Posts Tagged ‘biracial children’

The problem with being an optimistic person is that sometimes the negativity everywhere seems like it could be solved with some BBQs and heart-to-hearts. Or at least a heavy dose of therapy. biracial children identity

It really wears me down. I’m sure it wears everyone down, but as someone who just wants to be happy all the time, bad news and grumpy moods REALLY get me down. So I’ve had to be selfish for my sanity, withdraw and protect myself emotionally. I’ve kept the news off, disabled my Facebook news feed, closed myself off to the world as much as possible and focused on what’s here before me. I’ve planned day trips, shared a lot about potty training, and let my brain relax into jello as I analyzed every Bachelorette episode. I’d checked out, friends. But I’d needed that.

During this exercise I’ve had a lot of time to reflect and you know what? Though I’ve been more removed, I’m still so worried for our kids. Still hopeful, but worried.

There are so many messages out there about minorities, blacks, whites, and so much hatred and I’m so sad that all of our kids are growing up in this mess. We’ve taken huge steps forward and now I feel like we’re taking a giant step back. I truly hope that our children can come out of this more accepting, with a brighter outlook, and more loving than any generation before.

As a mother of two biracial children I have a thousand concerns swirling around in my head. In so many ways I want to (and do) shelter them. But ultimately I want them to be armed and ready for what lies ahead. I want them to have a better childhood than I did. I never want them to feel ashamed of who they are, or their background. And I want them to be ready to stand up for themselves when necessary.

Lessons for biracial children and their families as they learn about themselves. Discussing biracial children identity.

These are 10 invaluable lessons for my biracial children

1. Know who you are… on all fronts

If society stays the way it is now you’ll likely be considered black, no questions asked. Own it. Embrace that side of your background like the beautiful badge it is. Don’t feel the need to quickly correct anyone who checks you off for that box. That said, YOU know who you are, and you do not have to allow people to shove you into one box or another. Don’t be afraid to push the envelope to be acknowledged as you are. Anyone who asks you to “choose a side” probably isn’t worth your time.

2. Understand how others will perceive you whether that is right or wrong

As a continuation from number 1, it’s important to know that although you may embrace your entire background, others may still have preconceived notions.

My son, some people will look at you differently when you’re playing rough, wanting a turn with your friend’s water gun, or wearing a hoodie. It’s not right, but it’s important to be aware that it still happens.

My sweet daughter. Some people will see your skin as “too dark” while others call you names for being “too light.” You’re in a precarious position but I know you can handle it. No one knows you like we do. Remember which opinions really matter.

My children, be aware of how others will perceive you so you’re prepared for whatever is thrown your way.

When your biracial daughter says she wishes she was white: How to stay calm and work through the situation. Lessons for biracial children and their families as they learn about themselves. Discussing biracial children identity.

3. Don’t be a victim

Now that I’ve told you how the world seems set up against you, let me tell you this… You are NOT a victim. Don’t ever let your skin color hold you back from anything.You may often find yourself in situations where you’re surrounded by people who don’t look like you, that doesn’t mean you don’t belong. Don’t sell yourself short or think that something is impossible because of the way you look. You may be the first. You may be the only in different paths you take. But you are not less-than or incapable.

If I ever hear you attribute being unwilling to try for something because of what you look like we are going to have some serious problems. Don’t you dare allow others to convince you you’re at a disadvantage and can’t go as far because of the way you look. I’ve worked way too hard to prove you otherwise.

4. You are not required to think like anyone else

I hate stereotypes and though there is one for nearly every situation, we certainly get a heavy dose of it. Across the board, people have a variety of opinions, hair styles, sense of fashion, way of speaking and so on. For some reason when it comes to black people, others want to put us into a box as if we all think the same way and then ask why we’re “different” when we diverge from their assumptions. Some people think they’re complimenting us when they say we are “well spoken” or “so articulate” just because they are shocked we aren’t using ebonics. Not only is it not a compliment, it’s offensive.

Just because you share the same color skin as someone doesn’t mean you share the same collective brain, with the same thoughts, experiences, or opinions.  White people are allowed to disagree with other white people who don’t think like them. We should be allowed to have the same rainbow of opinions.

You are entitled to your own view point. People aren’t always going to agree with you, and that’s life. But you should be granted the same amount of contradicting opinions as anyone else.

Please always remember, you do not speak for all black people. Which brings me to my next point.

5. You are not a spokesperson and don’t have to be

You don’t speak for every biracial/black/brown person. Give others their chance to say what they believe and share your opinions while also respecting those of others who may feel differently.

Also, you don’t owe it to anyone to be a black history teacher. It’s not your responsibility to educate those who are ignorant; to allow people to play with your hair; to ask you crude or offensive questions because you’re a “safe friend.” Trust me, it gets exhausting. That is not your job. Feel free to direct people to their nearest library or paid educational resource.

All that said, people can learn a lot from you. Just being in your presence will inspire and influence people and peek their curiosity. So…

6. Be willing to teach and willing to learn

If something offends you, be open to explaining why. Having a canned response prepared is totally ok. For instance, the “what are you?” question gets really annoying. Obviously you’re a human being and a thousand other things, but people are failing at finding a polite way to ask about your heritage. You could share a more polite way to pose that question so that they don’t prance around offending every multiracial person they come in contact with for the rest of their lives.

Also, you don’t know everything. So be willing to be quiet and listen to others who are different than you. You can learn a lot from them, just like they can learn from you. Leaving this world without moving beyond our own little shells of experience would be such a waste. Go, meet, explore, absorb!

Confronting racist friends and learning to be the change.

7. Don’t mind those who don’t matter

Realize that as much as you may wish you could, you can’t make everyone like you. And you can’t make everyone happy.Please don’t let the opinions of others wear you down. Remember the opinions that are truly important and know how to spot a true loyal friend.

8. Have grace

No one is perfect. People are going to screw up and offend you. Be forgiving. Especially if they are sincerely apologetic. And if they are not… Ask yourself who is that hurting in the long run? Them or you? Give yourself permission to let things go so that others’ negativity doesn’t infringe on your joy.

9. Learn better and try to do better

Try not to make assumptions. Rarely have you seen the full picture. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Even if you think they are the most disgusting piece of footwear you’ve ever laid eyes on, just stick your feet in and give it a try. I promise you there will always be something you can learn from someone else that can help you to become an even better person.

Watching my children play is like magic. Raising biracial children. A millennial mom blog.

10. Love yourself

If I didn’t stress this enough let me drive this point home, there is no one on this world exactly like you. There has never been any other and will never be any other you. Treat yourself as such. Don’t get caught up in trying to be like someone else. Love the beautiful brown skin your in and all of your other wonderful qualities. Become the best person you can be, and help others to become their best selves.

When we’re all helping one another to be great, we will all rise to be great, and inevitably make the world a better place. … Oh there goes my optimism again.

Biracial Children Identity

 

“Wow, he’s almost as dark as me!” I pointed to our son as my husband and I sat with the kids at the pool.

Our little 3-year-old is like so many other little boys. He’s happy, and fearless and finally getting the hang of pooping in the potty.

Right now you can’t help but look at him and see anything but an adorable little boy with a head of curls and eyelashes women envy. But how will you look at him in 10 years?

I love his brown skin. But I hate how it makes people feel.

I know some people want to say they don’t see color and that they see everyone the same. I’m not asking you to ignore who we are. I’m asking you (“you” could be you, your grandma, your aunt, neighbor etc etc) to see us as normal human beings.

When you subconsciously put more space between yourself and a black person, or lock your car door when we walk by, or tell me I’m ‘so articulate’, when really you mean “wow, you don’t sound ghetto” that’s ignorant. I almost said racist, but I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt.

When you see more black people on TV than you do in real life–Rich actors playing gangsters and thugs, what are you to believe?

When your only experience with different socio-economical communities is the violence you see on the 9 o’clock news, what are you to think?

Don’t let that completely skewed image of “reality” paint a picture of an entire race.

In countless shoot, don’t shoot scenarios participants are put in an officer’s shoes and put to the test to see how they would handle a realistic situation. People are quicker to pull the trigger on a black life. Oh, but don’t think you’re immune if you’re black. These results were across the board. Even with civilians, preachers, and race advocates.

This is why it’s so terrifying. This is why wives and mothers are fearful for their black husbands and sons. This is why we agree that our son will not have toy guns. We don’t want him to live in fear, but we also don’t want anyone to feel like they have the justification to harm our son. It’s not a risk we’re willing to take.

Police wife married to a white cop with a biracial black son

Part of the problem is people are more fearful of blacks. You wouldn’t believe the calls officers get to respond to a “suspicious person” that is nothing more than a black salesman going door to door. This isn’t just a police problem. This is society’s problem.

You may look at a news story about an officer involved shooting and say you’re waiting for more facts, but the fact of the matter is, had Alton Sterling, or Philando Castile been white, the officers may never have pulled the trigger. Had 12-year-old Tamir Rice been white, he probably would have been given the benefit of the doubt. Actually I’d wager a lot of money that he would still be alive.

And that is why I’m scared for my son. I’m worried society won’t give him the benefit of the doubt. That people will make their own judgements based on the color of his skin and react according to fear. Fear that should not even exist.

If you don’t think this is a real issue then you’re at risk of becoming a part of the problem.

And that is why people are saying #BlackLivesMatter. Because black lives matter TOO. Changing the message to #AllLivesMatter is like going to a Save The Rainforest meeting and shouting “But ALL forests matter!!” Or going to a Cancer Sucks event and saying “ALL diseases suck!” It’s just not cool.

Do blue lives matter? Why yes, of course. But we already know that. That was harshly evident this morning in my timeline when countless silent voices before suddenly spoke up about the violence and terror. Violence and fear I’ve been seeing all week.

My black friends who had been crying with me all week about Sterling and Castile deaths were also crying out about the deaths of the officers. Why is it that we can care about “all life”, but others don’t care about ours?

My husband kissed me goodbye this morning before he left to start his watch. All day I prayed that some wacko wanting to retaliate against police wouldn’t shoot my husband for no reason, or out of fear.

“It would suck if I died and then BYU won the national championship,” my husband joked as I fought back more tears this afternoon. He was trying to lighten the mood and be funny, but it’s not fun to have conversations that start with “If I die today…” which has been happening a lot more than usual lately. As scared as I am for my son’s life, I believe my husband’s is in much more immediate danger.

Tensions are tight, emotions are running wild, and I am absolutely terrified he may get caught in the crossfire. I pray morning and night that never ever happens.

If my husband were killed in the line of duty I KNOW I’d have your support. And I’m so thankful for that.

But if my son was killed at the hands of police would I still have your love and support? Or would you assume he was somehow threatening?

Police wife married to a white cop with a biracial black son

I love and appreciate your support for blue lives. I want more of it. Most of the time it feels like everyone is either afraid or hates police. But you know what? From the middle of the road, where I’m standing, it seems like people fear and hate black people even more. I need more love for my black community. And guess what? You don’t have to switch sides, you can do both.

Trevor Noah from The Daily Show stated my feelings precisely. We shouldn’t be choosing sides. If you’re pro-#blacklivesmatter you’re assumed to be anti-police. And if you’re pro-police, you’re assumed to hate black people. It’s seems it’s either pro-cop and anti-black or pro-black and anti-cop when in reality you can be pro cop AND pro-black which is what we should all be.

I promise you, it’s possible to love and support both. Go on, give it a try.

Will you stand with me, for my cop husband and my black son?

I’m terrified what will happen if we do not.


I sometimes feel like a unicorn…Being a police wife also speaking about #BlackLivesMatter. But I know there are more of us. If you or someone you know feels this way I’d love them to join in on this conversation about how we can help bridge a divide. I don’t know what I’m doing or have a master plan but I felt inspired to do something. Visit PoliceWivesforBlackLives.com to get involved.

“I like that picture of me as a baby mom, my skin was nice and white,” my daughter told me last week.

“What?” I asked her. Thinking I heard right, but hoping I didn’t.

“My skin was white, I wish I could go back to that,” she clarified.

“Your skin is beautiful the way it is, you don’t need to be different,” I said.

“But I do! And I wish my hair was straight!”

“Why?”

“Because then when I go swimming it would be silky smooth when I come out of the water,” she  told me.

Ok, well, that kind of made sense. We have some serious detangling sessions after swimming in the pool. But I told her that happens to everyone, whether your hair is curly or straight.

When your biracial daughter says she wishes she was white

“Your curly hair and skin are both beautiful,” I told her. “You’re brown like mommy and white like daddy, we made you the way you are.”

“You MADE ME?” She asked. Oops. This conversation was quickly taking a sharp turn toward another chat I wasn’t ready for.

“I mean, you’re just how you’re suppose to be, and we love the way you are.”

“But I want to be graceful, like Elsa. …What is ‘graceful’ anyway?”

I took this opportunity to try to turn things around.

“It’s when you’re elegant, calm, and gentle.”

“So basically the opposite of my brother?” She asked.

“Right… You ARE graceful.”

Her face lit up and she squealed with glee.

“Ok, I love my skin and hair!”

I knew the conversation was over for now, but not for good.

I distinctly remember in kindergarten was when I started to “wake up” to what other girls saw as pretty. And it wasn’t me. Some even went as far to call my skin ugly. To my knowledge this hasn’t happened to my daughter yet.

It’s left me wondering how I’ll react when she brings it up again, because I think she probably will at some point. I think it’s normal–not preferred of course–but somewhat expected given the society we live in.

I wonder, do little white girls ever tell their parents they wish they were brown? Do 5-year-old girls with straight hair ever wish for a head full of curls? Or has society’s showcase of beauty made that a non-issue?

When you go to school, turn on the TV, or watch Disney princess movies where very few look like you, it can alter your sense of what’s beautiful.

Biracial Disney Princess Series: My Little Princess- A cute and creative mother-daughter photo series featuring a biracial girl dressed up as Disney Princesses.

Ok yea, sure, there’s princess Tiana, and I love the movie, but I’ll be the first to admit how disappointed I was that she was a frog for 90% of the movie. I wanted my daughter and other little girls to fall in love with a dark-skinned princess singing and dancing in her gown throughout the movie, like little girls could during all of the other movies.

Nevertheless, she knows she can embody any princess she wants to be. I’ve made it a point to make sure the books on our shelves are filled with beautiful brown boys and girls who look like me, and my children.

When your biracial daughter says she wishes she was white: How to stay calm and work through the situation.

Now I’m becoming more aware of opportunities to point out people who challenge the norm. Black ballerinas, cheerleaders, actors and figure skaters. Though I’ve always told her she can be anything she wants to be, I think it’s important for me to show her people who are doing the things she loves and aspires to do. People she can see as beautiful and talented who also look like her.

Monica Kaufman, Atlanta’s top anchor for decades, and Oprah both played a huge part in my aspiring to be a news anchor. They were beautiful, talented, doing amazing things, and they looked like me. Somehow seeing them made that dream seem more realistic.

I know to some people it doesn’t seem like that should be important, but I’d argue otherwise. Just like we want our daughters to see women doctors, leaders, and other women doing wonderful things, and being role models; I’m wanting to see more of that for women of color.

My daughter and I have had similar conversations before, and I can tell the way she self-identifies is evolving. I’m trying to be careful not to overreact because the mind of a child works much differently than the mind of an adult. I just want to do my part in making sure she grows up to be proud of who she is, inside and out.

When I pictured what our daughter would look like I hoped she would have my eye shape and my husband’s eye color. He has very wide, stunning blue eyes. They were the first thing I noticed when I saw him, and still one of my favorite physical qualities of his.

Yours

I like the almond shape of my eyes though, and thought they’d look striking in a lighter color on our little girl.

But what do you know, she got the exact opposite. And they couldn’t be cuter.

Last week I was in a hair shop buying some rollers when another black woman walked in and asked the man behind the counter if they sold color contacts. I stood by and watched as he pulled the case of display contacts out from their hiding space under the register, and watched as the woman looked them over.

She was beautiful. When she looked up I noticed she had lighter eyes than mine. Very light. And based on her purchase inquiry, they were most likely colored contacts. It reminded me of a phase I went through. Starting in high school, and through most of college I wore gray colored contacts. Grey sounds weird but they looked a pretty hazel when I wore them. I didn’t wear glasses, and I didn’t need contacts. My vision is perfect. They were strictly cosmetic.

I liked the way they made me look–Different. I stood out, and got compliments almost daily on my “beautiful” eyes.

I wore them when I met my husband, on television, even at our wedding. He preferred I didn’t wear them, but I liked them so I kept the habit. It wasn’t until I did an internship in Atlanta the summer before I graduated college that I decided to toss them.

There was a reporter I looked up to who took me under his wing. He was the youngest reporter at this powerhouse station, and he also happened to be black. He always told me what he thought straight up, and was never afraid to hold back with me.

I’ll never forget what he asked me:

“Why don’t you do you?”

“What?” The question caught me off guard. I had no idea what he was talking about.

“Why are you pretending to be someone you’re not? You don’t need to change the color of your eyes.”

I pointed out another reporter at the station who was doing the same thing but he didn’t take that as an excuse, and told me I should get rid of them.

So I did.

Mine

The next day I went in for the first time in a long time, with the eyes I was born with.

“See, you have beautiful brown eyes,” he told me. “Dark brown eyes, the ones you were given.”

Thankfully, we’ve remained friends over the years and he continues to be a mentor of mine and give me advice when I need it.

That conversation has stuck with me a long time and I often have to check myself and remember to just “do me.”

I’m glad I learned this lesson and came to love myself, and my eyes before my daughter was born. Her eyes were light gray for a day, but turned as black as mine by day two.

Ours

They’re big and wide like her daddy’s and dark like mine. They’re mine and his. They’re beautiful, and perfectly mixed

Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget



I'm a part-time journalist, full-time wife and mother striving to make the world a better place and inspiring others to do the same. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day.

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