When my husband and I decided we wanted children, we didn’t consciously think about race.
We wondered what our children would look like, what their personalities would be like, and all the other normal things parents wonder while their babies are still in the womb.
Shortly after my oldest daughter was born, I was forced to think about race.
Because she was so light skinned, I was often questioned about whether or not she was mine.
Since having children, they’ve taught me a thing or two about race.
They’ve Taught Me A LOT about Curly Hair
When my oldest was about six months old, her fine, wavy curly hair turned into thicker, curly hair. I suddenly was in uncharted territory and scowered the internet for resources.
At the time, I had relaxed hair, so I was at a loss with what to do. Her hair was a combination of mine and my husband’s.
By the time our second daughter was born, I had transitioned back to my natural curly hair, so I felt more prepared to deal with curls. Whatever products didn’t work for me, usually work for one or both of them.
How I See Them May Differ From How They See Themselves
Because of the comments people made about my kids not being mine, and incessant questions about the race of their daddy when we were out without him, in my mind, I thought that my children may identify more as white.
To my surprise, when my oldest was in PreK, she drew a picture of herself and in her self portrait, she was brown! To my relief, I realized that no matter how the world may perceive her, she knows that part of her is brown too.
I Pay Closer Attention to Demographics Everywhere
Whenever my kids are involved in any activity, whether it is church or school, I always check out the diversity in the room. I notice if they are the only minority.
I try to seek out places where there is a mixure of people so they will feel comfortable.
I Feel Sad If They Identify With Someone White
When my six year old was three, she often identified with Disney Princesses. She would make comments like, I wish my hair was straight like Sleeping Beauty. To that I would tell her that she should be happy with how God made her.
She was never happy with that response, and would scowl and tell me she wished God made her different.
There were also times that she said she wished she looked like Grandma (my Mother in Law). Honestly, I don’t have a problem with my daughter looking like my Mother in Law. She is beautiful, and we have a great relationship.
However, as a black mom, that really hurt my feelings. I felt like I had done something wrong as a mother.
Since then, I’ve grown as a mother. I’ve realized that kids identify with people for different reasons. I expose my children to a variety of people, cultures & experiences. When they find something or someone they can relate to of a different race, it doesn’t diminish my role as a mother.
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned from this is that it doesn’t mean that they are unhappy with who they are.