills and taught them to me. Other kids taught me. Adults taught me. People from different backgrounds, but with similar experiences took the time to show me how to navigate these things.
I wish my parents did that. They probably didn’t realize they needed to. Many people who Do Not experience racism don’t realize they need to teach their poc kids how to deal with this. My parents eventually realized they needed to help me, but weren’t sure where to start.
Here are some suggestions of where to start:
The first thing you can do is LISTEN. Do not Interrupt and Do Not minimize their feelings.
Teach your children to recognize various forms of racism. There are things that are large and obvious. Also teach them to recognize microaggressions, backhanded compliments, and racial stereotypes.
Acknowledge that telling your children to go through a Chain of Command in order to make various issues go away may not work. Make sure to have a back up plan if you use this as a suggestion.
You will have to advocate for your children. Many times we are not listened to until family backs us up.
Let your kids know that things will be different for them than their white peers. Show them how to recognize how they will be treated differently.
Keep in mind all people of color do not experience racism in the same way.
The biggest and best way to achieve the above is to educate yourself.
I’m sure other folks will have wonderful additions to this since my experience is from an adoptee view and not as a person raised by a white parent AND a parent of color.
“My parents were 18 years old in this photo and it was taken just after they eloped across the border in Juarez, Mexico. My mother still lived at home in El Paso, Texas and went off to the University that day with her wedding dress stuffed into her backpack. My father followed his older brother to the University from San Antonio, Texas, and through their civil rights work, my folks met and fell in love. My grandparents wouldn’t have approved of nor supported the union, as my grandparents were Mexican American and Native American and disapproved of my mother dating outside of those races, let alone marrying outside. Knowing this, my parents made up their young minds and decided to elope and forgo the typical pomp and circumstance that generally accompanies a wedding. My grandparents’ best friends from their time in the Army had gotten wind of what was happening and my parents feared they would tell my grandparents and the whole thing would be called off. Instead, they opened up their home and hosted a reception for my parents and never mentioned what they did to my grandparents. My folks got to have wedding cake and celebrate among their friends and a progressive Irish American couple proudly hosted everyone. This was 1968 and a year after the Loving v Virginia decision had finally been reversed and people across the country were now legally allowed to marry people of different races.”
Especially notable is that before 1960, Americans didn’t even have the option of picking their own race; it was the census taker’s job to do it for them. Which means that in 1890, for example, census takers were tasked with figuring out whether multiracial families counted as “mulatto,” “quadroon,” or “octoroon.”
It’s another illustration of how our understanding of what race is, and who belongs to which race, keeps shifting over time — even though people of every era are convinced that the racial divisions of their era are just scientific fact.
today i saw a quote from kim kardashian talking about how she thinks interracial relationships are “cute”, and it upset me so i wrote in my journal about it, and in the end i wanted to share it and thought this might be a good platform to do it. sorry the grammar & punctuation are a mess.
a lot of people speak out about why it is wrong to fetishize biracial/multiracial couples, and the argument that is often brought up is that a big reason why people want “mixed babies” is the fact that they, more often than not (and by that i mean always), are talking about white + non-white babies. it reflects their idea that adding white to another race will make a person more desirable, while at the same time they’ll get to genetically cherry-pick the “best” traits of the non-white race. it’s wrong and it’s also super fucking creepy.
but one thing that i don’t see talked about often is the struggle that comes with being in an interracial relationship. i’m grateful that the struggles that multiracial children face is often brought up, but i haven’t seen much discussion about the people in the relationship themselves.
i think a lot of people today don’t realize that interracial couples are still a pretty taboo thing. of course, there’s nothing wrong with people speaking up about the problems that can happen and the danger of dating outside of your race, specifically with dating white people. it’s something that needs to be talked about. i’m not trying to deny that in anyway, i just mean the fact that there are a lot of people who don’t think interracial couples should exist at all, and are not quiet about feeling that way.
it’s hard for me to accept that position coming from anyone. i try to be understanding when poc suggest that it’s always wrong to date outside of their race or to date white people, but i don’t think i’ll ever agree with them. what i hear when people say that is, “there is something inherently wrong with your existence. if i had it my way, you would have never been born.” i don’t think i can hear it any other way than that.
i never naturally questioned whether it was okay for my parents to be together, but i had to question it as i grew up, because there were people who tried to convince me that it was wrong. as a multiracial child, you get used to people looking at you in public. when you’re with both of your parents, people stare at you like you are something strange to see. when you are with one of your parents, people stare at you with a million questions in their eyes, like, “are they adopted?” “are they that person’s kids?” and things like that (as a white-passing person i often got a lot more stares when i was with my black father, usually a lot more “is this child okay?” stares, but i think that’s a whole other topic). though that’s just a microaggression, it’s something i was aware of and something that my parents were definitely aware of.
but it isn’t always microaggressions. there are still plenty of people who are very open about their dislike for interracial relationships, specifically a non-white man dating a white woman. i remember being very little and leaving places or seeing my mother cry or watching my father get mad because someone said something or treated them a certain way because of their relationship. i’ve had people laugh and say “you’re mom’s a coal burner!” and honestly expect me to find it funny.
i feel like there is so much more i could say, but the bottom line is that people who fetishize interracial relationships and mixed race babies are never once considering any of this. they never consider that people who actually love each other and want to start families together have to jump over hurdles to do that.
and, for that matter, they never consider what will happen if their relationships don’t work out. there’s a whole other set of microaggressions and traumatic things that comes with that.
so basically, when you say “interracial couples are so cute!” or “i can’t wait to have mixed babies!”, all that i hear is “i’m super irresponsible and racist! nothing i say or do has any real life consequences!!!!!
It’s an anime FOR CHILDREN that deals with a lot of Japanese taboo issues in a VERY progressive manner.
It deals with homosexuality in a neutral/positive light, Haruta is gay, he likes his teacher, he and Chika are rivals over the same teacher but they don’t hate each other and Haruta isn’t stereotyped at all. He’s just a regular guy like all the others in the band and the crush he has on the teacher is as innocent as the one Chika has.
It deals with adoption in a positive light.
It deals with foreigners living in Japan in a positive light.
It deals with multiracial families in a positive light.
It deals with war and oppression in a negative light, showing PTSD and the grief it causes.
All in all, Haruchika is tbqh the best entertainment directed at kids to come out of Japan in, well… ever, honestly.
uh i don’t wanna step on any toes here because im neither adopted nor a foster child but as a biracial person one of the most uncomfortable things to me is how american television has no problem showing/centering whole shows around Good White Bread Families with adopted/foster black children but refuses to show multiracial families with their biological mixed race black children
It’s so nice to remember that Lance is openly bi/pan and his humongous multiracial family loves and supports him. His biggest cheerleaders are of course his two moms (one of whom is trans). I’m so happy for Lance!
Chloe Bennet asCarol “Carrie” Allen Grant Gustin asBarry Allen Lindsey Morgan as Inez Rhodes
Note: Carrie Allen and Inez Rhodes were obscure members of the Allen family from pre-Crisis comics and I’ve decided to bring them back in this continuity as Barry’s cousins. For reference, Carrie is half Chinese and is Barry’s cousin on his father’s side of the family while Inez is half Latina and is his cousin on his mother’s side. Since TV shows almost never touch on having members of the same family be of different races, I thought it would be a great way to include more multiracial characters into a family that has been traditionally portrayed as white in the comics.
I’m submitting this because this happens way too much. It’s more than irritating. This happens every other time I go to the park. This only happens when I am alone. I’ve heard from other women of color who are parents that they experience this too. Have you experienced this as well?
Here is an example of most frequent microaggression I experience in Olympia, WA:
I’m out at the park with my kids. I am approached by a parent or a few parents. “Those children are adorable! They are so well behaved!”
Me: They are adorable, and they really don’t have a choice in being well behaved. If they misbehave they go home.
Them: Discipline! I like that! Severely lacking nowadays. So, how much do you charge?
Me: Excuse me?
Them: How much are your rates? Do you do watch kids in your home or do you go to the house! I’d love to hire you!
Me: These are my kids. >:(
Them: They don’t look anything like you. Wow, I had no idea! (This means, ‘I assumed your white passing children weren’t yours because you’re obviously not white). Is dad white?
Me: That is really none of your business, however I will humor you. I’m mixed race, my husband is mixed race, and my children are mixed. I’d like you to think long and hard why you assumed they weren’t mine even though the oldest has been calling me MOM the whole time.
The interactions are rarely this long. However, this is pretty much what goes on. This does not include when a tan/brown child isn’t behaving and a white parent furiously points to them and yells at me to “Control your kid!” Yeah…that’s not my kid. That adorable cherub is not mine even though you obviously ignore my kid who always yells “Mom look at me! Take a picture, mom!”
-White folks are the only folks who do this
-I am not asked this when white relatives or my husband is present
-Accompanying this is a dialogue that praises my ‘grasp of the English language’ even though I’ve lived here all my life
-This interaction is based in the assumption that nonwhite women are caregivers
-The assumption that my job is to be a caregiver, a person who cleans house, or that I’m undereducated because of my race
-Assumption that my only choice in a mate/spouse is a white male
If the race tags show up it’s because my kids are a mix of several and they are also Latinx.
Because this is a space for mixed race folks, here is what my kids are mixed with: Korean, White, Black and indigenous (I forget which community). They have family in Latin America and the Caribbean. They identify as Latinx and Asian.
Bruno Mars (musician) was born Peter Gene Hernandez. His father is of half Puerto Rican and half Ashkenazi Jewish (from Ukraine and Hungary) descent, and is originally from Brooklyn, New York.Mars’ mother immigrated to Hawaii from the Philippines as a child, and was of Filipino descent, with distant Spanish ancestry.
He has also experienced racism in the music industry.
Last year, after months of watching — and re-watching — the movie Frozen, my daughter Selma, who is 6, announced she didn’t want to be brown. “I wish my skin was white,” she told me one day in our living room, where we were hanging out after school.
I knew she idolized the film’s alabaster-skinned heroines, and it made my heart ache. Our daughters started picking up on the differences in our family’s skin color at a very young age — I’m a white-skinned woman raised in the South, my husband, Jason, is part-white, part-American Indian, with medium-brown skin, and, depending on the season, both of our girls look more brown than white. There’s research showing that children can recognize differences in race as early as infancy, and can develop racial biases as early as 3.
Knowing all this, we’ve tried to raise our daughters to be comfortable in their skin, making sure they’re in schools with other black and brown children, searching out books and movies with black and brown main characters. I had even tried, unsuccessfully, to steer her away from the snowy princesses.
But our attempts clearly weren’t foolproof. “You’re beautiful the way you are,” I told Selma, stroking her long hair and trying to mask my sadness. “I love your brown skin.” She wasn’t convinced. “I wish it was like yours,” she told me.
As more families resemble my own, more parents will have to figure out how to talk to their kids about being mixed-race. The Pew Research Center found that in 2010, about 15 percent of new marriages in the U.S. were mixed, up from about 7 percent 30 years earlier. Multiracial children are the fastest-growing group of children in the country. Between 2000 and 2010, the population of children like mine — a mix of two or more races — increased almost 50 percent. By 2022, the number of multiracial students in American elementary schools is expected to have grown 44 percent.
At the girls’ schools, on the playground, at the swimming pool, I notice people scanning my multicolor family, and I don’t think it’s a stretch to assume they’re trying to figure out what’s going on: Who belongs to whom? How are these people related? From a young age, we want to help our daughters feel at home in a world that’s still getting used to kids who look like them.
Jason and I met 15 years ago in San Francisco, where being an interracial couple felt to us like a total non-issue. Our young family moved to my home state of Virginia in 2010 to be closer to relatives, and, for the first time, I worried about how we would be received. Virginia is home to the landmark Supreme Court decision Loving v. Virginia, which overthrew laws prohibiting interracial marriage. The case was brought by a married couple — Mildred Loving, a part-American Indian, part-black woman, and Richard Loving, a white man — after they were awakened in the middle of the night in 1958 and arrested for violating an anti-miscegenation statute in place in Virginia at the time. That was decades ago, but I still worried how we would be welcomed in Richmond, where racial segregation remains severe and Confederate statues line the streets near our home.
One day, a white boy who attends school with my daughters ran laps with us during before-school running club. “Is that your daughter?” he asked. I said of course she was. “But she looks nothing like you,” he replied. “That’s the funny thing about genetics!” I said, trying to keep it light. “She looks just like her father.”
Selma was listening to every word, wide-eyed, keeping pace with us. In these conversations with strangers, I find I’m really talking to my daughters; what I say could end up being what they say in situations where they’re on their own, and I want to equip them well. The boy needed a little more convincing, but he eventually seemed satisfied and left to run with other kids. Selma never mentioned it again, but I know these interactions stick in my daughters’ minds.
The night Selma announced her Frozen wish, I shared it with my husband. I could see he was bothered by her words but also unsurprised. “She’ll have to come to this on her own,” he told me, but he promised to talk to her about it. Tucking her in that night, he told her that her brown skin was something to be proud of and that it made her special. She nodded and kissed him goodnight, but we’ve been trying to come up with everyday ways to give Selma more positive messages about her skin color. I started referring to her as Jason’s “twinsie” to make her feel connected to him — and his dark skin color — and she embraced the nickname. Just last week, she requested a Barbie for her birthday, and we bought her a brown-skinned, brunette one, as well as a Doc McStuffins doll set, which features a black female doctor.
Lately, both girls seem to be developing a more complex vocabulary for skin color — their own, and everyone else’s too. Just the other day, Selma informed me that I am a blend of peach and white, while she’s a blend of brown and white, explaining that that’s why she is “light brown.” Amaya, who’s 7, currently calls herself “tan,” while labeling her sister “brown.” Sometimes they want us all to put our arms next to each other poolside to see who is darkest and who is lightest. When the girls talk about this with each other, I typically listen without commenting. As much as our daughters need messages from Jason and me, they also need to consider this on their own.
I’m sure this is just the beginning of their exploration of race. Some parts will be under their control. Whether their skin color becomes a key part of how they understand their own identities and personalities, that’s their decision. How they refer to themselves — mixed, multiracial, American Indian, part-white, or some other term — is also their decision. But we also know people will put their own perceptions of identity on our girls, and we want them to have plenty of practice having these conversations without fear or embarrassment.
In the meantime, it’s about small signs. I’ve noticed that Selma’s obsession with the Frozen princesses seems to be on the way out, and I’ve decided to take that as a good omen.