Re: Don't know how to handle this one
- Most excellent!
barac1998@... wrote:Hello Jaime,This is something you will hear perhaps many times during the rest of your life. I'm Black and my oldest son's mother is white. I'm dark brown and my now ex-wife was like milk with strawberry blond hair and blue eyes. From the time our son was born even through the window of the hospital people thought he was Mexican or Italian. He actually looked just like a Mexican baby that was in the nursery. My mother who is dark brown saw him and said he looked like my eldest brother that passed on at 24 hours old many years before. My mother told me that the father of my brothers couldn't believe how light my eldest brother was and wondered if it was his. My mother thought he was crazy .As my son grew older people looked at me in anger or my mother when she had him. You could see in the eyes what are these folks doing with this child. He was very fair with dark brown straight hair. A childhood friend said one day jokingly he needs a little sun. It didn't bother me. It didn't make a difference if my children were black, white or in between, because they are my children. My family accepts all my children as the same. In time my son grew a few shades darker with straight hair. He was in middle school by this time and people still couldn't believe he was black and white. His friends would come over and notice he and I resembled but other friends thought he looked like his stepmother who is lighter than me. Not a lot mind you but enough it seems. As a family we gave him a strong identity. He lived with my wife and I for nine years.He lived the first nine years with his mother and she had remarried a white man. Who called our child halfbreed. So my son was given tom me for care and protection. My wife and I took him to the Smithsoniian and I showed him the hall of Vikings and told him he was a descendant of them from his mother's side. I taught him about Africa and Africans impact on America. I showed him how many of the black leaders of history where biracial. I showed him pictures of our family that are more than a century old and he saw they had many different looks, some light , some dark, different textures of hair etc.. I taught him about Creole culture. He considers himself both black and white in ancestry, but black in culture. I always let him make the choice of identity. He became lighter and his hair grew thicker. He is 19 now and in Air Force training as a Medic. He embraces all people and cultures.I said all that to say this. identity will be key for your child. Teach him about his ancestors, his mother's .mother's mother and his father's, father's father. He will be alright and rooted in confidence. I wish you well.Sincerely,Peter
I’d also recommend a book for you (and anyone else out there who’s interested). It’s called I’m Chocolate, You’re Vanilla, by Marguerite Wright. This book is copyright 1998, so it’s a little old, but still very helpful. At the time, the author was the senior clinical and research psychologist for the Center for the Vulnerable Child at Children’s Hospital in Oakland , CA. She wrote this book to teach “parents and educators of black and biracial children how to reduce racism’s impact on a child’s development – from preschool through adolescence – and in doing so to raise emotionally healthy children.” I found it to be really insightful. Although I’m mixed (black/white), I wasn’t necessarily prepared for how my own pre-school aged son was dealing with his mixed status (e.g., having different skin color than mine and his dad’s, thinking people would not know we were a family). Now my son is 10 and seems perfectly comfortable with who is he – all of who he is. Anyway, I think it’s great that you reached out to the group and it sounds like everyone’s given you some really good advice. I’d echo all of that, especially everyone telling you that you need to help your son understand that he’s whole, perfect, and complete exactly as he is (take it from a biracial woman who doesn’t so much as tan and has had to come to the understanding that skin color doesn’t say anything about who you truly are, thank God). Good luck!