My three youngest daughters and I were watching TV together last week and one blurted out how they wished they’d have white skin and the others chimed in too. “White skin makes you pretty! I wish mine was like yours Mommy!” My heart SANK!
With my older two children these conversations rarely ever came up. Other parents asked me “what are they?” Or commented on their “pretty little suntan” not realizing their Father was a biracial man. I left a lot of the teaching to their father out of fear. I was a 20yo Mom and hadn’t a clue what growing up biracial looked/felt like. I was naive and stupid quite honestly. I somehow escaped the hard talks and lessons that I am now facing.
Fast forward to 2nd marriage and a blended family with our 7 yo & 6 yo twin daughters whom live in and attend a school in a predominently white neighborhood/town. The few random outbursts have been (this week alone)
1. I hate Donald Trump, he is going to build a wall that seperates the brown people and white people like you Momma. Then we can’t be together.
2. My teacher read a book about Rosa Parks and MLK Jr at school and I cried and then the kids were laughing.
3. How come there aren’t other kids that look more like me at school?
4. I wish my hair was more like yours Mommy.
5. I wish my skin was like yours.
6. Did you know “insert all the civil injustices Dr. King fought for”?
7. How come our brother has the same Dad but he looks white? How come our other sister/brother look “whiter” than us?
I told them how grateful I was for the brave African Americans who fought for freedom and equality, because without their efforts, we would never have existed as a family unit.
I had so many teaching moments this week and I danced around every one and ran to their Daddy asking to help. I don’t want to miss teaching moments or pretend there isn’t still a racial divide and social injustices. Saying you’re perfect and beautiful doesn’t cut it. Passing the buck because of fear of saying the wrong thing isn’t fixing.
I even googled “white mom with biracial children” or “how to teach your biracial children” and blog article after blog article Mom shamed women like me.
So I sat there broken spirited and began praying. Praying for guidance and the ability to speak over my children in a manner which teaches them WHO they are. And it clicked! They are His children! Made in His image! That I’m not alone in raising these beautiful Jesus kids….I can tap into the resources all around. Aunties, uncles, grandmas, grandpas and obviously Daddy! We can ask these questions together. We can talk about the hurts/questions with them to guide us. We can PRAY about these things together. We can build a stronger relationship because of, it instead of them asking and me giving them half assed answers because of fear of not answering the best way. We can use the beautifully written “I have a dream” speech to highlight the charachter of this man and use as inspiration. We can embrace our differences together as a family. We can lean on Jesus, most of all because of WHOSE we are.
I’m not a woman of color, I’m not naive to what my children will face. I’ve never experienced half of what I fear when my children or husband leave the house. I’ve experienced only a small minute portion of racism simply because of my husband and children’s skin color. However, could I still be teaching them? Most certainly!
I’m so thankful that I’m able to share that honestly with them because I’d rather find answers with them and stand proud of my family. Then have a broken spirit and feel like my voice doesn’t matter.
Together we RISE. There may be no better Bible verse in all the Bible on equality than this one because it includes gender, social position, and nationality. It is never about race but simply about grace and we are all one…and seen as equal in God’s sight. We were created in His image. He died for our sins.
“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
So parents how do you teach your biracial children about MLK Day/Black History/Racism/ Social Injustices, etc?