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Thoughts on Raising a Biracial Child

The first time I found out that my husband and I would be expecting our first child I was so overjoyed. I had always dreamed of becoming a mom. With excitement came fear – I worried how my child would be treated by society. Would he or she be forced to pick one race over the other?

According to a recent report by the Pew Research Center, about 15% of all new marriages in the United States in 2010 were between spouses of a different race or ethnicity from one another, more than double the share in 1980 (6.7%). This research leads me to believe that there may be more biracial kids being born everyday.

While I do find solace knowing that my children may be meeting more kids like themselves, there are still a select few people who may discriminate. After the birth of my daughter, I remember receiving a lot of compliments on how beautiful she was. But at the same time, I also received awkward stares and comments. I remember one woman telling me that my daughter looked sick because she was too yellow. If we were out as a family, people would put two and two together. But if I was alone with her, some would ask whether or not she was mine. I’ve grown to realize some folks have no filter when it comes to interracial families.

My daughter, Princess, is beginning to look more like me. So the “is she yours?” question hasn’t happen as often as before. I’m so busy dealing with an energetic tot that I don’t even notice people’s negative reactions as much anymore. However, she’s now building bonds with other kids at daycare, and I do wonder how she views herself.

Princess has mentioned to me that she considers herself to be white. She’s also expressed an interest in styling her hair like one of her friends. The little girl she was referring to happens to have straight long blond hair.

As a result, I have made it my mission to make sure that my little girl is fully aware of her heritage. I remind her to love her beautiful curls everyday.

Now that I’m getting ready to deliver my second child within the next few weeks, I’m beginning to wonder about how things will be all over again. Like the first pregnancy, we didn’t find out the gender. Will having a biracial boy be any different? Would he want straight hair like his friends? Would he choose one race over the other? How would society treat him?

While I find comfort knowing that more and more mixed couples are tying the knot, there are always going to be a few folks who still may not get it. I’m in no way implying that non-mixed marriages will have a negative impact on my kids. But the reality is that seeing more children like themselves could influence my kids in a positive way. I’m just hoping that one day this won’t even be a topic of discussion. Raising mixed kids would just be the norm.

In the meantime, it’s up to me as a parent to make sure that my children know who they are and love the skin they’re in.

Did you have concerns about raising a biracial child? Is raising a biracial girl different from raising a biracial boy?

Stacy-Ann Gooden writes about balancing career and motherhood in her blog, Weather Anchor Mama. Be sure to check out her latest project, 30 Things My Kids Should Know About Me, and Pregnancy Diaries, as she counts down to the arrival of her second child. You can also follow her on Twitter.

Stacy Ann Gooden

Balancing career and motherhood is no easy feat. But, Stacy-Ann Gooden is having fun trying to figure it all out. She spends her day in front of the camera forecasting the weather. But, her most important role is being a wife and mom. Between tracking storms and chasing after her little ones, you can find her blogging about her many adventures at WeatherAnchorMama.com. Connect with her on twitter @weatheranchorma, pinterest, and facebook.

19 thoughts on “Thoughts on Raising a Biracial Child

  • DeborahBrewer

    I married a black man in 1971 and have a son and daughter. People were cruel and did alot of bad things to me. The majority of my family treated me so unkind. My brother’s were the worst mentally and physically. Karma is strange as one of my racist brothers two of his three daughters grew up and married black men. He now has five biracial grandchildren. That brotherr hasn’t

  • BeckyBarber

    We have three beautiful, grown, well adjusted bi-racial children.  My husband is black and I am white.  Our oldest son just gave us a beautiful granddaughter and her mother is biracial, white and Asian.  We love our multi-racial family.  We raised our children in the Midwest and did not always face the most liberal attitudes.  We brought them up in celebration of both backgrounds and never assigned them the title “mixed” or “bi-racial”.  They were sons and daughter,  they were good citizens,  they were pioneers. Those were the names we used in our home.  When we were faced with difficulties we choose to just address them as having differences, similar to having to wear glasses or being taller/shorter than their peers.  We never made a huge deal out of it.   As our boys got older they caught themselves being angry at times but we let them know that you can’t fight ignorance, you educate it.  Our daughter ended up being a stand out athlete in our community and we heard nothing but praise in regard to how she handled herself both on the court and in classroom.  While she was in college she shared with a friend that she felt she had the best of both worlds.   No one has really taken a side in our family where race is concerned but they all acknowledge that most people consider them to be black.   We are proud of the people they are becoming and believe we gave them confidence by validating their character more than defending their racial heritage.

    • DeborahBrewer

      So happy for you and your family. You were blessed to have family and friends who were positive for you. Times are so much better now. People are so much more educated. Prejudice is a learned behavior. Bless you and your family Becky.

      • BeckyBarber

        DeborahBrewer Thanks Deborah,  it wasn’t hearts and flowers before we had kids believe me.  My family didn’t speak to me for a year.  I just kept my mouth shut and lived my life in as much peace as I could find.  Something about having babies softens some folks up!

        • lindseywhittington

          BeckyBarber DeborahBrewer mine too I have lost a lot of family and friends but I am ok with that. my motto is if you love me you will respect me. I never asked any of my family or friends to like my decision but they did have to respect it and if they couldn’t then they need to walk and that is what they did was walk I have a mother father and a brother that I talk to reg other then that I have nobody but a handful of friends. Congrats on raising good kids

    • the real deal 362


      Quick lesson: Nationality is what country one is from. Race is the Human Species. Color is what hue/tone the skin is. Culture is heritage, customs, rituals, habits, way of life.

      It’s “Nationality”, not “race”.

    • the real deal 362

      (Though I know you mean well).

  • annashantelle

    I’m mixed race black and white and I look 100% white and at times mistaken for Latina. My daughter’s father is black and she is just a little more olive but still gets Latina maybe black and white.
    I grew up during the 80’s and I always had fights with black girls because my skin was not black or dark enough. I raised my daughter to be black and proud but no matter how hard I have tried she wishes her skin was darker and that she looked more black and sometimes she wishes she had straight hair. I tell her we are never happy with what we got and there is always gone be someone who wants or wishes they look or have what you do.
    Today I am a proud black woman who looks white and when people hear me say how I identify myself I still love the surprised looks on everyone’s face. Teach them about both and as they get older they will decide what fits them best.
    Nice job mama you are an awesome mother and congrats on ur second child.

  • lindseywhittington

    I have 3 children My oldest daughter is white and native American my 2 youngest are white black and native American. My oldest has straight blond hair I don’t know how lol but my youngest daughter has curly thick hair.. I teach my kids to be proud of who they are and to love all 3 nationalities cause all 3 are so different. I do tell my kids they are bi racial I read a comment below that they never said to their kids they were bi racial that is all great just not understanding how you didn’t when you go to the Dr office you have to put what there race is there not white their not black they are both and that makes them bi racial. I make sure my kids know all there heritage and raise them to appreciate all 3. But it is hard raising bi racial kids. I live in the Midwest and the people in the mid west are very close minded people.. my husband and I get followed in certain stores when we are with our kids we get stares. But it don’t bother me I have yet to have a problem with kids and how they look at my kids. or parents saying things I have not noticed anything like that yet

    • BeckyBarber

      lindseywhittington  I don’t mean to mislead,  my children were aware they were bi-racial and it wasn’t that we didn’t talk about it, we just didn’t focus on it.  I guess that is how we try to look at everyone.  We really try to support a more “one race, one love mentality”.  Race is not an off limits topic by any means and we sometimes joke about ignorant comments we hear.  I guess my point was more towards raising our children to know that their race determined what they looked like not who they are.  Wouldn’t it be a better place if we all believed that?  Statistics support the blending of races so with any luck this conversation will be a thing of the past!

      • PatrickTyroneHightower

        BeckyBarber lindseywhittington how do you get past the fact that there ARE cultural differences while at same time teaching the “One race, one love”? Sometimes i wonder if going that route gives kids a fairy tale picture of how we want to teach them vs how things REALLY are?  Truth still hurts that Blacks are still fighting the post civil rights saga!

        • the real deal 362

          PatrickTyroneHightower BeckyBarber lindseywhittington  That’s right Patrick.

        • the real deal 362

          PatrickTyroneHightower BeckyBarber lindseywhittington ANDDDDD, I am sorry to say, but only white parents of “bi-racial” children do that.

      • the real deal 362

        BeckyBarber lindseywhittington  

        Quick lesson: Nationality is what country one is from. Race is the Human Species. Color is what hue/tone the skin is. Culture is heritage, customs, rituals, habits, way of life.

  • SonoArima

    I am 62 years old. My father is Japanese, my mother is American Black, Choctaw, German & Dutch. Step parent of Hungarian nationality. Teach your children about their cultural heritage, this will help them anchor their self identity when they are faced with the public’s opinion, questioning and acceptance and scorn. The most hurtful thing for me, has been when one’s perception can not comprehend I am a member of several cultures and feel I am trying to “pass” or “deny” the others, that’s where knowing personal historical culture reinforces. Today is the perfect time to raise mixed children, there are plenty of visuals that they will be able to relate to besides the standard blond blue eyed image of beauty of yesterday. Expose them to such images indirectly. Mult-cultural is the very best, as one’s understanding of multiple cultures and human nature is easily understood first hand. Each child will grow into their own. One of my sister’s has naturally gravitated to our Choctaw blood, the other to our Black and White, and I towards the Japanese, Black and Choctaw. All three of us peppered with Hungarian influence. Quick lesson: Nationality is what country one is from. Race is the Human Species. Color is what hue/tone the skin is. Culture is heritage, customs, rituals, habits, way of life.

    • the real deal 362

      SonoArima –

      LOVE your quick lesson girl 😉 & your comments about somebody always having something to say about something with a “bi-racial’ child – (see – your lesson just made it clear (er) to me why in the WORLD I was having such a stomach ache and CHOKING on this “new ‘fangled'”term – it just sounds F#%k-ed up to me !!!! Sorry white folks who made that one up ! It sounds completely WACK.  Have your issues with ‘Mulatto’ if you want, the old and best term is plain and simply ‘mixed’ – Bi bloody racial. Just gross.

      • the real deal 362

        SonoArima   And I wish people would stop fucking saying it.

        Sorry for swearing.

  • sandersm

    hi, I am the grandmother of a beautful 6 yr old girl.  She is such a delight, a very smart little girl.  I am unsure if I should talk to her about being mixed, her father is black and my daughter is white.  Her father is not int in her life at all and her mom is with a white man now.  She seems to be happy and comfortable in her skin.

  • the real deal 362

    “Did you have concerns about raising a biracial child? Is raising a biracial girl different from raising a biracial boy?”
    Would he want straight hair like his friends? Would he choose one race over the other? How would society treat him?”

    Um yes.
    The fact that you even ask shows that you already know.  Especially if they are raised by completely irresponsible parents, which happens too often.  “Bi-racial” (& pls stop saying that btw – “mixed” is fine.  Though many call them “mixed-up” and there are reasons for that) children will always have problems fitting in completely on either side of the fence and with thinking they are white.
    Everyone knows there are still all kinds of “colourism’ issues in the black community.They will have to endure all kinds of ‘flack’ from both sides – but funnily enough from their “own” community.  “you think you’re better”, etc.,  they will always be pushed on another side to prove they are extra black, the list goes on.
    Having a mixed child does not make racism go away.  Not for you.  Not for them.    It is irresponsible and selfish when motivated for self serving purposes, which I think is the case a  lot of times.  Black people continue to do this because they don’t want to be black.  Is it that you think it will …lesson your struggle..? .. Make you more …special..?  I am not sure. ..  But I think that might be it…. Again, having a mixed child to “build a bridge” does not make racism go away.  Anyone who thinks that is living in a dream world.
    If you have not seen extremely recently the heartache of the television twins “Tia & Tamara” – racism is alive and well. 
    The thing that might garner some respect is becoming more of a self sustainable community on a whole.  Look at the Jewish, the Chinese, the Irish communities – they may still have things said about about them, but that is natural because they are “untouchable” now, and ” competition”.
    They work together, have their own communities and cultures, their own businesses, their own MONEY – there fore their own “power”.  Personal & otherwise, which is what we all know largely makes the world “go round” – even white have to ‘respect’ them, like them or not.  You asked.  That is my input.

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