One of the questions I get a lot from people is, “How do I deal with other people’s ignorance?
The questions about my children’s race.
How do I keep a positive attitude?
I believe that many of the experiences in your childhood, specifically with mixed race families, can shape your attitude about race as an adult.
Thankfully most of my experiences with race were good as a child. I was raised on an Air Force Base surrounded by people who were world travelers. They were people who were surrounded by a variety of cultures and were open to differences.
Multiracial marriages and mixed race families were common and often went unnoticed.
My experiences taught me that loving someone for who they are is perfectly normal.
I did have a few negative experiences that taught me that being the single minority is isolating and uncomfortable.
I grew up attending a small Baptist denomination in my hometown. When we traveled to smaller towns for youth functions, I was often the only black teen. Questions about my hair (washing, braiding, etc) made me feel awkward.
When I tried to explain to my peers (and other adults) present, they were sympathetic, but they just didn’t get it. They tried to explain away the situation by telling me that person didn’t mean to be offensive.
That often made me feel like my feelings weren’t important.
Thankfully for every negative I experienced, there were 10 positives to cancel that.
For others, this hasn’t been their experience. They struggle with how to deal when people make comments about their family.
One of the biggest issues that multiracial families face isn’t being in a multiracial family, it’s other people’s perceptions of their mixed race family.
If this is you, I suggest not owning other’s ideas of what family should look like.
Families are composed of couples who are committed to each other, living life together & raising children. Gone are the days of everyone looking alike.
When my daughters were younger and fairer skinned, I often reminded people how much family members could differ in physical appearance, even if they aren’t in a mixed race family.
Now that my daughters are older, they favor me in skin color and complexion. We don’t get asked questions about our mixed race family as much.
But I still get asked on occasion if they are my kids (hence the name of the blog).
Sometimes I respond with a joke, and I tell them that I know that I look so young that it’s hard to believe that I have a 6 & 3 year old.
I also remind them that black doesn’t crack.
Sometimes I respond with a question, Why do you ask?
Sometimes I respond with sarcasm and say, why yes, these sweet girls that call me mommy are mine.
Whatever your response may be, practice something that makes you feel comfortable. Have a response ready when the questions come. Practice with your children as they get older so that neither of you are caught off guard.
Then go live your life. Don’t own everyone else’s ignorance.