When I imagined my daughter before she was born I saw her with dark skin and light eyes. Instead she came out light skin with dark eyes. The complete opposite.

I didn’t brace myself for the reality of this possibility. The possibility that my daughter could have skin as light as my husband and not look anything like me at first glance. I knew it could happen. I just didn’t think it would.

Forever Bliss Photography

Growing up in the south where racial issues are still tense, and the predominant races are black and white, kids were forced to choose sides. It may not have been as obvious as team captains choosing teammates for their kickball team, but it was noticeable, and people would call you out for it.

The black kids hung out with the black kids and the white kids hung out with the white kids. And if you decided to cross the line in the sand you were considered a sort of traitor of your own race. Blacks who had white friends were nicknamed “Oreos” and whites who had black friends were called “Wiggers.” I still can’t help but feel disgusted toward the terms.

So much in our world is black or white. The gray area is gone. This goes for race too. Especially in our country.

Many are so quick to call President Obama “Black” although he’s half white as well. I’ll admit I do it. I was one of the women who was so angry when Tiger Woods corrected people when they called him “the first Black golfer to be #1” saying he was the first Thai/Black. Why was he ashamed to be called black?

My husband took the opposing stance. Why should he denounce his mother’s side of the family because society says he has to choose?

Back then, there were no if ands or buts about it. My children would choose. And they’d choose their black side. Because that’s what they’d look like, and that’s what society would label them as anyway. Claiming to be “mixed” felt like a shot at me. As if it wasn’t a good thing to be called what I’m called.

But then my daughter was born. Her skin as light as my husbands and eyes as dark as mine. She’s a beautiful mix of both of us and I the thought of making her choose one side–My side–seems wrong.

She’ll grow up facing questions I never had to deal with. The oh too common “what are you?” question on the playground will come up time and time again. While no harm is intended I can understand how it would feel embarrassing at first, or sound extremely rude to people like me. But the more multiracial people I meet, the more I’m hearing they got used to it, and would just smile and explain.

According to the census bureau, by 2050, minorities will be the majority with the number of mixed-raced children is on the rise. I don’t know what it’s like to be biracial but I’ve met some who told me they felt like they had to choose a side in order to fit in, or feel accepted my family members or social groups. A section of this TIME article calls this the “forced-choice dilemma.”

It goes on to say that these days mixed-raced children don’t feel the need to choose a side but share their background with pride.

Seeing more and more interracial marriages around me, and more mixed-raced children in result, I can see the forced-choice problem as a dying dilemma. I’ve decided to squash it at my house.

I may choose her dinners, wardrobe, and even try to choose her social circles; but today I’ve decided I won’t make her choose my race over her own.


this post is powerful and beautiful, its so true to not make her choose…she came from LOVE ultimately. maybe you can send this post over to halle berry =)

africa says:

I love that you addressed this issuse with grace.My niece and nephews are of a mixed background their father is black and mother white.when the time comes and i’m sure it will we we tell them that they are a beautiful mix of both worlds.I don’t think they have to choose either but whatever they choose it will be up to them.

The other side of this is either parent could face the question, Where did you adopt your children from. I have a friend with an Indian (as in from India) spouse and one with a Mexican spouse. In both cases the mothers are white and have been approached on the playground with that question. It seems just as bad to assume adoption, rather than ask the heritage and let them explain their significant other is another race, or even if it is adoption. In all cases the children are beautiful with such an ethnic look.

On the flip side, my sister in law HAS adopted a few kids and they look like they fit right in to her family.

I think giving them education on both and preparing them for what they may face is the most important aspect of mixing race. In my case it is actually religion. We teach about my husbands Scottish heritage and teach the Jewish faith and traditions.

Kudos to you for realizing this sooner rather than later.

Jessica says:

very well said! my daughter faces the same challenges/opportunities and her dad and i fully plan on making her feel special and lucky that she gets to be apart of two different but equally important and wonderful cultures.

Sunny says:

Wow this is a brilliant post, really insightful. I’d never thought about it in the way that your husband described it either even though I’m always quick to say to people that I’m Irish/english.
Thanks for your food type thought and your child is so fortunate to have a mummy willing to let her make these decisions for herself.

I was called an Oreo all my life but not coz I had White friends, it was
Because I was apparently black on the outside and White on the inside, someone decided I wasn’t “black enough”. Because of my experience, I always
Knew that I would never define my son’s race for him. I don’t know what flavour
He’ll turn out to be (we find out in 10 wks) but whatever it is, I want him to be comfortable with the two cultures that make him part of who he’s going to be.

All I can say, is beautifully said. Very thought-provoking and powerful.

Mrs O says:

Beautiful post. My sisters and brothers are mixed race. Our Dad was black but their Mum is white. My sister (still talking about the half sister) said that she always felt she wanted to be white. She says it was only when she grew older – like 25(!)that she accepted that she was half black/half white if you like. I think my brother pretty much felt the same. One of the brother looks more arab/asian than anything – its funny how genes work.

I also have a cousin, who has three mixed race children. In this case, she is black and her husband white and she too was surprised at how fair her first child is. She is very very ‘white’, with almost ginger/brown hair and lightist eyes. They are all beautiful and hopefully the new generation of mixed race children in our family wont feel the same pressures to be one race or the other…

Well done you for not labelling her. xxxx

Beautifully written. My son is Black and Latin from and already everyone wants to classify him. “Well he looks black” or “Well he looks more hispanic.”
” I’m like Who cares.

jennie w. says:

I think the race issue is going to get so big and so complicated that it won’t be possible to define someone according to their race. Maybe in the South where things are still black and white (ha-ha). But I look at our old neighborhood in SAlt Lake, for example. All white (super white!) parents. But four families adopted several mixed race children. So they are being raised by white people. Which makes me wonder how “black” they will be. Because I think everyone would agree that race isn’t just about skin color. There’s a whole cultural side too.

I agree with your husband about the Tiger Woods issue. Nobody ever said “Tiger, how do you feel about being the first Asian to win this tournament?” When he is just as Asian as he is black. It probably made him feel bad that half of his identity was completely ignored, just because he doesn’t look so Asian.

Tractor Mom says:

I wish more biracial children had the strong and wize mother that you are!

Adrienne says:

I am in the same situation. Right now, my girls aren’t old enough to understand societal pressures, but I’ve already gotten the looks and the questions. All I can do is be a supportive parent and not put extra stress toward the situation by making them choose one race over the other.

J says:

I also love that you addressed this issue. I am currently expecting with a biracial child, I am white and my husband is black, and it is nice to see people actually talk about it.

I don’t think I have ever commented, but I love to read your blog I’ve been reading since you were pregnant with Lil J. She is beautiful! Its funny, I always wonder what our daughter will come out looking like, and I also imagine her coming out with darker skin.

I have to say, this is probably one of the most powerful posts I’ve read in awhile. Thank you for sharing, because God knows there are thousands of other mothers out there dealing with the same issue right now. Thanks for delving into this.

What a lovely post. Thank you for sharing! I often wonder what my children will have to deal with. My husband’s family is from India and I am white. I hope they can gracefully deal with the questions just as your multi-racial friends have. I also appreciate the comment above. It will be hard to have people ask if my children are mine! But, I will just be happy to be blessed with a child.

– Angela

http://angelaslavani.blogspot.com/

Iiona says:

I love this post. My youngest daughter will have this same issue as she grows up, the only difference is her father and I are both AA. Between the two of us we have 6 children (the last 2 being our children both girls) and 5 out of the 6 have a dark complexion, very beautiful. But our youngest one, the one we almost lost in my 33rd week of pregnancy. She came out as light a white person, as a matter of fact she actually looked white for so long I prayed she would darken up. She is now 3 1/2 and she still has a light complexion (sometimes being lighter than the white people she is around). For so long one of her doctor’s thought we had adopted her, my friends teased me that maybe it was the mailman’s, and our then 6 year old questioned us about if that was really his sister and why she looked so white (his words). When we would go out as a family people would stare at us and give us second glances like we stole a baby or something. Then as she became older that is the only person in our family people noticed, she is always the cute one. And then my other children will get and so are you. As much as I love her I can’t also help but feel a little resentment to God for putting our family through this. I know because of her skin tone she will always be looked at first and complimented first and her siblings will be completely ignored. At home and with family she is no different and we don’t treat her different. But out in the world she is different. I have to also confess that because of that I have gone full and headlong into my girls wearing their hair all natural. I mean I had already intended it to be that way, but because she is so light I make it a point to show that she is not white or mixed raced. Because when she is older I NEVER want her to be ashamed to be black, I NEVER want her to pass as something she is not. My grandmother did it when she was growing up because she was light skinned, my husbands dad did it and so did his older sister. So the color isn’t from out of nowhere… I just go back to the old days with my thinking and can’t handle the fact that one day even now if I were to straighten her hair she might decide she want to pass as something else… I would be so devastated and feel like I failed in my attempts at being her mother… What an interesting journey this will be… I will see if I can post a picture of what our family looks like on your FB page and then you will see what I am talking about…Thanks for sharing…

Syreena says:

i think the fact that you even have to think about this is interesting. i am a brown girl with a brown hubs and two brown babies and i just see all love… i never have to think of how the world will percieve them and neither should you have to. its interesting what the world makes up take note of when their are so many other things that we could be concerned with. my mother is mixed and i think she had a few issues with the fact that neither of her children were remotely near her coloring. i think it is beatiful that you have determined your stance on how you will teach your beautiful little mama…i hope i said all of that right?!? I just had my second lil man a few weeks ago and ive been awake for 27 hours straight…. comment boxes should have spell check…lol

Nichole says:

love this post! you will definitely help her be strong about whatever she chooses. she will need that. it’s good that you and your husband try to see things from both sides.

as i’ve told my husband, i have no idea what it’s like to be hispanic, to have darker skin and get noticed for it. our boy is darker than me, but lighter than my husband. i’m hoping that people will think he’s just nicely tanned. 🙂 but i am glad that we’ll have both perspectives – mine and my husband’s – to help him navigate through any questions that come up on the playground.

I have the same issue, except my child came out looking a lot like me and not so much like her daddy. I was actually prepared for the opposite, for her to be dark and not as light as she is. What a great reminder that we have to teach our children to embrace both sides of thier heritage. We are lucky that we live in a world where it is becoming more of the “norm” to be mixed race. We have a long way to go, but we have also come very far (well most of us have).

Denene says:

BEAUTIFUL sentiment, my love. I’m proud of you for leaving it up to your daughter to choose how she feels about it and not forcing her to be either or. Now if we could just get society to get past this issue and let biracial children just… be…

LegalChic says:

I love this post! It is true that being mixed is more embraced now. I remember when I was a teen and lived in the south it was like that. I had a lot of black friends and some boyfriend’s and never had the desire to choose what side. I have always looked at people as people and that is how it should be :).

One thing that is rough is when only one heritage is taught and the kids grow up only connecting with that one part of who they are. Teaching to love ALL your flavors is important.

I am a mix of Irish,French,Filipino,Scottish,Spanish and Russian and my daughter is mine + Creole,Dutch,French Canadian so were all mixed up but I am teaching her to love and embrace all these parts of who she is.

Your daughter is a beautiful reminder that love goes far deeper then the color of one’s skin 🙂 I think you’ll do a great job of teaching her that.

Brianna
http://www.girlscurls.blogspot.com

Sand-EEEE-ra says:

Absolutely beautiful!

I am Mexican-American. To on-lookers, I appear as ‘white’ as they come. Light skin, dark eyes… similar to your daughter, my mother is Mexican and I got my dads complexion. I have always taken pride in who I am. When I lived in Arizona, I was in a small town and everyone knew who I was. The majority of my family lived in the town so there was no question. I moved to Colorado halfway through high school where I was questioned… I remember on day going to the bathroom where a few Hispanic girls were putting on make-up. As I closed the stall door, I heard their conversation of the ‘new white girl who Hung out with all the other white girls.’ I cam out, and very politely, in Spanish, introduced myself and clarified that I am Mexican-American. A few weeks later, over heard them again, I was a traitor….

I have been faced with the issue of ‘proving’ who I am ever since. Good thing I know Spanish because that is always the test I am given.

It hurts, and at one time made me wonder if there was something wrong with me. My father and his family grew up in the south… my paternal grand-mother was against my parents marriage based on who my mother is. I was called a ‘spic-let’ by her, and she has felt as though my name is too ethnic, so she calls me Sandy Sue.

I am who I am, and proud of who I am…. in fact the ‘two or more races’ box is something that makes me happy.

Mrs. Case says:

i’m mixed race and most people don’t know it because i am fair skinned. my brothers each look entirely different than me, and one is very dark while the other has blonde hair and blue eyes. i fall somewhere in the middle. my entire life people would say deragatory things about Hispanics not knowing that was part of me. it didn’t bother me, in fact i took joy in correcting them; the looks on their faces were priceless and proved they’d learned a lesson. whenever i have to fill out a form that asks my race, i choose “other” and write in “American.” I know some people think that is ridiculous but for me it is my truth. i am an American before I am anything else. I was born here and this country is my heritage. i refuse to be labeled by anythign else for someone else’s comfort.

YUMMama says:

Great post. I can so relate to the traitor situation. I grew up in a mostly white town and having a multiracial family, I was used to conversing with people of all backgrounds. It didn’t dawn on me until I was in third grade that many of the Black kids thought I was a ‘white ppl lover.’ Honestly, I was crushed the first time I heard it, but as I got older I thought who cares.

I can talk to who I want and be friends with who I want. While we were raised to identify as Blacks, my mom constantly reminded us that we were multiracial and kept us in contact with our non-Black family members. She even gave us the option of classifying ourselves as mixed.

And with Moo, everybody kept wondering what I would classify her as because her dad is Black, Italian and Native American and when she was born she looked more Native American than anything. Even though she’s now more of a golden brown skin tone ppl still question me about her race because of her hair and facial features. It annoys me, but I use it as the perfect time to let them know that she’ll be whatever she wants to be.

Everything is not always Black and White. There are grey areas and we need to learn to accept that.

melifaif says:

**STANDING OVATION** So glad you wrote this post. I have so many comments and observations…probably too many. I will just say thanks. You have a beautiful daughter and a lovely family. I have no doubt she will grow up to be a very well adjusted HUMAN BEING!!!!!! Much love lady.

melifaif says:

Oh, and I LOVE her outfit. hehehehehe

The reality is, society labels you whether you decide to choose or not. If you look like a minority more than likely you will be treeated like one. Obama knows that all too well despite his mother being white. These are things that don’t die as much as we would like them to. I just hope you and hubby do an excellent job of making sure she knows who she came from(both sides) and learns her history both black and white. She can choose to be human but to society they’ll label her how they see fit.

What an amazing post. You wrote it with such class. I personally have no experience with this. I came from same race parents. But my husband came from a white mother and an Italian father. He went to a school that was 90% white. He got teased. He came home one day asking his mom if he was black. She told him to tell everyone it was none of their business. But she never told him what his race was. He was 5. He found out later though. Our kids look just like me. Blonde hair blue eyes. And they done have many of my husband’s features. I’ve had people ask me who the dad is. It really irritates me.

Chanel says:

This was such a great post and it really hit home for me. I too have a mixed child whose skin is white like her father with beautiful dark eyes like myself. I couldn’t ever imagine making her choose a side. Her chooseing a side would be like her tell me(or her daddy) that our heritage doesn’t matter or isn’t important. I want to her to know and embrace both sides that made her so beautiful and special.

Feliz4life says:

As a biracial child myself, I definitely had my ups and downs on this issue. It is important to educate our children as much as possible regarding racial issues. Funny though, I don’t see my child as biracial I see him as black….yet people where I live have already started to ask me what he is mixed with. Then again, I do live in the real South lol There is actually a segregated town 20 mins. away from me!

Maria says:

Even in my tiny town (where I could count “non-whites” on 1 hand as a kid) multi-racial families (especially across 2 generations) means “white” and “black” really aren’t too common. I’m thrilled to see the diversity in my daughter’s class now. I guess I tend to assume people are “like me” because we saw her tan, blonde, curly haired friend at the park yesterday, with her hispanic (I think?) family and I was surprised.

Honestly, I do wonder sometimes what people’s nationality is, but I would never ask. Luckily, my DD doesn’t blink twice at people who look different than her, so I guess I’m doing something right?

I get more antsy about the mom/dad & kids having different last names…I felt like an azz when a mom sent an email rsvp to my dd’s bday and I had no idea whose parent she was. Or DD calling them Mrs. So and so when they’re not! I don’t care what people’s last names are, I just hate looking like a dummy, LOL.

The Smiths says:

Wonderful post! We live in South Carolina, are LDS, and adopted 2 boys with mixed background. I worry all the time about them having to choose and the struggles they will have in front of them. I know I can’t totally understand it as I have not been there, but I hope we can instill a sense of pride in their heritage and help them to feel confident in themselves so they can “conquer the world.”

Maria says:

I wanted to add one more thing. It’s ahrd from a “white” perspective because I don’t care what color people are. Hoenstly. BUT I constantly worry about offending someone. In fact, since I typed my last comment, I’ve wondered if it could be taken as offensive. I wish my kids could grow up in a world where it didn’t matter. I’ve told my daughter that the world would be pretty boring if we all looked and talked and felt exactly the same way.

I have an italian/portugese mother and I look like her, expect I have pale skin from my Dad. I have an italian name, but it’s also a very common hispanic name around here (and everywhere I guess.) I’ve been assumed to be hispanic and it bothered me. Not because there’s anything wrong with being hispanic, but because I’m happy to be Italian, if that makes sense.

I always thought I’d have kids that looked like me, with dark hair, but I have a little blonde girl. My son was born with dark hair and I was happy to have a baby who looks like me. Then, his hair fell out and grew back light brown! They have my kin color, btu I could still be the babysitter, LOL.

Destiny says:

This is a great post. I loved it.
I am white and very light complected while my husband is part hispanic and dark. Of our four children, my oldest is the only one with my husbands complextion. When she was little people used to look at me funny when I was out with her before asking if her dad was “dark.” Our other three are all light complected, but my husband has never had the same reaction when he’s out with them.
Interestingly, my oldest daughter (who’s 8) identifies herself as being hispanic. I recently wrote about it on my blog: http://somemaycallitdestiny.blogspot.com/2010/10/hey-maca-raena.html

Love this. You are an amazing mama.

love that you wrote about this.
we’re in the processing of doing a transracial adoption (we’re white and adopting a mixed or african american child) and i’ve been praying that our child doesn’t have to “pick sides”.

De Su Mama says:

I am Cuban and my Husband is African-American and I have always loved mixedness and embraced it wholeheartedly… maybe because I am from Southern California and my experiences are different?

I love my dark skinned husband, and I love the way he looks even more next to my olive skin. I love that our daughter’s skin color is a combination of us both. And I love that her features can make her look of many cultures.

I agree with your Husband’s notion: why does she have to choose at all? Like you said, being mixed {or biracial} is more of an American identity in its own rite than ever before. I say embrace the beauty of color, in all shades! I don’t call our President White or Black, because he is Mixed…what does that say to my child if I choose to ignore one part of him? That she has to ignore one part of herself, too? Society will typecast her soon enough, I don’t need to push the envelope.

My Husband and I acknowledge Loving Day every year, which is celebrated and supported by the Loving Day foundation { http://www.lovingday.org } in memory of Loving v. Virginia (1967), a federal law that was passed making it illegal for States to ban interracial relationships. The couple’s last name was really Loving..how cool is that?!? Maybe this is something you and your husband can look into, and form your own tradition of acknowledgment to embrace and honor your child’s mixed race?!

Thank you for this great post…you’ve inspired me to perhaps blog about this topic as well. It takes a lot of bravery and honesty on your part. Your sweet baby girl is a beauty, which means you are beautiful too. Don’t forget that, either 🙂

Jennifer says:

Oh, can we just hope that by the time she would have to think about this that NO one will have to think about it anymore. That’s what I want.

Ana B says:

That’s a great post, thanks for the insight! You look amazing with her on your hip! 🙂

I was just thinking about public schools recently in terms of racial segregation. I think while in the real world it isn’t as evident, in public schools kids inevitably still have divisive cliques much the same way as 50 years ago. The troubling thing, according to most publicly schooled students, is that there is little teachers and staff can do because each kid is for himself when they are in school without parents. Nobody is there to teach them that it is great to be friends with anyone who shares your interests, without looking at the color of skin. Teachers are busy with curriculum, testing, mandates, they don’t have time to teach the how to build relationships. Funny thing, I find that homeschoolers are a lot more inclusive of various races, perhaps because their parents set the example, not peers.

B&U&I says:

AMEN!!!

I too was raised in the south with just whites and blacks. It was okay to have a few white friends as long as the majority of your friends were black and they were the ones you ate lunch with. We had 2 homecoming queens, a black one and a white one and it wasn’t until I went to college and talked with other people that I realized this wasn’t “normal.”

I am black, my husband is half white/half Mexican so you can figure what that makes our child. I too expected my daughter to look different when she was born and while I loved unconditionally I did wish that she looked a little more like me. It took me months to get over it but then I began to realize how fortunate my daughter is and what an opportunity she can have.

Not only is the multiracial but she is multi-ethnic. I married into a family that literally comes from every corner of the earth: Mexico, Canada, USA, Norway, UK, Ghana, Peru and we’ve even “adopted” a few Afghan refugees as family members. It is opening up experiences for her that I never knew were possible growing up. I am so excited for her and for all that she will get to experience as she grows.

S/N: My personal motto is: “Eradicating racism one baby at a time!”

Thanks for this post!

Lisa says:

Your daughter is lovely as are your thoughts. Made me think of the song, “Black, White and Tan” a beautiful song for your daughter!

Jess says:

First…hellooooo sexy!
Second….sorry it took me so long.
Third……being asked at least 100 times if my kids are adopted I find it super annoying & think people should mind their own business.
Fourth…..I hate when people automatically check black OR white for the kids they are both!
Fifth……I hope that I raise my kids well enough that they can embrace both races and not choose sides. I think they should be proud that they are beautiful and very loved!

MsBabyPlan says:

Wonderful post.

I do agree that “by 2050, minorities will be the majority with the number of mixed-raced children is on the rise.”

I am in a biracial relationship and we are TTC to conceive, we both are waiting to see how our child will look like. The most important thing is that she or he is a healthy baby :).

Jessica Murdoch says:

I have just come across your blog and I love this post. I am AA married to a White man and we have twins both of whom look caramel colored — right in between my husband and I. We live in the north, so it’s not as big a deal. But still, this is America so of course race will always be somewhat of an issue. Thanks for your honesty!

Eric Bowen says:

I cringe at the question “What are you?”, as if our race or ethnicity defines us. It should not — though we should respect how heritage shapes us.

In the end, I hope we can laugh at racism:

“He called Granpop a sorry-assed, colored son-of-a-bitch. Granpop laughed and calmly said to his oppressor, ‘When I was born, I was brown. I grew up brown. When I’m cold in the snow or hot in the sunlight I’m still brown. When I get sick, I’m brown, and when I die I’ll be brown, all the way to Heaven, or Hell. You, on the other hand, when you were born you were pink. You grew up being white. In the sun you turn red. When you’re cold, you turn blue. When sick, you turn purple. And when you die, you’ll turn a sickly gray. Where do you get the damn nerve to call me ‘colored?’ ’ ”

— from “Wisdom of Our Mothers”

“Wisdom of Our Mothers” is an anthology of 88 stories and poems about what the authors learned from their mothers. Half the profits from the book are going to shelters for abused women and children.

Verena says:

I love this post very much! Your daughter is like you said a beautiful mix of both of you. Why should mixed children have to choose. Should´nt we all be tolerant? We are all children of God! Here in Germany I have many friends from differnt cultures and it doesn´t matter to me and my family if they have lighter or darker skin!
Have a wonderful weekend and I love your blog!
Hug´s,
Verena

I’m the mixed race (adult)child of a mixed race mummy.
My mother is an Australian Aboriginie. I’m also identified by the government and the Wirradjuri people as Aboriginal with my whiter then white skin covered in freckles and my green (sometimes blue) eyes. and sightly red tinged hair. the only people who seem to not have an issue with my being Aboriginal are Indigenous Australians….. the rest see me as some kind of traiter…

Jay says:

Great post! This is the same attitude that my husband and I have and will hope to convey to our own kids one day. It took us both a while to reach this agreement because in the past we’ve both joked (half-seriously) that we’ll be a little sad if our children look more like one of us than both of us. Happily, with time we’ve seen that this is NOT the point, and we’re just excited to see how our family turns out.

Also, since you liked the TIME article, I think you’ll also like this one from the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/30/us/30mixed.html

It really gave me hope that with each generation, racial issues in our country are getting better and bette, and that the world my children will grow up in will surely be just a bit more accepting than the one that I did.

Mrs. K says:

You guys are so cute. I like the matching outfit

Miriam says:

I got to this site via a comment from the Beyond Black and White blog.

I really appreciate this. Some how on the one hand you say this very sentiment to one group of people and they are ready to bludgeon the speak; and then I come to this site and everyone is so okay with this concept.

Very relieving lol.

Wow, all i can say is I so feel what you are going through. I am clearly white, however, my 10yr old, is half white/latino/italian so to say he looks noting like me is a major understatement. I get wierd looks all the time when I say he’s my son. Hes super tan, and, well, Im not lol. Im glad that he undrstands and because right now he lives in an area that is mostly latinos nothing is said and they all get along. I have never had a problem with him being an issue, just other adults giving the stink eyey when I say he’s mine.

Veronica says:

Your post made me realise I had chosen for my daughter. I had chosen for her to be mixed.

Before she was born, I was fairly sure she’d look more Chinese than not; after all she has 3 Chinese grandparents and one Caucasian one, my mother. But when she was born, I saw her pinkish complexion and dark brown hair with tinges of red in the sunlight, and I was surprised. Immediately I thought she looked more mixed than Chinese.

I grew up a mixed person and that has been my entire experience. As a child, other kids (being kids) would point out I was Chinese. I looked part Chinese and my surname was Chinese. But I was adamant I was not just one thing. I was both.

When my daughter is with Caucasian children, you can see she looks Chinese, but when she is with Chinese children, she doesn’t quite look like them. She is genetically both and will experience both in heritage, as we expose her to our shared history in Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Society will probably label her Chinese by her looks and her surname. But I will always be sure she knows about her whole heritage. I suppose she may want to choose to identify more with a “side” in future, but that will be her choice and I will have to accept that.

Your reflection on how, “Claiming to be “mixed” felt like a shot at me. As if it wasn’t a good thing to be called what I’m called.” resonated with me, but in a slightly different context. Before I even got married, I thought a lot about who I might marry and how our children would look. I wanted them to look “mixed” because if they weren’t, I wasn’t sure I could identify with them. And if they looked nothing like me, how would people view us? Going through this motherhood experience in a multicultural/multiracial world is as much, sometimes, about our own personal growth as it is about our children’s.

I am pregnant and due to give birth any day now to our second child. I’m curious how she will look but am open to anything now. I just know that I want her to have the save exposure to our family’s shared heritage, just like her big sister.

Chennifer says:

This was such a wonderful, open and honest post. Being multi-cultural, I feel that the morw we are being mixed, the forced choice-problem will be less common, and instead it will be wellmeant cutiosity that sparks the question of “who we are”

Rania says:

I also commend you for this post. My father is 1/2 black and 1/2 Japanese and back in the day because he was darker skinned and people just saw THAT, that’s what he considered himself. I know it hurt my Japanese grandmother to basically be ‘denied’ but that was just what they thought you were supposed to do back then (the one drop rule was big).

BUT, with me and my children who not only share my racial DNA but also that of my 1/2 Italian, 1/2 English husband will not be forced to choose. I will teach them that embracing ALL of you is the most important thing you can do because it is what makes you, you.

Running 365 says:

As a public school teacher in the rural south (where you would think race issues would be a bigger deal), I’ve gotten to see how all my students relate to each other over the years. Fortunately, I think race discrimination is not something most kids spend much time thinking about now. Our society is such a blend of cultures and children who are raised in that today don’t know any different. The racial cliques I remembered from my elementary school days are not the same today. And obviously, your little girl is going into the world with the advantage of being raised by you! She’s going to be leading the groups at school, not joining them! 🙂

Betsy says:

This is an amazing post. Thank you for addressing this issue so gracefully. I am not biracial, but I work in international adoption, and although the children that we place are usually not biracial, they are most often adopted by white families. So they’ll BE Ethiopian (for example), but will identify with white people because they’ll grow up in a white household. We have to do A LOT of educating our adoptive parents before their children come home so that they know how to approach the situation when their child inevitably starts asking questions or is ASKED questions at school. It’s nice to see a parent get it right (or what’s right in MY opinion) without having to take classes to do so. 🙂

ps: You look FABULOUS!

Great post! I’m African American and white. I married a white guy. We have two kids. My daughter has light skin and hazel eyes and my son has blue eyes and darker skin. We live in Los Angeles, where there are a lot of mixed kids. But, I still get questions about the kids when my husband isn’t there. I have taught my kids that they are mixed and that they should be very proud of both sides of their heritage. That’s what I was taught and I feel comfortable among blacks and whites. That said, I am black. Because of my skin color. I’d never be mistaken for white!

Celeste says:

You know – this is something that I have had strong opinions about for a long time. Although I am Caucasian, I get so frustrated when anyone tries to “define” themselves by their race. I teach in a private, Christian school – and yes, 99% of the students are white. (and, yes – I, too, am in the South … Florida). Since it is a private school, we are not “forced” to teach anything specific (like public schools) – we never do a whole unit on MLK or the Chinese New Year, or anything like that. Instead, we simply teach that we are all AMERICANS. I have had some children of other races in the past, and I never once ever heard another child comment on the color of their skin, the texture of the hair – nothing. Also, I believe it helps IMMENSELY that it is a Christian school- where we all (teachers & children) view eachother as all being Christian Americans. … I have always held to the belief that if you start talking about race/pointing it out (even when you think you are being helpful, teaching about the culture, etc.) – you are pointing out the *differences*. Of course, I think it is important for families to value their heritage. I am certain that you and your husband will help lil’ J combat any negativity. She is sure to be a strong girl… hey! If anyone ever asks her, “What are you”? – she should just say, “A child of God”! 🙂

Maria says:

I wanted to add one more thing. It’s ahrd from a “white” perspective because I don’t care what color people are. Hoenstly. BUT I constantly worry about offending someone. In fact, since I typed my last comment, I’ve wondered if it could be taken as offensive. I wish my kids could grow up in a world where it didn’t matter. I’ve told my daughter that the world would be pretty boring if we all looked and talked and felt exactly the same way.

I have an italian/portugese mother and I look like her, expect I have pale skin from my Dad. I have an italian name, but it’s also a very common hispanic name around here (and everywhere I guess.) I’ve been assumed to be hispanic and it bothered me. Not because there’s anything wrong with being hispanic, but because I’m happy to be Italian, if that makes sense.

I always thought I’d have kids that looked like me, with dark hair, but I have a little blonde girl. My son was born with dark hair and I was happy to have a baby who looks like me. Then, his hair fell out and grew back light brown! They have my kin color, btu I could still be the babysitter, LOL.

LegalChic says:

I love this post! It is true that being mixed is more embraced now. I remember when I was a teen and lived in the south it was like that. I had a lot of black friends and some boyfriend’s and never had the desire to choose what side. I have always looked at people as people and that is how it should be :).

One thing that is rough is when only one heritage is taught and the kids grow up only connecting with that one part of who they are. Teaching to love ALL your flavors is important.

I am a mix of Irish,French,Filipino,Scottish,Spanish and Russian and my daughter is mine + Creole,Dutch,French Canadian so were all mixed up but I am teaching her to love and embrace all these parts of who she is.

Your daughter is a beautiful reminder that love goes far deeper then the color of one’s skin 🙂 I think you’ll do a great job of teaching her that.

Brianna
http://www.girlscurls.blogspot.com

Syreena says:

i think the fact that you even have to think about this is interesting. i am a brown girl with a brown hubs and two brown babies and i just see all love… i never have to think of how the world will percieve them and neither should you have to. its interesting what the world makes up take note of when their are so many other things that we could be concerned with. my mother is mixed and i think she had a few issues with the fact that neither of her children were remotely near her coloring. i think it is beatiful that you have determined your stance on how you will teach your beautiful little mama…i hope i said all of that right?!? I just had my second lil man a few weeks ago and ive been awake for 27 hours straight…. comment boxes should have spell check…lol

What a lovely post. Thank you for sharing! I often wonder what my children will have to deal with. My husband’s family is from India and I am white. I hope they can gracefully deal with the questions just as your multi-racial friends have. I also appreciate the comment above. It will be hard to have people ask if my children are mine! But, I will just be happy to be blessed with a child.

– Angela

http://angelaslavani.blogspot.com/

Beautifully written. My son is Black and Latin from and already everyone wants to classify him. “Well he looks black” or “Well he looks more hispanic.”
” I’m like Who cares.

I was called an Oreo all my life but not coz I had White friends, it was
Because I was apparently black on the outside and White on the inside, someone decided I wasn’t “black enough”. Because of my experience, I always
Knew that I would never define my son’s race for him. I don’t know what flavour
He’ll turn out to be (we find out in 10 wks) but whatever it is, I want him to be comfortable with the two cultures that make him part of who he’s going to be.

this post is powerful and beautiful, its so true to not make her choose…she came from LOVE ultimately. maybe you can send this post over to halle berry =)

The other side of this is either parent could face the question, Where did you adopt your children from. I have a friend with an Indian (as in from India) spouse and one with a Mexican spouse. In both cases the mothers are white and have been approached on the playground with that question. It seems just as bad to assume adoption, rather than ask the heritage and let them explain their significant other is another race, or even if it is adoption. In all cases the children are beautiful with such an ethnic look.

On the flip side, my sister in law HAS adopted a few kids and they look like they fit right in to her family.

I think giving them education on both and preparing them for what they may face is the most important aspect of mixing race. In my case it is actually religion. We teach about my husbands Scottish heritage and teach the Jewish faith and traditions.

Kudos to you for realizing this sooner rather than later.

The reality is, society labels you whether you decide to choose or not. If you look like a minority more than likely you will be treeated like one. Obama knows that all too well despite his mother being white. These are things that don’t die as much as we would like them to. I just hope you and hubby do an excellent job of making sure she knows who she came from(both sides) and learns her history both black and white. She can choose to be human but to society they’ll label her how they see fit.

What an amazing post. You wrote it with such class. I personally have no experience with this. I came from same race parents. But my husband came from a white mother and an Italian father. He went to a school that was 90% white. He got teased. He came home one day asking his mom if he was black. She told him to tell everyone it was none of their business. But she never told him what his race was. He was 5. He found out later though. Our kids look just like me. Blonde hair blue eyes. And they done have many of my husband’s features. I’ve had people ask me who the dad is. It really irritates me.

Anonymous says:

My niece is mixed and I hate when people call call her black when that is not what she is. I would feel the same if they called her white. I just feel like she (and society) should be able to accept who she is and embrace both sides of her culture. Become who/what she wants to be, not who/what society excpets her to be.

What a great post! My {future} child won’t be of mixed race, but I often wonder if he will eventually have some sort of resentment for us for bringing him into an all-white family. I plan on embracing his African culture by learning their customs and always celebrating the fact that he is indeed adopted and we wouldn’t change it for the world!

I’m sure we will get the same looks you do for having a “mixed race” family, but to tell you the truth I often stop and unintentionally stare at interracial couples because it’s beautiful! 🙂

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Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget



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